Rachel Thompson

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Olga Soaje on Having Tea With Albert Einstein #AmReading #Women #Fiction

Where do you get inspiration from?
From seeing life situations and thinking “What if?” there are so many stories to waiting to be told.

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
I have been blessed with family and friends that have supported this passion since I’ve told them, with many expressions from reading the book in process, discussing stories, proofreading, to helping me thinks of ways to market.

Do you plan to publish more books?
Yes, I have more ideas that still need to come to life.

How do you write – laptop, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
I write mostly in my laptop either on a small desk I have at home or at a coffee shop in between 

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. 

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
Knowing that I touched the life of reader’s every day, that would make me feel that I’ve succeeded in this path.

Are you inspired most by places, people or experiences and how do these work their way into your writing?
 People definitely, they are the ones that make the experiences and give meaning to things. I find it fascinating to imagine people in the same setting reacting so differently to circumstances because of who they are. I like to create characters that are flawed but relatable. 

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?
I would love to have tea with Einstein; he was a brilliant mind who understood science and soul.
If he was busy I would like to have a glass of wine with Coco Chanel, I admire the way she established her style and made her empire on hard work and passion.

What’s your favorite meal?
That’s a hard question since one of the things I enjoy is eating. But I would dare say I love Mediterranean, Spanish and Italian dishes.

How do you feel about social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter? Are they a good thing?
I think they are mostly a good thing, I have rekindled relationships lost over the years with Facebook and find a way in a hectic life to see what some friends are up to and on my personal Facebook page, I get the opportunity to meet readers and have a link with them.

How do you feel about self-publishing?
In one word: “Grateful” when I first began writing I sent queries to so many agents that at one point I lost count and just began to dread the income of formatted rejection letters. Until a friend of mine pushed me to self-published since then I’ve had sales that pay for extras at home and meet wonderful people along the way. When my second novel came around I knew without a doubt that I would self-publish.


Can anything good follow the best thing that ever happened to you?

Amelia Weiss loved her husband of thirty-five years very much, but now he’s left her a widow. Without him, she is unable to work in her sculpture studio without crying. She no longer has a bridge to her estranged daughter. And she can’t seem to keep her mind in the present.

But when her daughter reaches out asking for her help and her agent threatens a lawsuit if Amelia doesn’t deliver for an upcoming exhibit, she’s forced to make a choice. Will she reengage with her life and the people in it—allowing room for things to be different than they were before? Or, will she remain stuck in the past, choosing her memories over real-life relationships?

Thrust fully into the present, Amelia stumbles into a surprising journey of self-discovery.

Buy @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Olga Soaje on Facebook


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