An Interview with Thelma Adams. Author or “Bittersweet Brooklyn” and Lindas Book Obsession for Suzy Approved Book Tours
Linda: What was your motivation in becoming an author and writer? What did you do before you were a writer?
Before I was a writer I sold men’s underwear at Montgomery Wards, manned the desk at a sleazy car rental agency, was the chef at a Mexican fast-food restaurant in Berkeley, was a cocktail waitress at His Lordship’s on the Oakland waterfront, was the Development Director at the Independent Feature Project (which became Film Independent), was the Financial Officer at the New York Council for the Humanities, was a grant writer at the Studio Museum in Harlem and paid half my way through the Columbia MFA program by working in the school’s Development Department. As a writer, I was the film critic for the New York Post, Us Weeklyand a contributing editor for Yahoo! Movies.
My motivation was that I had to write – to express what I felt and what I saw in words, whether poetry or prose, fiction or criticism. Writing gave me a voice – or, rather, I found my voice through writing starting as a teenager.
Linda: How did you go about researching for your book?
This was a many-tentacled search, from talking to my mother and cousins about family history, diving into Ancestry.com, scouring criminal records at 1 Centre Street in Manhattan and the National Archives, looking at archival photographs and reading period newspapers, using Zillow and Mapquest, and walking the blocks where the action takes place.
Linda: What are your goals for your readers to take away after reading?
I want them to be moved, to feel like they’ve lived this woman’s life – and, perhaps, to wonder what their lives, with all their 21stCentury freedoms, would have been like if they’d been born poor and without the social and educational opportunities that so many of us (not all!) take for granted. Also, since most readers are very familiar with crime fiction and movies, I wanted them to see a similar set of events told from the perspective of the family members who benefited from the illicit cash and suffered collateral damage.
Linda: What is a typical day your life ?
I don’t think any day is particularly typical….but the average day is that I get up around 8 AM, brush my teeth, wash my face, pet random cats that slip by, go to the kitchen and make coffee. Coffee! Light no sugar. Then I putz around for a half hour or so, drinking coffee, writing lists, looking out at the birds on the snow or in the leafy trees. I hope for wild turkeys. I’m very happy with cardinals and gold finches. Then I dive in to writing – a typical day I will write for three to five hours. I no longer worry about word counts – I probably average 1000 words per day. I also have a weekly movie column for Real Clear Life that’s due on Tuesdays, so I may be pitching an idea with my editor or going back and forth on tweaks. I may be reviewing a movie for AARP, or writing an article for Variety. Afternoons are a hodge-podge of activities. If I’ve done my writing morning the right way, my brain often feels like a squished-out sponge. As the afternoon wanes, I may do yoga (I’m a Yoga with Adriene addict), or drive to the gym for some really tepid cardio. Dinner with my husband and son who attends a local university (my daughter is away at college) goes in waves – we scrounge good homemade food from the freezer or I have a salad or someone gets it together to make something yummy. And then I tend to watch the news on MSNBC and scream at the TV for a few hours depending on what’s breaking, followed by watching mysteries and thrillers on PBS or Acorn or MhZ Choice. My favorite show is the French policie procedural Spiral, and I also love The Magicians, which I watch every Wednesday with my son. I head to bed around 11 with the hopes of a quiet hour to read novels and reset for the next day. An atypical day? Wake up at the Crowne Plaza in Berlin, attend movies all day with friends from around the world at the Berlinale and go to the Prater Garden for schnitzel with lingonberries and dark beer.
Linda: What are your hobbies or things you do in your downtime?
Yoga! Travel. Exploring Upstate New York. Hanging with my kids and good friends. Reading international thrillers. Movies. Sitting on my screened porch and watching the beautiful Hudson Valley light and wildlife.
Linda: What are your favorite genres of books that you like to read?
I love historical fiction, thrillers and mysteries, Scandi-noir and classics.
Linda: What advice can you give to someone that wants to be a writer?
Write. It’s not necessarily easy but you can tap into your creativity and all it takes is a pencil and a piece of paper. How cheap is that?
Linda: If your book were adapted to the screen, what actors, actresses could you envision for the main characters?
Rachel Brosnahan as Thelma Lorber. Cillian Murphy as her mobster brother Abie. And Game of Thrones‘ Richard Madden to play Louis, who went to war and never really came back. For more, read here: [[http://mybookthemovie.blogspot.com/2018/12/thelma-adamss-bittersweet-brooklyn.html]]
Linda: How would you like the readers to connect with you?
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