An Interview with Don Massenzio

Giselle readingBelieve me, this on-line interview was an interesting experience. It was done by an accomplished writer, Mr. Don Massenzio. He ‘invented’ a couple of very imaginative detectives for his first book, “Frankly Speaking” and, you guessed it, his book found readers who liked it so much that those two detectives are now appearing in a series. I have read “Frankly Speaking” and was amazed by the twists and turns of the story but especially impressed by Don’s knowledge of the intricacies of law and order, computers and people in high places. It felt as if he always consulted one of his detectives…and I forgot that HE was the writer!

Don sent me 20 questions to answer. You can find the interview by clicking on this link

See you in Winnipeg:

Forget Me Not 3D image (2)Giselle readingI will be visiting Winnipeg March 10th to including 14th to do promotions for my book “We Don”t Talk About That” as well as introducing my new book, “Forget Me Not – A Bouquet of Stories, Thoughts and Memories”, telling many personal stories including several of my life in Winnipeg. You remember “Giselle’s Professional Skin Care Ltd”, right? Well, that ‘Giselle’ was me! Once upon a time…

Please note the times you will be able to hear or see me:

Thursday, March 10th between 1.30 and 3.00 PM on Radio CJOB 680. The lovely Dahlia Kurtz will interview me.

Friday, March 11th from 7.00 to 9.00 PM Chapters Polo Park for book signing, visiting or answering questions. 

I look forward to seeing all of my old friends again and meeting new ones! And please, hold off on any blizzards…


Printing on a “Book Machine”

Forget Me Not

Phone thumbnailOn December 28th, 2015 I was interviewed once again by Greg Mackling of CJOB Radio, Winnipeg. The topic of our conversation was my latest writing project “Forget Me Not – A Bouquet of Stories, Thoughts and Memories” which was printed on an Espresso Book Machine at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library in order to give me some “proofing” copies. This video captures that conversation. The book is expected to become available in early 2016.

CJOB Interview

DSC06738A radio program that will interest everybody: Greg Mackling of CJOB Radio in Winnipeg asked me if I care to talk about the different types of publishing. I had told him about my experience with the “Espresso Book Machine” popping out a book every 15 minutes once it is “uploaded”. My newest book, “Forget Me Not – A Bouquet of Stories, Thoughts and Memories” was printed on the machine, just to get some copies before it is published in January. I wanted copies to use as Christmas gifts! It’s rather expensive for a limited number of copies but a perfect way for people who just write for fun, write their life story for their family and want something of lasting value and “purrrrrfect gifts” for their loved ones. So listen to the program at 10.30 AM Pacific time (12:30 p.m. CT) on Monday, Dec. 28th on CJOB – and click on “Listen Live”

Interview for VIU Elder College Lecture

EscapeI was interviewed by Gregor Craigie from the On The Island program on CBC Radio One this morning. The interview is reproduced in this YouTube video:

The lecture takes place at 10:00 a.m. on Nov 7th at the Nanaimo campus of VIU.and is entitled “My Escape from Germany after WWII”.For details see:

Omar Sharif RIP

We were sitting in a small Pizza Restaurant on Stafford Street in Winnipeg just around the corner from my skin care business. It must have been either 1981 or 1982. Miss L. from CBC Radio had asked me for lunch. Ms. L. had interviewed me several times and we liked each other. Actually I admired her, – she was smart and she was a good interviewer. At one point she said ‘Giselle, I know I am not pretty but I am good at what I do. If I had a choice to be either beautiful or intelligent – next time I would choose ‘beautiful’. Right now I deal with being intelligent.’ Thinking about it I thought that it suited her but it would have been a difficult question for me. I thought ‘I am glad to have both….’ without saying it. Her next comment totally floored me:

“Giselle, tell me the truth. How, when and where did you meet Omar Sharif? Is it true you two met in Las Vegas? ”

I was flabbergasted. Omar Sharif? I did not know Omar Sharif. I told her so. She did not give up. “Come on Giselle, this affair of yours is a great news story, come on my program and let me interview you about it. And don’t deny it, – it’s all over Winnipeg. I know it from a reliable source.”

