Thursday, March 13, 2014

Interview with Nicole Dweck

Earlier this week I reviewed The Debt of Tamar, an exciting debut by Nicole Dweck that spans 400 years, and takes place in Spain, Turkey, and New York City. I'm thrilled to share my interview with her, so read on to learn more about her and her book -- and be sure to enter the giveaway!

What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?

Strange as it may seem, The Debt of Tamar was my first piece of fiction.

Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

If it’s warm out, I’ll grab a cup of coffee, head over to Central Park and work from there. There are so many people walking by from every walk of life. It’s easy to draw inspiration from almost any and all passersby.

If it’s cold out, I’ll head to Joe’s Cafe, where I’ll inevitably bump into other writers pounding away on their laptops while downing their second or third macchiato.

Was The Debt of Tamar the original title of your book?

No it wasn’t. The original title of the book was The Bosphorus Dreams, referring to the Bosphorus river in Istanbul.

A stranger commented that the title sounded as though it were going to explode. As soon as he said it, I had to agree.

What inspired the story in The Debt of Tamar?

No matter how many times I get asked that question, answering never gets any easier. I cannot say that one event inspired the entire storyline. The story grew as I wrote it. It began with a keen interest in the Spanish Inquisition. I had been wondering about my ancestors, refugees themselves who had fled the Iberian Peninsula finding safe haven in the Ottoman Empire. As I continued to research and write, the characters themselves inspired me. They seemed to take on a life of their own. At a certain point, it was as though they were making their own decisions and I was simply there to transcribe the course of events.

As you were writing The Debt of Tamar, was there a particular scene or character that surprised you?

*** spoiler alert

I think I was surprised at just how right everything felt when Hannah says goodbye. Love is not always easy and it’s not always pretty. Sometimes, truly loving someone means loving them enough to let them go. It was hard writing that scene, but there was never really any other choice for either Hannah or Selim.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

I love cooking, experimenting with new recipes, and arranging dinner parties with friends. I’ve perfected several Middle Eastern dishes since penning this novel. When I have free time, I try to head out to the mountains and ski as much as possible. It’s a sport that my husband and I both love. It’s an amazing feeling to be out there in nature, cruising down the mountain at 30 MPH, side by side with the wind at your cheeks. Reading this over, it all sounds very romantic, (which it is) but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that 99% of my free time is spent stacking blocks and playing hide and seek with the littler of the two loves of my life.

Read any good books recently?

A bunch. The ones I really loved this year were Every Day by David Levithan, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. The very best book I’ve read in the past several years is an unpublished manuscript by the name of Luminous Dark.

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My thanks to Ms. Dweck for her time and thoughtful responses. You can learn more about her book at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


I'm thrilled to offer a paperback copy of The Debt of Tamar to one lucky reader! To enter, fill out this brief form. Open to US readers only, ends 3/28.


  1. I want to go to one of her dinner parties!

    1. I know, me too! I love a good dinner party!

    2. Great Interview. I like hearing how she got her inspiration in the story. I would also like to go to her dinner parties, but I would really like to go to Joe's cafe to get coffee and see writers working on their manuscript. It reminds me of the Golden Age, where writers and philosophers used to hang out at coffee shops to discuss their work.

    3. Laurelee, I agree -- I love that image -- I do wish I could be a writer in a rich locale like that, mood and ambiance (and good coffee!)...

  2. Wonderful interview. I love the story of her inspiration- that her characters inspired her. Makes me want to read the book and get to know these characters!

    1. There's so much inspiring in this novel -- it's quite rich and dramatic!

  3. The book sounds really good. I love the cover.

    1. Isn't it a gorgeous cover?? Hope you get it and enjoy it!

  4. I like Nicole's taste in reading! ;-)