Tuesday, April 16, 2013

TBR welcomes Ann Chamberlin

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Ann. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Ann:  I was born in Salt Lake City but spent a lot of time as a child in Europe where my father was a visiting professor of mathematics.  A college summer spent excavating the biblical city of Beersheva confirmed a lifelong interest in the historic Middle East.  I work in a library and own a bookstore.  The Sword of God is my thirteenth published book.  Other books have been international bestsellers.  I've also had many plays produced, including Jihad which won best new Off-off Broadway play of the year.

TBR: Tell us about The Sword of God and where it's available.
Ann: The Sword of God is the second volume of my early Islamic trilogy.  The Woman at the Well is volume one and The Sword and the Well should be out this year.  All are available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Sword-God-Ann-Chamberlin/dp/1936940434/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1354554962&sr=1-13,

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Ann: In the early days of Islam, three lives braid together magic, family and faith.

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Ann:  As a young college student working on a biblical excavation, I had the arrogance to think that I had something to teach the women I might meet in the Middle East.  Then, on a ten-day trip to the Sinai desert, I spent some time as a guest of a Bedouin family.  The mother of this family—I never saw her face behind her veil, and at the time I had no more Arabic than she had English.  Even so, she was remarkable.  I could tell how much everyone around her respected her, more than any woman I’d ever known.  I have spent all my years since trying to understand what I had misunderstood before.
I also was impressed with how the Bedouin have adapted to one of the harshest climates in the world.  And I wanted answers to my questions, “What were people thinking and doing at the time of the Prophet Muhammad?  What adjustments had to be made in the face of such world-changing events?”
I want to express the fact that the Muslim world should not be dismissed with the facile explanations we give one another on the news.  It is worth the stories I have spent thirty years writing—and many other points of view, too.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Ann:  I have the outline given by history, but after that, it's all seat of my pants, directed by research.

TBR: Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?
Ann:  Bedouin Music of the Southern Sinai, an old Folkways recording, Music from Yemen Arabia, Laments of Lebanon, recordings of muezzins’ calls and chanted Quran formed the soundtrack of this book.

TBR: What's next for you?
Ann:  The Sword and the Well will complete my trilogy about early Islam. 
This year Penumbra Press will also begin to publish a new trilogy based on the sagas of the early Germanic tribes: Valkyries and Vikings and all that.  A woman warrior finds her place in the world against barbarians and implacable gods.  The publisher means to bring the titles out much closer to each other than is often the case since I have the whole cycle written.  The titles are Choosers of the Slain, The Linden’s Red Plague and Into the Bog.

TBR: Any other published works?
Ann:  By the end of this year, I will have published seventeen books including my nonfiction Veil in the Looking Glass, shortly to be available as an ebook.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Ann:  Publicity.  Speaking with intelligent readers about the topics raised and dimensions from their lives that they can add to my understanding—that’s the most rewarding.

TBR: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Ann:  “Lush” is a word I often get in reviews for my fiction—which I like.  The most interesting comments I received were two I got in Turkey back to back about my Sofia trilogy.  A young woman told me in something of a lowered voice that “My grandmother told me the harem was just like you portrayed it.”  A young man immediately declared I’d got it all wrong, since purity was the first word he associated with the Ottoman Empire of his ancestors and my version wasn’t pure.  

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Ann:  I want to be Mary Renault—The King Must Die, The Bull from the Sea, etc.--when I grow up.
Right now I'm reading a lot about the Turkic tribes of central Asia, shamanism.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Ann:  My website is www.annchamberlin@annchamberlin.com and I blog at  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/180762.Ann_Chamberlin/blog

TBR: Readers, Ann Chamberlin will give away one copy of The Sword of God or of The Woman at the Well, the first book in the series (your choice) to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner on April 23, 2013 and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so she can contact you.

Thanks for visiting TBR, Ann. All the best to you.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Ann. I was surprised to see you on Bloglovin. How come you didn't send the group a notice about this blog? Love the new cover and I know this book will be as successful as all your others. See you Friday.


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