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IR Approved Author Michele Levy on What Motivates Her: “…the desire to tell stories that deal with issues still upending our world today.”


Anna’s Dance: A Balkan Odyssey received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Michele Levy.

What is the name of the book and when was it published? 

The book is Anna’s Dance: A Balkan Odyssey, published June 25, 2020.

What’s the book’s first line? 

“Heat and dirt. The whir of tires against concrete. Sun waves scorch the shimmering surface of the autoroute.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.  

“It’s 1968. The world is in turmoil. So is twenty-thee-year-old Anna Rossi, who questions everything about her life, from her mostly Jewish heritage to her fear of intimacy. Summer in Europe with a childhood friend offers a perfect way to escape her demons. When her friend abandons her in Italy, Anna makes the rash decision to travel on with strangers. Her journey takes a perilous turn, leading her into conflict in Eastern Europe and into the heart of the Balkans.

Love, Intrigue, Betrayal—Anna must find the strength to survive.”

“1968 was a year of upheaval. Senator Robert F. Kennedy announced his entrance into the presidential race only to be murdered. Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated, which sparked riots across the country.  Outraged people around the globe gathered to protest the Vietnam War. It is against this tumultuous backdrop that Anna Rossi begins a grand trip through Europe. At just 23 years old, Anna has never traveled overseas. She loses the comfort of a traveling companion and has to begin making decisions for herself. Some are easy and others require a leap of faith.  All of this leads Anna on a raw journey of discovery, unearthing the depths of human cruelty and bigotry, particularly anti-Semitism, but also the depths of sacrifice and love.” — Jordan Ehmann, Indies Review

“ANNA’S DANCE is a tender, evocative account of a young woman’s reckoning with her past and the intergenerational trauma of the Holocaust set in the smoldering context of Eastern European political intrigue in the 1960s — an informative, beautiful, and romantic odyssey of self-discovery.” — Lisa Butts, IndieReader

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

I have loved the Balkans most of my life, attracted by its music and dance, then by its beauty, which I saw for the first time in 1968, and the fascinating people I met there, and  finally through my studies in Balkan history and culture. I was an academic and used to writing scholarly articles. But a Greek mathematician friend of mine to whom I had described my adventures in Greece asked if I had ever thought of writing about them. I gave myself a challenge, to recreate a particularly amazing evening in a barn above a roadside taverna in the Peloponnesus. I enjoyed the process of capturing the smells, the feel of the night air, the bellows of the animals below. The result made me think about trying to portray that distant summer when I hitchhiked through the Balkans.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book? 

Wearing Anna’s eyes, one may come to recognize more clearly the source of so much suffering in our world today.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?   

The best thing about being an indie is getting published. The hardest is that the author must undertake so much of the promotion.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

I would say that one must be patient, meticulous, willing to draft and redraft, edit and reedit.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?  

I would go traditional because the big publishers have more clout, a broader readership, and more avenues for promotion.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

What motivates me is the desire to tell these stories that deal with issues still upending our world today and to have more readers read and expand their vision.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

I still admire Dostoevsky and D. H. Lawrence, whose books sent me to graduate school and turned me into a scholar.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

I would love to have written Dostoevsky’s Demons, which, though published in 1871, holds such truths about the state of our world today.