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Sarah-Blake
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Registered: ‎08-25-2009
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


kpatton wrote:

 

Sarah,  I also haven't had a chance to read all of the questions.  I have a question somewhat related to Sandy's.  Recently there has been (from my perspective as a reader) a surge of books that have WWII as the setting/theme.  Were you aware of this as you were getting your book ready for publishing and did this make any difference for you as a writer?
I found your story angle refreshing, informative and a so agree with Sandy "This is a gem for book clubs."  Thank you for your book.
Kathy

ssizemore wrote:

Sarah-

My question is also about the research.  Your characters are so convincing and the events seem absolutely faithful to what I have read and heard.

I do appreciate so much this opportunity.  This is a Book Club gem to be shared!

Sandy


 Hi Kathy,

 

There do seem to be a lot of WW2 books surging forward lately, it's true. The idea for Iris came to me in 1997 in the middle of writing my first novel, Grange House. It wasn't until 2000 that I really started to work on her story fully, and not really until 2003 that I was able to see how the three women might start to come together. All this to say that I think each book has its own timeline and trajectory and the fact that mine has ended up arriving with a number of others set during this time frame is sheer happenstance, but an interesting one, no doubt. I didn't really mean to write a WW2 novel, it just sort of arrived with the narrative necessity of setting the novel during a time frame when withholding a letter might matter.

 

Sarah

 


 

 

Author
Sarah-Blake
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


JaneM wrote:

ClaudiaLuce wrote:

Sarah,

 

After reading today's Thoughts for Today, I had to reply.  I think that the last line of the book "that's what the story knew" was just so perfect an ending.  I will admit to throwing my book down with a bit of frustration as I finished the last words you gave me, but then I realized that you had given me a perfect ending. 

 

Authors feed us their words, but no one can us an interpretation but us.  That is each individual's unique "story" from the author - their gift from the author.  While I read a story one way, you may read it another, and Joe Jones yet another.  This is the gift we all carry of being individuals and having different life experiences, imaginations, and so on and so forth.  As a READING teacher, I try to inspire my students to fall in love with reading by helping them to realize that authors provide us with words to read, but that we the readers are the ones who create the story by picturing the characters, the settings, the action - the "movies in our heads" that I describe to them.  Just what the stories know!

 

So many of the comments I read in these threads try to pick apart the story in these wonderful novels that we are given the opportunity to read! I can't help but wonder why these readers don't simply enjoy the gifts that the novelists have given us - a story to base our interpretations on.  I am thankful that there are so many talented writers who can inspire us to imagine ourselves outside our every day lives and bring us the pleasure of escaping these lives by creating scripts for our imaginations to follow.  Thank YOU for being one of the most talented of these and for bringing the characters of Harry, Iris, Will, Emma, Frankie, and Otto - as well as the reporters in Europe and all the people on the train - alive for me!

 

Thank you!

 

Claudia

 

 


 

Sarah, I want to add my thanks to those of Claudia for your Thoughts for Today as it relates to the story.  I found your answers very illuminating and thoughtful, and I also appreciate Claudia's comments as well.  I enjoyed the book thoroughly, with its unique perspective of three women and the war.  I believe Iris's Letter of Certification will stay with me for a long time - what a wonderful character she is.  Thanks for sharing your time and creation with us.


 

 

Thank you, Jane--and thanks for spurring me to really clarify and set down my own thinking about all this. You asked great questions!

 

Sarah

Author
Sarah-Blake
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


ssizemore wrote:

Sarah-

I just read your latest posts and couldn't help but respond one more time!  I read Grange House immediately before receiving The Postmistress.  Ironically, I picked it up thinking it might be a good Halloween time read and also because my family vacations in Maine (from Georgia) in the summer.  I loved your depictions of Maine and will look forward to reading your next book about Maine.

I must say that I have loved being a part of this book club and having the opportunity to read your latest novel.  The characters are so interesting and the timing of the story is unique.  It gave my much to think about and I can promise you my book club will be hearing about this "gem" of a book.  I will be watching for the release!

Best Wishes, Sandy


 

 

Thank you so much, Sandy! 

Sarah

Author
Sarah-Blake
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


CKindianCB wrote:

Hi Sarah,

I had a hard time reading your book.  The book was very well written and you made me feel as if I were there during the Blitz and I felt totally hopeless.  Most of my uncles served in the services during WWII.  I  can remember stories they told as we were growing up.  My only question is why you wrote about Frankie starting her menstrual cycle after the death of Will? Did you wish to convey that life goes on? Or to prove that Frankie was a women?

Thank you for sharing your book with us.

Carol


 

 

Dear Carol,

 

Frankie's period is part of building the credible world of the novel, but also I do think it's important to remind us that she is not one of the guys, at all. In fact, getting on the trains and having to think about sanitary napkins, as well as the disc recorder reminds us (me certainly) of what was involved for a female journalist, and how that might affect what she does on the trains. I wanted to imagine the war through the eyes of women and having to deal with one's period is something women simply can't get around--it's part of their experience in war and peace.

 

Sarah

Author
Sarah-Blake
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


dhaupt wrote:

Sarah, I'm responding to your thoughts thread the post from Saturday.

