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  • Writer's pictureJane Rubin

Authors Promoting Authors - The Best!





Last month I was invited to participate in an author interview by Lori Duffy Foster, the very talented mystery writer of the Lisa Jamison Mystery Series. In her Newsletter, she interviews authors, delving into their inspiration and craft. My interview was released this week, a few weeks before the official launch of Threadbare and while the Kindle is on preorder at Amazon.


I wanted to share the content of the interview with you and remind you that I will (if available) participate by Zoom into your upcoming bookclubs at no cost.


The following is the text of the interview:


In conversation with Jane Loeb Rubin


Q: In your first novel, In the Hands of Women, you tackle the reproductive and healthcare rights of women in the year 1900, a battle that seems never-ending in our society despite past outcomes. What inspired that passion, and why did you choose fiction as your outlet?

Jane: My books all focus on women and how they historically tackled some of the most problematic issues. I wrote the first draft of Threadbare before In the Hands of Women. Still, it needed to marinate before I tackled the revision and I set it aside. In the meantime, In the Hands of Women was simmering in my mind. I had already formed Hannah and knew she would be a doctor, but there weren't yet oncologists. So, I thought it was a natural fit, given her role in Threadbare, for her to be one of the first OB-GYNs. As I researched the setting and time, I realized how strongly the issues of 1900 paralleled today.

Most important, I wanted to share the history as accurately as possible without taking a strong political stance, hoping the story might open minds. I finished the first draft a year before Roe verses Wade was overturned. Women have fought so hard for so many years for their rights. It's not only heartbreaking to lose them but dangerous.

Q: Threadbare, your second novel and a prequel to the first, was apparently inspired by your great-grandmother Mathilda, who immigrated from Germany, married young, and died of "a woman's disease." How does your own experience with ovarian cancer figure into that novel?

Jane: My ovarian cancer was tied to a genetic defect, BRCA1. Because of the seriousness of the cancer, I felt it was important for my extended family (and to narrow the family members at risk) to trace the mutation back in time and see who might be affected today. Once I landed on my paternal great-grandmother, no living family member could remember her name. Only through further research did I discover her name was Mathilda, and she was called Tillie. So, when I launched a research fund through the OCRF in NYC, I named the fund after her in honor of women like Mathilda, who suffered from the disease and whose names were lost in history. When I wrote my solicitation letter each year, I imagined her in greater detail. Eventually, I felt compelled to create a life for her, albeit fiction, to honor who she might have been. Threadbare is the result.

Q: Who was your tribe as you wrote your novels? Were there people you turned to for feedback and critique?

Jane: I entered the world of creative writing from an executive background where conciseness, often bulletizing points, was optimal. I needed instruction to learn a new type of writing and rediscovered adjectives. I quickly realized that novel writing is a craft full of engaging world-building and dialogue, a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree switch from my past. So, I enrolled in a NJ-based writing program and continue to enroll in classes, listen to in-depth feedback from other writers and take many online courses. I have also relied on two different critique groups for continual feedback.

Q: Can you tell us about your journey to publication and your choices along the way?

Jane: I self-published my first book, Almost a Princess, an essay memoir I wrote in 2010 after my ovarian cancer diagnosis. I figured I didn't have the time to wait out a traditional publication process, hunting down an agent, publisher, etc. Little did I know I'd be around so long.

I chose to test the traditional market this time, but again, I did not desire a lengthy turnaround and agent fee. Fortunately, I was picked up very quickly by Level Best Books, an independent small press with a Historia imprint. A perfect fit for my books. Once the manuscript was accepted, it took nine months to publish the first book, In the Hands of Women. We collaborated on my covers and titles. I was delighted with the outcomes. Although LLB extends editing services, I also hired independent beta readers and content editors. As with most writers, I spend a considerable amount of time marketing.

Q: Did anything surprise you about the writing/publication process, the industry, or the reactions to your first novel?

Jane: I was already jaded about the publishing industry, having worked in the business world for thirty years. So, it came as no surprise that books must align with market demands, or publishers won't be interested. The one trend that has surprised me in a negative way, is the urgency to be 'woke' to the point of sometimes over-sanitizing good literature. Writers and publishers are far too concerned with book banning and the impact it could have on sales. For me, I write from the heart and will not shy away from controversial topics. So far, staying true to myself has paid off. Women want a greater voice.

Q: What's next for you?

Jane: I am working on book three of the Gilded City Trilogy, Over There, taking the Isaacson/Levine medical families into World War 1 and the Spanish Flu. The book is told through four characters whose stories are braided together. Two remain in NYC and face the impact of the war on hospitals and family while the other two are surgeons in France: one stationed at an evacuation hospital behind the trenches, the other at the American Hospital in Paris. It is a thrilling work in process.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Jane:

1. It's never too late to write. My serious efforts began after retiring from a career as a hospital administrator. My only regret is that I didn't start sooner.

2. Don't just talk about it. Get your bottom in a chair and begin. Starting can consist of research, classes in writing, and prompts. But engage with this fantastic form of expression.

3. Read as much as you can and pay attention to how effective writers organize words, paragraphs, chapters, and stories. Learning from great writers will help your writing.


Great Events Coming Up!


  • Two more Lower East Side walking tours exploring the landmarks in the LES and pointing out where Tillie and Hannah lived and worked.

  • A ton on book clubs (thank you all so much) in tri-state area, Florida and Colorado!

  • Threadbare launch celebration

  • see my Events page for more!

 

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