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Jessica
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Questions for Anita Diamant

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carolbrigid
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant

Dear Ms. Diamant,

Is the 10th Anniversary edition of The Red Tent any different than the original? Thank you, Carol Brigid
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nd_plume
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant

Sorry, but it took me so long to register that I thought I'd never get to the posting (or I would give up.) But here I am...

Anita:
I read your book with my bookclub (one of our all time favorites) when it first came out, then passed it along to my mother who loved it.

1)The time involved in the production of a book amazes me. Tell me about the length of time you worked on TheRedTent, how much time was spent researching verses writing, how many other people helped you with verification, historical accuracy, etc.
and
2) Do you have any advice for upcoming writers who find the sheer amount of time involved per page written, an overwhelming obstacle. How did you balance family, life and writing?
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Anita_Diamant
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant


carolbrigid wrote:
Dear Ms. Diamant,

Is the 10th Anniversary edition of The Red Tent any different than the original? Thank you, Carol Brigid


Hi Carol Brigid;

Thanks for your question, the very first! There is nothing different about the novel itself. But there is a new essay I wrote as well a new Q & A section.

Anita
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Anita_Diamant
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant


nd_plume wrote:
Sorry, but it took me so long to register that I thought I'd never get to the posting (or I would give up.) But here I am...

Anita:
I read your book with my bookclub (one of our all time favorites) when it first came out, then passed it along to my mother who loved it.

1)The time involved in the production of a book amazes me. Tell me about the length of time you worked on TheRedTent, how much time was spent researching verses writing, how many other people helped you with verification, historical accuracy, etc.
and
2) Do you have any advice for upcoming writers who find the sheer amount of time involved per page written, an overwhelming obstacle. How did you balance family, life and writing?




Yes, it takes a while to get the hang of this, I agree.
Thanks for your kind words.
It took me about three years of writing and researching (simultaneously and in sequence so I did the research on Egypt when we "got there.) I had a bit of help from a grad student at RAdcliffe, but the research was basically all mine.
Advice? Well, patience, patience, patience. I wrote while my daughter was in daycare/then school. I wrote for a living for years as a journalist, and turning to fiction, I used the same attitude: this is work time as separate from family time. I think everyone is different but the trick is often taking yourself seriously enough.
I hope that's helpful.

Anita
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maje
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant

I loved the beginning of the Red Tent. Your beautiful words and style carried me through the desert, as if I were there.
Then I read about Jacobs' sons having relations in the fields with their animals. While your portrayal of Rachel as some kind of pagan priestess was frightening, it was not until I got to the women taking their own virginity in the red tent, that you lost me completely.
True, the biblical characters as written are sinful and flawed and human. But your book doesn't show that they had any merit. My question is, where is the merit of our ancestors? I know your book is a work of historical FICTION, but it is after all, based on a text many consider divinely inspired or more.
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carolbrigid
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant

Dear Anita, Thank you for your reply. I might order the 10th Anniversary edition as a treat to myself. Do you plan on writing any other books about women of the bible? This was such a well-written book on a woman I really did not remember learning about in my Sunday School days. And I'm honored to have asked the first question! :-)
Warmly, Carol Brigid
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Anita_Diamant
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant



maje wrote:
I loved the beginning of the Red Tent. Your beautiful words and style carried me through the desert, as if I were there.
Then I read about Jacobs' sons having relations in the fields with their animals. While your portrayal of Rachel as some kind of pagan priestess was frightening, it was not until I got to the women taking their own virginity in the red tent, that you lost me completely.
True, the biblical characters as written are sinful and flawed and human. But your book doesn't show that they had any merit. My question is, where is the merit of our ancestors? I know your book is a work of historical FICTION, but it is after all, based on a text many consider divinely inspired or more.




This is a big problem for many readers. It was never my intention to comment upon the bible. "My" Rebecca (I think you meant to cite her, rather than Rachel) is an inventions based as much if not more on the historical/anthropological record -- as I imagined it. The extreme earthiness of these characters seems grounded in the period and in rural life that was very unlike the bible, which does not describe daily life.
I know this does not satisfy readers who feel I have blasphemed by taking the story and the names and having my way with them. But that is the right of a novelist, and indeed, many faithful readers are okay with my version, too.
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Anita_Diamant
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant



carolbrigid wrote:
Dear Anita, Thank you for your reply. I might order the 10th Anniversary edition as a treat to myself. Do you plan on writing any other books about women of the bible? This was such a well-written book on a woman I really did not remember learning about in my Sunday School days. And I'm honored to have asked the first question! :-)
Warmly, Carol Brigid




Hmm. I'm pretty sure I answered this somewhere else on the message board... but no, I'm not planning to do another biblical story. It doesn't call to me, at least not yet. I need to figure out how to link answers to similar questions. I'll ask the moderator, shall I?

Thanks so much.

