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Bethanne
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Anita Diamant, October 12-16

Please join me in welcoming acclaimed novelist Anita Diamant to Center Stage!

 

Anita Diamant's early childhood was spent in Newark, New Jersey, and Denver, Colorado. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, with a BA in Comparative Literature. After earning a Master's Degree in English from the State University of New York at Binghamton, she moved to the Boston area, where she began her writing career in 1975. As a freelance journalist, she contributed to local magazines and newspapers, including the Boston PhoenixBoston Globe, and Boston Magazine, branching out into regional and national media, with articles in New England MonthlySelfParenting, and Ms.

 

Diamant's first book was The New Jewish Wedding, which was written in the year following her own wedding. She followed the wedding book with five more guidebooks to Jewish life, including The New Jewish Baby Book and Living a Jewish Life: Jewish Traditions, Customs and Values for Today's Families.

 

In 1997, Diamant published her first work of fiction, The Red Tent, which was inspired by a few lines from the Book of Genesis. The book became a word-of-mouth bestseller thanks to reader recommendations and book groups. A worldwide phenomenon, The Red Tent has now been published in more than 25 countries.

 

 Diamant's second novel, Good Harbor (2001), is a contemporary story that explores the importance of women's friendships as a source of strength and happiness. With The Last Days of Dogtown (2005), she returned to historical fiction. Set on Cape Ann in the early 1800s, Diamant's third novel describes life in a poor, rural community inhabited by widows, spinsters and other marginal women, freed Africans, and orphan children.

      Day After Night, Diamant's new novel, returns to the land of The Red Tent. In this new work, Diamant's tells the stories of four women who lived through the Holocaust and await the future in a British internment camp. It is a novel about loss, hope and courage set in the days before the founding of the state of Israel.

      Diamant is married to Jim Ball, and they have one grown daughter, Emilia.

 

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Anita-Diamant
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

Thanks for the nice introduction Bethanne. Looking forward to this conversation.

 

 

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Hotpen
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

Hi,

 

I can't wait to read Day After Night. Thanks for chatting with us. In reading the Red Tent I was really taken with how visual it was. Will there ever be a movie?

 

Thanks.

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pen4hire
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

Did you base your latest novel on any real women whom you met or interviewed? How much on site research do you do for your books?

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Anita-Diamant
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

Movie deals originate with movie-makers. So while the option to develop a film is available, no one (director/producer/actress) has expressed interest... yet.

I think this is actually a very dramatic book, with a great adventure/rescue turn. So, it's wait and see. Thanks for asking.

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Anita-Diamant
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

The characters in the book are pretty much of my own invention, although I took inspiration and details from many other sources. I did interview one woman and a few men who had been at the internment camp, including one who had escaped. I also the archival material from the Atlit database. I have been to the camp three times in all and talked to the staff and historian at great legnth. 

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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

Listen to an excerpt from the Day After Night.

 

How do you feel listening to your words from another person's mouth, Anita?

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Anita-Diamant
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

It's fascinating. I think Dagmara does a lovely job of it. Sometimes, people ask me why I don't read my own words for the audiobooks. But it's such a specific skill -- especially doing all the voices.

 

To be honest, I can't listen to very much at any one time. I'm still too close to the writing process and tend to get critical. "Why did I choose that word?"

 

 

Thanks for the interesting question.

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Bethanne
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

Anita, we're all so glad you're here. Welcome! 

 

My first question for you this week: Your characters in this book are all, tragically, orphans. The theme of parenting and parenthood is such a strong one for you; what did you find most difficult in the process of writing about women who are entirely cut off from their parents and their past?

 

Thanks!

Bethanne

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KathyS
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

Anita!  What a wonderful surprise, to have you back once again!  It's been a 'dog's' age! 

 

A couple of weeks ago, I ventured into B&N with a list of books in my hand...and what did I see on the table right in front of the entrance?  Your new book, Day After Night.!...I snatched it up!  I finished reading it three days ago.  I took my time with this one. 

 

When we had talked about Last Days of Dogtown, I don't know if you remember me telling you how it made me think of the concentration camp I visited in Germany?  How emotional it was for me?  Now, reading this new story of yours, it brought it all back, again.  Without giving anything away, about this new novel, I just wanted to say, you put me into a place that showed me the characters-people, and what they, themselves, brought with them into that life in a prison setting.  Their histories, both personal, and secret.  I could see them, feel them, and smell them.....again, an emotional story of survival, whether it be for the fittest, or not. 

 

Thank you so much, for another wonderful story...showing me another look, inside of lives I could never imagine.

Always,

Kathy S.

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basson_mommy12
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

Ms. Diamant:

 

I'm honored to simply have the experience of sending you this short little hello and thank you for "The Red Tent."  I will most-definitely be reading your latest offering, but have not had a chance to pick it up yet.  I was deeply affected by "The Red Tent" and most of the women in my life agree, every MAN should have to read this book for the insight it offers into the lives of women.

 

Thank you for sharing your gifts through your wonderful books!

"The Answer to the Great Question of ... Life, the Universe and Everything ... (is) 42." -- Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Ruth W.
Grand Rapids, MI
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Anita-Diamant
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

The hardest thing about this is imagining the dimension of the loss, the total deracination from family connection. They are all in the same terrible boat -- these four characters and many/most of the others around them.  They share this amputation, and even though it's not "shared" by talking, it makes them into sisters and brothers of loss. 

 

 

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Anita-Diamant
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

Hello Kathy!

