Interview with author Zvezdana Rashkovich

Today on What On What’s Good with Jovin Tardif, I am here with Zvezdana Rashkovich.  Zvezdana is an American prize-nominated author, writer, poet and meditative writing coach.    

Author Zvezdana Rashkovich discusses Dubai Wives
Author Zvezdana Rashkovich discusses Dubai Wives

1. I’m interested in knowing about your time in Portland, Oregon USA where you studied English Literature.

That was an interesting time because I was new to America and attending college. I was born to Serbian/Croatian parents. I grew up in the former Yugoslavia until the age of seven. Soon after my mom married her second husband. A student from Sudan, I found myself moving to Khartoum as a stepdaughter of a Sudanese.

Therefore, moving to Oregon was a huge geographical and cultural change. Luckily, I also worked with the USAID mission to Sudan for four years. During this time I was introduced to American culture. 

I gained an outline into America but moving there was a much more intricate life event. However, the transition allowed me to change and to evolve. Living in Oregon offered me more freedom, less worry by the socio-cultural expectations.  I was a newlywed wife, a foreign student in a strange country; and juggling languages, roles, and mindsets all at the same time. Integrating into American life felt equally familiar (due to the influx of American movies music and books as well as my American connections) and also wildly unlike anything I experienced before. Also, I missed my mom and younger siblings and was intensely homesick for both Sudan and Yugoslavia. 

2. Do you have any fun or interesting stories about your time at school?

Most of the fun experiences in college were due to meeting new and diverse people.  Holidays, for example, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Halloween housewarming parties, and eating a corn dog for the first time were all firsts. Enjoying the shelves upon shelves of products at the stores and the amazing abundance one finds in America versus Africa is the theme in many of the stories I have written.

Working part-time at the Portland Community College cafeteria is one of my highlighted life experiences. It introduced me firsthand to the students on campus and to the elderly staff who worked at the cafeteria. Initially, all these experiences helped me find my bearings as a student and as an immigrant.

3. You were nominated for the literary Pushcart Prize and a finalist in the Ernest Hemingway Prize for flash fiction. What can you tell us about those prizes and what it felt like to nominated?

These are great nominations and it made me feel “seen”. It’s always nice to get some sort of recognition however small. It means the most in terms that someone is actually reading my work. That the stories are reaching people. That’s what matters the most.

4. Just for fun. Let’s play a game I like to call. Qu’est-ce que c’est?

In as few words as possible what do these jobs mean to you?

*US certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) = Reprogramming your Life Story.

*Meditation Coach = Bringing us to the center in order to heal.

*Writing Therapy Facilitator = Empowering people to unleash their suppressed emotions and creativity.

*Author = Word climax.

*Writer = Scribe. Legacy.

*Poet = License to Speak.

*Freelance Writer = Diversity. Knowledge

*Editor = Helping others write their Own Life Stories.

*Columnist = Stories that transport and bring together.

*Legal/Medical Interpreter = being of service to people who have undergone major trauma Offering empathy and dignity via the use of languages.

5. Can you tell us a bit about your book Dubai Wives

It’s a multicultural suspense novel about eight women from different parts of the world and diverse beliefs whose lives intersect in Dubai. Their choices take them on unexpected journeys with sometimes tragic consequences. The novel invites readers into a world of decadence, suspense, beauty, love and heartache within this unique desert metropolis.

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Jovin Tardif
Jovin Tardif is a freelance writer, storyteller, interviewer, reviewer and conversation starter.