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Ina Hillebrandt

Ina Hillebrandt
Stories From The Heart
Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

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About the Author

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Ina and her late brother Conrad spent half their "kidhood" living in Los Angeles, after their parents' divorce. Bi-coastal living wasn't half bad, they decided; Burma Shave signs on Route 66 alone were a treat. At age 21, Ina graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (an anthropology major), and then ran away from both sets of parents to attend graduate school in New Orleans, at Tulane. She married in the French Quarter, and soon moved to Manhattan with husband Barry, a lawyer, and Rapscallion P. Cat. At J. Walter Thompson in New York City, Ina became a qualitative researcher.

Later Ina became an independent strategic planning consultant to companies including CBS, Charles Schwab, VISA, SEARS, IBM and non-profits such as The Rockefeller Foundation. She had lots of fun working with Fisher-Price and Dunkin' Donuts, and on projects like Oreos Double Stuff. (The question of whether to make a new version with an extra cookie vs. more filling turned out to be a no-brainer. When kids pantomimed eating an Oreo, they threw the cookies under the table for the dog, after licking off all the icing. Sound familiar?)

In the mid-eighties, Ina had several epiphanies. Divorced for several years, she moved with daughter Nicole, two cats and Handsome, The World's Best Dog, back to California. In Carmel, she turned her attention full time to writing. But writing can be lonely, and she missed working with groups of people. Thus began her UN-Workshops - a series of interactive seminars based on Ina's work and life experience. Comic Release and Idea Magic are two of her most popular offerings; they help 2-legged creatures de-stress, and add humor, creativity and harmony to their professional and personal lives.

Since returning to the West Coast, Ina has written, edited and contributed to a number of books, journals and newsletters, and has performed a variety of roles in creating audio and video programs. Some examples of books she wrote or contributed to include: Diving Boards: Jump-Starts for Stories - OR - If You See a Man Alone on the Beach, It Means His Wife is Upstairs Throwing up in the Room; The Bless Your Heart Cookbook; The Hardest Challenge - Surviving the Death of a Spouse. Other books are in various states of development, as are projects for television and film.

Ina was associate producer on the "Jaco Pastorius" NPR special hosted by Branford Marsalis, script doctor for a "Kansas City Jazz" live TV special co-hosted by Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover, and photo archivist for a live and videotaped series on Ethnic Arts, featuring the Chuck Davis Dance Group and other artists, produced by the Foundation for Urban Cultural Development, underwritten by the New York Department of Education. She has been interviewed for print media by The New York Times and other journals, and has appeared live and on tape on radio and television.

Included in Women of the Year in Who's Who, Ina speaks a bit of French, loves to dance, hike, ride horses, sail, laugh, cook and travel. She contributes to many animal rights groups and has served on steering committees and boards of such organizations such as the Jane Goodall Institute - Los Angeles. She's proud of daughter Nicole, who is a talented actress, avid traveler, newly practicing gourmet cook, and a good person. Ina currently lives in Brentwood with her two cats - Tamba and Sascha - and their friends who drop in for dinner every night. She really misses Silverberry, Rapper, Sammy and Handsome, as you can see in Pawprints.

About the Book
From great grape fiascos to wars...wit and wisdom from India, Hungary, South Africa, Poland and the United States...by the Pawprints Writing Club.

Poignant, funny, tender, frightening, insightful memories narrated in the distinctive voices of Angelenos originally from a range of continents, countries and times.

These short stories, mainly memoirs, plus some purely fantastic romps, will alternately tug at your heart and break you up. Superb reading.

And inspirational, too. Those contemplating writing their own memoirs will find helpful examples of different styles, organisation/structure, and content.

Jane Madeline's tales of times in an earlier United States are utterly charming. My personal favourite is her "Great Grape Fiasco," on page 88. Andre van Zijl is from another world...South Africa. The opening of his autobiographical book, which we are privileged to have in our book, is haunting and lyrical, beginning with the words, "Africa grips me by the throat. Shakes me like a dog with a rat, refusing to let me go."

Eliza Crawford, too, is from another world. You'll find tales of the British India that framed her early years, with stories of snake fairs, thieves, and Gorbachev, to name some topics, fun as well as intriguing.

And David Brooks takes us to Demblin-Jrena, Poland, in 1939. The son of a prominent Jewish businessman, he and his family didn't flee when the war began, as his father didn't believe bad things would happen to them. You can hear the droning of planes and explosions as he describes what happened when Germany invaded their town, home to much of Poland's military, and ache as you think of what will be coming next.

Sophie Chudacoff moves us from the Orient Express to musings on being age 94 here in the U.S. And Howard Westley, a man of many talents, writes with his own brand of wit about flying glider planes during WWII, "Bees and other Pets," and being a musician. He also pens a very moving piece about losing his father.

And Earl Boretz, who wrote many pieces in the first volume of Stories from the Heart, has several more episodes in the lives of the wacky relatives of his cat, Mo, short for Mozart.

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