The Story She Had to Tell
by Sarah Tauber
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Madeleine had a secret, a story that happened over fifty years ago in Havana, Cuba. Before she died, she wanted to share her story with the world.
After growing up on a farm in Maine and graduating college, this intelligent but naive young woman traveled to Havana with a girlfriend, looking for adventure. What happened there changed Madeleine’s life forever. From the moment she laid eyes on Carlos, she was turning over her fate to a man she barely knew.
This is a heart-wrenching love story that promises to stay with you long after the book is finished.
I got off the phone with my dad and looked at Carlos. He looked very serious. “What’s wrong? What happened?”
“There was a robbery at the bank where my parents were yesterday, and my mother was shot by accident in the head. She’s in a coma right now, and it doesn’t look good.”
“We need to get you home. I will call my travel agent right now and get you a flight. Do you want me to go with you?”
“My heart does, but my head says this is not the time to bring my new boyfriend into the picture. Thank you, Carlos, for offering, but I think I need to go alone.”
Everything was arranged quickly. “You leave tomorrow morning. I will take you to the airport. Please stay in touch with me as often as you can and let me know how she’s doing.”
“Of course, Carlos, I’m so scared. She’s my mother!”
“I know, baby, I know. We will hope and pray for the best.”
On the airplane the next morning, I was an emotional mess. I hated leaving Carlos. Somewhere deep inside, I was afraid he would not be there when I got back to Havana. Maybe he didn’t exist after all. The thought of that scared me to death. And then I was worried about my mother. What if she doesn’t make it? It was a very long flight during which I agonized over all these things.
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Sarah Tauber, author of “The Story She Had to Tell.”
Hi Sarah, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I retired from the corporate world in 2011 and am thoroughly enjoying my retirement. I always liked writing but never thought about writing a book until January of 2013 when my friend talked about the memoir she was writing while we were at lunch. Although she had talked about it before, I never had the desire to write a book of my own until that day when it hit me. “I’m going to write a memoir!” I took an online memoir writing class and began writing about half-way through. Who knew I could write? My degree is in Psychology. I had originally planned on being a Marriage Family Counselor. My other passion is riding dressage. I have a nine year old quarter horse (not your typical dressage horse, but she loves it!) named Ruby.
What were you like at school?
I was a very disciplined student who generally got good grades. I would come home from school, go straight to my room and study until dinner. I loved school so much that I went back part time for six years to get my Bachelor’s degree.
Were you good at English?
I would say, “yes.” My father was in radio and was also a writer. He loved the English language and playing with words. I guess some of that rubbed off on me.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I want to write at least one more book and have as many people read it as possible. I’m not in this for the money, but to share my words.
Which writers inspire you?
The classical ones – Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Herman Melville, Leo Tolstoy.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
That would be Madeleine, who was named after my maternal grandmother. She travels to Havana, Cuba with a girlfriend after college. For the first twenty-one years of her life she lived in a small, rural town but dreamed of seeing the world. Her experiences in Havana throw her into a tail-spin but she soon figures things out and develops into a mature and rather worldly young woman. She has fears but faces them head on and trusts that all be well. By the end of the story she has become strong, courageous and wise.
What are you working on at the minute?
Only my weekly website blog. I wrote a travelogue this summer in exchange for a trip and have been offered to do more. I thoroughly enjoyed that so I plan to continue. There is another book inside of me but it hasn’t reached the front of my mind yet.
Which actress would you like to see playing the lead character?
Judi Dench for Madeleine as an old woman. I admire and respect her acting. For Madeleine as a young woman, perhaps Amanda Seyfried. It needs to be someone believable as naïve but someone who can mature in front of your eyes.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
After writing my memoir, I had the strong desire to play with fiction. I awoke one morning with a working title in my head, “A life lived well.” That grew into the story of an old woman who wanted to share her past with the world before she died. She hires a ghost writer to come live with her, interview her and create the book. I remembered that my mother had gone to Havana, Cuba in the late 1930s before she married my father. Stupidly I never asked her what happened on the trip. I decided to make that my storyline but then I had to create the story!
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I am not the kind of writer who can sit down at the computer every day and write. I have to be inspired. When I was writing my books, that inspiration came about twice a week. I would then sit at my desk and type anywhere from 2-3,000 words in one sitting. Because of this writing style, I rarely encounter “writer’s block.” To answer the time question, it is almost always morning, before my head becomes cluttered with life stuff.
Where do your ideas come from?
I have no idea! Seriously, I have a great imagination which is both a plus and a minus. I’m not sure where all of my ideas come from – Sadie, my muse; God or maybe my father. Who knows?
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
The only structured thing I did while writing my second book happened about three quarters of the way through when I wrote down the remaining scenes I knew I wanted to include. Then I put them in chronological order. I tried the outline idea, mostly because I had heard it was a good way to organize your thoughts. It didn’t work for me, even though I am a very structured person. But writing down scene ideas is very helpful. I would recommend that one.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
That is an easy question! Promoting and marketing your book! Trying to get book signings! Difficult, time consuming and out of my comfort zone. Writing is the easy part.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.
I am usually reading at least one book all the time. Favorite authors for me becomes favorite books. And they would be, “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy; “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh; “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion; “Tender is the Night” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Another easy question – traditional paperback or hard back books! I love the feel of them between my fingers.
What book are you currently reading?
I am currently reading “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville and am completely enthralled.
Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
I knew I wanted my son who is an artist to create the cover for me. I told him the storyline, gave him a few ideas and he ultimately created it himself.
Who designed your book cover?
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one?
No trailer at this time. I’m not sure there will be one.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
Yes. As an author, your goal should be to get as many people to read your book as possible, not to make as much money as possible. People who would otherwise not purchase your book might read it, love it and spread the word! It’s a great way to get publicity
How do you relax?
Reading, watching mindless TV and, because I love my horse, mucking out her stall!
What is your favorite quote?
From the movie, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” – “Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, then it’s not yet the end.”
What is your favorite movie?
For drama, “Reds” with Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty. For comedy, “Bridesmaids.”
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Read my books! My memoir is a very intimate look into my life. Also, follow my blogs, posted once a week on my website. They can sign up to receive the blogs directly into their email.
Any final words?
Writing is one of my favorite things to do. I never knew it until I sat down to write my first book. It’s like creating a piece of art and the words are your colors and shades of color with which you create. If you have the strong desire to write a book, do it! It takes discipline and commitment. The advice I was given in the beginning was Just write! Don’t worry about putting down perfect words or perfect sentences. You will edit it a million times before you are finished. Write! The other good piece of advice is Read! Read everything you can get your hands on. This is the only way you will learn what you like and what you don’t like. It is also the path to finding your voice.
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Thank you! It was a pleasure to have this opportunity.
Sarah Tauber is a world traveler who retired three years ago from a corporate job to pursue her passions of dressage riding and writing. Her first book, “For Dear Life”, is a memoir covering two years she lived in Tehran, Iran in the 1970’s. It is available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and Xlibris.com. “The Story She had to Tell” is her first novel. Sarah lives in San Diego County with her husband of ten years.
Her blog and website can be found at sarahtauber.com. She can also be reached on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Sarah Tauber will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.