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Author
Joseph-Monninger
Posts: 57
Registered: ‎10-28-2009

Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

Not to sound too mystical, but I like to write.  It's what I do.  So the true joy of writing, for me, is the time I spend pursuing characters and plot and theme.  I love those moments when the writing goes well...when time passes and I wasn't aware of its passing.

 

As far as publishing....it's a long journey.  I sold my first short story in 1978 by finishing 3rd in the Redbook Short Story contest for people under 25.  That's more than 30 years ago!  I have been writing, more or less daily, for all that time.  I try to write 1,000 words a day.  It's dogged as does it, one writer said.  I usually wake early -- 5 or so -- and go out to my cabin in the back yard and do my work.  Then I come in and have tea with my wife.  I also teach at Plymouth State University, so I try to get my writing completed before turning my attention to that.  I do yoga in the afternoons, walk my dog, handle correspondence.  I like a cocktail at 5 or so and love to watch a movie a little later.  

 

This particular novel has been a real joy.  Simon and Schuster has been terrific.  I just heard that the finished novel is ready and should be in my hands tomorrow.  That's always a wonderful moment.  

 

 

 

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DSaff
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

Congratulations! It must feel like such an accomplishment to have the finished book coming to you. Thank you for sharing it with us.

 


Joseph-Monninger wrote:

Not to sound too mystical, but I like to write.  It's what I do.  So the true joy of writing, for me, is the time I spend pursuing characters and plot and theme.  I love those moments when the writing goes well...when time passes and I wasn't aware of its passing.

 

As far as publishing....it's a long journey.  I sold my first short story in 1978 by finishing 3rd in the Redbook Short Story contest for people under 25.  That's more than 30 years ago!  I have been writing, more or less daily, for all that time.  I try to write 1,000 words a day.  It's dogged as does it, one writer said.  I usually wake early -- 5 or so -- and go out to my cabin in the back yard and do my work.  Then I come in and have tea with my wife.  I also teach at Plymouth State University, so I try to get my writing completed before turning my attention to that.  I do yoga in the afternoons, walk my dog, handle correspondence.  I like a cocktail at 5 or so and love to watch a movie a little later.  

 

This particular novel has been a real joy.  Simon and Schuster has been terrific.  I just heard that the finished novel is ready and should be in my hands tomorrow.  That's always a wonderful moment.  

 

 

 


 

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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LindaEducation
Posts: 240
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

Hello Joseph, nice to meet you and thanks for taking the time from yor busy schedule to spend some time with us.

 

Is Mary's character based on any person you actually know or have known, or is her personality/character purely fictional?

 

Thanks, Linda

You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. -- Paul Sweeney
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DSaff
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

Welcome to the group, Joseph! It is wonderful to have you with us sharing some time and thoughts. I am totally enjoying your book. It is hard to keep to the schedule because I want to read ahead, but I am doing so. I have two questions. Why did you chose to begin your book with the ending? (totally pulled me into the story) and Can you tell us more about the crow story origins? You have a wonderful way with words and I look forward to reading more books by you.  :smileywink:

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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Vermontcozy
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

Hi Joe,Have you taught inner city students. that attend your school?.If so,have you brought them to Maine,or around New England.in general.Do your students know about "Eternal on the Water?"Do they know you are here with us on BN? Vtc...

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
Author
Joseph-Monninger
Posts: 57
Registered: ‎10-28-2009

Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

Well, you are awfully kind.  It means the world to hear that.

 

You know, the original idea for this novel was for a man and woman to meet on the river, fall for each other, then go their own way.  Then the man realized he let go the perfect woman and he tried to track her down.  I'm not sure how long that idea wandered around in my head, but it felt too thin to sustain a novel.

 

Here's a confession.  For a while we -- Kathy Sagan and I, my editor -- debated whether I had made the whole "come to Indonesia or not" element too complicated.  I still worry about it.  It may not have been important or necessary.  But it was kind of in the novel's DNA so I couldn't seem to get around it.  For Cobb -- at least in my mind -- the choice never really existed.  He was always going to stay with her.  

 

The odd thing about love stories, I think, is that they can't remain static.  We like seeing people fall in love, and we like the ending of their love...but the middle is difficult to dramatize.   Think of Romeo and Juliet.  We never saw them in their day to day life.  Unfortunately, many love stories fall back on the montage effect.. lovers running across fields and falling into each other's arms, eating ice cream, flying kites...As viewers or readers, we are supposed to get the idea that they are bound together.  It's just not very dramatic.

 

So the disease and the shadow of the disease helped off set that, I hope.  It gives the lovers an obstacle to overcome.  Ideally, it increases dramatic tension...

 

So that was my thinking.  Thanks for a great question.

