Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and sixty-first, is of poet, non-fiction author and novelist Diane Eklund-Abolins. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Diane was born in Sydney, Australia, where she grew up and eventually became a teacher. After three years of teaching, she travelled to Sweden to catch up with relatives, and, while she was there, met and married her husband, a Swedish national born in Latvia. She remained in Sweden for more than twenty years, had five children, taught, attended university and published two books of poetry. Eventually, the family relocated to Australia, and, until she retired, Diane worked for the Swedish Consulate in Sydney.
After retiring, Diane, who had always been very interested in her mother-in-law’s traumatic life (she had lived through both World Wars and the Russian Revolution and was forced by circumstances to flee her country twice), began researching both World Wars in relation to the Baltic countries in general and Latvia in particular. The result of her research, together with the careful perusal of many letters and diaries, and the input both from her husband and others connected with her mother-in-law, was The Space in Between: A Story about Nina, published in July 2012. In February 2014, the book was made available as an e-Book via Smashwords.
Diane is now working on her second novel which, unlike The Space in Between, is a work of fiction. She expects it to be published in the second half of 2014.
And now from the author herself:
I have always written and I have always painted, and, while my artwork is very much motivated by words or ideas, my writing is greatly affected by my visual experience of situations, places and people. In 2003, I did a series of paintings on refugees which, eventually, led to concentrated research into my mother-in-law’s life and background. I knew that, if nothing was recorded, my mother-in-law’s story would completely vanish, and I did not want that to happen. In other words, it was a story that had to be told.
Nina, my mother-in-law, is the main person in The Space in Between. The book begins with Nina as a small child, with the world about to descend into war, and, from there, it follows her as the conflict reaches Latvia itself, and she is forced to flee. Certainty is replaced by uncertainty, family members are lost, and, by the time Nina enters her twenties, she is no longer sure that she actually had a childhood. A short period ensues where Latvians are led to believe that there may be some certainty in life after all, and then another war breaks out. When Nina flees the second time, she does so not knowing if she will survive or if she will ever see her country and her loved ones again.
Nina’s story is, of course, the story of many people affected by war. My hope is that The Space in Between may not only give readers a better understanding of the impact of both World Wars on Latvia and the other Baltic countries but also an understanding as to why people flee their homelands and what it is like to be a refugee.
There is more information about Diane and The Space in Between at:
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Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
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