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Author/Reader Discussions > In The King's Arms - Author/Reader Discussion

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message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (last edited Nov 15, 2011 03:50AM) (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10025 comments Mod
Hi everyone! This is the place to hang out and get chatty with In the King's Arms: A Novel author Sonia Taitz.

She will be talking with us for the rest of the month about her novel. Feel free to ask her questions about the book, her writing habits, her experience with publishing, or any other bookish things that cross your mind.

We are thrilled to have her here!


message 2: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10025 comments Mod
Hi Sonia, and welcome to TNBBC!

I'd like to start the discussion by asking you this:

I noticed on your blog (http://www.soniataitz.com/blog.htm?po...) that IN THE KING'S ARMS came incredibly close to being published nearly 25 years ago.

Do you mind sharing with us the differences between the process of getting published back then to now?

Did you change/edit/rewrite the story in the time that passed?


message 3: by Poof (last edited Nov 15, 2011 07:02AM) (new)

Poof Books | 3 comments I was one of the gals that was lucky to win a copy of IN THE KING'S ARMS. Congrats on your first novel.

You indicate this book was written 25 years ago which brings a number of questions to mind:

Did you write this while at Oxford?

Is any of this story autobiographical or those whom crossed your path at Oxford?


message 4: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Taitz (httpwwwsoniataitzcom) | 13 comments Lori wrote: "Hi Sonia, and welcome to TNBBC!

I'd like to start the discussion by asking you this:

I noticed on your blog (http://www.soniataitz.com/blog.htm?po...) that IN THE KING'S ARMS came incredib..."


I didn't write this book at Oxford, but rather several years later, when a relationship I'd had with a person at Oxford had fallen through. I felt lonely and sad in New York, and tried to reproduce the world I had left behind.

The story is autobiographical insofar as I am the daughter of Holocaust survivors, and I did go to Oxford. I also fell in love there. But the parents I write about are combinations of people I know, as are all the other characters. And the plot is mostly invented.


message 5: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Taitz (httpwwwsoniataitzcom) | 13 comments Lori wrote: "Hi Sonia, and welcome to TNBBC!

I'd like to start the discussion by asking you this:

I noticed on your blog (http://www.soniataitz.com/blog.htm?po...) that IN THE KING'S ARMS came incredib..."


Sorry, my last answer was to the wonderful person who won a copy of IN THE KING'S ARMS! As for your questions, Lori, I think it is even harder nowadays to get published by conventional means. In trying to sell my upcoming memoir, there were fewer publishing houses (they have all eaten each other up in Bigfish-Littlefish fashion, the book economy is up in the air, and an editor who loved my memoir got laid off as budgets were tightened. On the other hand, there is so much more freedom to get voices heard through ebooks, self-publishing, and the like!

As for whether I'd change anything, my son asked me the same question. What he wondered was whether I was as romantic as I once was. The answer is YES. And I wouldn't -- and didn't -- change a word.


message 6: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10025 comments Mod
How does it feel to finally see it in print, making it's way out into the world?


message 7: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Taitz (httpwwwsoniataitzcom) | 13 comments Lori wrote: "How does it feel to finally see it in print, making it's way out into the world?"

It's a source of deep joy to me. Anything you love, that you've put so much into - it's like a harvest of something you planted and tended for a long time. Like a child getting married or graduating, for whom you never lost hope. It's deeply affecting and rich.


message 8: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Honenberger (sarahhonenberger) | 20 comments For Sonia: While this book sounds like a historical novel, I'm not sure what the time frame is, and there was no search inside on Amazon. Do you feel you are a character driven author? If yes, do you compose a character sketch for each of your main characters? Other than your memoir in search of a publisher which you mention here, have you written other novels? What are you working on now?


message 9: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Taitz (httpwwwsoniataitzcom) | 13 comments The book takes place in the late 1970s, with flashbacks to the 1940s in war-torn Europe. I don't know if I'm a character-driven author, but personalities and their interactions matter most to me in a story.

As for the memoir, I think I am on the verge of a publication deal, and the book would come out a year from now, with the tentative title, TIME AND AGAIN. My father was watchmaker, and my childhood was filled with the sounds of cuckoos, grandfather clocks and all sorts of watches, ticking and tocking like Gepetto's workshop. My mother played the piano, and she often used a metronome to learn a new piece. So "time" means a lot of things.

