Interview with Helga Stipa Madland, author of ‘You’re Not From Around Here, Are You?’
Helga Stipa Madland was born in Upper Silesia and emigrated to the United States with her family in 1954. She has three children and six grandchildren. She is Professor Emerita at the University of Oklahoma and is the author of academic and other books. Her husband, Richard Beck, teaches Ancient Greek at OU in Norman, OK, where they live with a dachshund and four cats.
Her latest book is the memoir, You’re Not From Around Here, Are You?: Reminiscences.
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About the Book:
Title: You’re Not From Around Here, Are You? Reminiscences
Author: Helga Stipa Madland
Publisher: Aventine Press
I start with when I was born, then there was a World War, and then I went to Norman.—Klodnitz, in Upper Silesia, now a part of Poland, was my birth place; when everything collapsed in 1945 at the end of WWII, my family and I became refugees. We trekked across Germany, to the west, and eventually settled in a small village and then another one. Next was Canada, then the United States, Missouri; eventually we settled in Idaho, where my Father, who was a forester, found a job. I did not stop there! I was married and continued my merry journey, California, back to three different cities in Idaho, and later Seattle, where I earned a PhD. My children were grown by then, I was alone and ready to find a position. That’s when I ended up at the University of Oklahoma in 1981, and have been here ever since.
For More Information
- You’re Not From Around Here, Are You? Reminiscences is available at Amazon.
- Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
- Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Helga! Can you tell us where you are from?
I was born in Upper Silesia, now a part of Poland, have lived in Germany, Canada, and several states in the US. Have been in Norman, OK since 1981.
Q: How did you come up with your title?
My title “You’re Not From Around Here, Are You? Reminiscences” is a question I was asked after I had returned to Norman from a trip to Germany. I was asked the same question in Germany.
Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?
My cover was designed by Ryan Ratliff, graphic artist at Aventine Press. I provided the photo of me taken by my husband at Tulum, Mexico. It definitely looks like it is not from around here. My husband, Richard, also took the photo of our cat, Gretel, who adorns the back of the book.
Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?
My book is about a German girl who became a refugee and immigrant, got married, had children, was divorced, and ended up as a Professor of German Literature, with a husband, grandchildren, a dachshund and five cats. I try to keep my sense of humor about everything.
Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?
I did not consciously consider messages, but now when I think about, let me just say: “Learn another language.” I started taking English in fifth grade in school in Germany, and it certainly came in handy when we moved to Canada and the United States.
Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?
Maybe my description of American soldiers moving into the large yard of the forestry house where we stayed for a while in northern Germany! Why? Because it has stayed extremely lively in my mind since 1945!
Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?
Family and friends frequently asked when I would write my memoirs. Finally, I did.
Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?
I love dirty martinis, lots of them, and marzipan.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
To Machu Pichu in Peru, but there are so many other places too!
Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?
Definitely a night person! I get up around 10:30 and stay up until midnight or one o’clock.
Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?
My son, Pat Madland, is a very good writer; maybe when he retires, he will take it up seriously.
Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?
A dreamer and a doer! I wanted to see what was behind the mountains, so I climbed a lot of trees.
Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?
I am retired and would like to live on a cruise ship, please, dear genie!
Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?
It’s time to have some marzipan, and keep writing until you are done!