03-20-2008 06:46 AM
I am not Frankie D; but for me the title: The Time of Emergence resonated more than the other titles. Not being so comfortable with the "idea" of insects I would have probably not picked up the book with the word Moth in the title.
03-20-2008 06:50 AM
Bearsstar wrote:Like everyone else, I want to thank you for letting me read your book. I had a hard time at the very beginning getting into your book, but I think it was because there was too much happening in getting to know the characters and what was going on, and I had to keep going back to see if I had read it right, or was that your intention. As I read farther I really enjoyed the book though. My question is did I miss what actually happened to Vivi in the bell tower? Did Ginny push her or did she just fall by herself? For awhile I thought that all this was in Ginny's mind. I hope that you write another one soon. I also loved learning more about moths and butterflies. Have you been interested in them or was it just for the book that you did so much in depth research? Thank you again for such a good book.
03-20-2008 06:53 AM
That's a good point, Ann. My take on the book is that all the dominoes began to fall at the point in the lecture when Clive said that everything is just matter and fate. If we are just the product of mechanistic determinism, then what is the point of family, love, friendship, humanity, anything? Why not kill people? If there is no God, said one of the brothers Karamazov, then everything is permissible.
I would challenge or request you to examine the spiritual aspect of the question as well. There are hints of a spiritual life in The Sister: We see Vivi going to church, and we read that Ginny (and Clive) does not believe in God. I think self awareness may be fine and dandy, but awareness of something beyond this world is what really sets humans apart.
I am enjoying your thoughtful responses to our questions as much as I did the novel!
PS I like The Time of EmergenceWell LaurelI think that's the scary thing with the advancement in our knowledge of science. If we can reduce everything so readily (and we are more and more with each new year), we do come to that horrifying conclusion. I know scientists who believe things along those lines - not 'we might as well kill people' quite, but that everything is pointless...Poppy
03-20-2008 08:28 AM
Thank you for the opportunity of reading your book. I really enjoyed it, and while my questions aren't all answered, have been able to draw my own conclusions. I like it when an author makes me think. What drew you from documentaries to writing "The Sister"? Have you always wanted to be an author? Thank you for taking the time to join us and answer our many, varied questions.Hi MikeI have always wanted to write fiction, but I have no idea why I thought I could. I make up stories in my head all the time. I'd be a good prisoner, I could just live in my head (although I can imagine it would be dangerous to encourage it too much, I'll become one of those people who mutter to themselves along the street...). I didn't want to give up my documentary career but I was finding it increasingly difficult to go off for weeks of filming when I had children. I thought I'd pursue this dream of writing while my children were young and then pick up the documentaries again later. Although i won't now, I much prefer writing, and I can do if from home.Thank you for taking the time to read and discuss The SisterPoppy
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
03-20-2008 09:55 AM
Hi Ms. Adams,
Thank you so much for the opportunity to read your novel in advance. It was a thrill. You've created quite a buzz and just think...this is only the beginning. I'm really happy for your success. I look forward to watching your career and your work prosper. By the way, you mentioned that your husband encouraged you to write (good for him! Thank him for us!!)...
I have several questions about the actual writing/publishing process:
1. Once you started writing, how much time did you devote to the process each day?
2. When/how did you submit your novel?
3. Is the process everything you had expected?
4. How did you feel about the title-changes your novel has undergone?
And finally...are you working on a new book, or do you plan on another in the near future?
Thanks for taking the time to answer all our questions.
3. I honestly knew very little about the process so I wasn't really expecting anything. But I've really had a wonderful publishing experience. I worked closely with both my UK and my US editors, they are both fantastically experienced and I respect their opinions hugely. Apparently that doesn't always happen!
03-20-2008 09:56 AM
Fozzie wrote:I am an American who lived in Oxford, England for 18 months during 1999-2001 while my husband worked for a British firm. Oxford is a walking city, and I did not have a car, so I spent lots of time walking the city. At first, I tended to notice if someone was dressed a little differently, and I noticed many people carrying what I considered to be odd things down the road. However, I soon became used to my surroundings and found the "anything goes" attitude refreshing. Without exception, friends and family who came to visit commented on things they witnessed on the street which they considered to be odd, things which I had become accustomed to. Yes, I think that people in England are much more tolerant of the eccentricities of people.
