Author Interview with Tsila Glidai!
Hi, Tsila Glidai welcome to the Indie Publishing Group website! Introduce yourself to us. Tell everyone who you are, where you’re from, what you enjoy doing, your hobbies and interests.
I’m Tsila Glidai. I was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but my family moved to Israel when I was eleven years old. I grew up in Jerusalem. Today I am married to a great guy named Zev and blessed to be the mother of 11 wonderful children- 8 daughters and three sons. Most of them are married and have children of their own. As for numbers, well, I’m not counting. I’ve been an English teacher for over 30 years in Kedumim, where I’ve been living since 1984. I love teaching, and because I love language rhymes and fantasy, I’ve always enjoyed making up stories for my students with the words that we study, to help them in their struggle to grasp a language that is quite difficult for many of them. When teaching the months of the year, for example, I made up a song about them which helped them learn, although they “complained” that after learning if they couldn’t get the song out of their heads, which is exactly what I had intended!
I’ve always loved writing and fantasy. My kids and now my grandchildren always know that if they say “Please tell me a story!” it just comes out of my head with surprising and often amusing events. So one day, it was actually Zev’s idea, I sat down and starting actually writing stories. My first story, Perry The Fairy And Her Tail, was born of a question I dreamed about- Why are fairy stories called “tales”. I ended up creating a story about a fairy named Perry, who was very upset because she had a tail. When I tell a story, it’s never simply intended as entertainment. As an educator, I want to impress children with positive values, to make them caring and sensitive members of society. Perry, similarly to a child with special needs, feels bad about her “handicap”- a long white tail. In the story, the Fairy King tries to help her, and when he can’t figure out how to do it alone, he ends up involving his entire community, and even kings and queens from other stories. The solution they offer is inspiring and heartwarming. Besides answering the question, why are fairy stories called “tales”, this story becomes one of caring and empathy toward a member of the community who is different from the rest.
Following this story, I have made it into the first of a 9 book (so far) series, which I called: “Tell Me A Story, Grandma Glee!” I chose “Glee” as my name, because it’s the beginning of my last name, Glidai, and in English, it means great joy. I hope my books will bring great joy to everyone who reads them!
When did you start writing and why?
I’ve been writing as far back as I can remember, but I only started writing seriously about two years ago.
Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?
Wow, I really can’t say. Each of my books is an answer to a question put to me by my granddaughter, and I make up a story in order to answer her. The first one as I mentioned above, answers the question of why fairy stories are called tales. The second is an amusing story that answers the question of how popcorn was discovered. Yet another deal with the universal problem of why people are often dissatisfied with themselves, and wish they were different. To answer that one, I made up a story called The Land Called Frame- a story about a magical land where everybody looked the same! Every story answers a question. Every story is fun, and at the same time teaches an important life lesson. I love them all!
How did you come up with the title for your book?
My last name is Glidai, and I searched for a catchy name which would include at least part of my name, and, which I hope, will one day become a household name that everyone will fondly recognize with ease. Since my grandchildren are always begging me to tell them a story, I decided to call my series: “Tell Me A Story, Grandma Glee!” I hope that one day soon, everyone will recognize the name Grandma Glee. I like the way it sounds and the promise of joy that it contains.
Who helped you with the cover? Or did you design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?
I have used the services of several talented illustrators to design the covers of my books. I gave them the titles and told them what the story was about so they would have a better idea of how to design the cover and the inside illustrations. The illustrations themselves are their work alone.
What are some of the themes of your story?
My stories all deal with problems and their solutions, in a way that is usually surprising. I try to encourage, instruct and embed positive social messages in my stories. In one story, as I dealt with the fear of a child from the water, I made up a story called Finny the Fish and his Secret Wish- about a young fish that was afraid to swim, and how he overcame that fear. One of my grandchildren told me how badly she felt that her good friend had chosen someone new, and was ignoring her. She didn’t dare to tell her friend how she felt. In answer to that, I made up a story called “Cousin Ozzy and the Light Charms of Oasis” which tells about a magical land called Oasis, where nobody ever needed to tell anyone how they felt because they all wore charm bracelets with charms that lit up according to their feelings. Red for anger, Green for envy and so on. It worked fine, until one day Ozzy’s bracelet broke, and people stayed away from him because they had no idea how he felt, and he had no idea how to tell them! Through this story, I tried to convey the importance of telling people your feelings and working out your problems, rather than suffering in silence.
What’s your process when you sit down and decide to start writing a book and do you have a system?
Well, it often starts with a request from one of my grandchildren, to write about them. This is quite challenging because they have Hebrew names, which don’t always fit into an English Story. Luckily, one of my granddaughters is named Marva, which sounds good in both languages. For her, I made up my fourth story, Marvelous Marva and the Magical Marbles. We all called her Marvelous Marva anyway. The magical marbles were my idea, through which I tried to covey the importance of loyalty and friendship, and the importance of taking a stand against bullying. Once I have the title and the idea, I jot down a few events, sit down at the computer and start typing. I love rhymes and plays on words, which are always present in my stories. The plot is always an inspiration I have, which I attribute completely to our Heavenly Father. I could never have thought up all those ideas myself!
Who are some of your favorite characters and why?
Such difficult questions! I love Sapphire, my oldest granddaughter, who is featured in all of my stories. She is a bright and curious little girl who asks all the questions. I also love Tip, the pony who wanted to be a racehorse, in my fifth story, Roni and Her Pony. Another favorite is Oakey, the Oak Tree who was sad that people kept leaving him. I wrote that story when one of my grandchildren had to move, and felt upset about leaving his friends. In this story, I told him all about Oakey, who felt terrible because he couldn’t move anywhere!
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. Also Louisa May Alcott, and several others of different genres. My favorite modern writer is J.K. Rowling. Her endless imagination fascinates me.
Have you got anything you’re working on now?
I’ve slowed down with my writing of new stories, in my attempt to market the ones I have already written. That’s the part of this job that I’m not good at, at all. But I’m learning. There is one local project I’ve begun, though. The Ministry of Education has instructed all teachers to teach specific vocabulary, and they published lists of words at three different levels that every student is required to study. Another teacher suggested that I make up stories about the words that need to be studied for each letter. I have made up 4 stories so far, in a collection that I am calling: Amusing Stories from A-Z. Each story is amusing and includes all the words required for a certain letter at that level. I intend to enhance the stories with illustrations and simple exercises to follow every story.
If you could have any superpowers what would they be?
More than one, for sure. One of my favorite scenes from a movie is in Mary Poppins, where everyone sings “A Spoonful of Sugar.” It would be wonderful to snap your fingers and have everything in order instantly! I’d really love that! Another superpower would be healing. It would be wonderful to wish someone to get well, and it would happen. Just like that. And world peace? Am I starting to sound like a beauty pageant winner? Nonetheless, I wish the world would be blessed with peace and unity. In my little stories about caring and empathy, I am making the first step towards achieving this goal. My stories are magical, I’m sure about that!
If you could travel to any location in the world where would you go?
I’m blessed to be living and raising a family in the best place in the world- the Holy Land of Israel. Take that as an invitation. You have been officially invited!
Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?
In 5 years, time I will probably be a retired teacher, and I hope to be a famous, full-time author. Grandma Glee’s stories will be loved and familiar to parents, grandparents, and children everywhere, spreading hope light and caring, making our world a better place to live in! There will be many more stories in the series, and maybe a new series too! The sky is the limit!
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Tell Me A Story, Grandma Glee: Perry The Fairy And Her Tail