I am happy to share my recent interview with author Isaac ben Levi. He is a young talented author that is a sophomore in high school already working on his third book in a locomotive series. He shares his expertise about the local Ozark Mountain Railroad from the point of view of a locomotive. The history of the railroad is told in the first book, Our First Locomotive, and continued into the second book. There is even a railroad terminology dictionary in the second book, Old Reliable Locomotives. It looks like a great start to the series and for any young train enthusiast to learn more about trains in the Ozark Mountains.
I had a chance to hear all about Isaac ben Levi’s hobbies, reasons why he writes, some train lore, and how he got his inspiration to write his books.
- What is your favorite memory from reading when you were younger?
Isaac ben Levi: I have many good memories of reading and so many from such an early age that I don’t have one favorite—they were all so good.
- Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?
Isaac ben Levi: Early in my life, Rev. W Awdry’s work, though the copies I had were mostly abridged and editing. It was his work that first gave me the love of trains I have now and you can say he has a portion of the credit for me writing the “Great Railroad Series”.
- Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Isaac ben Levi: Generally speaking, because I am taking dual credits and finishing high school and going through college right now, I write in my spare time, early in the afternoon. I mull thoughts over in my head but mostly I write as I go—freelance except for the fact I have a large amount of reference material so I am consistent in the books. I am always reading and thinking.
- What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?
Isaac ben Levi: I will probably be writing older kid versions of a series being published by another author from the same publisher titled: Homestead Friends: Welcome Home, Sweet Harley –Book 1. Each book is about an animal on the homestead. It is written for little children and I will write from the point-of-view geared toward elementary aged students. I will probably write historical non-fiction material as well at some point and have many topics of interest.
- What is writing to you in one sentence?
Isaac ben Levi: Writing represents an outlet to share one’s thoughts with anyone who cares to view them.
- Do you plan to pursue your love of trains as a career? Maybe become an engineer?
Isaac ben Levi: My dream would be to own a Railroad Museum in the Ozark Mountain and introduce people of all ages to the wonderful history of railroads.
- Besides school, what do you like to do when you are not writing?
Isaac ben Levi: I enjoy physics and science and am working on several experiments and inventions. I also am setting up a narrow gauge railroad on our homestead to move the wood from the pile in front of the home to the back of our home for the wood burner. I’m sixteen and my parents are understanding. I also love my animals including birds, cats and ten dogs—seven puppies were just born a few months ago. I helped to deliver the two that were breech births.
- If you had the chance to build your own railroad line, how would you design it?
Isaac ben Levi: It would probably be a similar short-line to the Ozark Mountain Railroad if it were going to be a common carrier in the transportation business. I am currently planning to build a small estate railway on my homestead and separate from the wood hauling one. I am going to experiment on that railroad with an entirely new type of locomotive of my own design using a Stirling Engine/Hot Air Engine.
- While researching your books, what is the most memorable interview with one of the local railroad experts?
Isaac ben Levi: In speaking with a local history museum director, she shared the original files of author James R. Fair. I learned a lot about railroads and one that operated south of my home from his excellent writing and research material. It proved to be the basis for book two of my series.
- What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Isaac ben Levi: My advice would be to write about what you love and then it will never seem like work. Personally, I have never enjoyed writing papers or projects for school, and then one day a story came into my head with all of the details in order. I just had to write it down. Then another, and another, and so on. It was never my plan or intention to be an author, but now I am passionate about it. My advice would be do what you love.
Isaac ben Levi’s Great Railroad Series has two books currently published: Our First Locomotive and Old Reliable Locomotives. The third is due out in August of this year. Plus, he has a new series releasing soon entitled The Li’l Great Railroad Series with its first title called “Happy Engines Back at Work”. The new series will also release in August. Isaac ben Levi’s books are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For more information on Isaac ben Levi and his books, visit his website at: https://greatrailroadseries.com.