AMERICAN HISTORICAL NOVELS discussion

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message 1: by Martha (last edited Aug 25, 2018 08:29AM) (new)

Martha Conway | 255 comments Mod
These comments were moved from the Author Announcement thread.


message 2: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments So delighted to be hosting this forum and discussing EDEN. The book is structured with interwoven historical and contemporary timelines.

The historical timeline covers the bulk of the 20th century. A pivotal event is the 1938 hurricane which ravaged the northeast and Rhode Island in particular. Since we are coming up on the 80th anniversary of the hurricane, I thought that might be an interesting focus for my TRIVIA QUESTIONS on Monday! Other points of interest - Pittsburgh during the industrial revolution, and Kansas City's existence as a hub for adoption during the middle part of the century.

I will be GIVING AWAY two signed copies of EDEN this week. If you would like to enter, please message comment with your name and at the end of the week I will enlist a random generator to pick a winner!

Wednesday evening at 8pm eastern will be when I hold a LIVE DISCUSSION - I will be on hand to answer any questions you may have real-time.

Thanks to all and looking forward to a fun and thought-provoking week!


message 3: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Evans | 90 comments Tracey Evans😊


message 4: by Laurel (new)

Laurel (ldhuber) | 27 comments Good to see you here, Jeanne!


message 5: by Martha (new)

Martha Conway | 255 comments Mod
The live discussion on Wednesday sounds like fun — great idea, Jeanne!


message 6: by Linda (new)

Linda Bridges (lindajoyb) | 68 comments I would love to have a copy of your book.


message 7: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Laurel wrote: "Good to see you here, Jeanne!"

Great to see you too!


message 8: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments MONDAY: Interview with "The Editing Pen" Book Blogger:

EP: Love having you over to visit. I brewed coffee and several flavors of tea. Which do you prefer?

JMB: I would love some mint tea – my favorite especially in the summer time when I just steep leaves from my herb garden in hot water.

EP: I’m so honored you stopped by to talk about your book, Eden. Before we begin, is that a gift for me? What is it?

JMB: I brought you an adorable black lab puppy. I know he’s full of energy and not quite house broken – but think of the companionship he’ll provide. Imagine long walks on the beach with him at your side. And I’m happy to dog sit anytime!

EP: So tell me (please help yourself to one of these freshly baked scones), if you could only use one sentence to introduce us to your main character, what would it be?

JMB: Becca Fitzpatrick is the apprehensive matriarch of a well-heeled family who is about to blow the lid off of everything.

EP: What is the most amusing phrase or behavior of your main character?

JMB: When Becca is a little girl, she survives the Great Hurricane of 1938, and is concerned afterward about the families of bunnies that had lived on their property. Not that this is terribly amusing, Becca actually has quite a challenging go of it.


EP: Which of Aristotle’s six elements did you find easiest: Plot, character, thought/theme, melody/rhythm, language/diction, spectacle/setting.

JMB: Setting all the way. My scenes are cinematic and the sense of place in EDEN is very poignant. EDEN is a quintessential, New England, shingle-style beach home where four generations summered together over the span of eighty years. After reading my novel, you’ll have picked out your favorite bedroom and may feel you’ve spent every summer of your life there as well.

EP: Who is your favorite playwright and why?

JMB: I would have to say Wendy Wasserstein is my favorite playwright. The Heidi Chronicles premiered in New York when I was living there, right out of college, forging out on my own and it made a big impression on me. Her cutting humor, intelligence, and feminist sensibilities were eye opening for me in 1989. Even after attending Smith College, it was powerful to see such a great work by a contemporary female playwright. It was a really big deal.

EP: What is one aspect where you are different from your main character? How are you two the same?

JMB: Becca and I are similar in that we both are striving for peace in the family (in my case, the price of being a Libra) We both value a sense of tradition and have spent countless hours volunteering in our communities – because we feel it is what was expected of us. And we’ve both embraced change later in life – letting go of certain expectations.

