22 October 2012

Writing – This is How it Works

by Mariam Korbas

This is how it works

There’s the coffee sitting on the dusty desk next to my  laptop, a bottle of water and headphones sit nearby. I have a blanket under my feet because the floor is cold, and I dislike wearing shoes while I write.

The cat is miffed, because he hates sharing the study with me. He can’t curl up next to me here and is forced to nap on the couch in the corner.

I like working here. It’s quiet— well, it’s not, because I’m wearing the headphones and listening to my playlists. What I’m trying to say is, there’s no family, no TV, no one who wants to know what I’m making for dinner tonight, or lunch tomorrow, or anything else. Strangely, they respect this space. I don’t even have to close the door.

Mom is at her desk, which means she’s working, and seriously. She’s not just fiddling with a story, or researching, she’s actually writing.

I’ve written Under the Same Sun, the sequel to The Distant Shore, here. It went quickly,  I did it in less than five months, the story wrote itself.

It was all there: what would happen to Naomi after the shooting, after she nearly died. How easy is it for someone to deal with that when they have to see the scars on their body and feel the injuries every day, when those physical changes also change their daily life?

There comes a moment for Naomi when she feels that everyone has deserted her, even her husband, and she falls into a waiting  trap.

For such a  long time, I was the Mom. The Mom doesn’t need a room of her own, she has the living room, right? Everyone else needs a room of their own, the kids do, and the teacher husband, but the Mom? She can hog the couch and the TV when everyone else has to be doing homework, prepare tests, or write report cards (the husband). The Mom doesn’t have to do any homework or prepare for tests, She has the nice life on the couch.
Well, surprise, guys: no more. And in case you haven’t noticed, Mom works a lot. Mom works hard, from morning until evening, and sorry if lunch gets forgotten from time to time, you’re grown up, fix your own. And those unironed shirts? The iron is in the kitchen cupboard, thank you very much. Oh, and if you’re at it: mine need ironing too.

By now, with my second book being launched, they have gotten used to the new regime.
Mom is an author. She works. She’s a working Mom, even if she does it at home.
She has deadlines—that’s something like having to get ready for an exam, isn’t it? You have to deliver on time, and be ready on the spot. And she has a boss now, that lady she chats with so often, the one who is with this publishing house, the one Mom has signed with.

The questions have changed. It’s no longer, “Mom, are we rich now, are you a famous author like J.K.Rowling? Why don’t we live in a castle if you’re an author? Can I have a Porsche when your next royalty check arrives?”


No, they have realized that it’s really a job like any other, where most of the people work, work, and work hard for their money. And those who get to be rich and famous most of the time also worked hard to get there. Well, there are exceptions, .a few. We don’t like to talk about them.

Only yesterday I caught my teenage son actually bragging about his author mom while chatting online with a friend.

He would rather have all his teeth pulled without sedation than admit to it, but he brags. He also tells his English teachers to please buy my books and read them to polish their English a bit (enter the mortified Mom). So I’m guessing, even though, again, he would never admit this, that there is some pride in the writing Mom involved.

I think a clear proof  this is true because he asked me, today, “So when do we go to customs to pick up the box with the copies of your new book?”

“Patience, grasshopper,” I replied, though with some glee. It can only be a matter of a few days now, and then I’ll hold it in my hands:

My second, published book, Under the Same Sun.

I’m proud of it. It’s a nice book. I’m pleased that I thought to take my characters and the story to Italy this time, to lovely Positano, and opening the door to explore Naomi’s Italian family in other, later books.

So this is how it works: A desk, a cup of coffee, a laptop, and some ideas. And bingo, I’m an author now.
* * *

This was the seventh stop in Mariam’s Blog Hop celebrating the launch of her latest book, Under the Same Sun (Book II in the Stone Trilogy) which hit the Amazon.com bestseller list on its first day on sale!

There’s only a few left, so order your’s now, then while you’re waiting you can go to our blog and click the link to read the first two chapters for free.

But first, write a comment below about this blog post 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.

On Wednesday, 10/24, Mariam will be visiting Julie A. Lindsey’s blog.  Join us there!

Check our blog for the full calendar and more details!
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.


  1. Congratulations on your book release! WIshing you much success.

    1. Thank you so much! I think I just saw you on Facebook... ;)

  2. You write barefoot? Really? That is so interesting.

    When I write at home I need to be fully dressed for my day... including shoes. You know, that 'dressed for work' attitude? However, when I write at the boardwalk (my most favorite place in good weather) I take my shoes off, wiggle my toes in the sun, prop my feet up on the railing, steady my note pad on my lap, close my eyes and face the sun while inhaling the salty air for a moment. THEN and only then do I write.

    My pen flies across the page like a wild mouse leaving a trail of ink. I don't try to make sense of anything until I return home and start typing into the computer. Ah... writing has become my obsession.

    Congratulations on your book... I can't wait to read it!

    1. Well... not completely barefoot. My mother-in-law is an expert socks knitter. I have wool socks in all colors, and I love to wear those at home, even in summer. Of course our Northern German summers are rarely really warm, so it makes sense to wear socks.
      Enjoy the books! Let me know what you think. comment on Amazon! Thank you so much for your interest and encouragement! xo

  3. Congratulations on your second book Mariam! I'm sure it's splendid as you're a marvelous writer. (raises a glass) to creating. :)

  4. I think we should all go to Italy. :-)

  5. Great post! Yes, it can be hard to get others to take writing seriously, especially before you start getting paid for it. I feel lucky that my husband is so supportive, even if it does require gentle reminders sometimes. My biggest challenge is the cats because I like to sit on the loveseat by an open window with a pillow on my lap for my laptop. The felines, of course, think the pillow is for them, so there is often some gentle but firm rearranging required.

    Btw, I do love the Peevish Penman blog. :)


    1. Yeah... I know what you mean, that cat problem. My "personal cat" weighs in at 16 lbs. which doesn't make things easier. As for the husband - he even reads my books now (that they are published; I didn't let him, before) and SAYS he enjoys them. I doubt it. He's a math and physics teacher, and my books are... not about math. ;)
      Thank you, Cecilia!

  6. So happy to see your son secretly admitting his pride. Love this. :)

    1. You know, don't you, that he'd rather have all his fingernails pulled than ever admit it! LOL