My guest today is author, formerly a concert pianist, Eric Hausman, talking about his life and his book ‘The Lost Artist: Love Passion War (Part 1)’
By nmurray, Aug 9 2018 11:17AM
Today I welcome Eric Hausman, previously a concert pianist, to my blog. Many authors are multi talented and have amazing writing journey's to share.
So glad you are able to join me.
What made you want to write a book?
I knew my father had a remarkable story, but I felt too far removed to write it. He had escaped Nazi Germany at the age of 13 by going alone to Palestine and as a WW II Commando became the highest decorated Palestinian/Israeli soldier in the British Army. But besides what he told me, what did I know about the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, Palestine before the State of Israel, WW II’s North African Campaign, the No. 2 Commando, etc.? I’m used to researching a subject until I’m comfortable enough to write about it, but this seemed overwhelming.
Then in 2010, I received an email from Einat Amitay, a top computer scientist with a chair at IBM Israel, saying, “You may not know this, but your father is very famous in Israel.” At first, I thought it was a scam, but my father’s passion was art and as I read on, she talked about a children’s book that he had illustrated, And There Was Evening (Vayehi Erev) (ויהי ער). I knew the book because my father had brought it back from his one trip to Israel in the early 90’s. In early 1948, he had turned in the illustrations right before leaving Palestine/Israel for New York City and never gave it any more thought.
He showed me the book in disbelief. “It’s a miracle. The book was actually published, and this one little bookstore somehow got the leftover copies from the 1950’s printing.”
I told Einat that during our first Skype conversation. She laughed, saying, “He could’ve walked into any bookstore and found it. It’s everywhere.” It never crossed his mind that the book could have had more than one printing, much less become a bestseller and timeless classic, now in its 42nd edition, referred to as the pearl of Israeli children’s literature. After a sixty-year ongoing search for the artist, Einat, while dying of breast cancer, had joined the mission and, against all odds, finally solved the mystery.
The story was now too much for me to resist. Einat was a great support. I was very moved by her story of finding my dad and wanted to tell it as a present-day backdrop to telling his story. We became close friends as we chatted often on Skype. Though she made it clear that her chances of survival were slight, she was so vital, such a wonderful person, and had such determination that it was hard for me to accept. How many people dying of breast cancer would have the determination to join a 60-year search for a lost artist of a favorite children’s book and be the one to actually succeed?! I will always be incredibly grateful to her. On her blog, you can see how much she did for so many, especially for children. I can’t say how much her search for my father has meant to my family and me. I only wish my father could have known her. He died a few years before she found him, but she felt his spirit was pushing her. So maybe they know each other now. I hope so.
Tell us about you and where you live.
I am from North Stamford, Connecticut. I now live in New York City.
In the early 80’s, I was offered a Julliard scholarship by Abbey Simon and was signed by Global Records, who changed my name from Hausman to Houston. The producers of my first album, Beethoven Sonatas: Moonlight Pathetique Appassionata, won the Grammy that year. I did over a hundred concerts to promote my second album, Tonight and Forever, and went into serious debt. I started writing while sitting out my four-year contracts and never went back to the piano.
What have you written and what are you working on now?
I am a playwright, memoirist, and ghostwriter. My first play, Playing with Fire, was picked up by Earl Graham of the Graham Agency and optioned for Off-Broadway by Lois Deutchman. My second play, Sweet Deliverance, received some great reviews from regional productions and was the last play optioned by legendary Broadway producer, Alexander Cohen. When Alex suddenly died it was held up in two-year contracts. Gerry Cohen, the brilliant TV director, then produced and directed my next play, Becoming Adele, which had won the Key West Theater Festival Award. It got great reviews in LA and was optioned by Warner Bros. Television.
I then worked in Hollywood for a bit, but my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. In order to move back to New York City to be closer to family, I began ghostwriting. The Lost Artist: Love Passion War (Part 1) is the first book I’ve written in my own voice and name, which was the hardest writing I’d ever done. It felt like the absence of a voice. But I got used to it, and it really helped me get over that hurdle.
I am now working on The Lost Artist. Part 2, which will complete Einat’s mission of finding my father as a present-day backdrop to telling his story of becoming a British commando and highest decorated WW II Palestinian soldier in the British Army, his love affair with a beautiful English professor while recuperating from critical injuries in Italy, and his tumultuous years in Palestine after the war up until the formation of the State of Israel. As with Part 1, the research is overwhelming.
Where can readers find your book for sale?
Amazon in paperback and Kindle
Thank you Eric, please keep in touch