I think you succeeded wonderfully in your challenge because while reading the book especially in the London and train scenes I saw myself in the faces on the train and I heard their voices. You made me see the anguish and the confusion of the people with tickets to trains that didn't go anywhere. You made me feel the anxiety of the Londoners in the shelters and I shed quite a few tears because some of the observations made in the novel. You are a wonderful storyteller, you kept my rapt attention throughout the whole story. As one who read on schedule let me tell you it was torture waiting a whole week before I could dig into the novel again.


 

 

Oh Debbie, thank you so much!

 

Sarah

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ReadingPatti
Posts: 2,523
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

Sarah, Again thanks for such a great book. As I said before I really liked the strong women characters. I will be looking forward to reading you next book. If it is half as good as this one it will be a winner.

 

I am going to recommend your book to my library director and see if she will get it for our library.

I think our patrons would like to read your book.

 

I am going to recommend this book to my friends.

 

Thanks for sharing your talent with us. I love your writing and this book.

 

ReadingPatti.

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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

Sarah -- first, thank you for all your many responses to our questions, including mine.  Second,  thank you for your book, your writing and storytelling skills, and all the efforts it takes to share those with a broad audience.

 

I believe both you and your husband are writers.  Several people have asked here about your story telling framework and the explicit treatment of womanly sexuality, among other topics.  Do you consciously think about whether those treatments are "postmodern" versus "modern" or belong to some other emerging literary trend?  Certainly none of these are truly new issues, as those of us reading Don Quixote are having blatently illustrated.  Still, certainly I, and perhaps others of us as readers, would be interested in your perspectives on the writing trends and issues that impact artists like yourself at this point in the 21st century.

 

Pepper

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Author
Sarah-Blake
Posts: 66
Registered: ‎08-25-2009
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?



ReadingPatti wrote:

Sarah, Again thanks for such a great book. As I said before I really liked the strong women characters. I will be looking forward to reading you next book. If it is half as good as this one it will be a winner.

 

I am going to recommend your book to my library director and see if she will get it for our library.

I think our patrons would like to read your book.

 

I am going to recommend this book to my friends.

 

Thanks for sharing your talent with us. I love your writing and this book.

 

ReadingPatti.


Thanks, Patti! That's so great to have you out there spreading the word to your library and friends, I'm so glad you loved the Postmistress.
Sarah
Author
Sarah-Blake
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


Peppermill wrote:

Sarah -- first, thank you for all your many responses to our questions, including mine.  Second,  thank you for your book, your writing and storytelling skills, and all the efforts it takes to share those with a broad audience.

 

I believe both you and your husband are writers.  Several people have asked here about your story telling framework and the explicit treatment of womanly sexuality, among other topics.  Do you consciously think about whether those treatments are "postmodern" versus "modern" or belong to some other emerging literary trend?  Certainly none of these are truly new issues, as those of us reading Don Quixote are having blatently illustrated.  Still, certainly I, and perhaps others of us as readers, would be interested in your perspectives on the writing trends and issues that impact artists like yourself at this point in the 21st century.

 

Pepper


 

 

What a great question, Pepper! I have been very interested and a little bemused by the comments throughout these last three weeks referring to The Postmistress as postmodern, since I"ve never thought of myself as writing postmodern fiction. But your question here, and your post on the Final Thoughts about postmodern writing challenging the givens, or challenging a reader's expectations are clarifying, helping me understand what seems "postmodern." I do think that every generation of writer has the advantage of seeing what is possible in telling a story by reading our predecessors--as you say Quixote, Tristram Shandy, Clarissa--all the greats of the 18th century were shifting perspective and moving swiftly around the telling of a tale, all the time. But we bring to these old/new strategies, the voice of the present. And that voice, much of the time, is unconscious at first. Frankie and Iris's sexuality is fully conceived of by a 21st century imagination (think back to Jane Campion's Piano, similar in that the Holly Hunter character there was very much in keeping with the times, but the expression of her sensuality could only have been represented by a 20th century woman). Virginia Woolf, my great inspiration, moved in and out of people's heads and hearts all the time, and we as readers had to learn how to follow her, but now that kind of movement is often taken for granted--it becomes the water in which we swim. And for me, it was reading Woolf that showed me a way to try and represent or imagine what it feels like to be human, moving in and around, trying to capture the immense and tiny moments of being--as Woolf calls them--that happen for everyone often in the same moment.

 

I hope that answers some of your good question!

 

SArah

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mv5ocean
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎12-03-2008
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

Sarah,

I have had the pleasure of participating in several Firist Look books, but this one has literally taken my breath away.

I find myself wandering those streets, looking into those eyes, feeling the hope and likewise the despair and basically living these characters from start to finish!

Usually I connect the most with one specific character in a book and I noticed this time I felt for each and every character, especially the little boy who at last glimpse was heading out into the world utterly alone............it has been on my mind many times.

It has given me the incentive to go back and learn more about this time in history.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to be in the first group of people to take in this great story.

It has been an honor and I wish you great success!

 

Author
Sarah-Blake
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?


mv5ocean wrote:

Sarah,

I have had the pleasure of participating in several Firist Look books, but this one has literally taken my breath away.

