Meet the Author Monday: Hanna Granot

Hanna Granot

It’s Meet the Author Monday! Each week we meet a new author and get to know a little about them, their writing process, publishing experience, and tips for other writers. Today we’re talking to Hanna Granot, author of Just Five Minutes With You, My Son: A Son’s Suicide, a Mother’s Journey.

About Hanna Granot:

Hanna Granot was a senior director in Israeli hi-tech companies for over forty years. Her young son, Dror Granot, RIP, died by suicide in 2003 while serving in the Israeli army. It was an event that generated an earthquake in his mother’s life and increased her desire to solve the riddle of his death, writing about it and sharing it.

She wrote prose and some poetry as a child, and after his death, she started writing personal stories for over ten years to solve the mystery of his death.

Hanna describes how she coped with the tragedy and grew from it. Hanna Granot has been helping other bereaved families and volunteers in suicide prevention programs for the last twenty years.

“I am creating my bond again with my son Dror. He was a happy and optimistic young man, and his suicide shocked us. The riddle of his death grows stronger as time passes, and I have yet to solve it. Perhaps I never will.”

About Just Five Minutes With You, My Son:

The mother-writer tries to delve into her son’s soul, who died by suicide during his army service, following a romantic breakup. The book may help bereaved families cope with their grief and explain to parents how to recognize signs that may lead to such a tragedy. She believes that if she could have noticed the signs before her son’s suicide, she might have been able to prevent this horrible tragedy.

Hanna aspires to meet and revive her son’s soul on her journey. She takes the reader hand in hand on her surprising life journey, writing from the bottom of her heart, and entering directly into the reader’s heart.
The book shifts between reality and imagination, creating a fascinating and unique plot texture, drawing the reader to identify with her and hold on to her hope and consolation. The stories and poems in the book also fluctuate between a distinct and ever-present loss and a journey to higher spheres where her son’s soul resides. Together, they create a unique blend of encounters. It is not a memorial book.

Author Interview with Hanna Granot:

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1. Tell us about your first published book. What was the journey like?

In his famous novel Anna Karenina, Tolstoy wrote, “All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its way.”

When the knife tore our life, we were a happy family, and suddenly the world collapsed on us. A decision we made from the first moment – we choose life! We have two daughters and will try our best to give them regular life.

I turned my grief to writing and sharing my journey with other people. The subject is susceptible, and my family’s exposure is sensitive. It’s like touching the fire that burns but also warms. Dror died by suicide following unrequited love. Suicide is not a result of one reason. It is a complex process, and every case is different. In my book, I sharemy soul. In my journey into myself, I learned to accept Dror’s choice of death. I immersed myself in the depths of sorrow that engulfed him at the time of his suicide, and I do not blame him, nor am I angry with him. I discovered that my deep disappointment in myself for not supporting my son at the moment of truth, did not need to weaken me. Maybe I could not save him. And that required remarkable mental resilience to cope with the abyss of guilt and pain within me over a long time.

I published my first book in Hebrew in the summer of 2020. The Corona Virus was in full swing. I got plenty of good reviews from the Israeli readers. As I have family also in the USA, I decided to translate it. I think that the suicide problem is universal, and readers all over the world can understand and learn from my story.

2. What inspired you to start writing?

I wrote my book, “Just Five Minutes With You, My Son,” for over ten years, trying to understand the mystery of his death. My book shifts between reality and imagination, creating a unique plot texture and drawing the reader to identify with my journey for hope and consolation. There are fifteen stories and two poems describing several angles from his life and my experiences since his death, from his childhood until now. But it is not a memorial book.

Even after twenty years, I cannot stop imagining his feelings and thoughts, especially during the last week of his life when his heart broke. That led me to examine what happens in a person’s heart who has lost hope.

Suicide frightens us, and we cannot understand how an intelligent, handsome young person chooses to cut short his life. People want to know the motive for suicide, but I cannot state one reason as it is complex. Yes, it happened following a romantic breakup, but there were signs I did not recognize.

Society prefers not to cope with suicide stories and not to make them public so it does not affect people suffering from mental distress or depression. Many are sure that it would not happen in their family. Our friends told us, “If it happened in your family, then it can happen in any other family.”

I hope the book will help bereaved families cope with their grief and explain to parents how to recognize signs that may lead to such a tragedy. I believe that if I could have noticed the signs before this shocking event, I might have been able to prevent this horrible tragedy.

I wanted to shed light on the realities of suicide and its toll on those left behind. But Ialso tried to offer a message of resilience and strength, encouraging readers to embrace the healing power of hope, love, and faith in the face of even the darkest of tragedies.

In my memoir, I take the readers through my son’s life, sharing cherished memories and precious moments that now hold even more meaning after his passing. I reflect on her many challenges and obstacles as she navigated the complex emotions and practicalities of coping with a suicide, including the often-unspoken stigmas surrounding suicide.

3. Does your family support your career as a writer?

My family supported me the whole way, despite the high sensitivity of our exposure. I am retired, and there is no conflict between my volunteering tasks and writing. My grandchildren are grown up, so the family needs less help from me.

4. Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

My readers follow my journey as I openly share my experiences and emotionsfollowing the tragic loss of my son. They appreciate exploring with me the aftermath of suicide, offering an intimate and honest portrayal of grief, healing, and hope.

Numerous responses reach me like a shower of blessings, a warm and sympathetic hug. People react in various ways, and many compliment the courage of the disclosure. There are two types of readers – those who read consecutively and come back to the stories later and those who can read only one story daily.