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RNData_GK
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Registered: ‎09-02-2009
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

Hi, Joe. Thank you very much for writing such a beautiful novel about love, nature, and relationships. I think the Chungamunga girls are such fun and unique characters.

 

Cobb's main purpose to kayak down the Allagash was to follow Thoreau's path. Are you a Thoreau fan yourself? If so, have his life and writings influenced you in any way? You also seem to know so much about anthropology. Is it one of your interests?

 

Thanks again for being part of the discussion. I wish you more success!

 

Gigi

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Joseph-Monninger
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Registered: ‎10-28-2009
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

Thanks for the question about inner city kids.  I've been teaching for over thirty years, so I have had interactions with tons of kids.  I also spent a couple years at St. Paul's school.  There was a kid at St. Paul's a little similar to Francis -- his background, at least.  So I probably used him as a model or at least as a starting point. It's funny out little pieces of one's background fill out a novel.   

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Joseph-Monninger
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

Hi, Gigi....I think I pretended to read Thoreau in high school in order to be a proper hippie boy!  I was raised in New Jersey, but I quickly became drawn to the woods.  I spent days wandering around the old Watchung Reservation near Summit, New Jersey.  Gradually, my reading followed my interest.  Thoreau isn't easy sledding, as anyone who has read him knows, but he was an interesting man.  When I traveled down the Allagash I was aware of his affiliation with the river and the region.  I made a point of staying in the campground he had purportedly used.  Kind of silly, I guess, but symbolic, too.  Cobb does much the same thing.  Practically, Thoreau served as a reason for Cobb to be on the river.  He gave Cobb something to do.

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maxcat
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

There are bears near where I'm from, which is in the piedmont of North Carolina. I think my reaction would be the same if one charged me. They say not to run from a bear but lay down and play dead. In your case, Joe, it probably would not have worked and you wouldn't be sitting here talking to us today.

I love your book and am still reading it. The weddings intrigued me; the Chungamunga girls and the wedding with Wally as pastor. Nothing is ever said about vows or husband and wife. Is this because of Mary's disease? That she will believe she is married and maybe is not?

 

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Joseph-Monninger
Posts: 57
Registered: ‎10-28-2009
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

Hi, Maxcat...I think I should leave that question alone because of events later in the book.....sorry....J

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Vermontcozy
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger


Joseph-Monninger wrote:

Thanks for the question about inner city kids.  I've been teaching for over thirty years, so I have had interactions with tons of kids.  I also spent a couple years at St. Paul's school.  There was a kid at St. Paul's a little similar to Francis -- his background, at least.  So I probably used him as a model or at least as a starting point. It's funny out little pieces of one's background fill out a novel.   


Hi Joe,I also wanted to say how beautiful your writing style is,it flows so well.Being in Indonesia was great.Freddy,was just what I needed as a reader to see how Mary interacts with her brother.Cobb I must say  for me ,was not an unbelieveable  Significant Other.   I have had that all consuming,but healthy love in my life...It doesn't happen often...I could see the Island,you write very visually as well.Because I have read on a bit,I will not post any spoilers.Will chapters 9 and 10 have a separate  thread? Best..Vtc

 

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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KCSullivan
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

This may seem a bit trivial but why do you intorduce a 'round' character Jonathan Cobb in the very beginning of the book who is most frequently refered to as 'Cobb' and then the very next male character we meet is named 'Coop'. I found this confusing and needlessly so. Also the description of the conservation oficer named Barnes on page 1 & 2 is as follows; " He was a tall man with a broom-brush mustache and a dozen Maine Fish & Game patches on his mackinaw." Then on page 31 we encounter the aforementioned Coop, who also has broom brush mustache and "...a green jacket with a dozen patches on it,". Is it just me are do ALL the men in Maine look and dress alike, right down to the number of patches on their jackets. Minor details perhaps, but as the saying goes, the devil is in the details.

-Kathlene Sullivan

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kch
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

 


Joseph-Monninger wrote:

Thanks for the questions about the Chungamunga girls!  When I kayaked the Allagash River I arrived at the waterfall -- named, aptly -- the Allagash Falls around dinner time.  You have to portage around it.  When I pulled up to the portage trail two girls -- maybe 12? -- met me and asked if I needed help.  It was strange to meet them there, but I gradually realized an entire crew of girls were camped beside the falls.  The girls were bored and they helped me portage.  They told me everything they had been doing -- they had been out camping for a month -- and invited me to dinner.  They had two female leaders, and I could tell the female leaders were a little freaked out that these girls had invited this strange man to dinner.  So I thanked them and camped a few spots away.  In the morning all the girls came to send me off.  They were incredibly sweet and wonderfully pre-adolescent...giggling, screaming, shouting, and so forth.

