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Distinguished Bibliophile
pen21
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

I just finished the book. Very good ending.

What the story left me with was that a true news story was just about the people, be it their voices, their names, or just a small piece of their story. I like the open ended part of their lives. It leaves me to decide where Frankie, Iris or Emma will take their lives. But this book gave me a glimpse of their lives in this time frame and how they all intersected.

Thanks for a good read.

pen21

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eadieburke
Posts: 1,925
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

[ Edited ]

Sarah-Blake wrote:

 


quiltedturtle1 wrote:

Sarah

 

I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your book. I love history and your story gave us a look at the part that is usually overlooked. At the end of the story, I kept wondering what happened to the three women. Will you be writing a sequel to it?

 

Thank you again for such a wonderful story. I will definitely recommend it.

 

Thanks....

Cathy


 

 

Hi Cathy,

 

Thank you so much for your nice words about the book. I'm very glad.

 

As to a sequel, no I'm afraid. I'm leaving the forties and venturing into the present day with my next novel, and travelling back to Maine where my first book was set!

 

Sarah


 

Sarah:

 

Just wanted to say that I really loved reading your book. The characters really came alive for me. I liked the use of the sudden scene switching. It made it interesting to read about what was happening somewhere else at the same time as the last scene. Just like real life!

 

I just got a copy of your first book, Grange House, and I look forward to your next novel!

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

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

 

 

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." -
-- Sir Richard Steele
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ReadingPatti
Posts: 2,524
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

Sarah, I am enjoying your book a lot. The characters are very real. When you read your book, you come to know these characters and they seems real to you.

 

You bring the reality of WW2 to life. You let your readers know what is going on in London and in the US.

I love the fact that you used women as the main characters. They are strong women for their time.

 

I am going to recommend this book to my friends. I can't wait until you next book comes out.

 

How did you decide to use women as the main characters?

 

Are you working on your next book?

 

Great work.

 

ReadingPatti

Wordsmith
kpatton
Posts: 206
Registered: ‎11-27-2006
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 

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


 

 

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JaneM
Posts: 152
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?


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.

Jane M.
Wordsmith
kpatton
Posts: 206
Registered: ‎11-27-2006
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 

Sarah,  I am late in getting to these posts, but wanted to read your responses.  I thank you for telling us about how you let your characters come into being.  It is interesting that Frankie, who was such a central character in your book, didn't surface for you from the beginning. 
Kathy

 

Hi again,

 

I love Kelly McGillis--I agree she has that great mix of intellect and graceful charm. Frankie walked of the bus and into Franklin on page 100 of my very first draft, and I had no idea what she was doing in town or why she had come. All I knew was that she was a war correspondent, and that she had fled the war in Europe. I was already interested in trying to capture the time when Europe had already been at war for nearly three years, and we had not been involved at all. And I had been reading a lot of of reporting about the war and I grew more and more intrigued by the difficulty reporters in war must have with detaching themselves from what they saw in order to report. The figure of a war correspondent became increasingly interesting to me and clearly pointed me toward having Frankie grapple with issues of objectivity.

 

Sarah


 

 

Author
Sarah-Blake
Posts: 66
Registered: ‎08-25-2009
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


emers0207 wrote:

I'm not sure if this has been asked yet, but I was particularly impressed with your theme of separation, specifically for those of mother and child (e.g. the boy and his mother who is killed during the blitz, the British mother wispering to her dying baby, the mother and child separated by the crowd at the train station, the mother who accompanies her boy on his train ride to freedom knowing she will have to say goodbye, etc)  You do an incredible job of portraying these incidents and as a mother myself I found them so powerful they were often hard to read.  Did this theme come from anything specific? 


 

 

Hi Emers,

 

I think ever since I became a mother,(and I have two sons)-- I think about people in hardship/war/refugee camps very specifically in terms of how they are caring for their children, if they have them. Somehow this is always where my imagination goes--and I try and imagine both from the child's point of view and the mother or father's. So, it's not so much a theme as perhaps a rut in my own imagination! But I'm glad the scenes resonate--the one that was most affecting for me, really--is the one at the end where the mother leaves her child on the train to go on without her. It breaks my heart to think how often that must have happened.  Sarah

Author
Sarah-Blake
Posts: 66
Registered: ‎08-25-2009
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


ClaudiaLuce wrote:

Sarah,

 

Welcome to First Look.  Thank you so much for allowing us to read The Postmistress, sharing this wonderful novel with us before it becomes available to  the public.

 

I really don't have a question for you.  I do have a whole lot of thank yous for you.  I really appreciate your "Thoughts for Today". Thank you so much for those.  They have given me a whole new insight into this delightful novel and the characters who inhabit it.  I now realize what makes Frankie uniquely Frankie and why she is such a strong, strong-willed person!  Rarely do we have such an inside look into the novels we read; it is a pleasure to know these things! So, thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us.  I have printed that topic off, placed it inside the cover of my ARC, and will refer to it when I read this book again - which I will at some point in the future.

 

Thank you for writing such a glorious novel.  Both my mom and dad were alive during this time period; I am a baby boomer and I remember many conversations they had in reference to these times - while they were "courting". My dad served in the army in Italy, as did my father-in-law, during WWII.  Our family has heard numerous stories of this time period, many of which are reflected in this novel.  Mama used to talk about the hysteria around the Cape Cod area concerning U-boats and their possible appearances there.  We had cousins who lived in Maine, and they spoke of the 24 hour watches for the appearance of a U-boat on the horizon!  You portrayed that immaculately with Harry and his fear, culminating with his heart attack at the appearance.  Delicious!!

 

My congratulations on what has to be a best seller!  Wonderful novel!  Thank you again for sharing it with us!