Anita
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IBIS
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant: THE COVER DESIGN

Anita, I love the cover of the book, with the illustration of Dinah wrapped in a red robe. The illustration style reminded me of the childhood illustrations from my first childhood Bible. The woman immediately revealed the exotic setting and the historical timeframe of the story.

I wonder if you liked the cover art, as well as the gold-foiled lettering of the title. Did you have input in the cover design? I've met many authors who have been disappointed in the designs finally approved by their publishers.

I wonder also if the covers varied for the translated versions of the book? I haven't seen any translated versions, and I wonder if different countries have different designs?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I'm looking forward to chatting with you and everyone participating in this discussion.
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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Kiwifruitandco
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant

[ Edited ]
Dear Ms. Diamant,

First, The Red Tent has a special place on my bookshelf for those books that I have read that have truly moved me. Thanks for writing such an amazing work.

When pregnant, I researched the name "Adahni" because I loved the sound of it, and because my grandmother's name was Ada. However, I couldn't find anything online or in "baby name books" on the name. Did you create it, and if so, what did you envision its history to be? If you didn't create it, where did you hear the name first?

Many thanks!
Adrienne M.

Message Edited by Kiwifruitandco on 10-28-2007 10:37 PM
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TeriSueT
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant

New to "The Red Tent." City girl, Midwest. Seasoned by life, too much seasoning, much of it too soon.

I have now read Part I of "Red." (Oh, first, the Prologue ... enticing, with foreshadowing of genuineness and wisdom). I welcomed your open, frank, earthy treatment of the brought-to-life characters in your novel ... of their sexuality and humanness.

Three questions, now, please. Having in mind some of Laban's behaviors as depicted, the lower status of the female gender, and the close community living in those times ... do you think that incest was a not-so-uncommon issue?

Also ... a question regarding how women addresed their hygiene needs during menstruation. When you wrote of their wearing rags ... Yes, I knew that, but (Pardon me, please) ... I have wondered: Did they wear under garments to support those pieces of fabric? Tie them around their waists?

And ... Because of the compact living quarters ... women in such close community ... the women were often menstruating at the same time? I was aware that this sometimes happens ... but I have inferred from your writing that this was indeed the norm ... as it seems they congregated in their Red Tent monthly, sharing the same cyclic patterns (and a kindship to the moon's cycle). True?

Thank you for this wonderful portal into ... womanness. I look forward to further reading, to the unfolding of Dinah in Part II.
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Anita_Diamant
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant: THE COVER DESIGN



IBIS wrote:
Anita, I love the cover of the book, with the illustration of Dinah wrapped in a red robe. The illustration style reminded me of the childhood illustrations from my first childhood Bible. The woman immediately revealed the exotic setting and the historical timeframe of the story.

I wonder if you liked the cover art, as well as the gold-foiled lettering of the title. Did you have input in the cover design? I've met many authors who have been disappointed in the designs finally approved by their publishers.

I wonder also if the covers varied for the translated versions of the book? I haven't seen any translated versions, and I wonder if different countries have different designs?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I'm looking forward to chatting with you and everyone participating in this discussion.




I'm fascinated by the covers on the foreign editions of The Red Tent. While a few countries (England, Scandinavian editions) have the same image as on the American edition, there's a wide variety of art choices -- many of them of human figures, some of landscapes. AT some point this year, I hope to put up a gallery of these on my website.

I do like the cover of the US edition, but I didn't at first. I did not have input on that cover. I was a first-time novelist and didn't have the clout. Nowadays, I do have some say.
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Anita_Diamant
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant



Kiwifruitandco wrote:
Dear Ms. Diamant,

First, The Red Tent has a special place on my bookshelf for those books that I have read that have truly moved me. Thanks for writing such an amazing work.

When pregnant, I researched the name "Adahni" because I loved the sound of it, and because my grandmother's name was Ada. However, I couldn't find anything online or in "baby name books" on the name. Did you create it, and if so, what did you envision its history to be? If you didn't create it, where did you hear the name first?

Many thanks!
Adrienne M.

Message Edited by Kiwifruitandco on 10-28-2007 10:37 PM




Hi Adrienne:

Oh dear. This is one of those questions whose answer is lost in the mists of time. I wrote the book nearly 13 years ago now. Many of the names are inventions of mine, based on other names that I might have seen in a book or image. I'm afraid I cannot help you here. My apologies.

Anita
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Anita_Diamant
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant



TeriSueT wrote:
New to "The Red Tent." City girl, Midwest. Seasoned by life, too much seasoning, much of it too soon.

I have now read Part I of "Red." (Oh, first, the Prologue ... enticing, with foreshadowing of genuineness and wisdom). I welcomed your open, frank, earthy treatment of the brought-to-life characters in your novel ... of their sexuality and humanness.

Three questions, now, please. Having in mind some of Laban's behaviors as depicted, the lower status of the female gender, and the close community living in those times ... do you think that incest was a not-so-uncommon issue?

