Interview with Buddhapuss Ink LLC author Mariam Kobras
I met Mariam via an Indian friend we have in common, Jeena R. Paapadi. Mariam is the first Buddhapuss Ink LLC author I have the honour to present. Please check out their website http://www.buddhapussink.com
And just read what Buddhapus Ink have to say about Mariam’s debut novel!
The Distant Shore – Thanks Amazon!
Well, Amazon jumped the gun and released The Distant Shore 2 weeks early on 1/3/2012. That would be bad news, except the book sold out in a matter of hours and the book even made their bestseller list that day. The buzz about the book is building and reviews are already starting to show up, all five stars so far!
Incredible no? You can imagine how excited I was to take a peek at The distant Shore. Unfortunately, I had only time to read a sample of this beautifully written romance but I can tell you it is a sizzling love affair, in which a couple of secrets are unraveled.
Mariam’s style is crisp, the editing immaculate and the story flows at exactly the right pace: a good balance of character movements interlaced with lovely little shots of nature description. Here’s a writer at work who loves the art of writing so much she has almost become a painter.
I will let Mariam describe in her own words what drove her to write her novel:
For years, I carried this scene in my head: A man walks into a hotel lobby, a woman steps out of the elevator, a heavy tray of plates in her hands. She sees him, hears
his voice, and she drops the tray. He comes toward her, they look at each other, and all the love they knew many years ago comes instantly back, no questions, no doubt.
I really wanted to write that scene, write about the emotions boiling under the surface, the longing, fear, doubt, and desire. And that was pretty much all I wanted to write. But, first I had to get those characters to that scene, and so I made up the story of Jon, a world-famous rock star, who receives a letter one morning telling him he has a teenage son. He drops everything to find the girl he loved so many years ago, the only one he ever really loved.
Once I had them back together again though, some fifty pages into the story, and had written that lobby scene, I found I wanted to go on and find out what happens after the “happily ever after”. A rock star and his Hollywood life, a man who can’t walk down a street without being recognized, and the woman he loves, who hates nothing more than notoriety—yes, there’s a story there!
Fame has always fascinated me. Everyone dreams of being rich, famous, celebrated, but only a small group really work hard at getting there. Those few really WANT to be at the top, to stand out, be on the front cover. Yet, once they get there, they find they miss their privacy, miss real friends, real love. There is a special kind of
loneliness in being famous, and that is what I wanted to explore.
I’ve always wanted to write about creativity. I believe it is a special kind of love, and a way to express it. At the root of all feelings is love. You can’t have sadness, loneliness, desperation, hate, or anger, without first having love, because all of these are its antithesis. Love comes in many guises; a kiss, a smile, the warmth of an embrace, a child’s laughter, or the smell of a sun-ripened tomato. In the end, it’s either love or loss. And with some creative people, it fuels an outpouring: a song, a poem, a book.
Being creative means loving: words, music, a canvas, a stone, or maybe your ballet shoes. It’s obsessive, single-minded, it excludes “real” life, and it never stops.
This book, The Distant Shore, was written to satisfy my need to tell Jon’s story, to see him get his heart’s desire, see him rip open the fog of fame and loneliness, and find there is still a man beneath the public persona, someone who wants a wife, and children, and happiness.
Where do you live (town, country)? Were you born and bred there?
I live just outside Hamburg, Germany, but I was born and grew up in Frankfurt/Main.
What kind of food do you like? Are you a good cook? How important is food to you?
I like ethnic food. My favourite is Thai. I adore Thai. There’s nothing better than a
green Thai curry with beef. I think I’m a fairly good cook, being one of those Moms who have cooked all their lives and every day. You do develop a certain routine. The daily chore is relatively unimportant though. Every New Year’s Eve, I cook for friends and throw them a culinary party. That’s the kind of cooking I love.
Do you do any sports? How often? What does exercise mean to you? Any other hobbies?
To be honest, my only hobby is my writing. I do exercise. Sometimes. Maybe.
Do you have kids/grandkids? If so, please tell us a little about them?
I have two sons. One is a medical doctor and recently married, the other one is a 17-year old teenager going through his Nihilistic phase right now. Discussing
philosophy with him can be quite entertaining.
Do you like travelling? Where do you go then?
I LOVE traveling. This summer I spent six weeks in America, visiting twitter and
facebook friends. I was in Vancouver (which is Canada, of course), Seattle, Ellensburg WA, Washington DC, Topsail Island NC, Lynchburg VA, Portland ME, Boston, and finally New York, where I also met my publisher in person. I can’t wait to go back next year, when I’ll do a book reading tour and meet more of my friends.