 

It was a long time ago since we "chatted" like this. How nice to find you here again. And thanks for your very kind words about the book. At this stage of its "life," hearing from readers is incredibly affirming. Books have no life, no meaning, in the absence of the reader.

 

All best wishes...

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KathyS
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16


Anita-Diamant wrote:

The hardest thing about this is imagining the dimension of the loss, the total deracination from family connection. They are all in the same terrible boat -- these four characters and many/most of the others around them.  They share this amputation, and even though it's not "shared" by talking, it makes them into sisters and brothers of loss. 

 

 


 

Anita,

 

After reading the last words in the Epilogue:  "That was just the beginning."  I closed the book and took a deep breath.  I honestly didn't know how I was feeling. 

 

All through the book, I kept thinking of this loss you mention.  We find out, in bits and pieces, what each person had to give up.  Yes, I did feel an incredible loss for these people.  I did look forward to the end; I wanted that loss to become joy in an escape.

 

The joy was there, but the sadness still  prevailed in my heart, with hope that they would find a better life than they had lived.  I wanted to see this picture come true.  The picture of a reunion.  That breath I took?  It made me pause, to realize not everyone finds a happy ending, especially after living through such trauma.  But trauma, unless handed down, dies with the individual.

 

I don't think that anything about this period in time should be forgotten.  The pain may be lessoned, but the realization of this time should stick with each of us;  we never want this pain in history to repeat itself.  We need to know, and we need to remember. 

 

Thank you, again.

Kathy

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Anita-Diamant
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

I ran into a woman who read my new book today, Kathy. She asked me if it feels good to have finished. I thought of your comments -- and how a book is not completed until it is read (and debated and disagreed with and celebrated) by readers.

 

So thank you once more for closing the circle.

 

A.

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KathyS
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16


Anita-Diamant wrote:

I ran into a woman who read my new book today, Kathy. She asked me if it feels good to have finished. I thought of your comments -- and how a book is not completed until it is read (and debated and disagreed with and celebrated) by readers.

 

So thank you once more for closing the circle.

 

A.


 

Anita, I'm glad we can celebrate this closing, but I have a feeling it's just the beginning....you're not finished, yet, with this story.  Once it's read,  I know there will be a lot of people wanting to talk about it.  This Center Stage is not really a forum for a full-on discussion of a book. 

 

I know when I was reading it, I thought, how do I say I enjoyed this story?  I want to say it was wonderful reading it, but I can't.  It was hard to digest at times.   There was one word that stopped me cold..."C" I hate this word with a passion.  I had to stop and think, it's the character saying it, not you.....I gritted my teeth and continued on. You kept me reading, and reading.  I had to know what happened.  I had to know what these people were feeling.  How do I say I loved it?  That's what I can't figure out.  I want to.  All I know is, it was meant to be written by you, Anita, and it needs to be read by everyone.

I'll be thinking of you....

All the best!

 

Kathy

 

 

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Bethanne
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

 


KathyS wrote:

Anita-Diamant wrote:

I ran into a woman who read my new book today, Kathy. She asked me if it feels good to have finished. I thought of your comments -- and how a book is not completed until it is read (and debated and disagreed with and celebrated) by readers.

 

So thank you once more for closing the circle.

 

A.


 

Anita, I'm glad we can celebrate this closing, but I have a feeling it's just the beginning....you're not finished, yet, with this story.  Once it's read,  I know there will be a lot of people wanting to talk about it.  This Center Stage is not really a forum for a full-on discussion of a book. 

 

I know when I was reading it, I thought, how do I say I enjoyed this story?  I want to say it was wonderful reading it, but I can't.  It was hard to digest at times.   There was one word that stopped me cold..."C" I hate this word with a passion.  I had to stop and think, it's the character saying it, not you.....I gritted my teeth and continued on. You kept me reading, and reading.  I had to know what happened.  I had to know what these people were feeling.  How do I say I loved it?  That's what I can't figure out.  I want to.  All I know is, it was meant to be written by you, Anita, and it needs to be read by everyone.

I'll be thinking of you....

All the best!

 

Kathy

 

 

Kathy, you're so right that this isn't a good place for a full-on discussion right now -- especially because so many of Anita's devoted readers won't have read "Day After Night" yet. But I'm glad that we can at least get a little started...
Bethanne

 

 

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Bethanne
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

Anita, I hope you're having a good week. Let's get some questions going about your other books, too! I simply loved "The Last Days of Dogtown," and I'd like to hear more about how you got the idea for the story -- and did your research.

 

Bethanne

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KathyS
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

Anita,

 

Have you given any thought to turning The Last Days of Dogtown into a musical?  :smileyhappy:  Remember?  I loved it!  I can still picture it all!   The settings, the characters.....the music.... It's time to write the screenplay!

 

K.

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Anita-Diamant
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Re: Anita Diamant, October 12-16

Thanks, Bethanne.

 

The idea for Last Days of Dogtown came from a little pamphlet I found in THE BOOKSTORE, in Gloucester, MA. (Where it just so happens I'm doing a reading of Day After Night, tomorrow evening)

 

"Dogtown, a Village Lost in Time" included some thumbnail sketches of characters like Easter Carter and Judy Rimes and Black Ruth... they were so vivid, I knew I had a novel on my hands.

 

After that, I did research, which turned up precious little of substance about those people and that gave me great license to invent lives for them all.

 

I agree with Kathy that it would be a great movie, but as I wrote above, that's not my department. Someone in "the business" has to be interested and have some mighty deep pockets.