Friday, January 20, 2012

Meet Author Tom Milton

Interview by ~Mary as it appears in the January edition of The Wordsmith Journal.

Tom Milton has authored several novels published by Nepperhan Press. They include No Way to Peace, The Admiral’s Daughter, All the Flowers, A Shower of Roses and Infamy which won an Indie Award. His recent release, Sara’s Laughter is expected to follow its successors by drawing praise from both readers and reviewers. What is the secret to his success? “I write novels not only to entertain but also to bring a deeper understanding of how the major events of our time challenge our values.” His books appeal to educated readers of serious fiction and are popular with reading groups. They all have book discussion guides that include an introduction, a conversation with the author and questions for discussion.

Tom Milton’s first career was in journalism with the Wall Street Journal, after which he served in the Army during the Vietnam War. He then joined a large international bank and worked overseas, initially as an economic/political analyst and finally as a senior executive. He spent thirty years living and working in foreign countries, which has given him unique settings for his novels; Buenos Aires, Madrid, London, Santo Domingo to name a few. He now lives in the Hudson Valley.

A book is an author’s baby and most are willing to talk at length regarding the origin, content and deeper meaning. Milton is no exception as he discloses the secrets to his baby, about a baby.

MN-In your book, Sara’s Laughter, Sara’s personal mission is to have a baby and you put an obstacle in her-an advanced case of endometriosis.

TM-A lot of women Sara’s age have obstacles, which they didn’t expect to have.

MN-Sara’s mother tells her she wouldn’t have had a problem if she hadn’t waited so long to get married.

TM-And Sara argues with her mother, insisting that the only reason she waited was to find the right man.

MN-But there were a few complications when she found him, including the fact that he wasn’t white. You dealt with the issue of racism in some of your other novels, but here you put it in another context.

TM-In this context, it’s not about civil rights, it’s about the extent to which parents accept interracial marriage for their children.

MN-Sara’s mother seems very accepting. Her father has a bigger problem.

TM-I think no matter which men their daughters marry, fathers have a bigger problem.

MN-The relationship between Sara and her father is a variation of the daughter-father relationship that was central in three of your other novels. You’re obviously fascinated with that relationship.

TM-So were the ancient Greek dramatists. It has a lot of potential for drama.

MN-I noticed that the daughters have one thing in common-they are all the oldest in their families.

TM-They are. And in that position they challenge their fathers, they question the values of their fathers.

MN-The other relationship that fascinated me was the one between Sara and her sister Becky.

TM-It’s the old story about how one child envies another for a relationship with a parent.

MN-Sara is clearly her father’s favorite and Becky feels close to their mother. But Sara is the one who hears her mother’s voice in her head.

TM-Sara has a major issue with her mother that wasn’t resolved before her mother died.

MN-And her sister has an unresolved issue with Sara.

TM-That’s what makes families so interesting, their unresolved issues.

MN-The plot is driven by these unresolved issues, so your novel is about much more than a woman trying to have a baby.

Tm-It’s about how people deal with their unresolved issues.

MN-Can you tell me why Sara laughed when God told her she would have a baby?

TM-When her students read the story of Abraham and Sarah in class, one of them asks her the same question.

MN-And she does what a good teacher does, she asks her students why they think Sarah laughed.

TM-So why do you think Sara laughed?

MN-I don’t know. I think she laughed because she felt blessed.

TM-Let’s see why the other readers think she laughed.

You can purchase a copy of Sara’s Laughter with free shipping directly from Nepperhan Press.