We differ in that Becca never leaves the house unless her hair, make-up, and clothes are pristine, even in the summer, even in the middle of a heat wave!! Her clothes are always pressed and her shoes match her purse. It’s not that I’m unkempt, but I am a little more casual and bohemian in my dress.

EP: How did you handle the various points of view in your story: keeping them separate, clear to the reader, etc.

JMB: My book is written in the close third person, which allowed me take on each POV character’s essence without trying for a unique first person voice for each. I think that made it easier. In addition my point of view characters hail from different generations – their differing ages and vernacular of the day made it easy to keep them separate.

EP: Do you have a specific writing strategy that you could share with other writers?

JMB: I am pretty disciplined about writing every morning – that is the time of day when I have the most energy, my mind is quiet, and I am creative. I sit down at my desk after the typical morning routine in which I include about fifteen minutes of meditation and another fifteen minutes of writing long hand in a journal.

EP: What is the most unusual item sitting on your desk this very minute?

JMB: I have a little brass figurine of the laughing Buddha on my desk right next to my computer. Whenever I take myself too seriously, he’s right there laughing at my earthly concerns.

EP: Anything else you’d like to share about your book, the characters, setting, theme?

JMB: I guess you can say the core of this story has been inside me all my life. I am the product of a hasty marriage when my mother got pregnant in college. Later, I met someone who talked openly about his feelings around being adopted. That meeting sparked a lot of “what if’s” for me. What if my mother had chosen not to have me? What if she gave me up? I dwelt on these issues during my early writing life where I wrote personal narrative and memoir.

But being an avid reader, I was driven to emulate the kinds of books I like to read: family sagas, works of fiction, especially those that span big time periods. I like multiple points of view and multiple chronologies. My thought was, if I only write one book in my life, why not write a big one?

EP: I’m so happy you visited. Please take the rest of these scones with you! Whoops, looks like the puppy likes scones too!


message 9: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Fun book details / trivia:

As a Smith College graduate, there is Smithie (heroine) in my novel....

As an avid squash player, there is also a squash player (although definitely not a hero)

There is significance behind my character's names.... thoughts?


message 10: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments GIVEAWAY reminder: Leave me a message with your name so I can enter you in the drawing


message 11: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Guest Reader Review by Suzanne Leopold:

Becca Meister has spent all of her summers living at her family’s estate in Rhode Island. The property is named “Eden” and has been owned by her family through multiple generations. Now in her 70’s, Becca is the current owner along with her two brothers. Her secure life becomes unhinged after her husband's death . She finds out that he has mismanaged their retirement funds and she can no longer support the upkeep on the house. She is forced to reach out to her family for help.

Fearing that this could be her last summer in Eden, she invites her children along with her brothers and extended family to celebrate July 4th. With the entire clan present, she hopes to secure a future for Eden. Becca decides that it's also time to reveal some Meister family secrets that originated in the house.

The mystery unfolds with Eden as a common thread that keeps the family connected. Throughout the highs and lows of each individual story, love and family prevails. I enjoyed reading this family saga by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg.


message 12: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Hope everyone has had a great Tuesday! I got so involved with revisions on my next book that I failed to see how late it was getting. REMINDER:
Please don't forget to drop your name on this ahead if you would like to be entered for the giveaway!


message 13: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments So tonight's topic is my writing / research process:

One great piece of advice I got from Anita Shreve (so sad we've lost her) is that you should do just enough research to keep the story moving forward. One of the first pitfalls I fell in when writing EDEN was my desire to include so much of the great information I'd uncovered in my research. It was during the revising process that I cut most of it out. It was noggin down the story and my book was reading too much like a history book! For the 1938 hurricane, I read many personal accounts written by survivors of the hurricane in order to create a scene that simulated what it may have been like to live through it. As far as maternity hospitals at the turn of the century were concerned, I did factual research, but read many first person accounts, again, written by women who had been forced to give their babies up for adoption. It was their emotional truths that helped me construct the scenes at the Willows Maternity hospital.

