Author Spotlight no.60 – Germaine Shames

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the sixtieth, is of Germaine Shames.

Germaine Shames, has written from six continents–soon to add the seventh–on topics ranging from Aboriginal land rights to Nazi art looting, from the struggle to save the Amazon to the plight of street children.

Shames is author of the critically acclaimed novel Between Two Deserts  (Macadam/Cage Publishing), two earlier nonfiction books, and three feature screenplays.

Her articles have appeared in such publications as National Geographic Traveler, More, Success, Hemispheres, Byline and many others.  Her essays and short fiction have been widely anthologized.

Shames holds a Masters degree in Intercultural Studies.  As a global executive, and later as a foreign correspondent, she has lived and worked in such diverse locations as the Australian outback, Swiss Alps, interior of Bulgaria, coast of Colombia, Fiji Islands, and Gaza Strip.  She brings a tender acuity to her journalism and has made a mission of covering under-reported stories of grassroots activism and everyday heroism.  Her fiction writing reflects the breadth of her worldview and fascination with the interplay of cultures, often drawing on events and settings from her sojourns abroad.

In her forthcoming novel, You, Fascinating You, Shames returns to her roots in the performing arts to reveal the hidden epic behind a timeless love song.

And now from the author herself:

My grandfather gave me my first library card when I was three years old. By the time I entered kindergarten, I had taught myself to read.

While most children read Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys, I was grappling with the erotic undercurrents of Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary, the mammalian allegory of The Metamorphosis, the literary nose-thumbing of Ulysses… These stories helped me situate myself in the world and planted inklings of things primal and infinitely mysterious.

Flash forward half a century…

Having traveled much of the world, having written from combat zones and tourist meccas, I am a magnet for stories. A select few have become novels or screenplays. None are wasted. They remind me of that inquisitive three year-old who couldn’t wait to read and who found in reading the gateway to limitless imaginings. My life has been vaster, deeper, and more audaciously lived both for the stories I’ve read and those I’ve told.

Morgen: I do remember going to the library as a child but it took me 30+ years to really discover how thrilling writing it is. 🙂 Thank you Germaine.

You can find more about Germaine and her writing via her website

Reviews of Between Two Deserts:

“Shames, a former Middle East correspondent, handles the complexities of Eve’s visit to war-torn Jerusalem with a subtlety seldom seen in this genre. She is careful not to pass judgment on either side of the political equation as she skillfully intertwines the lives of this diverse cast of characters to produce a tightly executed, emotion-filled work.”   Publisher’s Weekly

“(The novelist) creates the intense atmosphere of an unstable world with grace and a sort of lyric power.”   National Public Radio

“One might expect the journalist and novelist to approach this story quite differently, but in Between Two Deserts, foreign correspondent Germaine Shames has realized a combination of these crafts, lucidly capturing those immutable qualities that speak to our souls.”   Rain Taxi

“In Jerusalem where rhetoric and revenge rule, Shames shows us humanity and insight.”   Bloomsbury Review

Advance Praise for You, Fascinating You:

“A love story reminiscent of that of my grandparents.  I could not put it down.” Kinga Nijinsky Gaspers

“Compelling, heart-wrenching, and heroic.”  Jim Bencivenga, Christian Science Monitor

“Germaine Shames’ beautiful depiction of the life of Margit Wolf and Pasquale Frustaci is told with such vivid and haunting detail, it’s as if the reader is propelled back in time to witness a devastating journey of shattered dreams, juxtaposed with the strength and courage of the human heart.” Susan Jaffe, ‘America’s quintessential ballerina’

“Germaine paints a vivid and accurate portrait of the world of ballet in pre and post-war Europe.  The epic drama expected on the ballet stage is dwarfed by the tragic real life events of her ballerina heroine, Margit Wolf.  Penetrating descriptions of political brutality and the prepossession of romantic love, an ever present theme in classical ballet, make for a page-turning, impelling read.” Janet Panetta, Ballet Master Pina Bausch

“Shames captures the essence of a ballerina with such expertise in her riveting story.  Dancers succeed by creating beauty from effort; this book, too, shows that exquisite art can be made from history’s hardships.”   Elana Altman, soloist dancer, San Francisco Ballet

“An epic story and a true story.  Margit Wolf’s life is the kind of character journey that makes for great movies.” Howard Allen, ‘the Script Doctor’

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with children’s author Colleen Robley Blake – the two hundred and eighty-seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords (Amazon to follow).