Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Dara Levan makes things better...plus a book giveaway

We're pleased to welcome Dara Levan to CLC today to celebrate the publication of her debut novel, It Could Be Worse. This is next in Melissa's five-book pile and she's so excited to read it. Thanks to Emi Battaglia Public Relations, we have THREE copies to give away! (We're also amused that our previous giveaway was for a book with "better" in the title. What are the odds?!?)

Dara Levan writes about love, loss, resilience, and how radiance emerges from our breaking points. She  is the founder and host of Every Soul Has a Story, a podcast in which she interviews inspiring people from around the globe about their life journeys. Her calling to impact others through words began at the age of twelve in her hometown of North Miami Beach, Florida, when she interviewed the residents of the nursing home where her grandmother lived and wrote their stories. 

As an undergrad at Indiana University, Dara earned a B.A. in English and pursued a career in journalism but decided to pivot and returned to South Florida to earn her M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She established a practice as a pediatric speech-language pathologist and has edited several nonfiction books. 

Actively involved in her community, she is currently a board member of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation and has served on the boards of the Goodman Jewish Family Services (JFS) of Broward County and Junior Achievement of South Florida. Her greatest sources of inspiration come from her husband, two children, and finding meaning in everyday moments. Learn more at daralevan.com. 

Visit Dara online:

Mired in self-doubt and blind loyalty, Allegra Gil suspects her charmed life may be a gilded cage. She has a devoted husband, Benito, two loving children, a thriving therapy practice, and lifelong friends. But when a surprising discovery in a piano bench reveals a shocking family secret, Allegra questions everything she thought she knew about the two people who raised her. Was it true? Did her father, a respected pediatric neurosurgeon, harm instead of heal? And Allegra’s mother—how much did she know?

As the past threatens the present, Allegra plays the song of what was, what is, and what may never be in this “powerful and poignant story about letting go” (Jean Meltzer, international bestselling author of The Matzah Ball).

Composed with the cadence of a waltz—up, up, down—through flashbacks to childhood memories in Miami and a music camp in Michigan, It Could Be Worse is a heartwarming, at times heart-wrenching, multigenerational story of a woman supported and embraced by many while shaken to the core by a few. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

“The gorgeous prose and raw, unflinching narrative both heal and inspire. A stunning debut.” 
--Samantha M. Bailey, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of Woman on the Edge

“Visceral and moving.” 
--Andra Watkins, New York Times bestselling author

In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like for you? 
I've realized the path to publishing isn't linear and learning to let go after releasing your book baby into the world is nerve-wracking but necessary.

How is Allegra similar to or different from you? 

I was born in Miami and loved my time at Interlochen Arts Camp in northern Michigan. Much like Allegra, those summers shaped who I am today. I used to sing, but now I only belt ‘80s tunes in public to embarrass my kids. Some of my fondest memories were sleepovers at my grandparents' house and lighting Shabbat candles with them. And like Allegra, I’m married to an incredible man for more than twenty years. But I’m sassier than Allegra. Also, I never run unless something, or someone is chasing me!

If It Could Be Worse was made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles? 
This is a tough question to answer. I love creating fictional worlds through words and stories. One of the best parts of being both a reader and an author is imagination. My hope is readers see parts of themselves in all the characters in It Could Be Worse regardless of how they look, sound, and act.

I’ll try to give this a go! I'd cast Jessica Alba as Allegra because she’s relatable and able to portray a range of emotions. Emma Stone as Ruby, who is Allegra’s lifelong fiery, fierce bestie. Brian Cox from Succession would be perfect to play Dr. Curt, who is Allegra’s controlling father. Struggling with who to cast for Benito, Allegra’s husband. Nestor Carbonell would be perfect—he’s gorgeous and inviting, yet not the right age. I’m really stuck here—any suggestions are welcome!

What is the last movie you saw that you would recommend? 
I absolutely adored It would have to be The Greatest Night in Pop, the documentary about recording the song “We Are the World.” Quincy Jones is an extraordinary soul. What really resonated most was the connection, community, and how these artists came together for a higher purpose. I remember when the song was released—it still gives me chills whenever I hear it! After watching this documentary, and learning about the backstory, I felt inspired and wistful. Our world needs that now more than ever.

If your life was a TV series, which celebrity would you want to narrate it? 
Maria Shriver because her voice is calming while captivating. And she's a woman I've always admired for her integrity, resilience, and authenticity.

What is something you had a good laugh about recently? 
My life is like a sit-com, so it’s tough to pick just one instance! Here’s a funny moment:

I opened the mail and saw my name on an AARP card. I grabbed my glasses, certain there must be a mistake. Nope. The letters were clear. Utterly confused, I showed it to my husband. He looked at me sheepishly and said, “I added your name. The letter said you could get discounts.” (He knows I love a good deal!)

You’ve got to be kidding me! I replied, “No thank you! I’m not there yet.” I’ve loved this decade and psyched about my ‘50s-- every year is a gift. But why rush?

Thanks to Dara for chatting with us and to Emi Battaglia PR for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

Giveaway ends March 17th at midnight EST.

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Listen to this book on Speechify!


traveler said...

Having endured difficult and painful medical issues over the past 12 years very little would be hard to face and overcome.

LV said...

This sounds like a great read that I'm particularly looking forward to. Knowing that I've already encountered, on two different occasions, what was definitely the hardest / worst thing I will ever have to do / live through and what was definitely the worst pain possible, I love knowing that whatever I'm up against it can't be harder or more painful than what I've survived. That is a very freeing feeling.

Michael Law said...

That would be a meeting with my manager. It could have been worse

dstoutholcomb said...

My MIL entered hospice, three months to live. But, we still have time to say goodbye.

diannekc said...

I hit my car mirror on a mailbox and shattered it. Luckily I just had to have the mirror replaced not the whole mirror.

Annmarie Weeks said...

My mother recently was admitted to the hospital & contracted flu. She was so weak in the hospital, but fully regained her health and is now back in her assisted living apartment.

Mary Preston said...

I spilled coffee all over my keyboard. Caught have been worse.

bn100 said...

lost something

Lisa D said...

I bought some trousers online that were a bit too long and needed taking up an inch. It could have been worse though as the last pair I bought were about six inches too long and looked absolutely ridiculous when I tried them on. The perils of buying clothes online!

Nancy P said...

My car broke down, but at least it was in the parking lot where I was meeting friends for dinner.

Xia Lee said...

Flat tire on the highway