Born Under Fire by Rina Z. Neiman - Blog Tour and Giveaway

Monday, May 20, 2019
Born Under Fire is a historical novel that tells the story of a girl coming of age and her drive to excel despite the devastating effects of long-term war. Born in Jerusalem under British rule in 1928, Shula grows up in a world in turmoil as Hitler rises to power and nations enter into war. Amid a landscape of ancient stone ruins next to modern Bauhaus architecture, and desert scrub ending at newly verdant farmlands, Shula grows into her independence as the State of Israel is born. Based on historical documents and events, Born Under Fire is also about the context surrounding the founding of the State of Israel, as well as the horrors and dangers of growing up in a conflict zone. Shula battles grief and depression due to the shattering events affecting her, her family, and the entire world. Despite this struggle, her resilient spirit enables her to reach great heights as a concert pianist.

Print Length: 258 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN-13: 978-1986349147
ISBN-10: 1986349144

Born Under Fire is available on Amazon, Barnes and NobleThrift Books, and IndieBound.

Book Giveaway Contest

To win a copy of the book Born Under Fire by Rina Z. Neiman, please enter via Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Giveaway ends on May 27th at 12 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author, Rina Z. Neiman

Rina Z. Neiman is a writer, event producer and public relations professional. Born Under Fire is based on the true story of her mother, Shulamit Dubno Neiman, a Sabra, a musician and one of the first generation of modern-day Israelis. Rina lives in Marin County, California with her husband and son. This is her first novel.

You may find out more about the author and her book by visiting the website

Also, you may find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First of all, congratulations on your book Born Under Fire! What inspired you to write this book?

Rina: Born Under Fire was inspired by my mother’s story. She was born in Tel Aviv in 1928 and came of age as the State of Israel was established. She died when I was eleven, and I was not old enough to ask her questions, nor at that age, did I even know which questions to ask.

Several years ago, I uncovered her belongings including a large collection of embroidered dresses and personal letters, photos and papers. We knew she had an older brother, Avraham, that she was very close to who died before we were born, but never knew much about him. Within this box of papers, I discovered a sketchbook that he wrote and illustrated describing a trip that my mother and he took to the Galilee in 1947. It was a gift to get this illustrated manuscript that beautifully and eloquently describes the time, place and their relationship. That’s when I knew I had to write this book.

WOWThat sounds absolutely incredible and what a gift that you found that. What type of research did you do for this novel?

Rina: I read a lot of academic books including ones that focused on fashion, the Sabra generation and the British Mandate of Palestine. I also found a wonderful firsthand account written by one of the first female foreign correspondent in England. (Reporting from Palestine by Barbara Board).

In-person interviews were important to verify certain facts in my mother’s story, but also to get a feeling for how things felt at the time. I have letters to and from my mother, and was able to read some of them. Walking the streets where certain action took place was great when I could do it.

Whenever possible, I searched for film clips from that time period. The director, Steven Spielberg’s The Spielberg Collection, is an invaluable source for Jewish themed films and newsreels. Newsreels can include narration which gives a sense of the public perception of a particular event.

Other web resources included first person accounts, product sites, online libraries, documentaries, and newspaper archives. You can find my exhaustive list here:

WOW: I'm impressed with the extensive research you did! So, why did you decide to write a historical fiction rather than a biographical account?

Rina: When I began to research my mother’s story, I realized that it would be hard to impossible to verify many of the facts of her life. Not only did she die when I was 11 years old, but her entire immediate family was gone by the time my sisters and I were born.

I tried to keep the story based on the facts, but with so many holes, the narrative wasn’t holding together.

I wanted to create scenes and characters based on the historical situation at that time. At this point it was clear that the book was about not just about my mother, but the birth of the State of Israel and the first Sabra generation.

WOW: And you really have done an excellent job in recreating this time period! How did the clothes your mother wore play a part in the story you told and what you found out about her in your research?

Rina: When I was growing up my mother sang and played the guitar, representing Israel at events around the world. When she performed she usually wore something from her extensive collection of Bedouin, Yemenite and Arab outfits. After she died when I was 11, the dresses were all packed away and stored in the attic. When my father passed away years later, my sisters and I rediscovered the dress collection.

As a collection, the dresses reflected my mother’s sense of style and her connection to the cultures of her homeland. In the 1970s, she pushed the style by ordering a minidress with Yemenite embroidery and a midi-length dress with Arab designs. In the book, Shula’s sense of style develops alongside her identity.

