Interview with Romance and Inspiration
1. Where did the idea come from for the book?
The ideas came from my own life. My own life is definitely the inspiration for The Eighth Wonder. They say write what you know, so I wrote about academia, being an academic for the last 20 years. I wrote about loss in death of my father, not making much of that up. I wrote about being a career-driven woman who did not choose to have children, again, my own choices in life and I wrote about loving someone that was unobtainable.
As a psychologist, I have counseled men and women struggling with extramarital attractions and understand the emotional conflicts those endure who deeply value fidelity but still feel the pull of falling in love with another, even when one party or the other appears to be happily married. These experiences led me to talk more about infidelity as one of the themes of the book as well as loss of loved ones, since I often deal with grief, especially the loss of a child, as Tom lost his daughter to leukemia.
2. What genre does your book fall under?
Commercial fiction/mainstream – generally a story about trust, love, loss, and self discovery.
3. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I get this question more than you know – I have Julie Roberts in mind for Nicole, Dane Judy Dench for Carol, and perhaps a young Kevin Spacey for Tom.
4. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A modern day Bridges of Madison County, Nicole Benson, 35, is a self made woman who sacrificed marriage and children to earn her Ph.D. at NYU with dreams of teaching an Ivy-league school until she meets Tom Ryan, 44, married 23 years and shattered by the death of his daughter to leukemia.
5. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My last four books were represented by an agent and John Wiley, those are nonfiction. The Eighth Wonder is my first work of fiction, this is published by Authorhouse, a semi self publisher from what I can tell as they offer most of the services that Wiley had. I am not always sure of the difference these days as there is a rapid merging of publishing houses.
6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Writing became my therapy during my recovery from eye surgery. I had retina detachments and it was unclear if I would regain my vision. I was homebound for four months, during this time I wrote The Eighth Wonder.
7. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Nicolas Sparks usually has some theme about love but it is strained due to outside commitments and conflicts, yet the characters grow in the end and are indelibly changed. The Eighth Wonder would fit generally into this genre.
8. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Since I was eight-years old, I wanted to be a writer. The greatest feeling in the world was when the ideas flowed and I just wrote my heart out. Those cherished moments when I could see the story unfolding and I almost couldn’t type fast enough to catch up with my thoughts.
The hardest part about writing fiction is when things feel stuck. It was a lonely experience being a writer. You are just so in your head all by yourself. No one else can help you find your voice. It is talent and hard work to be a writer. It is that creative need to write. The process is just lonely. But, (and it is a big BUT) there is nothing more satisfying than reading a chapter or scene I wrote, knowing it was just what I wanted to say. It was exciting to see what was going to come next with The Eighth Wonder. I had no outline or plan when I started the novel. Writing it felt like I was connecting to the deepest place of my heart.
9. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
One interesting fact is that I wrote the entire novel without ever visiting the real
. As I mentioned, I was homebound
for months after retina attachment surgery so I couldn’t leave. I searched the Internet for a place where Tom and
Nicole could meet. That is when I discovered The Kinzua Bridge, once dubbed The
Eighth Wonder of the World as the longest and tallest railroad bridge when it
was built in 1882. I had a romantic relationship with the bridge when I read
about that day. All at once, the entire story came to me. I saw the title, the
way the couple could engage the bridge, the cabin where they would later meet.
It was sweet reading about the history of the bridge, and it almost becomes a
third character as the backdrop of the story. Kinzua Bridge