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Zippora Karz, author of The Sugarless Plum:A Ballerina's Triumph Over Diabetes, danced with the New York City Ballet from 1983 through 1999. She now serves as a teacher and répetitéur for the George Balanchine Trust, rehearsing and staging Balanchine's choreography for a host of international dance companies. She is also a diabetes spokesperson and educator who regularly addresses major diabetes conferences and organizations worldwide. She lives in Los Angeles, California. 

For more information, view Zippora Karz's Web site.



An Interview with Zippora Karz:

1. What was your biggest childhood ambition?
I wanted to end suffering, both for people and for the animals.

2. What is your fondest memory?
I have two: riding my pony, Gent, and performing in the ballet school’s year end recital.

3. What did you do for fun as a child?
I loved playing with my animals. When one of our cats would have a litter of kittens I would put them all on my bed and throw pieces of cheese at them.

4. What was your worst job?
My father is a cardiologist and when I was quite young he let me answer the phone and file lab reports. I’d watch the clock for hours waiting for the day to be done I was so bored. But I made more than my allowance so it was worth it.

5. If you had another occupation than the one you are in now, what would it be?
Health Psychologist. Maybe I’m making it up but I would be someone who incorporates physical health with emotional wellness.

6. What inspired you to write?
When I was diagnosed with diabetes I searched for stories of others who had been similarly diagnosed hoping for some guidance and inspiration. I could not find one.
Then when I began speaking at diabetes conferences, which is now over 10 years, people would tell me I should write a book. A number of friends, one a writer and another former literary agent (and someone I teach ballet to regularly) helped push me to get going with it. I wrote a book I think would have helped me when I was struggling.

7. What was your biggest challenge when writing this book?
If you ask me a question, I can talk for hours. When I am alone and go to write something I don’t know where to begin or how to organize it all. My other challenge was that I did not want to disrepute anyone. I wanted to be honest, and of course you want your story to be interesting, so I struggled with some of the unfortunate situations; how to best tell them.

8. What do you dislike about writing?
I like to talk. It’s not that I don’t like writing, but it’s not as cathartic for me as talking about what I think and feel.

9. What book are you reading now?
I’m in the middle of three. Two of the authors coincidentally have the same last name:

Kevin Richardson Part of the Pride, My life among the big cats of Africa
Jill Richardson Recipe for America
Greg Mortensen Three Cups of Tea

10. Where is your favorite place to write?
At home.

11. If your best friend was a celebrity, living or dead, who would it be?
Jane Goodall.

Copyright © 2009 Zippora Karz, author of The Sugarless Plum