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Giveaway and Interview with Pam Jenoff, Author of The Ambassador’s Daughter

The Ambassador’s Daughter by Pam Jenoff is set in Paris in 1919, a time when the world’s leaders are attempting to rebuild after the Great War, WWI.  Margot Rosenthal comes with her father, a German diplomat, to a peace conference, but soon finds herself trapped and contemplating a return to Berlin and her wounded fiancé, Stefan, rather than endure the lingering anger against Germans in the City of Light.  Check out some sample chapters.

Jenoff has crafted a number of novels in the past about WWII and WWI, international intrigue and espionage, and romance.  You can check out my review of Almost Home.

Today, I’ve got a treat for my readers as a prelude my review of her latest novel, The Ambassador’s Daughter — an interview with Pam Jenoff and a giveaway.

1. What book has impacted you the most?

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. She combines her practice of Zen Buddhism with creative writing that just broke me wide open. Her approach really got me writing in the mid-nineties, which paved the way to my career as a novelist.

2. What are you currently reading?

With three small children, I’m usually reading something that rhymes or has lots of pictures. For myself, I read in spurts, lots at once, then not much when I’m researching. I’m actually between books at the moment, but I just placed a huge order of books and am eager to receive it.

3. Any advice to aspiring writers?

I would tell aspiring writers three things. First, you have to be tenacious. For a long time it didn’t look as if The Kommandant’s Girl was going to get picked up. But with the help of my agent, I developed the attitude that if this one doesn’t sell, the next one will. You just have to keep on knocking at the door until it opens.

Second, you have to be disciplined. Writing takes a lot of time, and I’m not just talking about the first draft. There are the revisions, and then there’s the business marketing side of it. You have to make choices in order to consistently carve out the time for your writing, if it is going to be important to you.

Finally, the single biggest skill that has helped me as a writer is having the ability to revise. My books have gone through dozens of rewrites from first draft to publication. Many times I had to take broad, conceptual suggestions from my agent or editor and incorporate them into the work. Often I wasn’t sure if I liked or agreed with the changes. Sometimes I would take the leap of faith and see if the changes worked (they almost always did). Other times I would go back to whoever was making the suggestion and say, “Whoa, let’s slow down here and revisit” in order to negotiate changes that made the story better without destroying my gut-level instinct about the spirit of the book. But ultimately, I truly believe my ability to integrate those changes made all the difference.

4. If you could pen any previously printed work as your own it would be —-fill in the blank—-because—-fill in the blank.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. When I was in college, someone read the whole thing aloud to me, bit by bit in the evenings and it was magical.

5. Did you base any of your characters on any real people in your life?

I try not to base my work on real life. I think that real life makes for great setting, but terrible plot. That said, a few characters might remind me of people I know or physically resemble them. And I once had the distinct pleasure of seeing an ex-boyfriend after many years and telling him, “I’m killing you off in my next book. What would you like your name to be?”

Thanks, Pam, for joining us today and sharing your thoughts on books and writing.

To enter to win The Ambassador’s Daughter by Pam Jenoff, you must be a US/Canada resident and leave a comment on this post by Feb. 16, 2013.

  • Cyn209

    i would love to read The Ambassador’s Daughter!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!!

  • Nice interview. And lol on “killing off” the ex-boyfriend!

  • diane

    Thanks for this interesting feature. Great giveaway.

  • Great tips for aspiring writers!! My son is working on a graphic novel as we speak!

  • Liz V.

    A not often written about perspective. Thanks for the opportunity to have this book.

  • Lovely interview! Like Anna sais, the ex-boyfriend anecdote was hilarious. I’d love to have that privilege. Your writings are right up my alley too, Nancy! I look forward to reading Jenoff’s novels

  • Nancy

    This sounds right up my alley, thanks.

  • Interesting interview. I swear I don’t know how she is able to write so much with three young children.

  • ellie

    I am captivated with this book and the interview. Thanks for this opportunity.

  • Anne

    This fascinating novel would be memorable. Thanks. I read all of Pam Jenoff’s novels.

  • I love the story about the ex-boyfriend! Hilarious! I’m going to look up Writing Down the Bones.

    No need to enter me, as I already have the book.

  • Great interview! I think writers also need patience.
    bermudaonion(Kathy)´s last blog post ..Wondrous Words Wednesday

  • Linda B

    I read and enjoyed Kommandant’s Girl and I’m sure this novel will be a great read also. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • karenk

    thanks for the chance to read this wonderful story 🙂