I posted this interview first in October 2014:
Today I feel very honoured to introduce you to New York Times bestselling author Alina Adams, who kindly agreed to tell us about her writing experience.
Alina is a trendsetter not only in creating enhanced e-books but also in the online continuation of soap operas. And her latest novelty? Writing her newest book online.
She has worked in the soap opera industry and is the author of “When A Man Loves A Woman”, “Annie’s Wild Ride” and many more.
But this is enough of introduction. Please enjoy Alina’s interview:
1) How would you describe yourself in one paragraph?
Tired. With three kids, one husband, and a half-dozen jobs, everything from writing about education (http://alinaadamsmedia.com/live/) to fun stuff to do with your kids in NYC (http://mommypoppins.com/users/alina-adams) to parenting (http://www.kveller.com/blog/author/alina/) to TV criticism (http://www.blogher.com/myprofile/alinaadams) to soap operas (http://community.ew.com/author/alina-adams/) to novels (www.AlinaAdams.com), I am, most often, just tired. And a tiny bit unsure of what day it is.
2) What made you write in the first place?
My parents claim my first words were pencil and paper. Though they were in Russian (I was born in the former USSR) and sounded nothing like the actual words, they knew what I meant. I’ve wanted to be a writer since before I understood there was such a thing. I was simply always telling stories.
3) Which Author has influenced you and why?
Here are a pair who don’t often come up together (I can’t imagine they attended a lot of the same parties): George Orwell and Sidney Sheldon.
Orwell because of the sparsity of his prose. There is not an excess word to be found in “Animal Farm,” and yet he gets his point across completely – without ever spelling it out for you. I strive for that kind of conciseness. (Like Elmore Leonard, when I write, I try to leave out the parts readers skip.)
As for Sidney Sheldon, he was the first writer I ever read (at the age of 13, it’s a very impressionable time) who demonstrated that you could just write something that was pure fun and keep readers turning pages. There was a period in my life when I spent a lot of it on airplanes. I worked as a writer/producer/researcher for figure skating coverage on ABC Sports, NBC, TNT and ESPN (and I subsequently used that experience in my series of Figure Skating Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime). I am a horrible sleeper at home in my own bed, so sleeping on airplanes was out of the question. The only thing that could make the time go faster was a good book. Ever since then, my goal has been to help humanity by writing books that make time pass faster on an airplane. It’s not exactly up there with Mother Theresa, but we all do what we can.
4) Your writing ritual (if you have one)?
I have three kids. Which means anything I have to write that day must be written during the hours when they are in school. That instils discipline. I write every weekday,, whether I feel like it or not. The saying goes: It’s easier to rewrite a bad page than a blank page. What’s particularly sad is when I go back and re-read what I wrote when it felt like I was pulling teeth versus what I wrote when it felt like I was in the zone and everything was really flowing… and there is no difference between the two. In writing as in sports, muscle memory is your friend.
5) Do you suffer from writer’s block and if, what do you do against it?
I sit my butt in front of the computer and I tell myself, “Write one line. Now write the next line. Now the next one.” It’s kind of like when I swim laps. The first few warm-up ones are the hardest.
I do have a funny story about the very first time in my life that I did suffer writer’s block. It was this September, about two months after I launched my latest project, which is writing my next book completely live in front of readers’ eyes – and taking their feedback while I’m doing it! (Why, yes, I am insane, why do you ask?)
Everything was going fine. Until I hit the first love scene. Suddenly, seeing the icons that indicated people were on the site and watching me, made me freeze up. Performance anxiety, I guess, that no Viagra could fix. I actually broke one of my cardinal rules and took a break for the day. I spent the next 24 hours psyching myself up, and then came back the following morning and pounded it out (no pun intended; well, maybe a little). You can see for yourself how it turned out at: http://alinaadamsmedia.com/live/
6) Your advice for apprentice writers?
Do things and live a life worth writing about. Whenever kids ask me about majoring in writing in college, I always tell them, no. Major in history or sociology or anthropology or physics or biology. Learn about people and what they do and how they think and how the world works in general. And, most importantly, do NOT live vicariously through either your characters or someone else’s. Have the experience, then write about it. Not only will your writing be richer, but your life, too.