Help me welcome Alyson Reuben, fellow TWRP author, to my blog! Alyson is here today promoting her release A Beautiful Cage.
I love the cover and the premise for the story is very thought-provoking.
Alyson, the stage is yours!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I'm a small-town girl, who grew up mostly in rural areas. As a kid, I expanded my knowledge of the outside world not by actual travel, but by, you guessed it, reading. My mom read to me and my oldest brother at bedtime. She chose chapter books, often keeping us awake well past the time we should've been asleep. Her enthusiasm for books gave me a love for reading that was eventually joined by a desire to write, fueled by a guest author who visited our school in second grade. Besides being an author, I'm also an artist. At one time, I nearly decided to pursue it as my main career, but changed my mind. Now I just paint and sketch for fun and, occasionally, I'm commissioned for a project. Several years ago, I began collecting antiques and vintage pieces, such as 1920's hats and costume jewelry. Sometimes I recycle the vintage finds into modern wearable pieces. With my love of art and antiques, it seems natural that when I write, my stories are also vintage/historical in flavor. That's not to say that I won't one day write a contemporary romance. But I think for now, this is the sub-genre for me.
What was your favorite part of the book or books?
Wow, this is a toughy! I love ALL of A Beautiful Cage. Since I put my heart and soul into the story, it's like trying to pick a favorite thing about my child. Not so easy to do! One of my favorite parts is when Rebecca and Gustav dance during their 'date', which takes place inside Gustav's house because Rebecca isn't allowed to be seen outside. But that's just one of my favorite parts.
What was the hardest part to write in A Beautiful Cage?
The timeframe! I actually had to draw a timeline, complete with both Rebecca and Gustav's birthdays and other momentous occasions in their lives. This kept me from going nuts trying to remember how old Rebecca was in, oh let's say May of 1935. I wanted zero mistakes. Also, some of the research was thorny. One item that was particularly difficult to find? The exact first day of Hanukkah in December 1938. I was near tears before I finally stumbled on the answer.
Are the love scenes in your books made up or are they from personal experience?
Ha! I love this question! And it's one that I'm surprised I haven't been asked before, because I've often wondered the same thing about other author's love scenes. I'm still relatively young — mid thirties — so my answer is that they're a combination of both! I always keep in mind the characters need to do and feel things from their unique perspective. So it's a balance of reality with straight fiction.
What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
About the WWII theme: I hope they walk away from the story thinking about the holocaust's lesser known aspects, such as the scattered resistance movements throughout Europe. Although they obviously weren't effectual in stopping the war and the holocaust, there were more people opposed to Hitler than what met the naked eye.
About the characters: I hope they'll fall so deeply in love with Rebecca and Gustav that they miss them after the story ends, and catch themselves wondering what happened to them later in their lives. Most of all, I hope they derive a sense of love being infinitely stronger than hate, able to conquer and abide through horrifying circumstances.
What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
To me, the hardest part is there's never enough time in the day!!! In fact, I recently blogged on my own site about my struggle to find time for reading. Balancing family life with my writing schedule can also be tricky, but it's worked out so far. I'm lucky that my family understands there are occasions when I must blog or write even while they're home from school and work.
Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Considering A Beautiful Cage's pre-WWII theme, I can't say the scenes themselves are based on my real life. However, my grandpa Rice used to tell me stories about Hitler and the war, which helped shaped my interest in the subject. Also, Gustav's grandmother Bertie is loosely drawn on a deceased elderly friend.
Scenes aside, many of the emotions weaved throughout the book are ones I can identify with. The sense of being different and even ostracized from peers is something I've felt off and on throughout my life. I've always had my nose in a book, was never super athletic, and was never part of the most popular set. Sometimes loneliness springs from being different. Likewise, love has always been a powerful force in my life. Family and friends are everything to me. So all I need to do is close my eyes and conjure emotions I've felt during various periods in my life to make them really come alive in the story.
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
That would be Jane Austen. I'd love to ask how she crafted her time-honored stories during a time when romances just weren't written that way. She was a true pioneer of the genre. And she's someone I've always admired.
Do you know how your book is going to end and/or the fate of all your characters or are you surprised as you write the story and in as much suspense as the reader?
Both. Because I have to do so much research for the historical parts, I pretty much know how they'll end. However, some romantic or social scenes and conversations catch me totally by surprise. One scene in particular involving Rebecca, Gustav, and a certain *act* on top of a desk, really threw me for a loop! It was completely unplanned! And I was downright shocked at my own characters! Lol
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Alyson-Reubens-Author-Page/107423069337260
A BEAUTIFUL CAGE's blurb:
Wanted by the Gestapo, Rebecca Bloomberg is on the run for her life. Sheltering in the home of a reporter who writes absurd lies for a Nazi propaganda newspaper is hardly an ideal solution. Irresistibly drawn to the man, she dares not trust him, until she discovers his journalist position is a mask for involvement in an anti-Nazi resistance ring.
Gustav Von Furst has done all he can to perfect his mask. Neither his family nor his close friends know the truth. Hiding a Jewish girl is the most foolish risk, yet there is something about her that makes him want to protect her.
Eager to forget the outside world, Rebecca and Gustav are caught up in a private world of forbidden passion—until unexpected danger lands on their doorstep and they’re faced with a decision that will change everything. Will love demand a sacrifice too great to give?
*You can read an excerpt from A Beautiful Cage here: http://www.alysonreuben.com/abeautifulcageexcerpt.htm
Thanks, Alyson, for visiting my blog. Best of luck on sales, though I think this one will do very well.