Ali’s Bees received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.
Following find an interview with author Bruce Olav Solheim.
What is the name of the book and when was it published? Ali’s Bees, and it was published in July 2017.
What’s the book’s first line?
“I notice little things,” said Ali as his grandfather lovingly attended to his garden, accompanied by the buzzing of bees from his beehive.
What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch.”
I believe that children and animals are the often-forgotten innocent victims of war. Ali is an Iraqi refugee boy who lives with his beekeeper grandfather in Los Angeles. Ali must learn to deal with bullying, assimilation, wartime trauma, and play the strange American game of baseball. His grandfather uses the bees to teach Ali life lessons and inspires him to save the bees.
What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?
I began to notice dead and dying bees everywhere I went. It was as if they were trying to tell me something. I have always admired bees, even though I am severely allergic to bee stings. One day, after seeing a bee struggling on the ground at my youngest son’s baseball game, I decided that I needed to investigate. The inspiration for Ali came from when I coached Little League baseball, and there was a middle eastern boy on our team. He knew nothing of the game, and some of the other boys teased him until I intervened. That is how the idea started, first in the form of a play for young audiences, and then as a fiction book.
What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?
Ali’s Bees helps people, especially young people, to see beyond divisive differences and anger in the world and realize our common humanity and the necessity of working together for survival. We are all living on a raft and need each other to survive, as explorer Thor Heyerdahl of Kon Tiki fame discovered.
Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?
American humorist Will Rogers.
If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?
I don’t really know any 13-year-old actors to play Ali, Jenks, and Lupe, I hope they would pick some young unknown talented, nice actors to portray those characters, Grandfather should be played by F. Murray Abraham or Ben Kingsley, and Mr. Hooper should be played by Terrence Howard.
When did you first decide to become an author?
When I was a young boy, I started writing because my father could not write in English, so I typed letters for him. I fell in love with our Royal typewriter. I still have it. I loved writing short stories and poems.
Is this the first book you’ve written?
No. This is the seventh book I have published, but it is the first fiction book.
What do you do for work when you’re not writing?
I teach history at Citrus College.
How much time do you generally spend on your writing?
1-3 hours per day, on average. Sometimes I write for 12 hours in a single day.
What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?
I enjoy the freedom to do what I feel is best for my story. The hardest part of being an indie writer is gathering the money required to get things going.
What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?
Get your hustle on! Writing is easy compared to promotion.
Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling? If so, why?
I have already. My first six books were with large publishers. I like the freedom of independent publishing, but I will not look a gift horse in the mouth.
Is there something in particular that motivates you?
Service to humanity, especially in searching for truth and peace.
Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?
Which book do you wish you could have written?