ABOUT THE BOOKSave the Last Dance is a love story and cautionary tale. Brilliantly delivered through email exchanges between the two protagonists, Adam and Sarah; the novel recounts the first love of two teenagers, separated for 50 years, meeting again around a 50th high school reunion. Revisiting what brought them together and pulled them apart as adolescents; the characters revive their love and encounter obstacles imposed by history, personality and the family, colleagues and friends surrounding them. Hilariously funny, poignant, sharply cutting - the story is a lens into the souls, life-patterns, mistakes and celebrations in each character's life. It's a love story for the ages and aged." - Amazon reviewer
INTERVIEW WITH ERIC JOSEPH AND EVA GRUDIN
How did you get started writing?
In our day, we had always wanted to be writers. We rediscovered that passion for writing when we rediscovered each other. As teenagers we were constantly writing short stories and poems. Eva even remembers reading a novel Eric wrote when he was 15. Neither of us remembers what the novel was about. Something about cowboys in spaceships, most likely.
We were prompted to return to writing when we recognized the literary potential of our own reunion. We've each published articles and books in our prdofessional fields. But writing fiction has always been our dream. Granted we're late bloomers, but we believe you stay young by never thinking you're too old to revisit your dreams.
Do you write every day?
Yes, we write every day. As collaborators, though, our approach to writing is significantly different than the solo novelist's. It took two years to complete Save the Last Dance. During the first year, we were a thousand miles apart and working day jobs. We had to become disciplined about our project, if we were ever to finish it. Everyday we found time to write—during phone calls (even on the commute to work) or through emails and on Skype. When we agreed to write sections separately, we held each other to deadlines. Actually, we became so used to collaborating from separate locations that now, even though we're under the same roof, we're tempted to communicate from different rooms.
What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
If we had known at the beginning that editing the book would take more time than writing it, we wouldn't have become so impatient with the process. Writing fiction turns out to be more demanding than the kind of writing we'd done professionally. We had to get used to false starts and dead ends. We had to backtrack numerous times. Our original male lead character, for instance, was replaced after auditioning him for twenty pages. He was just too sniveling and pathetic - not enough of an s.o.b. to suit the plot.
What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
Writing became delightful when we discovered the characters could take on a life of their own. No matter how sure we were about how the narrative would progress, our characters inevitably surprised us. They took us to unexpected places. Sometimes it felt as if our fingers were simply the agents of their words.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
We were both challenged when we needed to write passages in this novel about humiliations suffered at the hands of our fathers. Most of our book is fiction. These sections were not.
What’s your biggest pet peeve about writing?
As well as the collaboration worked, it irked us when the other one didn't care for a passage we'd sweated over all day. But somehow, together, we always shaped it into something better.
Did you give your characters any of your bad traits?
Yes, most definitely. We invested our characters with our anxieties, insecurities, fears, and jealousies. The book has been called "authentic" because we did not hesitate to make our characters as imperfect as we were.
What is one of your happiest moments?
For both of us, the book launch celebration at Water Street Books in Williamstown, Massachusetts was a highpoint of our lives! We were there together, reunited and well-received. Friends came from near and far. New friends were made. One in the audience said the reading was the best they'd ever heard! If you want to see how ecstatic we were, take a look at the photos on hargrovepress.com and its blog post about the book launch.
What’s one thing that drives you crazy?
It drives us crazy when people who know us insist on reading the book as a memoir and try to figure out who's who and what is "real." They can't enjoy the novel nearly as much as those who are undistracted by those questions. The events may be fiction, but the story's truthful. That's the sensible way to look at our book.
What is the most daring thing you've done?
We turned our lives upside-down to be together. Nothing we've done took more courage.
What’s your favorite color?
Eva: I don't have a favorite color, but I do have some colors, like mauve, that I really detest. I suspect Eric's favorite color is blue. Believe or not, he only wears blue, if he's allowed to dress himself.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
Eric: It's hard to choose. But I guess my most embarrassing moment was when I accidentally walked into a ladies' room at Midway airport. They all screamed. I ran out. But I wonder to this day why men don't scream when a woman accidentally wanders into the men's room.
If you had to choose a cliché about life, what would it be?
Since we waited until our late 60s to write a novel, I guess we'd have to say: "It's a pity that youth is wasted on the young."
What are you working on now?
We're plotting the sequel to our novel, and, at the same, preparing a series of comic essays about men as they age, titled The Prostate Monologues.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Eva Ungar Grudin is an art historian who taught at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts for over forty years. In addition to her publications about art, she has written and appeared in a multi-media performance piece, Sounding to A, about inheriting the Holocaust. She is a co-founder of CounterAct, a public guerrilla performance group against racism in her native Austria.
Connect with Eric & Eva:
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Hargrove Press (enter GROUP at "Apply Coupon at checkout" for a $2.00 discount)
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