As I was writing a scene, I would stop when I got to a point where I was in over my head and do research. Like I said earlier, I only included just those bits in the narrative that would set the context and the era and not bog the story down.


message 14: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Guest Reader Review by Donna Hines:

Underneath the current responsibilities of raising a family, being a steward, tending to the needs of others is Becca with a stunning secret of her own.
How will Becca's daughter Rachel and this electrified yet strained relationship respond to this new found revelation.
The question most concerning is how her own family will respond to Becca's announcement and what will become of the homestead and illustrious home her father eloquently coined,"Eden."
Magnificent in all its splendor this is one to captivate all ages.
Lovely story, beautiful characters, heartwarming plot.


message 15: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Evans | 90 comments Tracey Evans. Thanks so much for the chance to win😊


message 16: by Dyana (new)

Dyana | 189 comments I hope the family can get together and save Eden. Maybe some secrets will lead to what can help save the place!


message 17: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Hi all! I am here for the live discussion:)


message 18: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments So some more on my writing process - I am not an outliner.... EDEN was 8 years in the making. It took a long time to complete the first draft and then underwent three years of revisions as I was basically going back to school on learning the craft of the novel.

I have the most energy during the day and decided to dedicate my mornings to writing. This required me reorganizing my life to some extent. Anything that is brainless - chores, paperwork, errands - I save for the afternoon. Doctors appointments and meetings I schedule for the afternoon. Mornings are sacred time.

I treat writing like a job and sit at my desk and turn off the internet and I write for four hours. It absolutely flies by.


message 19: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Guest Reader Review by Kristen Swanson:

Eden is teeming with secrets, courage, strength, abundant with tales from a dysfunctional family, and with a message that the spirit of family, though dim at times, can prevail anything that is set as an obstacle. With its' multi-dimensional and multi-generational characters and setting, Blasberg has hit it out of the park with her first novel. I cannot wait to see what she has coming for us next. I highly recommend Eden and it's a strong contender for my favorite novel so far this year.


message 20: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Another reminder to enter the giveaway to win an autographed copy of EDEN. Just leave your name in the thread. I will draw a winner on Friday!


message 21: by Dyana (new)

Dyana | 189 comments Dyana Hulgan


message 22: by Angela (new)

Angela Sanford | 82 comments I would love to read Eden. Thank you so much for the chance.


message 23: by Angela (new)

Angela Sanford | 82 comments I forgot to add my name to my earlier comment about the giveaway. Angela Sanford- Thank you again for the chance💖


message 24: by Debbie (new)

Debbie | 78 comments Thanks for the chance! I’m Debbie Scarpari


message 25: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Sanchez (goodreadscomeileen_sanchez) | 16 comments Jeanne wrote: "GIVEAWAY reminder: Leave me a message with your name so I can enter you in the drawing"
Would love to win your book. Eileen Sanchez
And I understand your post about too much "history" in a story. I did so much research on my historical novel as well. Too much backstory didn't let the story be told. My career as an educator impacted too. I am so thankful for my writing group that helped me to cut a lot of that out. Have you read Lillie de Jong by Janet Benton? You're comment about the women that had to give their babies up for adoption made me think of it. I believe you'd like it.


message 26: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments thanks- I'll look for it!


message 27: by Beverly (new)

Beverly Jeanne wrote: "Guest Reader Review by Kristen Swanson:

Eden is teeming with secrets, courage, strength, abundant with tales from a dysfunctional family, and with a message that the spirit of family, though dim a..."

Great Review! Sounds like a wonderful book.


message 28: by Stella (new)

Stella McKissack (stellamckissack) | 38 comments This book sounds amazing, with a great family story


message 29: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Tracey wrote: "Tracey Evans😊"

Please email jeanne@jeanneblasberg.com with your mailing address and put "goodreads giveaway" in the subject line!


message 30: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Debbie wrote: "Thanks for the chance! I’m Debbie Scarpari"
Please email jeanne@jeanneblasberg.com with your mailing address and put "goodreads giveaway" in the subject line!


message 31: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Eileen wrote: "Jeanne wrote: "GIVEAWAY reminder: Leave me a message with your name so I can enter you in the drawing"
Would love to win your book. Eileen Sanchez
And I understand your post about too much "history..."

