I’m interviewing author Olga Soaje on my blog today. She’s the author of contemporary fiction novel “Twelve Houses”. My questions are bolded, Olga’s responses are in regular font. Enjoy the interview, everyone!
What’s the hardest part of being an author?
I love the writing and creative process, definetly the hardest part for me being an Indie writer is doing the marketing and promoting side.
Can you give us a short synopsis of Twelve Houses?
Dying often has its own decorum. The family gathers, the doctors explain, and kind nurses murmur advice and consolation in sterilized corridors. Nathan’s death was not like that. He went abruptly, without a hint of warning. Amelia woke up to find her husband dead of a heart attack, beside her in their marriage bed. Only then does the family gather, the circle of friends console, and the rabbi arrive. As the rabbi tears Amelia’s garments in the ancient ritual of mourning, her world is turned upside down. She feels like a shadow in her own life, almost like she is watching someone else act her part. She has become a stranger to herself in her shock and disorientation.
Her son offers consolation. As a doctor, he also offers her medication to take the edge off her sharp suffering, which she will not allow herself to accept. Instead, she lets him give her something of more lasting value: his spiritual support and his certain, understanding love. Yet she knows she cannot intrude on his life, cannot lean on him. He is soon to be married, to start a new life, and his own family.
Amelia’s daughter, her first-born child, is more of a problem. Amelia knows they were never as close as they should have been. As a mother, she feels she was too interested in her own life and her own career to give her daughter the warmth and nurturing she deserved.
As Amelia wanders through her artist’s studio, she comes upon her old wishing jar, the handmade prayer jar in which each family member placed their secret longings. Opening it, written on an old scrap of paper, Amelia finds her daughter’s dearest wish: “Help mom understand me.”
Work has become impossible, though her agent nags. For decades, sculpting has been her livelihood and much more. The feel of the soft clay in her hands has satisfied her in a way nothing else could and allowed her to express herself when she had no other way. Her talent has brought her money and fame, but now it is useless to her.
The work that had been a source of goodness and wholeness now seems to be betraying her. In her studio, she now finds hopeless grief instead of peace. She cries and does nothing, speaking silently with her absent husband and endlessly reworking the past.
It is her daughter who rescues her. Chloe needs help with her pregnancy and her marriage. It is the kind of help her mother is glad to give. Yet the two women still struggle to build a relationship, neither quite able to accept the other’s choices. Nevertheless, their attempts at understanding help to draw Amelia out of her consuming grief.
Amelia does find new work. With it she finds a new way to look at the world, one that that does not ignore her ideals. In the city in which she first fell in love with the man who would become her husband, she begins to learn to live again.
Is this part of a series, or stand-alone?
It’s a stand alone.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
I try and sneak as many as possible while raising my two sons and running around, mostly is two-three hours a day.
What is your favorite book in the same genre as yours?
Wow, there are so many I admire but I would say “The language of Flowers” by Vannesa Diffenbaugh is one.
What are you working on now?
I’m starting to research material for the upcoming book dealing with friendship between three college women.
Thank you for your time and the opportunity to have me on your blog, I hope you enjoy reading “Twelve Houses”.
About The Book
Author: Olga Soaje
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
What will she do now? Amelia Weiss wakes up alone, with the body of her husband cold beside her, dead. She cannot believe he has left her when he swore he never would. It is almost as if she is nothing without him.
But this novel is not about a man’s death. It is about a woman coming back to life. Slowly, painfully, a sensitive artist and mother makes new connections, finds new occupations, and rediscovers her place in the world.
Raised to believe a widow’s role is to take care of grandchildren and make grief her companion, Amelia takes a different path. She embarks on the most challenging year of her life.
She struggles to repair her broken relationship with her daughter and develops a second career in midlife. If she can find a way to allow herself to act in the face of her guilt and her daughter’s disapproval, she may even find love again.
This heartfelt novel is the story of a courageous woman’s spiritual rebirth. As Amelia begins to rediscover herself, readers will share in her refusal to give in to loss or to accept anything less than a rich and meaningful life.
In my novel Twelve Houses, I tell the story of a widow who discovers that her life story is far from over. Amelia is a brave woman who struggles to find her true place in the world and at the same time to create a life that holds spiritual meaning and purpose. Though my first book, Borrowing My Mother’s Saints, was a comedy set in New York, I think both books describe a similar spiritual journey. I always consider the spiritual aspects of a character’s story as I write.
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