Susan Dormady Eisenberg Releases Debut Novel, THE VOICE I JUST HEARD, As An Ebook

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Eisenberg's new novel, THE VOICE I JUST HEARD, depicts an aspiring Broadway soprano who battles grief and self-doubt after losing her brother in Vietnam. The book is a valentine to singers, and a salute to the historic Cohoes Falls in NY State. The author explores two questions: What's the price of chasing a dream? And what's the cost of NOT chasing it?

Author Stephanie Cowell says, "THE VOICE I JUST HEARD is a luminous novel of friendship, family, and faith.”

When arts journalist Susan Dormady Eisenberg was growing up in Cohoes, New York, she yearned to sing on Broadway like Julie Andrews, the Sixties' reigning musical diva. But a funny thing happened on the way to Eisenberg’s goal. Though she studied with several voice teachers and snagged Andrews’s role of Guenevere in a Syracuse, NY, production of “Camelot,” the soprano realized she wanted to write about performing rather than perform. She presently quit singing and began jotting notes for THE VOICE I JUST HEARD, her first novel, newly published as an ebook via Amazon. The paperback will be available on April 10.

As part of her research, Eisenberg posed a question: If you have a gift, should you automatically build your life around it? Or suppose you have two talents: which one should take “center stage” in your career? Having consulted vocational books by experts from Thomas Merton to Po Bronson, she concluded that people pay a high emotional price when they settle for safe, predictable careers instead of listening to their hearts and taking professional risks.

These ideas drive the plot of THE VOICE I JUST HEARD, a coming-of-age saga and tale of enduring first love. The novel depicts the transformative journey of Nora Costello, a soprano who plans to sing in musicals, never dreaming she has the vocal “right stuff” for opera. But before Nora can ponder the classical path suggested by Bart Wheeler, a washed-up Broadway baritone who becomes her mentor, she must battle paralyzing self-doubt and grief when her brother dies in Vietnam. She evolves into a heroine to root for, and in the words of MARRYING MOZART author and former opera soprano, Stephanie Cowell, "THE VOICE I JUST HEARD is a luminous novel of friendship, family, and faith.”

Eisenberg finished her first novel after profiling 16 world-class singers and directors in “Opera News,” “Classical Singer,” and “Huffington Post.” She also drew on her early career as an arts publicist to replicate the “roar of the greasepaint” ambience of backstage life, creating scenes at a summer tent theater in Latham, New York, during “Annie Get Your Gun” and a D.C. opera house during “Carmen.”

“As publicist for Goodspeed Opera House and Syracuse Stage, and more recently as a journalist,” Eisenberg says, “I’ve met actors and singers who were willing to share the ups and downs of their careers—everything from their own stage fright to casting debacles. Through the struggles of Nora and Bart, I’ve tried to offer a realistic picture of the problems that performers face, and the cost of chasing their dreams—or worse, not chasing them and feeling unfulfilled.”

Though she was represented by a literary agent for three years, Eisenberg decided to launch her novel as an "indie” when she read about NBC’s new hit series "Smash," a show featuring rival Broadway sopranos. “The pilot of 'Smash' was watched by 11.44 million viewers on February 6,” she says, “so I knew the time was right for Nora’s story. Set in 1970, it should have special appeal to Baby Boomers. It’s also a valentine to my hometown of Cohoes, site of the Cohoes Falls, a natural wonder with links to Native American history.”

Eisenberg spent years crafting the novel that has been vetted by 25 test readers, two successful authors, her former agent, and an independent editor who helped refine an earlier draft. She studied fiction writing at Michigan State and American University and has written corporate and promotional publications for over 40 companies. She lives in Maryland with her husband, a health care executive.

THE VOICE I JUST HEARD is available as an ebook at Amazon.com and BN.com (Barnes & Noble). Amazon and B&N will also offer the print edition beginning April 10.

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