WOW: Your mother sounds like an amazing lady and I love how she shaped your character. You have an extensive career in writing in a professional capacity. How did that background help you write this novel?

Rina: I spent many years in public relations, which requires a lot of writing, and in many cases a lot of description. I once had to write 1-2 sentence descriptions for 500 bands. “A mix of…” and “Their own special blend…” were, unfortunately, overused.

When I worked for a large retailer, I became adept at describing furniture, food and fashion. And a snappy headline helps. The years spent writing descriptions gives me a strong skill set when it comes to the descriptive passages in my writing.

WOW: It's so interesting how one writing can influence another form! So, Do you have any advice for writers seeking to transform their family's history into fiction? 

Rina: Start with the facts as you know them, then let go and serve the greater story and character arcs. Is this a family immigrant story? Where did they come from and how did this group acclimate to life in a new place.

Change the names! This helps to divorce yourself from your family’s narrative and lets you enter into the mindset of the times. The decisions made by your fictional characters should not be swayed by your family’s hindsight.

How do the outside political and social forces affect your characters? Put them in a situation and see how they react. You may be surprised!

WOW: Excellent advice! What do you hope readers take away after reading your book?

Rina: I hope readers finish my book with a better understanding of what led to the establishment of the State of Israel and what this first generation of modern day Israelis were like. I also hope that readers get a sense of what it is like to grow up in a conflict zone, and the heavy price that war extracts from society.

WOW: I think that's such an important message! What are you working on next? Can we expect a sequel? 

Rina: I am currently working on a sequel to Born Under Fire. It will follow my mother’s journey to NYC from Israel and her studies at the Manhattan School of Music. My mother also worked at the first Israel Consulate in Manhattan and was trained as a diplomat.

The larger issues I hope to explore in this book will be the relationship between American Jews and Israelis, race relations in NYC in the 1950s and the influence of music on the protagonist’s life. And, since this is my mother’s story, there is more tragedy and loss that disrupts her from her chosen path. 

WOW: I can't wait to read the next book. Thank you so much for chatting with us today and best of luck on the tour! 

--- Blog Tour Dates

May 20th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin! So, grab your coffee and join us today as we celebrate the launch of Rina Z. Neiman's book Born Under Fire. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

May 21st @ Karen Brown Tyson Blog
Make sure you stop by Karen's blog today where you can read Rina Z. Neiman's guest post about how to manage time and distractions during the book writing process. If you are writing a book - or thinking about writing one - this one is a post you don't want to miss!

May 22nd @ Coffee with Lacey
Grab some coffee and visit Lacey's blog today where you can read her review about Rina Z. Neiman's book Born Under Fire.

May 23rd @ Coffee with Lacey
Stop by Lacey's blog again where you can read the author Rina Z. Neiman's guest post about why researching primary sources is so effective.

May 23rd @ Bri's Book Nook
Looking for a new book? Make sure to stop by Bri's Book Nook and find out why you need to add Rina Z. Neiman's book Born Under Fire to your reading list.

May 24th @ One Sister's Journey
Today is a can't miss review by Lisa over at One Sister's Journey blog. She's sharing her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman's historical fiction book Born Under Fire.

May 26th @ Reading Whale
You won't want to miss today's stop at the blog Reading Whale where you can read this Rina Z. Neiman's guest post about when you can finally start writing your book after all that research.

May 27th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf
Fill your bookshelf with good books! Stop by Veronica's blog and read author Rina Z. Neiman's guest post about writing biographical fiction and when to dramatize real events.

May 28th @ Helen Hollick's World of Books
Join Helen Hollick's Tuesday Talk over at her blog and read Rina Z. Neiman's guest post about how videos can reinforce your historical novel.

May 28th @ Book Collab Blog
Make sure you stop by Morgan's blog Book Collab where you can find out what she has to say about Rina Z. Neiman's historical fiction book Born Under Fire.

May 29th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
If you love historical fiction, make sure you visit Anthony Avina's blog today where he features author Rina Z. Neiman's blog post about how she researched her historical fiction novel Born Under Fire. You won't want to miss this!

May 31st @ Jess Reading Blog
Are you interested in writing history for young adults? If you are, you will absolutely want to visit Jess' blog today where author Rina Z. Neiman talks about writing history for young adults and what grabs them and what loses them.

June 1st @ The World of My Imagination
Come by Nicole's blog today where you can read her review of Rina Z. Neiman's book Born Under Fire and enter to win a copy of the book.

June 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Can't resist a good book? Visit author Anthony Avina's blog today when he reviews Rina Z. Neiman's incredible historical fiction book Born Under Fire.

