BIO: Floriana Berdych Hall is a graduate of Cuyahoga Falls High School in Ohio, and attended Akron University. She is the author and editor of twelve nonfiction inspirational books including: SMALL CHANGE, THE ADVENTURES OF FLOSSIE, ROBBIE, AND JUNEY, THE SANDS OF RHYME, DADDY WAS A BAD BOY, and a young children’s book, SMALL PLEASURES. She is also the founder/coordinator of the Poet’s Nook at Cuyahoga Falls Library, Editor of The Poet’s Nook’s four books, THROUGH OUR EYES, POEMS OF BEAUTIFUL NORTHEAST OHIO, POET’S NOOK POTPOURRI, TOUCHING THE HEARTS OF GENERATIONS and VOICES IN VERSE, as well as the winner of many poetry contests. She has been published in the United States, England, France and India. She is married with five children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Thanks for being here, Floriana. It’s a pleasure.
1. Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career.
I am 82 years old (or young, depending on outlook) My priorities in life are God, family, friends, and helping people. My hobbies besides writing are going to celebrations with family, water exercise which I do at least four times a week to stay healthy, reading, playing with our great-grandchildren, wholesome movies, the Red Hats events, coordinating THE POET'S NOOK at Cuyahoga Falls Library, speaking at schools and interacting with people at signings and Expos.
2. You have quite the writing background. How were you able to accomplish so much with such a large family, or rather, where on earth you found the time?
While I was raising our five children and helping with the grandchildren, I did little writing. I believe that it is important to spend quality time with children, go to all their sports or other events, PTA, Church, etc. I did not start writing until I was 68. I was looking to find a way to help others and was inspired in church to write my first published poem LOVE NEVER DIES which won the Editor's Choice Award at National Library of Poetry.
3. How do you handle negative reviews and critiques you receive?
Since I learned to cope with negatives as a child, and I have had no negative reviews except one so far, I have no trouble. However, that does not mean I deal with no negatives in life, and I never dwell on them and move on.
4. Your not-so-ideal childhood sparked inspiration for some of your books. Can you tell us a bit about that and if it aided in healing?
Actually, I think I was born with a smile on my face and have never dwelled on the past. I live for the present. Not that I don't remember days without enough food or necessities of life but my Mother had such a positive attitude that it rubbed off on me and I never let trauma change my attitude. I am a happy person and always have been.
5. You've written non-fiction, poetry, short stories, and children's books. What made you go with so many genres and what challenges have you faced?
At first I just wrote poetry, but a year later my daughter, Cindy, who teaches fifth grade in Kansas, asked me to write a children's book. At that time, she could not find a book about The Great Depression that contained history, prices and an exciting true story. She asked me to write my story, and I did. It was titled SMALL CHANGE, but for various reasons (including the printer's death) I changed the name to THE ADVENTURES OF FLOSSIE, ROBBIE AND JUNEY During The Great Depression. This book is read at schools and teachers ask me to speak about it on Author's Day.
After the first book was successful, adult readers started asking me what happened after I graduated from high school. Thus I wrote DADDY WAS A BAD BOY, a name the publisher chose. I later changed the name to FRANCIS, NOT THE SAINT which has been translated into Spanish - FRANCISCO, NO EL SANTO. It is a timely book and there are not many writers alive to tell the true story.
I wrote OUT OF THE ORDINARY SHORT STORIES because I had an out-of-body experience when I was seven years old which has always influenced my life. The book is about my experience, angels, and God-incidences plus a variety of interesting stories such as THE ROCKING CHAIR which has been published in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL - Living Catholic Faith.
HEARTS ON THE MEND is a compilation of 12 different stories about heart disease, including my own. My arteries were 100% blocked without any symptoms. It has helped people.
The poetry books are a gift from God. Poems literally pop into my head at 5 AM some mornings. I can write a good poem in twenty minutes and have won many prizes. My book GATHERING GRACES is selling well and the new one SELECT SANDS OF RHYME AND REASON has winning poetry and short stories.
6. Are there any upcoming releases we would like to know about and could you give us your website so readers can check it out?
My young children's book, SIMPLE PLEASURES, was just published by www.Cyberwit.net and may be purchased from them. It has ten pages and is a story about three young children and their great-grandmother who teaches them how to have fun the old way, the simple way.
In the future, I plan to write a book about discovering dementia.
7. This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Yes, The Poet's Nook which I founded 12 years ago and still coordinate has an annual children's poetry contest in April for Natinal Poetry Month. The winner of $15 is a young man who wrote a great poem about LEBRON JAMES.
I have edited and compiled four books by THE POET'S NOOK, three of which are still available. POET'S NOOK POTPOURRI, TOUCHING THE HEARTS OF GENERATIONS, AND VOICES IN VERSE, Weaving Words. The first two can be bought from me at HAFLORIA@sbcglobal.net and the last one from www.Amazon.com
I teach poetry online at www.LSSwritingschool.com under YOU, ME, AND POETRY. My poetry is published by www.LongStoryShort.net and also some short stories.
The motto I live by is THE SECRET OF LIFE IS NOT TO TAKE IT PERSONALLY.