Welcome back, readers. Now, Miriam, your other work – books. Can you give us a run-down on them, how they came into being and where you are going from here.
Books? There’s only one published book so far: Neither Here Nor There. It’s a romance set mostly in Jerusalem, my home town, and partly in my former home town of London. Esty grew up in a haredi (ultra-orthodox) community. Her upbringing and education prepared her for a life of hard work, a large family and very little money. But she has glimpsed another world just outside, in which women and men are free of the coverings – the physical ones that are too warm for the Middle Eastern climate, as well as those unseen but felt: the laws forbidding so many things and effectively keeping Esty and her community apart from mainstream society.
Mark is a recent immigrant from England, still trying to acclimatise to his new surroundings. He and Esty seem unsuited to each other at first. Esty, in particular, is unprepared for what her decision to leave everything she has known will cause. Together and apart, heroine and hero struggle to bring about the ending both desire so much.
In 2012, I attended an online course for writing pocket novels (light romances). Sally Quilford, who ran the course, turned out to be an excellent teacher and mentor, who spurred us on to begin romances of our own. I searched for a suitable background for mine – one that would put hurdles in front of the main characters and one that would be different from those chosen by the others. I think I found it! After the course, I kept in touch with two of the participants – Sue Barnard (whom you know well) and Gail Richards. Both provided a lot of help and encouragement, and eventually I finished the novel. It was rejected by the pocket novel people; clearly the topic was too controversial for them. But I followed Sue’s advice and sent it to Crooked Cat. I was thrilled when they accepted it.
I have four other novels in various stages of preparation – from vague idea to second draft. Three of them are based on places I’ve visited. The other one is a sequel to Neither Here Nor There. I think I need to put three of them aside and concentrate on one. But which one? I’m not good at decisions.
Time is also a problem nowadays. I need to spend time promoting the published book and still find time to write. I need to be more organised and dedicate certain hours of each day to writing. I’ll probably have to turn off the Internet and give up on its ability to give me instant information as I write. And turn off the sound on my phone. As soon as the first night of Passover is over… although during April my blog with keep me busy as I’m doing the A-Z Challenge for the fifth time. And then there’s a lot of planning to do before my next trip….
Ailsa, thank you so much for having me. I must apologise for waffling on so much. I don’t know what came over me – I’m not usually so verbose. I wonder what you put in the cake or the coffee. Both were delicious….
Not at all, Miriam, the pleasure was entirely mine. I know what you mean about too many books in your brain and not enough time to get them down. I have the same problem. Thanks so much for visiting especially when are getting over the festivities for Passover which is, I think, one of the major Jewish festivals. So I wish you luck with that and do come back any time.