 

By the way, at that same spot a rabbit -- Bunny? -- came to my campsite and let me feed her.  It was a sweet moment.  Later, when I wrote the novel, I made the connection.  

 

The Chungamunga girls are/is one of my favorite parts of the novel.  It is indeed good luck to run into the Chungamunga girls on the Allagash... 


 

 

Thank you for explaining the Chungamunga girls---they are a favorite part of this novel for me too. I have one of those pre-adolescent girls here at home and they are just so much fun (most of the time). Thank You for sharing this book with us.

Make it a good one.

Karen
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Jo6353
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

We have bears that dwell in the woods behind our house. They frequently travel through our yard and one day while going to get the mail my husband almost walked right into one of them. They visit our composter and look for birdfeeders but other than that we've learned to co-habitate with each other. Interesting observation....they look both ways when crossing the street! Jo in NW NJ
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eadieburke
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

[ Edited ]

I like the fact that we get to see Cobb and Mary interacting in another location (Indonesia). It gives another dimension to their characters. We get to see them first on the river setting and they fall madly in love. It gives credance to their relationship when a little time goes by and then they get together in another location and their love is still there and is continuing to grow.

 

Hearing about other members of Mary's family (Mother and brother, Freddy) allows the reader to realize that Mary isn't just a magical person who just showed up on the river. We can now identify more with Mary because she comes from a real family. It gives the story alot of feeling because we already know Mary's ending.

 

I think your decision to add the Indonesia element was a good one and important for us to see Mary as a real person!

 

Great book!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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Joseph-Monninger
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Registered: ‎10-28-2009
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

Hi....I'm not 100% sure, but I believe that was changed in the final draft.  Remember, this is an ARC.  Sorry if the Jonathan Cobb/Coop thing was confusing.  Didn't mean it to be.  And of course...all men in Maine wear green jackets and patches and live virtuous lives!  And most have moustaches!  

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KateBrianIsAwesome
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

Hi Joe,

   I was wondering if you had taken any creative writing classes. Eternal on the Water has the kind of writing that just flows naturally. I'm the kind of person that does not really read books with long chapters, but with your book I just loose tract of how many pages I have read. Also I was wondering what you majored in college. I'm 18 and about to go to college and I want to become an author but a book editor too so I was wondering how I should handle a major. I'm on chapter 11 so I'm sure I'll have more questions for you later on. Thanks for your time.

Reading can only make you more happy and smarter. :smileyhappy:

Visit my blog at http://teenbibliophile.blogspot.com/

- Mallory
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coffee_luvr
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Registered: ‎10-29-2009
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

 


Joseph-Monninger wrote:

Good morning....yes, I did visit all those places.  I've been to Yellowstone many times.  It's one of my favorite places in the world.  My son was in a Rotary exchange program in Indonesia, so I spent a month there...and did see aquariums full of turtles.  Freddy seemed like someone who should live there.  And as to the Allagash...yes, I kayaked it solo, as Cobb intended to do.  It took me four days to go 90 miles.  My wife and I try to kayak one river a summer.  I used to hike a great deal, but occasionally that felt like work....that pack, those miles, those hills!  Kayaking is a wonderful way to travel and to camp.

 

Regarding research....I wrote a book called Two Ton that took three years to research.  It's a book about a single night and a 1939 fight involving Tony Galento and Joe Louis.  I like the book very much -- it came out okay -- but it was exhausting to research.  I spent many afternoons in the Dartmouth Baker Library combing through old NY Times...

 

A quick story about research.  I once heard Robertson Davies interviewed.  If you don't know his work, I recommend it, especially The Deptford Trilogy.  This was at the 92nd Street Y.  Davies said the way a violin can get its voice back -- if it is lost -- is to bury the violin in sacred soil in a cathedral.  Then, after a certain time, the voice returns.  A woman asked him, where did you ever find such an idea?  He smiled and said, I made it up.  

 

In short, authors have to do enough research to make things feel genuine.

 

Doctrow said when asked how much research he did for a novel that he did "just enough."  So that's a long-winded answer to a short question.... 


 

Thank-you so much.  It is interesting to find out more about an author's inspiration and process in developing their story line. 

 

Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. ~Barbara Tuchman
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maxcat
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Re: Questions for Joseph Monninger

How did Freddie become the free spirited brother of Mary? Did you write about Freddie just as you wrote about the Chungamunga girls, through your experiences in Indonesia? Iliked the difference between Indonesia and the woods... It was like walking out of the woods onto a beach. The scenery described was unbelievable and yet surreal as if it was a place one always dreams about when they want to get away from the world's troubles and tragedies.

 

Maxcat

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost