Tamar Ossowski - A Smart, Time-Twisting Page-Turner
Tamar Ossowski is the daughter of Holocaust survivors and the mother of three children, one of whom was born with special needs. She is fascinated with the concept of fate, and whether we arrive where we are as a result of our choices, or in spite of them. Ossowski is the author of two books, Left and Fractured, and is currently working on her third novel, tentatively titled Ghost. She lives in Massachusetts with her family and her two cats, whom she is convinced hold the answers to all of life’s mysteries, or at least the important ones! As our Author of the Day, Ossowski tells us all about her latest book, Fractured.
Please give us a short introduction to what Fractured is about.
Fractured is about a woman who goes back in time and meets the man who has broken her - both literally and figuratively, one time before. It explores the possibility that destiny is something you can outrun when given the chance to fix the mistakes of the past.
What inspired you to write about someone who seems to be suffering from amnesia?
I wanted the reader to experience each piece of the puzzle falling into place at the same pace that Sam does. The best way to accomplish that was to make Sam remember things like a person waking from a dream or as you put it, suffering from amnesia.
Tell us more about Sam Baird. What makes her tick?
Sam doesn’t know who she is because all her decisions have always been made for her. She is only familiar with the experience of being taken care of which is what dictates her choice in mates and careers. At the beginning of the book, she is weak and obedient. Over the course of her journey through two lives, she starts to understand how to become the person she was always meant to be.
Destiny - and whether we can change it - is a central theme in this book. What fascinates you about the concept of fate?
My parents both survived the Holocaust in which 90% of Polish Jews perished. That they lived and I am here is both miraculous and lucky and has fueled my obsession with the concepts of fate versus destiny. I am fascinated with the possibility that we are all here for a reason or conversely that everything that happens is random. Do we simply accept our fate, or do we take our destiny in our hands or does none of it even matter? These are the questions that I think about often and that Sam must answer (more than once).
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I speak three languages, English being my second. I am also licensed to practice law in two states just in case this writing thing doesn’t work out!
Tell us more about the cover of Fractured. And how it came about.
I wanted something to capture the eeriness of being at Daphne lake and because the tree branches in the background so closely resembled cracks, I thought it would be the perfect way to capture the idea of being fractured. Also, I liked that it was in a similar color palette to my first book, Left.
Readers say the book kept them guessing... to the point of some of them feeling a bit lost at times. Why did you take this approach?
Originally the book was written in two halves illustrating Sam's two different lives. My beta readers told me that approach made the pacing feel too slow. I ended up physically cutting up the manuscript, interconnecting the scenes, and then taping it back together. In retrospect, I now realize I was creating my own version of a mosaic.
Which character did you find the most challenging to create?
I think the most difficult character to write was the main character’s mother Jayne. When I first started writing about her, I didn’t understand why she was so suffocating, nor did I understand the odd dynamic between her and Sam’s father. Often, a character keeps their secrets well-hidden even from the author which is what makes writing about them so intriguing.
Have changes in your own life affected any of your characters?
I have had difficulty in conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy and wanted to explore those feelings in my characters, particularly with Sam.
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters?
I believe that neither characters in books, nor characters in real life, are one-dimensional. All of us are good and bad and kind and cruel. None of us is black or white, instead, we are mostly gray. Which is what makes life so compelling and interesting!
Do you have a favorite line from the book, and can you explain what that line means to you?
My favorite line in the book occurs when Sam has experienced heartbreak and her mother reassures her that she will be okay. Sam questions her mother’s conviction and asks how she knows. Jayne responds, “Because I made you and I know what you are made of."
What is an average writing day like for you?
I have three children, one of whom was born with special needs, so my writing day is (for lack of a better term) fractured! I try to grab time when I can but, in all honesty, ideas and plots and lines come together in my head in the shower, or the car or at the gym and almost always when I don’t have a way to record them.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on a piece currently titled Ghost. It’s about two sisters, one of whom dies in the Holocaust and one who survives and goes on to have a daughter who is morbidly obese. I am interested in the idea of epigenetics and how trauma is passed on genetically from one generation to the next.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I love to hear from readers!
Website - https://www.tamarossowski.com
Email - [email protected]
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/tamarossowskiauthor/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/tamarossowski
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/tamarossowski/