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RPLA Showcase: Russel Lazega

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2016 Published Autobiography/Memoir

Managing Bubbie by Russel Lazega

In Managing Bubbie, a defiant mother’s incredible escape from the Nazis leads to the confounded family that must try to manage her 40 years later.

At the 2016 Royal Palm Literary Award Banquet, author Russel Lazega won First Place in the Published Autobiography/Memoir category. Each year at the RPLA Banquet, authors experience the joy of earning accolades for all the hard work that is often done in the privacy of the home with little to no recognition. We’re showcasing the best of the best with our First Place winners spotlight. Not only does RPLA recognize extraordinary talent, but we’re giving readers an opportunity to sample excerpts from the winning stories.

Click the link to read a sample:

Excerpt from Managing Bubbie

Ready to read the rest of the book?

Click the link to purchase Managing Bubbie from Amazon Smile and support the Florida Writers Foundation.*

Q & A with Russel Lazega

Q: Where do you get your story ideas?

A: While I have a vivid imagination for much of what I write, my latest work, Managing Bubbie is a true and personal story about my grandmother’s incredible escape from the Nazis as a pregnant Jewish woman running alone with two small daughters through Axis-occupied Europe. While I only got to know my grandmother (“Bubbie” in Yiddish as we called her) later in life, I had always heard details of the lengths she traveled to get her kids out of Nazi hands and safely to America. And so I set out to chronicle her escape. But along the way I found that there was another story that also had to be told – one we rarely hear – about what happens to our survivors later in life (especially now that so many are gone or disappearing) when their bodies start failing them but their will doesn’t. You can’t help but ask: what happens when a woman who has survived life’s most unimaginable horrors by refusing to follow orders needs the unthinkable – help surviving? In our family’s case it got her kicked out of 5 assisted living facilities in 6 months. She’d shout, “It’s a concentration camp! All day these people vait around to die. Like a death camp. Oh no.  I escaped from Hitler.  I can escape from here!” Some say she became “unmanageable.” I say she stayed “unstoppable.”

Q: Anything in particular about your award-winning RPLA entry that you’d like to share?

A: Wow! That’s kind of a loaded question since there’s so much happening right now. But here we go . . . Since my RPLA award I have released Managing Bubbie as a full ensemble audiobook starring some TV and movie favorites including: Linda Lavin, Gavin McLeod, Lainie Kazan, Renee Taylor, Judy Tenuta and more. I also worked with a writer/producer in LA to draft a movie screenplay based on the book which is now in negotiations with a major studio to develop as a film. It’s been quite a year!   

Q: Whom do you credit with inspiring your writing?

A: My family is Jewish so my mother and grandmother didn’t give me much of a choice. Since I was practically in the crib my grandmother would cajole me in her thick Jewish accent to share her story. She’d noodge, “I vant you should write this tings down.  Mine stories. Mine life. I vant you should make a book from this tings. A book to tell vhat I did to bring mine children here to this country. A million dollars they’ll pay you for this book.  I know from this tings.” Well, I finally did, and let’s cross our fingers that Bubbie was right!

Q: Any tips for new writers?

A: For me, I credit success to not being smart enough to realize that regular people like me can’t just publish a successful book or make a movie.  Good thing I never paid attention in class.

Thank you for sharing, Russel, and congratulations! Visit his website: www.facebook.com/ManagingBubbie

*When you purchase this book from the Amazon Smile link provided, you are promoting literacy throughout Florida. You pay no extra cost for the book. The Amazon Smile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to Florida Writers Foundation.

For more details about FWF, visit www.floridawritersfoundation.com

For more details about Amazon Smile, visit https://smile.amazon.com/gp/aw/ch/about

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Follow Bria Burton:

Blogger at St. Pete Running Company

Award-winning author Bria Burton lives in St. Petersburg with her wonderful husband and two wild pets. They will soon welcome a baby boy (their first) in November 2017. Her fiction has appeared in over twenty anthologies and magazines. Her novelette, The Running Girls, is a 2017 Royal Palm Literary Award Finalist. Her novella, Little Angel Helper, won a 2016 RPLA. She has earned two First Place RPLAs for unpublished manuscripts. While she writes, her dog and cat do their best to distract her, which is why they star in her family-friendly short story collection, Lance & Ringo Tails. She's a blogger and customer service manager at St. Pete Running Company. As a member of the Florida Writers Association, she leads the St. Pete chapter and serves on the statewide FWA Board. She's also a member of the Alvarium Experiment, a by-invitation-only consortium of outstanding authors who created The Prometheus Saga, Return to Earth, and The Masters Reimagined anthologies. Website www.briaburton.com

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