Monate nach dem Tod seiner Frau Kate findet Ian einen Brief mit Kates letzter Bitte: Er soll sich mit ihrer Tochter Mattie auf eine Reise begeben. Doch Vater und Tochter sind einander fremd geworden. So sehr schmerzt Mattie der Verlust, so sehr qu?lt es Ian, die Orte zu besuchen, an denen ihre Liebe begann. Doch Kate selbst hilft ihnen, zur?ck ins Leben zu finden ? mit Briefen voller Liebe und der Versicherung: "Ich bin an Deiner Seite."
Monate nach dem Tod seiner Frau Kate findet Ian einen Brief mit Kates letzter Bitte: Er soll sich mit ihrer Tochter Mattie auf eine Reise begeben. Doch Vater und Tochter sind einander fremd geworden. So sehr schmerzt Mattie der Verlust, so sehr quält es Ian, die Orte zu besuchen, an denen ihre Liebe begann. Doch Kate selbst hilft ihnen, zurück ins Leben zu finden ? mit Briefen voller Liebe und der Versicherung: "Ich bin an Deiner Seite."
Ambition is not uncommon in the world of young writers, but John Shors still manages to stand out as an author unlike any other. First, he spent five years writing the authentic, romantic Beneath a Marble Sky, a novel narrated by Jahanara, the daughter of Taj Mahal creator Shah Jahan. Now he is traveling all over the country to promote his critically applauded debut by personally visiting local book clubs.
Published in 2004, John Shors' debut novel, Beneath a Marble Sky, was a major hit with critics from the start. An ambitious romance chronicling the lives of Emperor Shah Jahan the creator of the Taj Mahal, the wife for whom he built the legendary palace, and their daughter who falls in love with its architect, Beneath a Marble Sky was hailed as a major debut by publications ranging from the Des Moines Register to the India Post. Still, Shors' labor of love was not exactly soaring off of bookstore shelves. That's when the young author devised a radical, and radically personal, method of generating the kind of sales Beneath a Marble Sky deserved.
"I came up with the idea of putting the letter in the back of the paper back, with my e-mail address, and inviting book clubs to invite me to their evenings," Shors told CBS News. Soon enough, Shors was receiving scores of requests to visit local book clubs and speak about his novel. He also discovered that sales of Beneath a Marble Sky were on the rise. By November of 2006, Shors had visited over 200 clubs and was booked for many more through 2008.
Such ambition may be unusual in the world of publishing, but it is hardly new to Shors. Prior to penning Beneath a Marble Sky, he had traveled to Asia after years of studying creating writing and English at Colorado College. For three years, he taught English in Kyoto, Japan, but never able to remain still for long, he decided to exit his teaching post to backpack across the continent. Shors tramped through ten countries and scaled the mythic Himalayas in Nepal, but it was a 1999 sojourn in India that really altered the path of his life. "Seeing the wonder of the Taj Mahal, and understanding that a man built it for his wife -- a woman he cherished above all else in life -- was uniquely inspiring," Shors confided to Washington Independent Writers.org. "Indian poets have been writing about this love story for centuries. And yet, not many people in the West know the tale. I realized that I had to tell it. Quite honestly, I was amazed and delighted to discover upon my return to America that no one in the West had ever fictionalized the story."
Words such as "vivid" and "colorful" have been used to describe the epic that Shors' visit to the Taj Mahal inspired. Beneath a Marble Sky follows the life of Shah Jahan as he has the palace built for Mumtaz Mahal and they raise a bright girl named Jahanara, who not only learns the ins and outs of political thought from her father but also inherits is sense of romance. She ultimately falls in love with Isa the architect in charge of constructing the Taj Mahal and a man she is forbidden to wed.
Now that Shors is on the road again (of course, this time he is traversing America rather than exotic Asia), Beneath a Marble Sky is steadily becoming as much of a hit with readers as it had been with critics since its publication. The novel went on to average sales of 1,000 copies a week. Although he has quite a full plate with his numerous book club obligations, he is still managing to find time to begin work on his second novel. Despite such a daunting schedule, the ever-energetic Shors is marching ahead with typical gusto, enthusing to CBS News: "I'm excited to do so."
Good To Know
Shortly after its publication,Beneath a Marble Sky fell into the hands of actor Eriq La Salle, former star of TV's E.R. and currently head of a production company called Humble Journey Films. Shors told Washington Independent Writers.org. that La Salle's company "is very serious about making Beneath a Marble Sky into a major movie. They are making great progress and I'm cautiously optimistic that they'll pull it off."
Beneath a Marble Sky is both a book about world culture and a book that encourages world culture in a very practical way. Shors has arranged to donate a portion of the sales of his novel to the Children's International Summer Villages (CISV) a nonprofit organization promoting cultural understanding among people around the globe.
Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Shors:
"I've been lucky enough to travel to five continents and many countries."
"While I am a perfectionist when it comes to my writing (I edited Beneath a Marble Sky 56 times), I am a bit of a slob around the house."
"I cannot stand the feel of cotton balls, and our little girl constantly torments me by rubbing them against my skin."
"I'd like my readers to know that I sincerely and profoundly appreciate their support. The success of Beneath a Marble Sky has given me a great gift, and I hope to repay this gift by creating powerful novels for years to come. Additionally, if any reader has a particular question for me, I'll be delighted to answer her or his question. I can be reached at email@example.com and I'll happily write back to anyone who contacts me."