“But L., it is not true! I only know him as an actor from the movie “Dr. Zhivago” and also from the bridge section in the Free Press. Why would a famous man like him be interested in me? Besides, he is a very heavy smoker and a well-known gambler at the Monte Carlo Casino often making a fortune and at other times losing it again. Everything I know about him would not in the least fit my lifestyle.” I was trying to make light of it by telling her how I had cried when he collapsed and died of a heart attack on the sidewalk running after Lara at the ending of the movie “Dr. Zhivago” with my eight month old son on my lap.

I could not convince her. She said she thought I had more trust in her and left disappointed in me. I felt upset and said “L., I am telling you the truth. I would like to know who your ‘reliable’ source is.” Naturally she would not reveal this information. “Why don’t you phone him and then give me a call. Let me know if he is okay with you telling the story.”

A few days later I walked, as I regularly did, through my store greeting my customers in every section; first the manicure tables, then the facial and massage cabins and last the pedicure room. This was an open area with five special chairs side by side. As always, all the chairs were occupied. One of the ladies tried to keep me close by asking all kind of questions relating to my business, my frequent travels for lectures and conventions. I did not really know her but did knew of her; she was a freelance journalist and really into society gossip. I wasn’t quite sure where she was going but finally she asked me the question switching on a light in my head: “You know what, Giselle? I would love to go to Monte Carlo with you. Let’s make it a fun trip. Maybe we can meet Omar Sharif and you can introduce me to him. What do you say? I am serious!”

This was much the same as with Ms. L. from CBC. The woman laughed and just did not believe me. “Sure”, she said, “I would not admit it either!” The other three customers sat there looking at me with big eyes, none of them getting involved in the conversation. The four employees kept their eyes on the customer’s toes. When I finally walked away I was thinking about the implications, more people spreading this ridiculous rumour. I was shaken by this second time a journalist brought this up. Me, – having an affair with Omar Sharif? How ridiculous. I decided it was time to check with my lawyer. He grinned and then asked me ‘Giselle, is this true? Did you meet him in Las Vegas at the last convention you attended? Why not admit it, why should he not be a good friend to you?’ I was insistent in denying all of it and finally he advised me:

“You know what? Let them talk. The next time you are asked, smile and say ‘no comment’ and let it be. I must say I get a kick out of it and, if nothing else, it’s good for business!”

He was right. We had more business, new people booked for treatments hoping to catch a glimpse of me. For a short time I was a bit of a celebrity. My second daughter was going to get married and when she invited me, asked “but please, don’t bring Omar Sharif.” I looked at her and said, “You too? You don’t believe it, right? It’s so ridiculous…” Without looking up from the manicure she was doing, her answer was “Oh yes, I believe it.”

After a few weeks everything died down and nobody ever mentioned it again. I tried for weeks on end with little comments, statements or questions to find the ‘reliable’ source within my employees. To my surprise I succeeded several years later. It was my expression “Oh my…” when reminded of a phone call that had been on hold for ten minutes that started it all. Weird, eh? Translate that into “Omar..” and since there was only one Omar known worldwide the rumour was born and quickly escalated. Moral of the story: Be careful how clearly you pronounce your words, Giselle!

Omar SharifThis whole episode came back to me after I read the news of Omar Sharif’s passing of a heart attack in Cairo on 10th of July, a few days ago. RIP my good old friend!

Two Interviews #BookPromotion #SkinCare

I want to thank Tracy Koga and Shaw TV in Winnipeg for sharing two interviews made during my recent book promotion in Winnipeg. They appear on my YouTube page but you can also see them here:

Interview 1First interview about “We Don’t Talk About That”


and here:

Interview 2


Second interview about Giselle’s Skin Care

Interview with Fiona McVie #BookInterview

Fiona McvieI was recently interviewed (on-line) by Fiona Mcvie who posts her interviews with authors on her web site. She lives in Scotland and likes to learn more about the authors of books she has read. She poses some interesting questions. Thank you, Fiona, for this great opportunity to describe how my book “We Don’t Talk About That” came to be written.

You can find the full interview here.

