1. What inspired you write this book? Quiet Woods
is a book I had felt I needed to write for a long time. It is inspired by the
story of my parents fleeing Soviet soldiers during the Communist occupation of
Estonia. After spending five years in a German refugee camp, they were able to
come to America where I was the first in my family to be born. I follow up my
parent’s story with a coming-of-age story of a group of first-generation
American children trying to assimilate in a new culture while parents hold onto
old customs and the cultural conflict becomes real. any of the childhood
adventures are from my own background, but I combined it with a fictional story
of a forty-year-old unsolved murder.
2. What exactly is it about and who is it written
for? I will start with the second part of
this question. It is written for mystery story readers and those reading WWII
history. It conveys the experiences of families that lived through Soviet and
Nazi repression and how their lives were shaped by it. And their children,
later born in America, who lacked the personal experiences of war, but whose
childhood was overshadowed by it. Parents, permanently scarred by the brutal
events, hold tight to old familiar customs and traditions from their homeland
that clash with their children trying to assimilate to a new culture.
It is about Kersti, who is perusing
a used bookstore and finds a book written by a childhood friend she has not
seen or talk to in over forty years. Glancing through it, she is surprised to
recognize one of the characters as herself. Further reading proves all the
characters to be the children she grew up and played with. They were all
first-generation Americans, like Kersti, whose families were forced to flee
their homeland when the Soviet occupation of Estonia and other Baltic countries
The circle of friends was shattered
when Lena, Heino’s lifelong crush, disappeared and her father was murdered. He
alludes to having information about both in his book.
Now they are each in their sixties,
but the murder is still unsolved. Sadness comes over Kersti, knowing Lena’s
family never had the closure they needed. She always feared that Heino’s
infatuation with Lena led him to take drastic measures when he learned of the
abuse toward her in her family. Raw memories of that time resurface for Kersti
– Lena was never seen again.
She is puzzled to read that Heino
thinks he saved Lena. Curiosity and memories ignite Kersti’s commitment to find
answers about what happened to Lena and her father.
3. What do you hope readers will get out of
reading your book? I always enjoy reading books that I can learn from
especially WWII historical fiction. I have written specifically about Estonian
history and the affects of the war, not only on the people that lived through
it, but how it affected the lives of their children.
4. How did you decide on your book’s title and
cover design? Quiet Woods is the name of the community that the children
grew up in. It remains constant in their lives and in the end, the mystery is
solved there. I wanted the cover design to draw the reader down the dirt path
into a mystery filled wood.
5. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for
fellow writers – other than run!? Write down thoughts as they come to
you without considering sentence structure or grammar. Then rewrite your
thoughts repeatedly, correcting and improving it a little each time.
6. What trends in the book world do you see – and
where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? Demand for eBooks and audiobooks keep growing, but
hopefully will not eliminate print books for people like me who prefer turning
pages and measuring our reading with bookmarks.
7. Were there experiences in your personal life
or career that came in handy when writing this book? Yes,
many of the experiences were my own. I was an avid bike rider and detailed some
of my favorite rides in the book. My protagonist, Kersti, drove cross country
and lived in California approximately six months and had similar experiences as
my own, whereas I lived there approximately six years and met my husband there.
I came back to Maryland as a young widow with two small children, but I gave
my character a long happy marriage.
8. How would you describe your writing style?
Which writers or books is your writing similar to? I
would describe my writing style as sharing information in the context of a
story. When I have determined where I want to go with the story, I try to
imagine and describe a settling and get to know the characters that will be a
part of it. I got hooked on earlier books written by Jodi Picoult and was
impressed how each of her characters shared their individual view. The twists
in the plot and surprise endings were what I wanted to also achieve.
9. What challenges did you overcome in the
writing of this book? As a first-time author, I struggled with the timeline. I
wanted to add historical facts into the book, so I included them as a part of
the book that another character wrote.
10. If people can buy or read one book this
week or month, why should it be yours? You can probably read it in less
than a week as it is 264 pages and easy reading. People who have read my book
have said it was hard to put down and they were very surprised at the ending.
Book Marketing Help?
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About Brian Feinblum
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copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now
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dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The
Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This
award-winning blog has generated over 3.4 million pageviews. With 4,600+ posts
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including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book
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Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction
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Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association.
His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal,
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