Today I want to introduce you to my dear friend, author Mariam Kobras. 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. I know you will enjoy her post below!
I keep telling Ginny, those trees lining the streets of Salt Lake City are sycamores, not maples, but she’s still skeptical. We’re driving through Sugar House, that much I know. That’s the name of this part of town. It’s elevated, all the streets on our right lead downhill, toward the valley with the city proper and the Great Salt Lake beyond.
Sugar House, and if you don’t know the history of the place it might sound a bit kinky, right? But no, I’m told, it’s because there was a maple plantation here, and the sugar house is where they make the syrup. Right, but Ginny, those trees are still sycamores.
We’re going to visit Eric. His art is on the covers of my books, first The Distant Shore, and now on my new release, Under the Same Sun. I’m very excited about this. I’ll be seeing Eric’s studio, all of his lovely paintings, and meeting the man himself.
Not even a year ago, I didn’t know he existed, didn’t know I’d fall in love with his art so much. Then, one Sunday morning, a friend of a friend posted one of his paintings on Facebook. It was stunning. It was beautiful, and it was the perfect depiction of a scene in my first novel, The Distant Shore. I did what every Facebook user does: I shared it to my own wall. My publisher saw it, and commented, “Where did you find this?”
“Right here,” I more or less screamed back, “And I want it on my book, I want it on the cover!”
And now we’re going to visit him.
I’m nervous. I’m scared, and I’m sweaty. I know I have to make a good impression, because I want more of Eric’s art on my future books, and I’m sure if he thinks I’m just another oldish, frumpy, housewife with the will to write, he’ll sneer at me and throw me out instead of signing the new contract the publisher gave me for him.
The door opens before we’re even properly out of the car, and there he is, his wife right behind him, and they’re smiling, waving, just as excited as I am!
“I love your book.,” Eric says. “You’re a wonderful writer!”
How many ways can you spell “abashed”?
I stand there in the Salt Lake City heat of July, purse pressed to my chest just like some frumpy old lady, and here is this tall, handsome man giving me a blinding grin, speaking to me in his wonderful, melodic voice, and I’m smitten.
I mean, I was smitten from afar before, by proxy, if you wish, through his art. But this is still different, this is Meeting the Artist.
His wife Hilary, the lovely girl on my book covers, is even prettier in real life. She really is, and she does look a lot like I pictured Naomi in my stories: slender, dainty, with very white skin and black hair, and a beautiful face.
I’ve brought a copy of The Distant Shore, carried it with me all the way across the Atlantic and nearly across the US, to have Eric sign it for me. It already has a few really nice words from the publisher in it, and now I want his handwriting there, too.
The two people who, other than me, contributed the most to this book, one by giving me his art, the other one by signing me as their author.
“Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your wonderful book!” Eric writes, and I blush, reading those words from him, whom I admire so much. Does he really not understand that only with his art, is it, for me, complete?
We go into the studio, and there it is, the painting called Sunday Morning, the one that’s on the cover of Under the Same Sun.
I remember being at the Louvre the first time, just before my husband and I got married, and we walked all those miles through the endless hallways of that mammoth building to get to where they were hiding the Mona Lisa, and reaching it felt pretty much the way I felt seeing Sunday Morning: I could’t believe I was seeing the original, the real, paint-on-canvas piece of art.
By the way, I still have my doubts about the Mona Lisa. I believe that’s not the original, hanging in the Louvre, unprotected. I’m sure it’s a very, very, well done copy, and the original is somewhere safe in the vaults.
But Sunday Morning, is right there before me, in the artist’s studio. I touch it, and Eric smiles.
Ginny is sitting on a couch in the corner and playing with the Thompson’s dog, chatting with Hilary, while the sun shines through the windows on Eric’s paintings, and for a moment, for as long as it takes to take three breaths, the world feels complete, stopped, perfect. I’m holding my first book in my hand, I’m standing before the painting that will be on my second, and Eric has signed, gladly, excitedly, the contract for the third painting on my third book. How much better can it get?
Later that night, on the plane, on my way back home, I get out the much-traveled copy of The Distant Shore and look at the handwritten dedications in it.
Serendipity, for sure. A blessing.
Thank you, world.
This was the thirteenth 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!
We hope you enjoyed her guest post, and invite you to 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.
Join Mariam tomorrow, 10/31, when she stops by Wendy Mason’s blog.
And this is the link: http://wisewolftalking.com
Check our blog for the full calendar and more details about Mariam and her books!