 

Claudia

 


 

Thank you so much, Claudia! And how interesting to hear that your parents passed along the fear that existed on both coasts--the Cape and Maine--about Uboats. It was honestly news to me until I started going deeper and deeper into my research. Such a strange thought to realize just how close in the Germans actually were--poor Harry, he got what he was looking for.

 

Sarah

 

Author
Sarah-Blake
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


AIRKNITTER wrote:

Hello Ms. Blake,

Have you been in negotiations for the movie rights? I hope so because this is definitely a "big screen" story. Thank you sharing The Postmistress w/the F/L book club. I was indeed a grand read.

Wishing you much success with all your future writing.

Aine


 

 

Dear Aine,

 

Thanks for saying that--it would be great to see the story on a big screen, but meanwhile, it's more than thrilling to have it come alive with all of you! 

 

SArah

Author
Sarah-Blake
Posts: 66
Registered: ‎08-25-2009
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


Suetj wrote:

Hi Sarah-I really enjoyed your Maine moment!! Baboon-now that is funny. I savor Maine-we travel there in the summer.  the people of New England are so straight forward like that...love your reference.  It remeinded me of a shopkeeper in Maine where I go antiqueing.  She is blunt -tells it the way it is!!  Thanks again for your wonderful research that you put into this novel!


 

 

Hi Suet,

 

You are welcome! The research led me deeper and deeper into some of these characters' heads, and also into the way they would speak, how tart Iris is, for instance--like the shopkeeper you describe.

 

Sarah

Author
Sarah-Blake
Posts: 66
Registered: ‎08-25-2009
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


climbinggirl wrote:

Hi Sarah!

This book was really good and I'm glad that you gave us the chance to read it first!  My big question is where you got the idea for Frankie Bard's stories? They were fascinating to read!

Thanks so much!

Sarah :smileytongue:

p.s.


 

 

Hi Sarah--

 

Frankie's stories came from all over: the story of the boy coming home and finding his mother gone is from my head; the story of the anti-air craft gunners is from my head with a lot of research into those gunners stations and how they were positioned; Thomas's story was told to me by a woman sitting next to me on a plane--though it had a different, and less horrifying ending; the mother and boy on the train was made up; the Beethoven's V story was made up but dramatized something that could have happened all over Europe, as they really were humming the first bars of the symphony as a sign of resistance.

 

Sarah

Author
Sarah-Blake
Posts: 66
Registered: ‎08-25-2009
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


scnole wrote:

Sarah,

 

I don't have a question for you.  I just wanted to let you know I loved this book.    I am recommending it to all my friends.

 

Mary Ann


 

 

oh, Mary Ann, thank you so much!!

 

Sarah

Author
Sarah-Blake
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


pen21 wrote:

I just finished the book. Very good ending.

What the story left me with was that a true news story was just about the people, be it their voices, their names, or just a small piece of their story. I like the open ended part of their lives. It leaves me to decide where Frankie, Iris or Emma will take their lives. But this book gave me a glimpse of their lives in this time frame and how they all intersected.

Thanks for a good read.

pen21


 

 

You are very welcome, pen21--I'm glad you liked the ending! Thanks for letting me know, 

 

Sarah

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

 


eadieburke wrote:

Sarah-Blake wrote:

 


quiltedturtle1 wrote:

Sarah

 

I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your book. I love history and your story gave us a look at the part that is usually overlooked. At the end of the story, I kept wondering what happened to the three women. Will you be writing a sequel to it?

 

Thank you again for such a wonderful story. I will definitely recommend it.

 

Thanks....

Cathy


 

 

Hi Cathy,

 

Thank you so much for your nice words about the book. I'm very glad.

 

As to a sequel, no I'm afraid. I'm leaving the forties and venturing into the present day with my next novel, and travelling back to Maine where my first book was set!

 

Sarah


 

Sarah:

 

Just wanted to say that I really loved reading your book. The characters really came alive for me. I liked the use of the sudden scene switching. It made it interesting to read about what was happening somewhere else at the same time as the last scene. Just like real life!

 

I just got a copy of your first book, Grange House, and I look forward to your next novel!


 

 

Hi Eadie,

 

I'm so glad the characters felt alive to you--that's great to hear. And I'll be curious to know how you find Grange House after all the war of The Postmistress--you'll find several strong women in that one as well, although Victorians!

 

Sarah

Author
Sarah-Blake
Posts: 66
Registered: ‎08-25-2009
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


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

 

 


 

 

wow, Claudia--that is such an inspiring response to get from a reader, thank you so much. I do think all of you reading aloud together in these posts bears evidence to what you say--it's all your stories now, and it's unbelievably illuminating for me to see how and in what way the story becomes itself still further through your voices. I am grateful for your words.

 

Sarah

Correspondent
ssizemore
Posts: 70
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

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

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CKindianCB
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎12-06-2008
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

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

Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,839
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

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.

Author
Sarah-Blake
Posts: 66
Registered: ‎08-25-2009
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Re: Questions for Sarah Blake?

 


ReadingPatti wrote:

Sarah, I am enjoying your book a lot. The characters are very real. When you read your book, you come to know these characters and they seems real to you.

 

You bring the reality of WW2 to life. You let your readers know what is going on in London and in the US.

I love the fact that you used women as the main characters. They are strong women for their time.

 

I am going to recommend this book to my friends. I can't wait until you next book comes out.

 

How did you decide to use women as the main characters?

 

Are you working on your next book?

 

Great work.

 

ReadingPatti


 

 

Dear Patti,

 

I'm not sure I ever really decided to use women as main characters, Iris, Frankie and Emma kind of appeared and grew bigger in my head as I wrote. I wrote quite a lot about Will and Harry and Otto, but gradually they receded a bit as the need to flesh out the women still further became greater.

 

I am beginning work on my next book, yes! Just percolating.

 

Sarah