Monday, 15 July 2013
Welcome everyone! Please take a seat on the veranda, relax and help yourself to a glass of pink bubbles and a slice of celebration cake.
I joined twitter several years ago with a view to making friends with fellow writers. As I floundered around with lists, trending and re-tweets, Mariam Kobras found me and welcomed me with open arms. She has been an online friend ever since as we've shared advice, offered support, drunk coffee at the #writerscoffeebar or just chatted like friends do! It's been a delight to watch Mariam's writing flourish and her novels become published by Buddhapuss Ink - and no-one deserves her success more than she does. Please settle back and enjoy this blog hop interview about her latest novel, Song of the Storm.
Can you condense your novel into a few sentences for us?
Hmm... I’ll try. This is the conclusion of the Stone Trilogy, and it’s called Song of the Storm.
My protagonists, Jon and Naomi, have finally settled down in their house on the Brooklyn Promenade, and are expecting a baby. Life seems peaceful until they realize that their friend Sal—Jon’s manager—is having an affair with a girl, Maya, who he’s trying to turn into a copy of Naomi.
To test her assumption, she invites Sal and Maya to spend a few weeks at Jon’s house in Malibu.
I’m not going to tell you much more, except to say that not even the Stones, or their families and friends, are safe when terror strikes the heart of New York City.
How did you come up with the title?
Jon and Naomi are both creative people: Jon is a songwriter, Naomi a lyricist and novelist. They put into words and music what they encounter in life; be it love, beauty, yearning, pain, or disaster. For them, it will always be a song. This time, it’s the Song of the Storm.
The song of the ultimate storm in New York City.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Surprisingly, the part that made me write the book in the first place.
You may have guessed by now that part of this novel deals with what happened on September 11th, 2001.
I wasn’t there myself that day, but some people very close to my heart were. Even now, twelve years later, I can see what that day did to them. It was a very sobering experience to see one of them falter while trying to describe what happened to and around her that day. In part, this book is for them. They aren’t part of the book, but their stories are.
They told me their stories, and I worked them into the book, and that was harder than I thought. It was almost as if I was there myself, walking through those dead streets with them, feeling their terror. I told the stories of my friends in the voices of Jon, Jane, and Sal.
The book is also for those of us who weren’t there that day. I’ve told that story through the eyes of Naomi and her friends, who watch it unfold across the river and on TV, which was my perspective: far away.
It was hard, writing that part of the novel.
What's a typical day like for you? When and where do you write?
This question is about coffee, isn’t it?
I get up pretty late, normally around ten in the morning, make coffee, check my mail, twitter and Facebook (and yes, Pinterest!), then I read the last paragraphs I wrote the day before.
I spend most of the morning, until my family comes home for lunch, at my desk, writing, researching, editing—whatever needs to be done.
My guys come home around 2 pm and we eat. Then I move my laptop to the living room, where my husband will be sitting at the dining table, doing what teachers do after school: marking tests, writing report cards, all the usual stuff.
I write all day long. A sentence here, a sentence there… with my family around me.
In the evening, we watch TV and chat. My favorite shows are Criminal Minds, Law & Order, and, of course, The Closer. I’m also a Trekkie and Doctor Who fan! Oh, and Battlestar Galactica, and Serenity, and Stargate!
Are some experiences in your novel, based on events in your own life?
In Song of the Storm, not so much. Oh wait, yes!
That part where Jon and Sal drive up to Madison Square Garden and nearly run over Maya? THAT happened to me! It was in 2008, and my friend and I had tickets for a Neil Diamond concert. We went early to catch the band before the soundcheck and maybe score an autograph or two. I went to stand in the only shady spot, the roof over the backstage entrance. A silver van came speeding up and nearly hit me. I was just taking a deep breath to shout at the driver when Neil D. Got out of the van. We stood there, he and I, maybe two yards apart, and he looked at me as if he wanted to say, “Well? What do you want?” And all I could do was raise my hand and wave, pretty much like Donna waves at the “fat babies” in Doctor Who: stupidly.
It lasted only two seconds, then security was there and asked me to step back. But it was a nice enough experience to use it in a novel. Only this time it was Jon Stone in the car (who is NOT based on Neil Diamond, btw. If you need to think of a real person, think Bruce Springsteen, please).
What is your WIP? Another novel?
Well, apparently I’m not quite finished with Jon and Naomi even though the trilogy is complete.
I’ve written a new novel, The Rosewood Guitar, which I submitted to my publisher sometime in March, I think. It tells the story of the young Jon Stone(before Naomi)and how he makes his way from New York City to Hollywood and fame. It’s a lot lighter and more fun than Song of the Storm, and set in the early 80s.
After that, I began writing a sequel to the trilogy, set in the Canadian winter about six months after 9/11. It deals with the aftermath and repercussions of that day, and how the Carlsson and Stone families try to return to some sembelence of their old lives but I put it aside after about thirty-five thousand words to write the story of young Naomi before she meets Jon. The title is Waiting for a Song, and it will be a happy, flirty romp. Of course, in the end she’ll get to meet Jon, and run away with him.
So as you can see, there’s one unpublished and two unfinished books floating around, which hopefully will see the light of day sooner or later.
Thanks Angela, for interviewing me today. It’s been fun!
Happy reading everyone!
Thank you for coming and for entertaining us with such great answers Mariam. *tops us Mariam's glass* 'CONGRATULATIONS!'
Tomorrow Mariam will be visiting Wendy van Camp for another interview. You’ll want to check it out!