Q&A With Alina Adams

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Q&A With Alina Adams 

Alina Adams is the New York Times Bestselling author of My Mothers Secret which is a historical fiction novel. In the past Alina has written ice skating murder mysteries as well as romance. I have the honor of doing this Q&A with Alina. 

Q: Alina, when did you know that being an author was what you wanted to do with your life?

A: Well, according to my parents, my first words were the (baby, Russian) equivalent of “pencil” and “paper.” I suspect that tale is a bit apocryphal. But it’s true that I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be telling stories, whether that was just out loud to my somewhat disinterested pre-school classmates, scribbling in notebooks when I should have been listening in class all through high school and college, when working for soap-operas like “As the World Turns,” “Guiding Light,” “All My Children,” and “One Life to Live,” while traveling the world to cover figure skating events for ABC, ESPN and NBC, or, finally, in my home office. Which happens to be a computer set up on a card table on the other side of my bed. Being a writer is very glamorous! 

Q: Would you like to tell the readers of the blog and I about your recent release My Mothers Secret?

A: My first historical fiction novel, “The Nesting Dolls,” took place in Odessa, USSR in the 1930s, Odessa, USSR in the 1970s, and present day Brighton Beach, Brooklyn (which is nicknamed “Little Odessa”). Readers told me they were most intrigued by the first section. While most everyone knows what was going on in Western Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, very few people are aware of what was happening in Eastern Europe, including the death and destruction being wrought by Josef Stalin on his own population. 

Taking that feedback, I set the bulk of “My Mother’s Secret: A Novel of the Jewish Autonomous Region” in the Soviet Union during that same time period. Part One takes place in Birobidzhan, the first autonomous Jewish state of the 20th century, sponsored by that great friend of the Jews, Josef Stalin. (I am being facetious. Stalin was not a great friend of the Jews. He killed thousands of them during the 1930s and again in the 1950s via The Night of the Murdered Poets and The Doctors’ Plot, among other state-sanctioned genocides.)

Part Two is set in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II, where American soldiers were imprisoned alongside Soviet ones but, because the USSR was not a signatory to the Geneva Convention, the Soviet soldiers were treated much more brutally, and so needed to collaborate with the Americans to survive.

As for the framing device, it takes place in San Francisco, CA in the 1980s, which is where I grew up after my family immigrated from Odessa, USSR to the Bay Area.

Q: Is it too early to ask about what you are currently writing at the moment?

A: It is never too early to ask, because I am always writing something. And you don’t need to just ask, you can also read a sneak preview! “Go On Pretending” was serialized on the soap-opera site, And why was it serialized on a soap-opera site? Because it’s a serial about the early days of serials (i.e. soap operas!). Part One of “Go On Pretending” takes place in New York City in the 1950s, just as radio soaps were transitioning to television soaps. How does this eventually lead to the Soviet Union? Click here to find out! The episodes are listed in reverse order, so you need to scroll all the way down to read the first installment.

Q: You’ve written ice skating mysteries, romance and historical fiction. Are there other genres you would explore writing in? If so why?

A: So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Whether I am writing figure skating mysteries, romance novels, or historical fiction, what I am really doing is writing in my favorite genre: Family sagas. I love to read family sagas, and I love to write family sagas. Even if, often, due to the whims of the marketplace, I need to label them as something else.

Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to your work? We need original content again. 

A: The figure skating mysteries have been optioned for a TV series twice, but nothing came of it either time. I think the perfect person to develop the historical fiction novels would be Mila Kunis. With her background, I think she’d really relate to the material. And doesn’t she want her American-born kids to know what life was like in the USSR? I know I wanted my kids to know. Which is why I started this YouTube channel with my daughter, explaining the Soviet Union through books!