Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Spice Merchant's Daughter - Interviews

Author: This next interview is with Stefanie Mandelbaum, the woman who was instrumental in my writing The Spice Merchant’s Daughter.

Author: Hello, Stefanie. Before we talk about your amazing experience, please tell us about yourself.

Stefanie: Hello, Fran. I pleased to be here for this interview. I'm an artist, author and an adjunct assistant professor of mathematics and tutor.

Author:  That is an interesting combination, art and mathematics. Can you tell us more about it.

Stefanie: My education and experience is in both art and math and I’ve developed a connection between them.  Arthematics is a term I first used to describe my work in 1996. It refers to artwork in which mathematics affects the selection of shapes as well as the overall composition of the piece. Mathematics sends a certain rhythm in the art. Colors are chosen, which enhance the movement in the artwork.

Author: That’s a fascinating definition of your concept. What have you done to promote it?

Stefanie: As a result of workshops I developed over the years, I wrote a book, co-authored with Jacqueline S. Guttman. It’s called Arthematics Plus: Integrated projects in math, art and beyond, which was published in 2003. It is a resource book for teachers in grades 4-6, but many of the lessons and ideas can be applied to other grades.

Author: Is there a website people can go to find out more about the book and your art.

Stefanie: At this time, I have two websites:  I am working on setting up a website for Arthematics.

 Author: Tell us your experience in France?
Stefanie: A number of years ago, I was visiting the Loire valley in France. I looked out one of the windows of a castle overlooking a small town and had the sense of having done that before around the turn of the 18th century. I was a young girl, dressed in a long 17th century gown, not a fancy lady, but one of the servants. I wasn’t French, but a foreigner. I sensed that in that life I had become pregnant by a noble and they took the baby away. It was a sad situation, because I died young and in prison.
Author: Were you actually in the experience or watcher?
Stefanie: When it happened I felt like I was in the 20th century looking out the window, but I had a feeling of deja vue, wearing that long gown. So, you could probably say, both were present.
Author: The storyline I created is not exactly related to your previous persona. What do you think of the adaptation of your story?
Stefanie: I really enjoyed reading the book and seeing all the embellishments and creative spins that you put on the original experience.
Author: If I were to interview your past life persona, what do you think she might say about Katy Dubois?
Stefanie: She might have thought Katy was adventurous, admirable and brave because she was in a foreign country away from everything she knew. She was young and kind.

Author: What might she have said about Gilles Ferrier?

Stefanie: She probably thought he was handsome and that their love was so romantic.

Author: I wonder if your past life persona knew Franz Von Klaus.

Stefanie: Speaking from her experience, I think she might tell you that Katy should be very, very careful, because he was a dangerous man, especially to women.

Author: Do you have any other comments?

Stefanie: Teens will get a feeling of life in another time and what it would have been like to be their age living over 300 years ago. Adults will also enjoy the book for the story and the historical value.

Author:  Thank you so much Stefanie. Good luck with Arthematics and your book.

Thank you so much for joining me in Fran’s World and reading the interview. Please don’t forget to check out the question below. The answer is imbedded in the interviews. Email me at with your answer and if you have the correct answer your name will go into a hat. The contest closes on Monday, Nov. 1st at midnight. On Tuesday, I will randomly pick one name from the hat and the winner will get a signed hard copy of The Spice Merchant’s Daughter.

Question:  Someone besides Katy is in love with Gilles. Who is she and what is her name?
(Remember the answer is in the interview.)

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