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Broadway and Beyond: An Interview with Susan Dormady Eisenberg, author of One More Seat at the Round Table

Eisenberg

I’m the author of two backstage novels, The Voice I Just Heard (Amazon, 2012) and One More Seat at the Round Table (Atmosphere, 2023). Prior to tackling fiction, I ran a promotional writing business in Washington, D.C., creating publications for banks, hospitals, and schools, and I also freelanced for magazines and newspapers. Earlier in my life, I did public affairs and/or marketing for Goodspeed Opera House, Syracuse Stage, and The Joffrey Ballet/NYC. I’m now based in Baltimore, Maryland, where I live with my husband, a senior care executive. We have a gifted daughter who is training for a career in theater production. When I’m not working on my fiction, I can often be found in New York City with my husband attending Broadway musicals, an avocation we share.

You can buy One More Seat at the Round Table here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.


Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

As I drafted my novel, I used a fragment of a lyric from the song Camelot since my book is about the creation of that golden-age musical. But as I showed the manuscript to beta readers, a few remarked that if a reader wasn’t familiar with the show, they wouldn’t understand the reference. So I began searching for a new title that would instantly evoke the myth of King Arthur, and my niece Kirsten Erdosh, who is also a writer, suggested the current title, One More Seat at the Round Table. This process took a couple of years, but for me it was worth the wait. Everybody knows “the Round Table” as it relates to the Arthurian legend, and my protagonist Jane is a young woman seeking “a place at the table,” career-wise, so my title has a double meaning.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

I was utterly thrilled when I first saw my book cover, supervised by Atmosphere Press’s art director Ronaldo Alves and designed by Matthew Fielder. I knew I was in good hands when Ronaldo asked for all kinds of input prior to starting. The cover features a stage curtain and the emblematic “sword in the stone” image, and both are perfect for a novel about Camelot.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I discovered that I enjoyed creating stories when I was in primary school, and I think that reading Little Women around age ten and finding a role model in both Louisa May Alcott and her alter ego Jo March helped me believe that writing fiction was a possible career path. As I grew older, I devoured every novel I could find by Gail Godwin and Anne Tyler, both important literary influences.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I worked as a publicist in the arts for some years, and I also studied voice on and off from the age of fourteen until the age of forty. In my twenties, I played Guenevere in a community production of Camelot in Syracuse, New York. The show was performed in a huge civic center with a big orchestra and the producer borrowed the original Broadway sets that I describe in my novel. I quickly realized how difficult it was to do a major role like Guenevere, and after Camelot I never set foot on stage again. Ironically, though, I met my real knight in shining armor, my husband Barry, who was in the chorus.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

The most rewarding part, quite honestly, has been my work with the entire staff of Atmosphere Press. I felt supported and understood from my first meeting, and I sensed from the beginning that my book would be the best it could be, thanks to the talents of Atmosphere’s young, smart, customer-driven team.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

My soundtrack would include all the songs from the Camelot original cast recording, plus that charming tune, Love’s Old Sweet Song, which my male protagonist Bryce sings near the end of the book.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope my readers will realize how much grit, blood, sweat, and tears it takes to get a new musical up and running on Broadway—from rehearsals to out-of-town tryouts to opening night.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I am finishing a novel about American sharpshooter Annie Oakley. It has gone through many drafts and I hope I’m nearing completion. Since the centennial of Miss Oakley’s death is coming in 2026, I hope to publish in tandem with that anniversary, if not sooner.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

I would tell others to write a solid first draft, show it to several beta readers, polish it to a sheen, and then send it to Atmosphere Press and hope for acceptance. Their editors, designers, copyeditors, production specialists, and publicists are first rate, and they’ll do their utmost to send a gorgeous book into the world. I feel honored to be among their authors and hope to publish with Atmosphere again.


You can buy One More Seat at the Round Table here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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