June 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird's Blog
Looking for your next great read? Make sure you stop by Bev's blog today and catch her opinion on this fascinating historical fiction novel Born Under Fire.

June 4th @ Amanda Diaries
Today's stop is at Amanda's blog where you can read what she thinks about Rina Z. Neiman's historical fiction book Born Under Fire.

June 5th @ The Frugalista Mom
Visit Rozelyn's blog today where you can not only read her review of Born Under Fire but also enter to win a copy of the book!

June 7th @ Bookworm Blog
Feeling bookish today? Make sure you stop by Anjanette's Bookworm blog where you can read her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman's powerful historical fiction book Born Under Fire plus read an interview with the author.

June 8th @ Jessica's Reading Room
Today's tour stop is a fantastic guest post written by author Rina Z. Neiman about how to make stories interactive. A must-read for all the writers out there!

June 9th @ Jess Bookish Life
Need a new book in your life? Stop by Jess' blog today where she shares her opinion about the historical fiction book Born Under Fire.

June 10th @ Beverley A. Baird's Blog
Are you doing research for your novel? Make sure you visit Bev's blog today where author Rina Z. Neiman is talking about top 5 ways to research secondary sources.

June 12th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Get to know author Rina Z. Neiman at today's stop over at author Anthony Avina's blog where he interviews the author.

June 14th @ Bookworm Blog
Visit Anjanette's blog today and read a guest post by the author who talks about making your story interactive and why adding music is so effective.

June 15th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi's blog at Strength 4 Spouses where you can read Rina Z. Neiman's guest post about the importance of writing during deployment.

June 17th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise's blog over at 12 Books and find out her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman's book Born Under Fire.

June 19th @ Inquiry and Beyond
Join Kathy on Instagram and on her blog PYP in Paradise as she reviews and features Rina Z. Neiman's book Born Under Fire.

June 21st @ Choices Blog
Interviewing someone for your book? Make sure you visit Madeline Sharples' blog today where Rina Z. Neiman talks about how to conduct interviews with people who are (and who are not) willing to talk with you.

June 23rd @ Strength 4 Spouses Blog
Need a new book? Make sure you stop by Wendi's blog where she reviews Born Under Fire by Rina Z. Neiman.

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

To win a copy of Born Under Fire by Rina Z. Neiman, please enter via Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends on May 27th at 12 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


DJ Sakata said...

Glad you enjoyed it, I've been adding more historical novels into my rotation and enjoying them

Gemma's Book Nook said...

Great interview, thanks for sharing.
Gemma @ Gemma's Book Nook

Whispering Stories said...

Nice review and looks like a really intriguing book too.

Stormi said...

This one sounds really interesting! I'm adding it to my TBR.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Wonderful interview! Thanks, Nicole. :)

Rina ~ Your mother’s story sounds amazing. My mom died when I was thirteen, and I wrote a long-form essay that’s turning into a memoir about her. She was an immigrant as well (from Okinawa), and I’m doing research into the Battle of Okinawa, which was the bloodiest battle of the Pacific War, and she grew up during it and dealt with the after effects, including losing several of her family to the war. I’ve lost touch with my relatives but plan to reconnect. I have all of her letters (that I need to get translated), photos, and other memorabilia from Okinawa. I was lucky enough to interview her when I was ten for a school project, and asked her so many questions about her culture. Unfortunately, I lost the recording, which would’ve been awesome because it’s so hard to remember her voice. But I do remember the things she said. I’m so interested in how you researched your mother while writing this novel. I imagine it must’ve been an extremely rewarding experience, although I’m sure it must’ve been hard, both in scope and emotionally. I sometimes wonder if it’s worth all my time and effort because I’m just at the beginning, but your interview makes me feel like I should press on.

My mother also played guitar and the Okinawan sanshin, as well as piano, painted and made her own clothes. I’m going to have to read your book! I want to know how you tackled this research on the page and I’m sure it’ll provide me with ideas.

Good luck on your tour! It looks like a great one! :)

Margo Dill said...

I'm always interested in historical fiction and this one sounds so interesting! :)

Bookworms Corner said...

Great interview. I have seen quiet a few positive reviews for this book.

Michelle L said...

Historical fiction is my favorite genre, and this book is now on my TBR list.

Deborah Wellenstein said...

I can't imagine trying to live a life in the midst of war.

Kathy said...

Such a great interview!!

Carla LoBosco said...

thank you for offering this contest

Princess Seronica said...

I want to read it. It sounds grea t.

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