The thing I found most interesting is that I did not get the same, immediate, response from an equally intelligent UK audience. I may be wrong, but this is what I have decided: the English love their eccentrics, they ‘willed’ her to just be eccentric and didn’t want to find anything officially wrong with her. Perhaps they are also more used to the idea of an eccentric living in a big country house because there are still so many of them here! Do you think it’s because the English find eccentrics more endearing and American’s like their labels? I also found it interesting that once the UK audience did realise she was a little more 'off' than eccentric (inherent or created), they suddenly found her habits less ‘endearing’. Although she was no different, their perception of her had drastically changed.
03-20-2008 09:57 AM
Fozzie wrote:I think I am the exception, but I don't choose books based on either titles or the cover art. I order most of my books on line ad don't really even look at a book's cover until I start the book and certainly don't analyze it until I have read part of the book. Any title or cover would be fine with me.
03-20-2008 10:05 AM
Ms. Adams -- did you deliberately write satire in any parts of The Sister? As you may know, I read parts of it that way, especially the sequence with Bernard groping Ginny. And I, rightly or wrongly, associate satire with the British mindset, whatever that might be.
My second question -- how did you think about the issue of trust when writing this book? In particular, even as I found myself trusting Ginny less and less, I wanted to be able to trust the author. In particular, if I was going to explore so much lepidopterology, I wanted to know whether to treat what I was reading as accurate, or whether to be as suspect about that as I had become about other aspects of the narration. (In particular, I am still mystified by "pupal soup" -- a brief search has suggested it may be a valid observation, but ....)
It is always a privilege for a lay reader like myself to access a new writing before publication. You are on what must be a joyous and fascinating but sometimes tough journey! Enjoy!
03-20-2008 01:33 PM
kiakar wrote:Miss Adams, were you already familiar with the material you used on the moths and butterflies you embraced your story with. Or was it just research? What made you decide to use this much information on the moth and butterfly history? I loved the book, by the way, hope you will write another one. LindaHi LindaThanks for your questions, but I think I've now answered them extensively on a previous post. Hope you don't mind if I just direct you there! There are lots of reasons I used so much moth information - I'm inside her head for one, but there are many other ideas in there that are meant to get you thinking. Interestingly, I've had so many comments from people in the UK saying that the moth stuff was their best bit!! Can't please you all!Poppy
03-20-2008 01:52 PM
Poppy_Adams wrote:>Well LaurelI think that's the scary thing with the advancement in our knowledge of science. If we can reduce everything so readily (and we are more and more with each new year), we do come to that horrifying conclusion. I know scientists who believe things along those lines - not 'we might as well kill people' quite, but that everything is pointless...Poppy
03-20-2008 03:21 PM
This isn't really a question, but a sincere comment...
I have to say that this experience has been an eye-opener for me. Reading "The Sister" has certainly taught me a valuable lesson. I followed the threads religiously; reading only the assigned chapters. I found myself getting frustrated when I didn't get the information I wanted from the book, feeling somehow I must be missing something.
I was so focused on the process, I forgot to just enjoy the book. Enjoy the experience. It "speaks volumes" to me that I'm still thinking about this novel so long after I've finished the final page. So few books have that affect on me. I still think about the characters and their experiences, Ginny in particular. "The Sister" was a very thought-provoking novel and it's only now that I've realized what happened to me as a reader. In retrospect, I wish I had read the book straight through, then come into the discussions. I'm certain that my initial reading did not do you or the book justice.
I'm not sure if any of the others experienced this, but I certainly did...and I feel like you need to know. You wrote a wonderful novel and I hope it is the first of many more to come.
"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
03-20-2008 04:22 PM
paula_02912 wrote:Ms. Adams...thanks for your detailed response here...when I started the book, I was a little confused as to why Maud would think that Ginny had anything to do with Vivi's fall and I pushed that idea out of my head...it seemed plausible that Vivi slipped and was desperately trying to save a piece of toast as she was falling...however, as I neared the end of the book, I started to rethink the idea of Ginny being involved in Vivi's fall...I also thought about how she could have been involved in Maud's fall as well...I was surprised at some of the answers I found, but it wasn't until the last five chapters of the book that I felt that Ginny did indeed push Vivi off the bell tower...maybe it is because she murdered her, as well as her own involvement in the coverup of what happened to Maud...I didn't attribute this reading to her being an introvert though...what you wrote in your explanation is plausible and now I have to rethink what I thought about Ginny and Vivi's fall...this book was a great read because of the sheer fact that it can be interpreted in so many different ways by so many different people...we had some interesting discussions here and the perspectives of many of the readers here were very unique...this is only my second foray into the online Bookclub world with B&N and I am enjoying it...what I like the most is that a person thinks they know what is going on, but as you discuss someone posits something that makes you look at what you thought and try to figure out why their perspective was different from yours...thanks again for visiting with us...
