Truth And Fairy Tales
Let me tell you a bit more about Naomi, the female protagonist in Under the Same Sun.
Imagine that, after years and years of living a lonely, quiet life, after having lost the one person you loved more than all others, your dream comes true, and he walks in your door.
Nothing else matters—the love, the heady passion, the desire are back, as alive and strong as they ever were.
Nothing will keep you from making this work; you want him back, you want him forever. Obstacles and misgivings are nothing more than motes of dust, easily wiped away. This is how it went for Naomi in The Distant Shore, and she got what she wanted: she is the wife of famous rock star Jon Stone, his beloved, his only love. But she paid a high price for it. After having been shot down at the Academy Awards by one of Jon’s former lovers, her health is impaired, her spirit broken.
Under the Same Sun isn’t just another love story. I wanted to show how Naomi had grown from a woman who had hidden herself and her feelings away in a small town in Norway, into someone who makes her own decisions, and faces life boldly. Naomi is not by nature a bold person. She is a melancholic and very private person. She grew up with the knowledge that someday she would inherit her family’s hotel empire, and that she was expected to marry someone who would support the business. Her father, Olaf, kept telling her that it was her duty to take over the company someday, to accept her responsibilities, and live up to her family’s expectations. He is not happy with her marriage to Jon, or the other choices she has made. Naomi sees him as an enemy, a person who wants to take everything that matters away from her, and force her into a life that she doesn’t want.
It’s only when her own son, Joshua, refuses to take the path she wanted for him, that she sees how hard it is for parents to let their children make their own decisions. It takes all of Jon’s love and a near deadly situation for her to understand this, and it changes her attitude toward her father radically. Now, with this new understanding, she finally sees that hidden underneath Olaf’s cool and often brusque attitude there is deep love and worry for her welfare. This makes it possible for her to let Joshua go his own way, to allow herself to love her father, and most of all, it gives her the freedom to finally do what she always wanted to do: she begins to write. Last night a friend who had just finished reading Under the Same Sun asked me if this part was autobiographical. I laughed and replied that I wished I had Naomi’s figure, her husband, her wealth, her house in Brooklyn, her lovely dresses, and by saying so, avoided answering the question. But yes, there is something a little autobiographical here.
That moment in Hamburg, when Jon more or less forces Naomi into buying a computer, when he nearly shouts at her to stop dithering, dammit, and just do what she’s supposed to do and start writing already—that is almost a page out of my own past. It didn’t happen in summer, and certainly not in a posh Hamburg hotel, but in our living room, on a dreary November day. The words my husband used were nearly the same, though. I was huddled in the corner of the couch, nearly crying, my mouth full of “buts”, and he waved them away. It was one of the very few moments when my normally gentle, quiet and very, very patient husband told me to just do it and write. I don’t know why he did it, if he saw something in me that I didn’t, and I still don’t know where he got that utter conviction that I could do this. But convinced he was. I wasn’t. He dragged me downtown and into a store, made me stand before the laptops, and said, “Pick one!” I picked the cheapest one there was, scared out of my mind, certain that this was an enormous waste of money. The strange thing was, the moment I held the thing in my hands, the instant it was paid for and handed to me, the urge to write grew overwhelming.
It was all I could think of: get home, open that box, take out the computer, set it up, and write. The stories were all there; I could hear them clamoring in my head to be let out. I could see Naomi and Jon embarking on their adventures, and I swear, at one point Jon turned around and looked at me over his shoulder. There was a glint in his eyes, and he gave me a secret, amused grin. “Just, you know, write!” he whispered.
And that’s exactly what I did.
This was the twelfth stop on Mariam’s Blog Hop, celebrating the launch of her latest book, Under the Same Sun (Book II in the Stone Trilogy).
We hope you enjoyed her guest post, and invite you to write a comment below about it for a chance to WIN one of three copies of Under the Same Sun (plus some pretty gosh, darn, yummy chocolate)!
You can get additional chances by following Mariam at every stop on her hop and leaving comments after each post.
And hey, while you’re here, why not follow this blog—you won’t regret it.
Join Mariam tomorrow, 10/30 when she stops by Lauri Rottmeier’s blog.
Check our blog for the full calendar and more details about Mariam and her books!
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Mariam lived in Brazil and Saudi Arabia with her parents as a child before they decided to settle in Germany. She attended school there and studied American Literature and Psychology at Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, where she met her husband. She lives in Hamburg, Germany, with her husband, two sons and two cats.
Mariam is the author of Under the Same Sun and the IPPY Bronze Medal winning novel The Distant Shore, which was also released by Buddhapuss Ink.