Also ... a question regarding how women addresed their hygiene needs during menstruation. When you wrote of their wearing rags ... Yes, I knew that, but (Pardon me, please) ... I have wondered: Did they wear under garments to support those pieces of fabric? Tie them around their waists?

And ... Because of the compact living quarters ... women in such close community ... the women were often menstruating at the same time? I was aware that this sometimes happens ... but I have inferred from your writing that this was indeed the norm ... as it seems they congregated in their Red Tent monthly, sharing the same cyclic patterns (and a kindship to the moon's cycle). True?

Thank you for this wonderful portal into ... womanness. I look forward to further reading, to the unfolding of Dinah in Part II.




Hi TeriSue

I think/fear incest is part of human history everywhere. And in tiny communities/families, I don't think it's a stretch to imagine it was quite common.

One of the reasons for that tent (of my invention) is so that women could rest on absorbant materials, such as hay. I did not find any evidence or images about what exactly their sanitary "products" were like, so I imagined freely ...

As for cycles, women in groups do tent to cycle together. (Dorms, families with lots of daugthers, etc) I used my license as a storyteller to make them all cycle in perfect harmony. Even so, the idea of a world where there is no artificial light to interfere with the pull of the moon suggests (to me) an even great synchronicity with the moon.

I hope these answers help a little!

Anita
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NYCLJAY
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant

Ms. Diamant,

I am glad to actually have the opportunity to share this with you. I am an avid reader and have been my entire life and always have a book or two going from a variety of genres. I absolutely refused to read TENT for years. It was a "chick book". Every woman I ever talked to raved about your book and I just couldn't see how I would really be able to get into it.

I gave up the struggle about 2 years ago and I feel honored to be able to say to you now, it is and always will be one of the best books I have ever had the privilege to read in my entire life. What a glorious and amazing story! From page 1 I was enthralled. I cannot thank you enough for sharing this. It truly was a cathartic reading experience for me.

Coming from a religious background (and a theatre one) I was very well familiar with the story of Jacob and his family (biblical and fictional). I was fascinated by this other look into it. And, while I understand there were those who have taken religious objection to your artistic license, I will not be one of those. I LOVED the way you beautifully captured that intricate transitional period of our forefathers of faith where paganism began its decline in favor of the "one true God". That slow release of tradition and ritual was a beautiful element in the women's lives.

Long journey to the question: Did you have a religious background that led you to this story? Was there a tie for you that brought you into this story? If there is a church or family of faith, was there any difficulty in acceptance of the liberties you took?

Thank you, again!! I will read and share this book for the rest of my life. It is a crusade for me to convince every man I know that this is not a "chick book" but a beautifully woven story of one persons' struggle for self and identity in a time of great change.
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steelmagnolia
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant

Ms. Diamant:
I really enjoyed "The Red Tent" when I read it 2 or 3 years ago. Like Carol Brigid, I am interested in the processes and techniques you employed. I remember your referring to Bible verses as something like candid snapshots, and I was curious: did you just let your imagination guide you?

I also want simply to compliment you. One of the passages that stood out most vividly to me was Dinah's description of the river. The language she used was evocative and poetic, and helped to put me "in the scene," so to speak. (One of the first lessons from my creative writing courses you demonstrated perfectly: show, don't tell.)

Thanks,
pll, steel magnolia
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Anita_Diamant
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant



steelmagnolia wrote:
Ms. Diamant:
I really enjoyed "The Red Tent" when I read it 2 or 3 years ago. Like Carol Brigid, I am interested in the processes and techniques you employed. I remember your referring to Bible verses as something like candid snapshots, and I was curious: did you just let your imagination guide you?

I also want simply to compliment you. One of the passages that stood out most vividly to me was Dinah's description of the river. The language she used was evocative and poetic, and helped to put me "in the scene," so to speak. (One of the first lessons from my creative writing courses you demonstrated perfectly: show, don't tell.)

Thanks,




Thanks for that wonderful compliment: the best a writer can get and oddly, very easy to forget!

As to your question, yes I did let my guide me, but my imagination was also guided and inspired by things I learned during my research. So that river scene came after looking at maps and realizing that there was river to cross!

Keep writing.
Anita
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opticjunkie
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant

I also love the part where she enters the river for the first time...one of my most favorites! I think about it almost everytime I slip under when I'm in a large body of water. "How would I feel if I had never done this before?"

Good luck on your writing. (I'm jelous.)


-optic junkie
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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Questions for Anita Diamant

Hi Anita,

Something has been on my mind. I understand artistic license but I am curious about the variation you made in your book regarding the marriage of Leah to Jacob.
I remembered the story differently so I checked Newadvent.com (catholic) and Jewishencyclopia.com and both agreed on the circumstances of their marrige. Greedy Laban tricks Jacob into marrying Leah so that Jacob will need to work for him for 7 more years to earn Rachel.
To me, it doesn't matter one way or the other, but to feed my curiousity, please let me know if your story in The Red Tent was found somewhere else or your imagination. If your imagination, why the slight variation?
Thanks, Carmen
Lynda

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