I've got another novel which I'd like to bring out, dealing with a success-driven lawyer who gets pregnant accidentally, and falls in love with being a mother. (It's called LEGAL TENDER.)

My newest novel, which I just finished and am now revising, is DOWN UNDER -- it deals with just how a certain creative but chaotic person (very like Mel Gibson) came to be the way he is. What was his childhood like? Who broke his heart? What would heal it? I'm in the revision stage on that one.


message 10: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Dunkle | 13 comments Poof: Not all the winners of the book are gals.

Sonia: Following up on Lori's initial question, why did you decide to publish In the King's Arms now (or had it been a continuous or on/off process over the years) and why did you choose to go with McWitty? Did you do any revising of the book from when you initially wrote it or is it pretty much "as is"?


message 11: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Taitz (httpwwwsoniataitzcom) | 13 comments Hi Jon! What happened was that when my agent was trying to sell the memoir, I came across this wonderful small press, run by a husband and wife who had been Senior Editors at Time, Inc. I had a hunch they'd like IN THE KING'S ARMS, so I sent it to them and they fell in love with it. Just before I sent it to them, I looked at it and was surprised to see that it was fine just as it was.


message 12: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Honenberger (sarahhonenberger) | 20 comments If McWitty has only done those 5 books, how did you know their track record or what they could do for your book?


message 13: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Taitz (httpwwwsoniataitzcom) | 13 comments I liked the books they did, but most of all, I liked the publisher when I met with her. She was clearly a serious, responsible and intelligent person who loved books (and had written one herself, published by William Morrow -- the same house that had published my previous book, MOTHERING HEIGHTS). She's known in the business as an excellent editor (which came in handy as she checked my manuscript). Finally, she couldn't be more supportive, and I think of her as the midwife of my novel.

By the way, just before you posted your question, I learned that my memoir is a go -and it will be published by McWitty next October! She also said we couldn't call it TIME AND AGAIN -- that the title was well-known for another book. We might go back to the original title, which was WATCHMAKER'S DAUGHTER.


message 14: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10025 comments Mod
Congrats Sonia on your new book deal! And how wonderful that you are able to publish with the same publishing house. It certainly helps that you are comfortable with them and that they fell head over heels in love with your book.


message 15: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Dunkle | 13 comments Congratulations, Sonia!


message 16: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Taitz (httpwwwsoniataitzcom) | 13 comments Jon wrote: "Congratulations, Sonia!"

Lori wrote: "Congrats Sonia on your new book deal! And how wonderful that you are able to publish with the same publishing house. It certainly helps that you are comfortable with them and that they fell head ov..."

Thanks! Now that IN THE KING'S ARMS is doing so well (thanks in large part to you!), some people suggested that I go back to the "big" publishers. I wasn't interested. I love McWitty, and I'm glad to be doing another book with them.


message 17: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Taitz (httpwwwsoniataitzcom) | 13 comments Jon wrote: "Congratulations, Sonia!"

Thanks a lot. It's nice to be able to share this with you!


message 18: by Poof (new)

Poof Books | 3 comments Jon wrote: "Poof: Not all the winners of the book are gals.

Sonia: Following up on Lori's initial question, why did you decide to publish In the King's Arms now (or had it been a continuous or on/off process..."


Excellent point Jon not sure why I made that comment with a gender slant. Glad you were a winner too.


message 19: by Poof (new)

Poof Books | 3 comments Sonia wrote: "The book takes place in the late 1970s, with flashbacks to the 1940s in war-torn Europe. I don't know if I'm a character-driven author, but personalities and their interactions matter most to me in..."

I hope your parents had a good life after the horrors of The Holocaust. My Uncle was a survivor but was never really present in life and died fairly young. I will look for WATCHMAKER'S DAUGHTER next October.

TIME AND AGAIN by Jack Finney is a marvelous book that is loved in our household. Hubby and I do not share many books but that is one we fight over.


message 20: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Taitz (httpwwwsoniataitzcom) | 13 comments Poof wrote: "Sonia wrote: "The book takes place in the late 1970s, with flashbacks to the 1940s in war-torn Europe. I don't know if I'm a character-driven author, but personalities and their interactions matter..."

My parents lived full, productive lives after the Holocaust, but at the same time, their view of the world was forever altered. This affected me in every aspect of my life, from work to love (I write about it in my new online column for Psychology Today).

So glad to know you'll look for WATCHMAKER'S DAUGHTER!


message 21: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (lifeisasnap) Sonia- I was curious about your writing process; are you the type that writes any chance inspiration comes or do you pick a time of day and set that as your work schedule?
I have yet to pick up my copy of In The King's Arms but very much looking forward to reading it and your memoir.


message 22: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Taitz (httpwwwsoniataitzcom) | 13 comments Hi Sandra!
I have worked in both ways -- the inspired burst of creativity, and the scheduled daily writing. I'll try to explain. Sometimes, I'm between projects, and then I won't write creatively for a while (but I'd still do an article or an essay or blog). But when a strong idea comes, then I do start writing regularly. Then, once I've made headway, I begin each session by going back a little and reviewing what I've written. Doing that sends me into the day's work without having to face the new blank pages, If I'm about to write something deep or difficult, I'll light a scented candle.

I have to add that true inspiration doesn't happen every day, but it is worth waiting for. It's a rich, delicious feeling -- more like worship than work.

Thanks so much for your interest and let me know what you think of In the King's Arms. I may publish a chapter from my upcoming memoir somewhere in the coming year, and will let you know (on my website) if that happens.

All best,

Sonia


message 23: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10025 comments Mod
Sonia, what words of advice or lessons from past experience would you share with those of our members who are budding authors, or who have attempted to publish in past?


message 24: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Taitz (httpwwwsoniataitzcom) | 13 comments I would say that you should read a lot, and look for writers (both from the past and present) who really speak to you. These are the people who will teach you to do your own best writing. Remember that they, too, started as beginners, only getting better with more reading, with practice and with the growing confidence that comes with trial and effort.

That confidence piece is critical -- you can't write without it. So when taking criticism, whether from professionals or peers, keep in mind that not everyone will like what you are trying to do -- they may have different tastes than yours. Keep writing for the people who understand you. You will know the difference when you hear their criticism. Is it supportive? Have they read a lot, in different styles and genres?

And keep writing. Don't get so "married" to a particular project that you can't move on from it. If something isn't working (for you or your audience), it's sometimes best to take a break and do another project. In my case, I hadn't sold IN THE KING'S ARMS, but instead worked on a new project -- my memoir. And while trying to sell that memoir, I began working on a new novel. I feel that having many things going on helps you take rejection better.

One last bit of advice -- be prepared to be turned down, and wear these rejections as a badge of honor. It means that you've not only written, but you've put yourself out into the world. That takes courage. Pat yourself on the back for having the generous impulse to write and to share. And hope that one day, if you've worked enough and learned enough, your patience will be rewarded. If you can find even a small group of people who like what you do, and are inspired or moved by it -- you've found everything an authentic writer needs.


message 25: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Dunkle | 13 comments Well said, Sonia.

I wonder, from reading In the King's Arms and interviews with you I've seen online, if you've always been so optimistic and whether you feel you got that trait from your parents. I think hope, optimism and confidence are all closely related.


message 26: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Taitz (httpwwwsoniataitzcom) | 13 comments Jon, that's such an interesting and thoughtful question. I am sure that my parents gave me a lot of their strength and fortitude. More than that, my parents were very warm and supportive, and from a young age, I was respected for my opinions. Since my parents were immigrants, they often asked me what I thought about things, not only because they wanted to know me (which they did), but also because I was their ambassador to the New World. I could bridge ideas and cultures for them.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that my parents were the ones who made me feel I could accomplish a lot in the world, and that they were completely on my side.

There is nothing like the strong love of a parent in helping a person reach their full potential. If my parents were still alive, your comment would make them really proud, as they should be.


message 27: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10025 comments Mod
As we wrap up our discussion, are there any last minute questions you would like to ask of Sonia?


Sonia, I just want to thank you for taking time to hang with us here on TNBBC, and for being so absolutely fabulous about sharing information on your current AND upcoming novel!! I really had a blast getting to know you and wish you nothing but success!!


message 28: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Taitz (httpwwwsoniataitzcom) | 13 comments Thanks, Lori. It was a real pleasure, and I feel very honored to have been asked to share. I want to send my love and best wishes to all your readers, and to thank you for caring about the written word. Knowing you are out there makes it all worthwhile.

Stay in touch -- I'm at www.soniataitz.com and @soniataitz on Twitter.

Love,

Sonia


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