Interview with Paula Fouce, author of 'Not in God's Name'

Paula Fouce is a critically acclaimed filmmaker and author. Her film credits include Not in God’s Name: In Search of Tolerance with the Dalai Lama, Song of the Dunes: Search for the Original Gypsies (PBS stations), Naked in Ashes, Origins of Yoga, and No Asylum. Her new book, NOT IN GOD’S NAME: MAKING SENSE OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT, delves deeper into the subject of religious intolerance and offers solutions that are aimed at uniting all faiths. She was partner and director of KRCA TV Channel 62 in Los Angeles and served as co-chair of the Southern Asian Art Council at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Fouce is the owner and president of Paradise Filmworks International, a production company based in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. She is currently working on a book that chronicles her experiences living and traveling with the yogis in the Himalayas.

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Welcome, Paula! Can you tell us what your book is about?

I lived in South Asia for many years and worked in Pakistan, Afghaniastan, Kashmir, China and Tbet. I studied many religions there, and life was peaceful. Suddenly in 1984 I was trapped in a religious riot, when some Hindus were killing Sikhs. My life was threatened, and I was struck with how religion had been twisted, and used to create division and violence, the antithesis if its’ intention. This life altering experience caused me to go on a quest to understand killing in the name of God.  I produced and directed a film on religious tolerance, and met with leaders of many faiths in search of solutions, including Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. I traveled to caves in the Himalayas, and
visited madrassas, speaking with a great diversity of people who all worship God in many ways, and in many different images. Yet they all shared many simaliarities in their beliefs, and described how to overcome divisions between faiths.  My book is focused on how to bridge our differences, it goes into detail, even describing the compassion training that is now being taught in many top universities.

Who or what influenced you to write your book?

I got trapped in a religious riot and nearly killed. It caused me to go on a quest to find answers to why people misuse religion and kill in the name of God.

If we were to meet for lunch to talk books, where would we go?

On a lovely cliff with an ocean view. The sight of water really helps creative ideas flow freely.

What do you like to do for fun?

Go hear live music and dance, especially the blues and reggae.

What kind of advice would you give other non-fiction authors?

To have a large envelope or box, and always gather articles, ideas, or anything that you may one day want to write about. Jot them down on apiece of paper and toss them in. When you are finally ready to write, you will have a great collection of material.