Author Q&A with Ellen Feldman

I’m glad I read, “Next to Love” (book review) by Ellen Feld­man (web­site), it was a very enjoyable, well written and unique book. I had some hesitation before requesting it, but I’m glad I did. Ms. Feldman was kind enough to answer a few questions I had, here they are.

Q. The cover is very striking. How did it come together? Any significance to the photos?
A. I’m so glad you think the jacket is striking. I do too, but I can’t take any credit for it. All I did was tell the whole wonderful team at Spiegel & Grau that I loved it. It did gothrough many incarnations, and when we got to this one, we all searched forphotos that evoked the war without looking like specific characters. At one point my editor and I even flirted with the idea of using our family photos, but finally decided against it.

Q. Why did you choose the setting for “Next to Love” to be in Massachusetts as oppose, Kansas for example which inmany people’s mind represents America?
A. To those of us who have lived all our lives in the northeast, New England is as American as Kansas,perhaps more so. I’m a New Yorker, but I have a special place in my heart for Massachusetts, and somehow my characters just demanded to live there.

Q. To me, the writing seem distant. Not only from character to character but also from the reader. Did you plan the book to be like that or is that the way it came out (or just my interpretation)?
A. Ah ha! One man’s perception of distance is another woman’s striving for taut economical prose and her terror of sentimentalizing powerful emotions. The odd thing is that many readers and bloggers have talked about how close they felt to the women, how they wanted to protect them, talk to them, and go on with them after the end of the book. Fiction is not science. We’re all entitled to our opinions.

Q. Would you classify “Next to Love” as a war book?
A. I’m always loath to classify fiction. Too many excellent novels are shoehorned into genres, which can scare off readers who would otherwise enjoy them. This is certainly a novel about the effects of war. Whether that makes it a war novel, I’m not sure.

Q. What are the challenges of book promotions in the social media age?
A. The art of publishing, as opposed to writing, books is changing literally overnight. I cannot believe how much has happened since I published my last book. What I find most exciting about the new publishing scene is the vitality of the conversation. All over the country, the world, people are talking to one another about books. That’s excellent news for the future of the book, whatever form – electronic or print – the book takes.

Shame­less plug dis­guised as a ques­tion: Why do you love ManOfLaBook.com so much and often visit the web­site?
Wise gal answer: You’re joking, but I do enjoy your site. As I said above, the vibrant on-line conversation about books makes my pulse race, and your site is verymuch a part of that.

Great answers to some questions I’ve had about the book. I’m glad I got to ask them and fortunate enough to get great answers.

 

Zohar. – Man of la Book

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