Please email jeanne@jeanneblasberg.com with your mailing address and put "goodreads giveaway" in the subject line!


message 32: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Debbie wrote: "Thanks for the chance! I’m Debbie Scarpari"
Please email jeanne@jeanneblasberg.com with your mailing address and put "goodreads giveaway" in the subject line!


message 33: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Angela wrote: "I forgot to add my name to my earlier comment about the giveaway. Angela Sanford- Thank you again for the chance💖"
Please email jeanne@jeanneblasberg.com with your mailing address and put "goodreads giveaway" in the subject line!


message 34: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Dyana wrote: "Dyana Hulgan"
Please email jeanne@jeanneblasberg.com with your mailing address and put "goodreads giveaway" in the subject line!


message 35: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Tracey wrote: "Tracey Evans😊"
Please email jeanne@jeanneblasberg.com with your mailing address and put "goodreads giveaway" in the subject line!


message 36: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Linda wrote: "I would love to have a copy of your book."
Please email jeanne@jeanneblasberg.com with your mailing address and put "goodreads giveaway" in the subject line!


message 37: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Cox | 122 comments Martha wrote: "August 19, 2018
We are excited to have guest host Michelle Cox, whose Henrietta and Inspector Howard series has garnered many prizes. The first two novels, A Girl Like You and A Ring of Truth is n..."


Can't wait, Martha! Thanks for having me! Looking forward to some great discussions...so "tune in," folks!


message 38: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Cox | 122 comments Jeanne - you're a hard act to follow!


message 39: by Dyana (new)

Dyana | 189 comments goodreads giveaway!

Dyana Hulgan


message 40: by Martha (new)

Martha Conway | 255 comments Mod
Dyana wrote: "goodreads giveaway!

Dyana, to enter the giveaway, send an email message to Jeanne via your email program (gmail or hotmail, etc.). Her address is:

jeanne@jeanneblasberg.com

and put "goodreads giveaway" in the subject line.


message 41: by Angela (new)

Angela Sanford | 82 comments I tried sending an email with my ymail but it would not deliver to Jeanne's email. I sent her a message via Goodreads messages. I hope she received it.


message 42: by Dyana (new)

Dyana | 189 comments OK! I did! Hope she got it! Dyana Hulgan

Martha wrote: "Dyana wrote: "goodreads giveaway!

Dyana, to enter the giveaway, send an email message to Jeanne via your email program (gmail or hotmail, etc.). Her address is:

jeanne@jeanneblasberg.com

and p..."



message 43: by Dyana (new)

Dyana | 189 comments I did!! When will I receive? Thank you! Dyana Hulgan

Jeanne wrote: "Dyana wrote: "Dyana Hulgan"
Please email jeanne@jeanneblasberg.com with your mailing address and put "goodreads giveaway" in the subject line!"



message 44: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Michelle wrote: "Jeanne - you're a hard act to follow!"

I'm so impressed by you and your work!


message 45: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Cox | 122 comments Jeanne wrote: "Michelle wrote: "Jeanne - you're a hard act to follow!"

I'm so impressed by you and your work!"


Aw! Thanks, Jeanne. Hope we get to meet up someday. Are you going to the retreat in November?


message 46: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Evans | 90 comments I just got my book. Thank you so much. I can’t wait to start reading it.


message 47: by Dyana (new)

Dyana | 189 comments Thank you. I did like you said and I received the book yesterday! I appreciate you. Dyana Hulgan
Martha wrote: "Dyana wrote: "goodreads giveaway!

Dyana, to enter the giveaway, send an email message to Jeanne via your email program (gmail or hotmail, etc.). Her address is:

jeanne@jeanneblasberg.com

and p..."



message 48: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Sanchez (goodreadscomeileen_sanchez) | 16 comments Jeanne, thank you for the book! I'm itching to read it. Love the cover.
Eileen


message 49: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Blasberg (jeanneblasberg) | 49 comments Great! Enjoy, and reviews are always appreciated!


message 50: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Sanchez (goodreadscomeileen_sanchez) | 16 comments I'm loving it and almost finished! a review will happen.


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