03-20-2008 04:22 PM
03-20-2008 04:23 PM
paula_02912 wrote:Oh sometimes I ask questions of the authors because I want to see if there responses would be anything like what I thought they should be...thanks again...
03-20-2008 04:24 PM
Thank you HannibalCat for your lovely posting!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the comparison of the life of moths with the life of humans, in particular this group of rather peculiar humans. I found the Maculinea larva scene in the churchyard profoundly indicative of what went on within Ginny (after I had finished the book)- so much so that I went back and reread the pages. The reference to her emergence as she found herself at peace in the hospital/prison after wreaking such havoc on her sister, and the life of the larva as moving on with no knowledge or burden of guilt was brilliant. What a way to tie it all together!
I look forward to reading more of your books.
03-20-2008 04:39 PM
no4daughter wrote:Dear Ms. Adams:Thank you so much for allowing us to have an early read of your book.I don't generally like movies that have been made of books that I have read, especially when I really like the book. I usually feel that my imagination was much better than the filmmaker's. Knowing that you are a documentary filmmaker, do you have the opposite reaction? In other words, when you are used to looking at things visually, is it hard to put that vision down in written form? If it is, you did a good job!
03-20-2008 05:10 PM
AnnieS wrote:Ms. Adams,Thank you again, as many others have already stated for allowing us to view and review this very interesting story. I usually like tidy endings, yet love plot twists and mysteries. My biggest question in this story is why Viv came back. That never really closed in my mind. Was it because she was older and didn't wish to be alone and came home? Did people in town such as Michael (which I doubt) have contact with her and she decided to come back because her sister was getting less dependent of herself? It just seemed odd that even Vivi didn't seem a bit out of place stating she was coming home without invitation and without an explanation to the sister who had been there all her life. In past posts you led to passages, can you help me out.Thanks so muchAnniePS: I truly admire the fact that you have opened your work to us. Reading the posts it must be difficult to read the negative and I know I would be very protective and my Irish emotions would be flared. I am not sure I would have the courage to do it. Thank you again.
03-20-2008 05:15 PM
I am so happy to have been able to participate in the early reading of your first novel (good for you!) and this discussion. I really enjoyed "The Sister", and I do think I probably would have picked it up under either of the other titles mentioned here (especially the moth one). I tend to read mostly non-fiction, and am trying to incorporate more fiction reading into my diet. That said, I think your book was a great bridge for me between the two. I really liked the moth bits, and have referenced them enthusiastically when recommending this book to friends. I think, because of all the non-fiction reading I do, that cover and title are less important to me than the contents of the book itself.
Your way of description was truly visual. I am a great lover of film (including documentary, which I will be interested to see some of your work as well), and got such a detailed, rich experience reading the book, which was littered with beautifully presented images. Bravo!
I found the last 2 ("Tuesday" and "Today" )chapters to be my favorites, even though they were quite short. The way that Ginny fells about her "departure" from her home, especially the interaction with Michael, and her contented description of her new "home", were so telling. I found myself sympathizing with Ginny quite a bit throughout the book, and I am glad that you were able to introduce such a complex character for our enjoyment.
Lastly, your attention to this book club (reading some of our previously posted discussions, which were quite in depth and lengthy, and taking the time to thoroughly, and thoughtfully, respond to many of our members' questions) is very much appreciated, and wonderful in itself. Time is a commodity that very few people feel they have enough of (I wonder what Ginny would say about that ), and I feel as though I have spent mine wisely with the discussions here, and reading your novel. I wish you much success with the launch of your book, and whatever your current endeavors are..... Thanks, sincerely.
03-20-2008 05:23 PM
Margaret42 wrote:Poppy,Thank you for letting us read this book in advance, it was well worth it. I only have one comment and that is when I began chapter 20 "About Monday" and I realized what Ginny had done, I was completely blindsided. I find with many books you become lulled by the story, the tone and the pace and can sort of anticipate what may happen. When I have to sit up, and say "oh wow did I skip a page?" I like it, because it makes the story memorable and to me it means the writer has refreshingly "stepped outside of the box"Thanks again,Margie
03-20-2008 05:32 PM
I have to admit I'm a little nervous about publication now. I'm not sure my defences are ready. People forget how 'new' new authors feel!Poppy
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com