Midnight at the Taj Mahal by Brynn Olenberg Sugarman – Interview & Giveaway

Welcome to Author Brynn Olenberg Sugarman

Brynn Olenberg Sugarman graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a BA in Creative Writing and from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem with an MA in English Literature. She is the author of “Rebecca’s Journey Home”, an award-winning picture book. “Midnight at the Taj Mahal” is her first novel and reflects her lifelong love of travel and fascination with time travel. It is the first book in the “Out-of-School Adventures” series. Brynn lives with her husband and three children in Ra’anana, Israel, close to the sparkling Mediterranean Sea.


If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? 
Since “Midnight at the Taj Mahal” is about time travel, this is a fun one for me. I have always pictured traveling back in time rather than forward. I think this is because I’ve always been a dreamer, and have always had romantic notions about the past, i.e. a time simpler than our own. The future seems like it would be even more hectic than our present time, and possibly dystopian in nature: scary! Still, it’s ironic that I feel that way about the future, because by nature I am an optimist.

What is one book everyone should read? 
“The Time Traveler’s Wife.” Love the way that Niffenegger carefully crafts that book, with Henry visiting Claire at various times in her life. But above all, she succeeds in getting us to fall in love with both Henry and Clare. I was sobbing at the end.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose? 
As a fan of both Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyers, I’d say the chance to be a vampire. Not because I’m interested in sucking blood (I am a vegetarian!) but because immortality, coupled with the ability to help innocent mortals by “hunting” the cruel/murderous ones, is irresistible. Plus vampires are so sensual!

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? 
Chocolate with fun additions, such as graham crackers, marshmallows, chunks of fudge: “Rocky Road” comes to mind.

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose? 
King David. He has always fascinated me, because he was so complex and so many things at once: a lover, poet, musician, spiritual seeker, warrior and ruler. In fact, I’m so crazy about King David that the second book in the “Out-of-School” series is going to take place in Jerusalem, with Zach and Hailey going back in time to meet him.

Night owl or early bird? 
Night owl by nature, but I can’t fully indulge it, since I’m a family gal, and need to conform to the school/work week.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? 
I’m lucky, because I have traveled a lot and live in the place which I find most inspiring and fulfilling: Israel.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? 
I wanted to be a veterinarian, a woman on the flying trapeze, an astronaut, and a writer. Well, at least one of my wishes came true!

Favorite Food? 
I love Asian food: Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian…since I have a special fondness for soup, I’d have to say that hot and sour soup is at the top of the list.

Summer or Winter? 
Summer! Lucky that I live in a country where it almost never ends!

Horror or Romance? 
Romance. I avoid horror films: When “The Exorcist” came out, I flipped out and ran out of the movie theater in tears. Having said that, I think that the film “The Sixth Sense” offers the best twist ending!

Who or what inspired you to become an author? 
I have always loved books, and I wrote my first poem when I was about five years old. It just came naturally.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 
Believe in yourself and have stamina. I recently read that Kathryn Stockett received a whopping 60 rejections before “The Help” was accepted by an agent. Good thing that she persisted!

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? 
I loved the Narnia Chronicles as a kid, as well as anything by Ray Bradbury. And I’ve read “Wuthering Heights” at least five times!

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
I was excited when my picture book, “Rebecca’s Journey Home,” won a Sydney Taylor Award and I flew out to Phoenix with my mom for the award ceremony. I especially enjoyed networking with the other writers. Markus Zusak was there – as far as I’m concerned, “The Book Thief” is absolutely brilliant. And I got to visit the Grand Canyon, whose beauty literally made me gasp.

Midnight at the Taj Mahal

Hailey and Zach are out of school on a year long adventure. First stop: India! The excitement begins the moment they step off the plane. Hailey and Zach are entrusted with the magical diary of Shah Jahan, legendary builder of the Taj Mahal, and are whisked off on their first real adventure. The Taj pool shimmers in the full moon, and suddenly the twins are not just traveling the world but traveling back in time, sent on a mission to free the shah and his princess daughter from their prison tower. With the help of their ingenious friend, Sushil, anything seems possible. Can they help the shah win back his rightful place on the throne? Will they change India’s history forever? Time is running out! Will they succeed before their parents’ work in India is done, and it’s time for them to move on?

Giveaway Details
1 copy of Midnight at the Taj Mahal
Paperback open to US only, Ebook open Internationally
Ends 11/28/12

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