Lindas Book Obsession Interviews Marlene Adelstein, Author of “Sophie Last Seen” for Suzy Approved Book Tours
1. What was your motivation in becoming an author and writing your first book, “Sophie Last Seen”?
I’ve been a writer for many years. I started with short stories then moved on to screenplays and then the novel. I wanted to be able to sink in and tell a longer more in-depth story where I could really get into the characters more than you can with a short story. I like the process even though it is very challenging!
2. What inspired you to write your first book about Sophie and her love of birds?
Many different inspirations went into the book. The first was probably the case back in 1979 of a missing child named Etan Patz. I had just moved to New York City and then this little boy went missing. It was the first missing child case that got so much media attention. I was drawn into the posters of the smiling little boy and because the boy was never found and a conviction only happened last year, I often thought about the parents and in particular his mother. But there were actually some buried meanings in my subconscious for the novel. I write about these in an essay that came out recently in Longreads.com as part of their Fine Line series. Here’s a link if you want to read it:
As for Sophie and her love of birds, that came later. The more I got into the book, the more ‘alive’ Sophie became for me and the idea of her being obsessed with birds just came to me one day and I went with it.
3. How did you go about researching the various birds?
I took out a ton of books from the library, bought a lot of bird and birding books, researched on line and just started paying attention to birds. I listened and watched the way Sophie did.
4. What are your goals for readers to take away after reading “Sophie Last Seen”?
First I’d like readers just to be drawn in and hopefully like it as a good story. If they take away lessons or ideas about grief and loss and the healing power of art, that would be nice but it’s not required!
5. How is it different reading other people’s manuscripts now that you are a writer?
Well, I’ve actually been a writer for longer than I’ve been a book editor. I think being a writer myself makes me truly appreciate and understand my writer clients knowing myself how difficult it is to write a novel. But hopefully it also allows me to help writers, too, since I’ve been on both sides of the desk, so to speak.
6. What is a typical day in the life of Marlene Adelstein?
I get up early to walk my dog and new cat. (Yes, the cat walks with us, too!) Then I make coffee, check emails, maybe go to a yoga class, and jump in with my editing work, which is how I pay the bills. I try to take little breaks, take a walk or meet a friend, do some errands, but come back and do more editing work. My own writing I try to squeeze in here and there. I may just do some note taking on a new idea, do some reading for research. I am not a ‘write every day’ kind of writer. I just don’t have the luxury. But when I can take a small chunk of time off, a week here or there, then I can write for hours and hours at a time. I do a lot of thinking and note taking before I actually jump in and begin a writing project of my own.
7. What are your hobbies or things you do in your downtime?
Movies, walks, hiking, sewing, cooking, hanging out with friends and my dog. I have pretty simple requirements when it comes to fun.
8. What can you tell us of any new writing projects that you might have?
I’m working on a series of essays, the latest of which I mentioned above that just came out on Longreads.com. And I am doing research for a new novel about a murder that happens in a gated community of mediums.
9. What are your favorite genres of books that you like to read?
I love novels, upmarket women’s fiction, literary fiction but also memoir and non-fiction books dealing with any subject I’m obsessed with at that very moment.
10. What advice can you give to someone that wants to be a writer?
You need to just jump in and write, write, write. You need to develop a thick skin for a fair amount of rejection you might encounter. Writing is a journey that takes persistence and perseverance.
11. If your book were adapted to the screen, what actors, actresses could you envision for the main characters?
I’m kind of out of the loop with the current slew of young actors to play Star and Sophie but I do love Kathryn Hahn who would be a great Jesse. She pops into my mind first but there are many others who would be great.
12. How would you like the readers to connect with you? I love hearing from readers! They can go to my website: marleneadelstein.com and there is a contact page there. If anyone is in a readers group who might be interested to have me come to their group (if possible) or do a Skype conversation, I’d love that!
Thank you so much!!