I received many thank-you letters from readers in Israel. Even Israel’s president,

Mr. Yitzhak Herzog sent me a letter of praise: “Your ability to rise from the agony after a heart-rending suicide and write about your feelings and reactions is worthy of admiration and appreciation. I am sure your book “Just Five Minutes With You, My Son” will help many people living in the shadow of grief and suicide.”

Chairman of the Israel Writers’ Union, Zvi Nir: “I am thrilled with your ability to write from several personas, some from the outside and others from the inside. You have created a truly unique, unusual structure. I even shed tears. You write great!”

Lee Yenini, an Israeli reviewer: “This book kicks you in the stomach. In a beautiful piece of writing, Hanna goes on a journey and tries to get her son back. The reader’s feeling in those time capsules is walking along a long path, hand in hand, into a frozen life. Please don’t ask me to rate the piece with stars. The stars here are in the sky.”

Julia Hones wrote:” Reading Hanna’s book has been a very emotional experience. Immersing myself in his childhood was magical. The questions and reflections he expressed when he was a child cast a spell on me. From his interactions with one of his teachers and parents, I perceived his giftedness.

One aspect of the book that enchanted me was the way she travels with her imagination through time and to various places. She also dives into her son’s mind and even creates imaginary situations. For example, she wrote an imaginary conversation between Doron and Anne Frank.”

Dr. of Literature, Osnat Bar On: “Reading the book, I had an emotional experience that accompanied me for many days. Memoir literature provides an opportunity to “live through” the characters and human conditions that describe complex questions and also allow us to experience what we cannot absorb and explain. Out of the suffering that has no words, Hanna managed to give rise to a book that tries to win the struggle against the shortness of the language’s hand.” and many more.

5. Tell us about the process for coming up with the cover.

I first met the painter Inna Davidovich at a commemoration project I organized as part of my volunteer work for fallen soldiers. Artists meet bereaved families and prepare artwork Inspired by the fallen soldier’s life. I realized that Inna was sensitive and professional. I asked her to create a new painting for my book cover. I think that she made an impressive painting. It expresses a clock cut in half containing the book’s two parts. My life, and every trauma, crosses into life before and the life after it. What prevents life after the trauma from falling is the connection to life, both those that were in the past and those that continue in the present. The liquids oozing from the clouds look like tears. The trauma is visible, but still, due to the light pastel colors, these liquids also look like rains of blessing, which design of the optimistic message to choose life corresponds to them and may fertilize every soul!

The book’s name, “Just Five Minutes With You, My Son,” is the mother’s requestfrom her son’s spirit. But from the design of the name on the cover, it seems that this could also be Hanna’s request to everyone to give five minutes to read a story in herbook.

6. What is your favorite childhood book?

I loved reading all of Erich Kastner’s books, especially “The Double Ora,” “Dot and Anton,” “Emil and the Detectives,” and the “Flying Classroom.” I adored his fantasy book “The 35’th of May.” Kastner had a wonderful sense of humor and understood the child’s soul. He had an extraordinary vision, A funny and enjoyable way of expression. Cute and funny drawings accompanied the books.

7. Who is your favorite author, and why?

I love reading Wislawa Szymborska’s poems as her poetry can touch every heart. She is sharp as a knife; her language is clean and precise. Her poem about Hitler’s childhood and another poem about his palm are masterpieces. In her interviews, she combined wisdom and pearls from her life experience. She was amazed by life and enthusiastic about even the ordinary things of everyday life, such as writing a resume. Szymborska wrote protest poems with courage and incredible talent. She was modest and a little childish. Her smile is direct and captivating. Looking at life, she noticed everyone – people, animals, colors, plants. She was enthusiastic about them as an excited little girl the first time she tasted chocolate.

8. Favorite book/story you have read as an adult

Gabriel García Márquez’s books and stories are the best I’ve read. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” influenced me with its magical realism. I wish I could read it without translation, but I do not know Spanish.

Lately, I have traveled in Latin America, and on my way, I saw in my imagination the remarkable characters of his books.

Gabriel García Márquez wrote “Living to Tell the Tale,” the phrase he chose for his autobiography. I have written my book not to forget, although each word is painful and bleeding sore. I write because I must live to tell the tale of my son’s life.

If I could compose a melody that would go back to when Dror was a baby in my womb, I would hum it from dawn to night. I would cradle it just as I cradled Dror for the first year of his life. But the words I write about Dror push me outside the boundaries of time.

9. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I have loved reading since I was six and joined a book club for many years. I have volunteered for twenty years in an organization supporting bereaved families. I also volunteer at an organization that promotes suicide prevention. We organize lectures for teenage parents and explain processes to prevent suicide and break myths related to suicide.

I love to spend time with my five lovely grandchildren, aged 6 to 18. I travel around the world. I recently returned from a beautiful trip to South Korea. I have also recently traveled to Greece, Argentina, Chile, and England. I plan to visit Egypt and New Zeeland. I often visit exhibitions and art galleries in Israel and abroad. I go out to concerts or see a play. I am always happy to solve complex logic puzzles. I don’t have enough hours in the day to carry out all my plans

10. Are you on social media, and can your readers interact with you?

I am very active on social networks, especially Facebook and Instagram. On Twitter, I mainly follow the news and politics. Readers can contact me with questions and follow my trips.

To learn more about Hanna Granot, here’s where you can find her:

Instagram: @hannagranot

Meet the Author Book Promotion

Published by Kelly Schuknecht

Kelly Schuknecht is a marketer with a background in the publishing industry. She is passionate about all things related to books and loves helping authors navigate the world of social media for book promotion. She recently launched the course Marketing Your Book on TikTok.

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