Thursday, January 23, 2014

Guest Post: Author Jan Degrass

The Prison Dance is available on order from any bookstore through Ingrams and can be ordered in paperback or as an ebook from  In addition, the book is listed in Ingram's data base as returnable until August 2014, an offer any bookseller can take advantage of in tat time period. For further information go to the website

How did you become an author?
I became an author because I had promised Palestinian women political prisoners, many years ago, that I would tell their story. I also had to write about my experiences as a way to attempt to understand what I had personally been through. Not least, I had to write because creative expression has always been as necessary to me as breath.

What was your first published piece?
My memoir The Prison Dance is my first published piece.

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Where was it published?-How long ago?
It was published with Xlibris a year ago.  

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?
Before writing, I was a contemporary ballet dancer, touring and performing internationally. When I began to write I was still teaching dance and choreographing. The creative process was ingrained in me and this was extremely useful when I set out to write.

What inspires you?
Tales of hardships endured and the triumph of the human spirit inspire me. I read a great deal and am constantly in awe and grateful to authors who can translate their life experiences with deftly chosen words. Although I read a lot of fiction, I especially love memoirs of adventure travel and exploration, prison survival experiences, altruistic aid and activism, and lifetime goals achieved through self-sacrifice and innovative or even synchronistic means.

Please share one of your successful author platform building technique
I am nothing if not tenacious. It took me a very long time to write the book as I came up against a great many obstacles but I believed in what I was trying to say and kept at it. Now that the book is published and I have received enthusiastic and positive feedback I know that all the gruelling work was worth it to make the connections I have thus far.

Parting words
I hope as many people as possible will read The Prison Dance because I feel Palestinian freedom is central to the maintenance of worldwide peace in our time and that this memoir is more accessible than many books written regarding the Palestinian question. That is to say, the book includes stories of my own exploits and tales of an era (the end of the sixties) which, in retrospect, seem rather humorous. Because of this, many readers have told me that despite the profound nature of the book they found  The Prison Dance entertaining and intriguing as well as informative.

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