This Happens When You Talk About It! #Winnipeg #BestSeller

I was on a book promotion in the prairie city of Winnipeg which owns the reputation of being one of the coldest cities in Canada. Can you believe it was 15°C above on March 13th when I arrived, 18°C two days later and reasonably warm during the whole week I was in “Friendly Manitoba”. No snow in sight but lots of sand used to sprinkle the slippery streets earlier and now the wind blew it around. Everything was muddy and grey and holy. Sorry, I mean to say “pot-hole-y”! The day after I left it snowed again. The snow makes everything look so clean. It makes a beautiful cover-up – at least for a while.

One thing the Winnipeggers still do is read a lot of books: real books, not e-books. Many told me “I like to feel a book, look at a book, leaf through it, put it down and pick it up again. I like to have it on my book shelf or on my night table.” I hardly ever saw one person walking out of one of the three enormous book stores where I was autographing my book with fewer than two, three or more books. The stores where open ‘til 10.00 PM and people walked in as late as two minutes to ten and shopped. Does the climate have something to do with this? Do the prairie people still know how to relax at home with a glass of wine and a good book? You tell me!

I was interviewed on CJOB Radio and had a lively conversation with the charming host, Greg Mackling. An hour long TV interview was taped by the Shaw crew of “go! Winnipeg” and it will soon be available on YouTube. Book readings, autographing and lots of discussions about my memoir “We Don’t Talk About That”, the story of ordinary German families before, during and after WWII filled my time. The members of a Rotary Club where I was the luncheon speaker were very attentive and another Rotary Club wanted me at their meeting as well, but my time was already totally booked.

Best sellerWhen I came home I had lost my voice. But I had lots of fun. In one of the biggest and architecturally most beautiful and largest book stores, McNally Robinson’s my book became a “Bestseller” and I hope it will remain so and be displayed on the bestseller table for a while longer. In both the very large Chapter Book stores, people were already waiting for me despite the fact that I always come half an hour earlier than expected. And they stuck around, wanting to catch every word of every discussion I had with one of them. Amazing! For seventy years I “Didn’t talk about it” and now I can hardly “shut up” with people around me.

Everybody wanted to know more. Did I open a can of worms? Is it based on real interest or is it rather the sensation “Thank God it didn’t happen to me”? After reading my book they write to me. “It reads like a Spielberg movie” said one. Another said “I look at my eleven year old granddaughter and just shiver to think…what, if, when, how can I protect her?” Still another sent me an e-mail “Are you alright? I just need to know…”

And dozens of readers of “We Don’t Talk About That” are telling me their own or their parents’ or grandparents’ stories of their life during WWII – how little they were told and now they can relate and want to hear more. “I wasn’t interested when I was younger and THEY wanted to talk about it, and now they are gone and I have nobody to ask anymore. Your book is a huge eye opener. While reading it I was with you every step of the way.” Still another says “When they talk about the probability of WWIII on the News I switch the TV off. I don’t want to hear or think about it.”

The last comment came from one of those Europeans who had experienced ‘close encounters’. To stick one’s head in the sand like an ostrich will not help to avoid or protect any one. It’s like the few of the leading Germans who knew how futile World War II was likely to be, knew what was happening all around them and still did not believe it. To save their life they did not talk about it. One of their mottos was something like “I know it’s better not to know what I think I know or might not even know.” I found this phrase in one of Lyn Alexander’s books “The Schellendorf Series,” – four books spanning the time from before WWI to the Nueremberg Trials after WWII. For us today it is not healthy to be ignorant or pretend not to know.

A WWIII with sophisticated weaponry will not be happening in just certain areas of the globe, – all continents will be affected. Don’t say “what can we do about it?” – think! You have voting power; but I’m with you. I also think that we, the ordinary people, will be caught in the middle as always, will not be able to stop the politicians if they put their minds to it. After all, we don’t go around shooting the people whom we don’t like or with whom we do not agree. Like the Texan in the bar pointing to three others and saying “I don’t like that guy.” When asked “which one” he shot two and said “See the one sitting there? That’s the one I don’t like”. Sorry. Just a joke I heard. Life isn’t like that.