Do you have another job apart from writing? For how many hours? How do you feel about the ‘other’ job?
Not anymore. Until this April I used to teach theatre and musical at a high school here in my little town. Now I’m a full-time writer.
How do your family/friends react to you being a writer? Have their opinions changed since you became a published author? Which remark from your surroundings has stuck most with you?
Honestly? The remark I heard most often was, “Told you so.” My family was absolutely unexcited when I got my book deal. For them, it was a totally natural thing, and supposed to happen. I was the only one who flipped. My husband is a
tremendous support, he makes it possible for me to give all my time to writing.
Would you call yourself a social human being? Do you have time for going out and spending time away from the writing desk?
Yes, I do. I love meeting my girlfriends for coffee and a chat, and go out to the movies or dinner with my hubby. But generally I don’t like being pried away from my
computer too much.
Which character trait do you like best about yourself and why? Which trait would you rather do without?
I like that I’m very loyal to my friends and my family. I’d fight for them all the way. I’d like to think that others would do the same for me, stick with me through thick
and thin. Everyone needs someone they really, really can rely on. I don’t like my impatience. I do get impatient, with myself and sadly, with others.
Can you describe the place where you write + the view?
Anywhere. All the time. But mostly in my study, with the view of an old oak tree and the road outside the house. I don’t use a desk but a comfy armchair and a rest for
my feet. These days, in winter, with a cashmere plaid and a cat close by.
Is there something you always need to have near you when you work (beverage, cigarette, mascot, music, quote, etc)?
Coffee. And I have a “soundtrack” for each of my novels that I listen to over and over
again. After a while, it’s almost like white noise and yet inspiring.
What genre(s) do you write in? How did that develop?
I write contemporary romance, and I have no idea how it developed. My publisher tells me that’s my genre. I just wanted to write these stories.
When was your first book released and how did that make you feel?
Can you tell us some background information on the
book? (How did you get the idea, how long did it take you to write and edit it, is it part of a sequel, how does the published book make you feel now?)
Actually, I didn’t really have an idea for a book. There was one scene that I wanted to
write very badly. It’s the one quite in the beginning of the novel where Jon and Naomi, my protagonists, meet again after many years, in the lobby of Naomi’s hotel in Norway. But to get them there, I had to make up a story about why and how they meet. So I wrote about Jon getting that letter from a son he knows nothing about, and how he decides to travel to Norway from California to see Naomi. By the time I got to that part I was so embroiled in the whole thing that I just didn’t want to stop anymore, and bang, I had a novel. It took me a year to write and edit “Distant Shore”.
It’s a full-length novel, some 138K words, and it’s the first in what the publisher calls “The Stone Trilogy”. Right now I’m working on part two, “Under The Same Sun”. I want to submit it in January.
How does the published book make me feel? Very strange. It’s a very strange feeling. I’m still astonished that other people want to read what I write.
What are your writing habits? (every day, number of words, etc.?)
I write every day. I get up at 8 in the morning, after my family has left the house (they hate it when I’m around in the morning, I make them nervous), and I generally
get about 2000 words done. Roughly. Sometimes less, rarely more. Twitter is too much of a distraction, I have to admit.
Who’s been your biggest inspiration and why? Since when?
Hm. I don’t think I had anyone to inspire me for Distant Shore. It was a very solitary,
nearly guilty secret. You know the kind of hobby you hardly dare admit to. The thing you do between vacuum cleaning and making lunch. Now, things are different, and I do have someone to inspire me. I’ll get to this with the next question.
What does your publishing company mean to you?
Simple and easy: they are my inspiration. Buddhapuss Ink found me on twitter. One day two years or so ago, the black cat appeared among my followers. I followed back, we got to chatting, and when I posted a page from my novel on my blog they asked for the entire book. A few weeks later we had signed a book deal. Working with them is fun, it’s inspirational, and I learn something new about writing,
editing and the publishing business every day. I have made new friends!
Where do you see yourself in 5-years’ time?
Well, of course I want to be a bestseller author in five years. If I said anything else
I’d be lying. While I have no idea if this will ever happen, I’m at least going to work for it.
I plan to have published the rest of the Stone Trilogy by then, and at least one other
book that I have already plotted and can’t wait to write. After that, I don’t know yet.
I’d like to be in Florida five years from now, live in a pretty house with a porch close to the beach, and one of my dearest friends not too far away so I can walk over
and have coffee and a piece of Red Velvet Cake with her. Watch the dolphins play.
THANK YOU SO MUCH, Mariam!
Links to the book: