It gives me a great pleasure to welcome a Contemporary Romance author to my site today. Earlier in the year, I have read and reviewed the first of her Stone trilogy ‘The Distant Shore’, and I’m delighted to be part of her book tour for ‘Under the Same Sun’, her newly released second book. Mariam, can you please tell us something unique about yourself?
Sure, let’s start with those adjectives in the title? You asked me to come up with them, but they aren’t mine. My publisher tossed them at me a few days ago, when I said I was boring. I’m hoping she knows me better than I know myself!
Now, unique? I don’t really think there’s anything unique about me. I’m pretty normal, boring. Does loving pink and collecting Starbucks City mugs count?
As I mentioned before, my publisher says that I’m frustrating, and obsessive, at times. I know about the obsessive: when I’ve started something I work and worry at it until it’s done. Obsessively, sometimes to the point of pain. I’ve not figured out the frustrating yet, though. Do you think she knows how much I frustrate my family? Very weird.
Well, I’ll reserve my observation of you for now . However, I would like to know: Who, living or dead, do you most admire?
There really is no one I admire the most. But there are a number of people I admire a lot: Eric G. Thompson, the artist who did the paintings that are featured on my book covers, for one. My publisher, Mary Chris Bradley, who is just awesome. My husband, because he knows nearly everything about math, physics and the universe. My oldest son, because he’s such a great physician!
In fact, I admire everyone who has a dream and works hard to achieve it.
That said, maybe I admire Walt Disney most! He once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it!” I firmly believe that, too.
Yes, let’s keep dreaming and make our dreams come true!
What inspired you to write your latest book?
Under the Same Sun is the sequel to The Distant Shore. The first book has an open ending, and the reader never learns if there’s a happy ending for Jon and Naomi. After the shooting at the Academy Awards, Naomi drifts away from Jon, and from life in general, and she leaves him. She says she needs a break, but does she really return to him?
So in Under the Same Sun their story goes on. You’ll go on a concert tour across Europe with Jon Stone, there will be stalkers, fans and marzipan, Naomi will have to face her irate father again, and she’ll dance with Jon on the shore of Lac Leman. There’s an abduction, and a feisty lady who rescues Naomi literally at the last minute.
Exciting! Tell us about your favourite book/author and if they influence your writing, and how?
I can see my publisher slapping her forehead, reading this, but: John Galsworthy and his Forsyte Saga. Seriously, that man was not afraid of writing sentences that are like music. And he has this slow, musing way of telling his stories. I know it’s no longer fashionable, but I love it. He also has a way of observing his characters that I really like a lot. And I’m fighting a lost fight for long books. I also really love Naguib Mahfus’ Cairo trilogy and Sigrid Undset’s, Kristin Lavransdottir. They are all, in my opinion, really great narrators. It may be coincidence, but all three of them also won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Wow. I must admit that I have not read all the great works by Nobel Prize winners. Maybe I should put that in my bucket list
Do you have a routine for writing? How long does it take you to complete your current book?
This is an easy one: I get up, make coffee, start to work, and stop when it’s time for dinner, more or less. Sometimes I have lunch. I work around the writing, or write, all the time. See, I’m alone at home all day long, and I really, really detest housework. So it’s an easy decision. Also, with the decision to write in English instead of my native German, I’ve written myself into isolation. I don’t have many friends here. And no one here knows I’m an author. Funny, isn’t it? I live in Germany, but my books are published in the US, so no one knows about me.
I’m working on my fourth book right now, and I’ve figured out that there’s a good writing rhythm for me: Start one book just after New Year, finish and submit it by the end of June, travel in July/August, come back home and write another one until Christmas. I’m hoping to keep that up.
So far, we have two things in common: first, writing in English, which is not our native tongue; second, our shared detest for housework – welcome to the club:)!
What do you do when you’re not writing? What’s your favourite pastime?
Traveling. The past two years I’ve spent the summer traveling all over the US and visiting friends. But I also really like to go downtown with my husband, do some window shopping, have a nice lunch somewhere, browse through a bookstore, that kind of thing. It forces me to get away from the computer for a little while.
I also like a good crime show in the evening, and hanging on the couch with the family. My favourite is Criminal Minds. It’s so far removed from what I write that it does not interfere with my own ideas. Oh, and The Mentalist and The Closer. Those are really my favourite shows.
WAIT! I FORGOT DOCTOR WHO! How could I forget Doctor Who! I LOVE Doctor Who, and most of all, David Tennant. He is so cute!
Aside from that, I don’t do a lot. Well, except for twitter and Facebook! I’ve made some wonderful real-life friends there, and I’ve gone and visited them in the US!
I am finding more and more common ground between us, Mariam – I LOVE travelling too, and I enjoy some of the above TV series, except Dr Who, which I don’t think I’ve watched a full episode, so you can have David
Do you use Social Media for promoting your work and communicating with other writers? What’s your take on it?
Let me put it this way: I met my publisher on twitter. That should tell you how important it is for me. I do promote my books on Facebook and twitter, and I blog, but more important than that for me, is the direct connection to my readers. It’s easy to get lost in writer-talk on twitter, but that’s not what really matters to me. What I really love is talking to my readers, and chatting with them about my books! That is so cool, getting their feedback, and telling them little secrets about my characters, myself, and the latest book. I’d say it’s the best part of being an author, getting to meet so many people, and to see that I’m giving them something they enjoy. That’s what makes my day.
Totally agree with you there, Mariam.
Do your characters talk to you? Have you ever used people you know as a character?
No, and no. My characters don’t talk to me, they talk to each other, and I listen. It’s like watching a very, very long movie that is going on in my head. Sometimes I take over the part of one of them, but then it’s more of a soliloquy than a dialogue.
When I do that—slip into the skin of one of the characters—it’s more to find out how he or she would act or react in that specific situation, than to have a conversation.
I have never used a real person as a character. Where would be the fun in that? I’d limit myself to describing someone already existing instead of inventing a new personality.
I’m afraid that I’ll have to beg to differ – I use real people all the time in my books and that is FUN! I guess once they become characters in a book, they would take on different and new personalities – we fiction authors are supposed to make them interesting or unique .
If you could go anywhere in the world to write your book. where would it be?
A porch. Definitely a porch. And I’d like it to be somewhere on the East Coast of the USA, maybe Connecticut or Rhode Island, close to the shore, but not directly on the water, and in a small town. I wouldn’t mind if there were a view of a valley or something, and some sycamore and maple trees. Two cats, please, and inside my house, a nice study with a good desk chair. See, I keep whining and yammering about wanting to live in the middle of New York City, but really. Who would want to be stuck there in summer, when you can’t move outside without breaking into a sweat? Or in winter, when you get all the slush and dirt?
Maybe I could live close enough to New York so I could take day trips there? That should work!
New York sounds great! But nowadays as long as we have our internet and computer, we could be anywhere yet everywhere
Here is a challenge: describe your latest novel within 140 characters, as in a tweet.
Stand with Naomi on a lonely beach as she faces her greatest threat—and discovers that nothing is more important than her love for Jon.
Hey, I did it!
About the Author: Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Mariam lived in Brazil and Saudi Arabia with her parents as a child before they decided to settle in Germany. She attended school there and studied American Literature and Psychology at Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, where she met her husband. She lives in Hamburg, Germany, with her husband, two sons and two cats.
You can follow Mariam on twitter @Mariam_Kobras or on Facebook (Mariam Kobras).
This was the ninth stop in Mariam’s Blog Hop celebrating the launch of her latest book, Under the Same Sun (Book II in the Stone Trilogy) which hit the Amazon.com bestseller list on its first day on sale!
We hope you enjoyed her interview, and invite you to write a comment below about this blog post for a chance to WIN one of three copies of Under the Same Sun (plus some pretty gosh, darn, yummy chocolate)!
You can get additional chances by following Mariam at every stop on her hop and leaving comments after each post. And hey, while you’re here, why not follow this blog—you won’t regret it.
Join Mariam tomorrow, 10/26 when she stops by Katie Weiland’s blog. Join us there!
Check the blog for the full calendar and more details about Mariam and her books!