I find myself wandering those streets, looking into those eyes, feeling the hope and likewise the despair and basically living these characters from start to finish!

Usually I connect the most with one specific character in a book and I noticed this time I felt for each and every character, especially the little boy who at last glimpse was heading out into the world utterly alone............it has been on my mind many times.

It has given me the incentive to go back and learn more about this time in history.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to be in the first group of people to take in this great story.

It has been an honor and I wish you great success!

 


Thank you so much! I'm so glad the book resonated and will send you back into that time--it's such an interesting, seemingly bottomless time period to study and immerse onself in.
Sarah
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libralady
Posts: 159
Registered: ‎09-23-2008
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

Hi Sarah,

 

I don't have any questions that you have not already addressed.  :smileyhappy:  I do, want to say thank you for allowing us to take a "First Look"  at your book.  The book transported me to a time before I was born and allowed me to get a real feel for what life was like during that time.  The characters were real and believable and I found myself experiencing the same feeling they did. 

 

Thanks again for making this book available and for spending the time with us. Best of luck to you!

"Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow"
Author
Sarah-Blake
Posts: 66
Registered: ‎08-25-2009
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


libralady wrote:

Hi Sarah,

 

I don't have any questions that you have not already addressed.  :smileyhappy:  I do, want to say thank you for allowing us to take a "First Look"  at your book.  The book transported me to a time before I was born and allowed me to get a real feel for what life was like during that time.  The characters were real and believable and I found myself experiencing the same feeling they did. 

 

Thanks again for making this book available and for spending the time with us. Best of luck to you!


 

 

Thank you, Libra lady!

 

Sarah

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ClaudiaLuce
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎01-31-2008
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

Sarah,

 

Thank you again for allowing us to be apart of your book, The Postmistress.  I can honestly say this has been one of my favorite First Look books.  I am going to buy a copy for my middle school library so that it will be available for teacher and upper level reader check out as soon as it becomes available.  I believe that it will be very much enjoyed! 

 

I will miss logging on to get your input, as I have looked forward to your thought for the day! The time that you took to interact with our group was much appreciated by all of us.  Thank you so much for that, you will never know how much that means to a group of readers.  As a teacher, I take that interaction back to my students.  Seventh graders get very excited by the fact that their teacher has actually had conversation with a "real author".  Thank you for allowing me to share that with them!

 

I look forward to your next book - with much anticipation.  I wish you much luck with The Postmistress.  I already know, however, that it will be a bestseller!

 

Readingly yours,

Claudia Henderson

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." -
-- Sir Richard Steele
Author
Sarah-Blake
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Registered: ‎08-25-2009
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


ClaudiaLuce wrote:

Sarah,

 

Thank you again for allowing us to be apart of your book, The Postmistress.  I can honestly say this has been one of my favorite First Look books.  I am going to buy a copy for my middle school library so that it will be available for teacher and upper level reader check out as soon as it becomes available.  I believe that it will be very much enjoyed! 

 

I will miss logging on to get your input, as I have looked forward to your thought for the day! The time that you took to interact with our group was much appreciated by all of us.  Thank you so much for that, you will never know how much that means to a group of readers.  As a teacher, I take that interaction back to my students.  Seventh graders get very excited by the fact that their teacher has actually had conversation with a "real author".  Thank you for allowing me to share that with them!

 

I look forward to your next book - with much anticipation.  I wish you much luck with The Postmistress.  I already know, however, that it will be a bestseller!

 

Readingly yours,

Claudia Henderson


 

 

Dear Claudia,

 

I'm so glad you liked the Postmistress, and from my end, it's been so valuable to be in the middle of conversation with "real readers"! Tell your students how important it is for all of us who are writing,or struggling to write, to know that there are readers out there who are actively thinking and responding. It means we send our missives out, and they are caught!

 

I wrote a good-bye and thanks in the Thought of the Day column, but in case you didn't see that--if I am reading in your area, do please come and introduce yourself and bring your students--I love talking to students!

 

best,

 

Sarah

Author
Sarah-Blake
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 

Hello everybody,

 

I can't believe this is the last day of the book club! The past three weeks have been immensely rewarding--you have made me think, and think hard, about many aspects of The Postmistress that until now I haven't had to talk about in a coherent way. Rachel's questions have been so excellent, such a great mix of open-ended and directive, and Paul's brief reminders of context, so useful.  No author could ask for more attentive, close readers, and I am tremendously grateful for the serious and insightful discussion the book elicited here. 

 

I will miss logging on every day and reading all the posts, hovering--dare I say it?--like Iris over all your mail. The community you have woven here--spun by Barnes and Noble--is a tremendous gift to readers and writers alike. 

 

Many of you have posted repeatedly and I feel I've come to know you by your comments and questions, and I do hope that when The Postmistress comes out in February, if I am reading somewhere nearby you, that you will come and introduce yourselves! And you can always find news of the book, or of events, on my website:

sarahblakebooks.com. 

 

I thank you all for participating and for reading and for responding--I will take your voices with me as the book launches!

 

all best,

 

Sarah Blake