Meet author Deborah Nam-Krane my first official choice for The 2013 Danielle-Claude Indie Books Discovery Award
"This has been a great year for me! I got to meet a lot of wonderful authors and realized that I wasn't going mad. Hearing all thos...
"This has been a great year for me! I got to meet a lot of wonderful authors and realized that I wasn't going mad. Hearing all those voices just came with the job!"My favorite author so far is Deborah Nam-Krane who has been selfishly keeping her second novel The Family You Choose in the volt until September 27th. But I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek...but first I gave Deborah 20 questions but she only had to answer 10-15.
What does Deborah Nam-Krane want us to know about her?
As a woman, what drives you?
As a person, what drives me is fairness. A lot of times that means my energy is directed toward anti-prejudice, but sometimes you’ve got to focus because there is so damned much! Over 250 years after the First Wave of Feminism, “feminism” is still a dirty word. And then the level of racism in some quarters is appalling. The violent anti-Muslim, anti-Arab prejudice in the US really needs to be taken care of, but the racism against Latinos and, of course, African-Americans really hasn’t abated either. And the homophobia and transphobia is just as horrible. Why is this my issue? Because I’m a mother of four and I have a responsibility to make the world a better place for them.
Can you tell us about The New Pioneers Series?
At the risk of sounding grand, at heart it’s a story about what makes America great, but I try not to beat people over the head with it. The first book opens at a university, but the action won’t stay centered there forever. It’s about people from different backgrounds coming together, finding out each other’s secrets- as well as their own- and coming together to make something better than it was. In some cases that’s simply each other’s lives, and in other cases it’s a larger project. It’s the kind of thing that happens when ideas meet ambition- and hope.
Happy Ever After or Happy For Now? Why?
Especially for the age range I’m writing for, I think Happily Ever After a lot of times ends up being Happy For Now or at least, we’ve got to revisit this every once in a while. Let’s just say that if anyone paused a little bit at the ending of The Smartest Girl in the Room, The China Doll might give them a little bit of vindication. (China dolls are beautiful but fragile things, and care must be taken so they don’t break.)
On the flip side, Miserable Ever After is also something that can be revisited, and you might want to keep that in mind when you read The Family You Choose.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in your books?
I’m all over the place in them! I’m stubborn and ambitious like Emily, I’m dreamy and romantic like Miranda, I’m take-no-bs like Jessie and I can be understanding and reasonable like Zainab (although not nearly as much as she is). And I have my secrets like Alex and Lucy. And finally I like to be the protector, just like Emily and Richard.
Describe yourself in five words…
Compassionate, analytical, intelligent, stubborn and honest
(In your humble opinion) best and worst book to movie adaptations…
Oh, Anna Karenina without a doubt is always a tragic mess when done on screen. When I see trailers I think, dude, did you read the book?! Everyone wants to make it an epic love story, or even Anna giving into passion, but that isn’t the way the book reads at all. She feels herself giving into ruin from practically her first meeting with Vronsky, and she’s unable to stop it. It seems like when people tell the story on screen they really want to tell Madame Bovary.
Best? The BBC version of Othello from a few years back. Christopher Eccleston played Iago, and he got all of it. The writers also grasped the larger political implications of the story, which I haven’t seen in any other version.
If you were a character in your book you would be…
There’s a lot of me in all of them, particularly Emily and (believe it or not) Miranda, but Richard is the character I gravitate to easily and want to put him everywhere (but I don’t!). In both The Smartest Girl in the Room and The Family You Choose, he’s a bit of a hero- but you’re going to see in The China Doll that he is very human- and you’ll understand why.
Time for over and under… (In your humble opinion) famous overrated/underrated book?
Anything by Hemingway is overrated. He’s okay in small doses, but it grates on my nerves when people worship at his altar.
Running Scared, without a doubt. The best movie of the Eighties- conversation over. Alright, you need a little convincing? Gregory Hines. Enough said.
Time for favourite: song, color, book, TV series, movie, food, drink…
Wow, these are always the worst questions for me because as picky as I am there is a lot of good stuff out there. But here goes!
Song: Eronel by Thelonious Monk, hands down my favorite musician ever.
Color: Green, surrounded by pink :-) (Sorry, that’s as close as I can get!)
Book: The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony by Roberto Calasson
TV Series: Mad Men. So perfect on so many levels- the characters, the setting, the message. It perfectly the world of advertising as a metaphor for the emptiness people felt in the Sixties.
Movie: Before I would have said Citizen Kane, but having gone on an Orson Welles binge this summer I think I like his version of Jane Eyre a little better- but then I’m a sucker for a good Jane Eyre.
Food: Unfortunately there’s a lot I can’t eat anymore, but I think I can still say vegetable sushi.
Drink: Kombucha! But I’m such a lightweight even that gets me drunk now.
How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?
Before I write, I have a pretty good idea of how it’s going to end and how the next one is going to begin. But almost always my characters will tell me I have at least one more beat to play before that song ends, so to speak.
People are always asking me this so I’m paying it forward. Where does your inspiration come from?
Living life in the big city. When I was younger I wanted to be able to write about these quiet lives that took place in off-the-beaten road places. Years later I realized I don’t know anything about that, and my imagination can take me only so far. Once I embraced my surroundings, I found the stories I could tell were much richer.
What are you working on right now?
A bunch of projects: finessing The Family You Choose, getting edits done for The China Doll, and developing what’s going to be the fifth book in the series, tentatively entitled The Golden Boy Returns. (Isn’t that a great title? I’m going to cry if someone takes that before I can write the book!) There’s been a lot of political garbage I’ve seen in the last few years in Boston and Massachusetts, and something happened a few months ago that finally made my creative brain snap and come up with what I think is going to be a very juicy plot. It’s still in the planning stages, but it’s going to be my chance to write some wrongs fictionally that I didn’t get to do anything about in the real world. Stay tuned!
Aside from that, I’m also working on a non-fiction book about homeschooling which, I know, just screams romance and chick lit.
If you could have a power or ability what would it be?
The power to heal people, even if it’s only of minor chronic physical pain. I feel like we’re all walking around in such a compromised state, and even one little improvement would make a huge difference to the rest of our lives.
The Family You Choose
Series: The New Pioneers Series - #2
Release Date: September 27th 2013
Author: Deborah Nam-Krane
Publisher: Deborah Nam-Krane
Blurb:Miranda Harel has been in love with her guardian Alex Sheldon since she was five years old, and Michael Abbot has despised them both for just as long. When Miranda finds out why she wants both men out of her life for good and questions everything she believed about where and who she came from. Finding out the truth will break her heart. Without family or true love, will her friends be enough?
The Family You Choose is Book Two in The New Pioneers series
Yes! Yes! Yes! Family sagas genre is back!
5 stars! (and more if I could)
Hotness factor: Less is more... (wink)
Disclaimers: I received an advanced review copy but this in no way affected my review.
The second installment or should I say season of The New Pioneers Series, my favorite new show (check out the awesome cast), is focusing on Emily's friend Miranda Harel and her...family. Right at the beginning when the word guardian appeared on the page and I thought, a 23 year old still living with her legal guardian? Nineteen century style novel, those men always ended up marrying her ward...right? Oh but there is another man living with them, Michael and he has been making Miranda's life a living hell. You know what they say when a boy always picks on a girl. He lacks sociable skills...
The trouble is that from the first book we already know Micheal is very bad news. I mean, awful bad news, unmentionable news... Deborah didn't hold any punches when she created this one. Do you still have some nails left? Mine are all gone!
But there's always more to story and trust me it will keep you guessing on the edge of your seat, screaming at your Android phone/iPad/kindle/book, questioning your own life's choices and starting long conversations maybe even a few debates. Poor Miranda, she's a few years older than Emily was in the first book but her friends and I had to question her judgement a lot...not like they're doing any better themselves! (SPOILER)
The Family You Choose is a more complex book than its predecessor. It's written beautifully and it has so many great characters. The ones you root for (Richard, Richard!!!), the ones you just love to hate (Alex, Alex!!!), the ones who still haven't learnt their lesson (Mitch, Mitch!!!), the Mother Hen (Zainab, Zainab!!!)...
But don't take my word for it, join the movement and let's spark a little debate about old money, old families and their old dirty secrets! Yes, I love this book!