Friday, September 14, 2012
Bestselling Author Alina Adams and the Soaps
by Jean Henry Mead
Alina Adams is the New York Times bestselling author of Oakdale Confidential, The Man From Oakdale and Jonathan's Story (with Julian London). She has written figure skating mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and romances for Avon and Dell. She's currently in the process of converting her entire backlist to enhanced ebooks with audio, video, and more, as well as creating original works such as "Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments."
You have an interesting background, Alina. Born in Russia and learning English at age seven by watching soap operas on TV in San Francisco must have influenced your later writing.
I have a very hard time stopping a story. As a reader and as a writer. As a reader, if I fall in love with a particular set of characters, I want the story to continue forever. I feel the same way as a writer. I want to know what happens next. And what happens after that. And after that. And after that. That's why my next project, "Counterpoint," is going to be a continuing series of novels. But, inspired by a project I launched for Procter and Gamble in 2009, http://www.AnotherWorldToday.com, I am actually going to ask readers to chime in on where they want the story to go next, and then I'm going to write it according to their specifications!
Tell us about your writing background?
I've published a dozen novels - regency romance, contemporary romance, non-fiction, and women's fiction with various publishers, ranging from Avon to Simon and Schuster. Now, I have gotten the rights back to a majority of my books and am in the process of releasing them as enhanced e-books. For instance, for my Figure Skating Mystery series, I made a deal with Ice Theatre of New York (http://www.icetheatre.org/) to include their performances in my books to represent the various fictional characters. I also produced a book for a fellow author. Dan Elish is a Broadway writer ("13") and he'd published a children's book in 1988, "The Worldwide Dessert Contest," as well as written a musical score to go with it. I combined the two to create "The Worldwide Dessert Contest: Enhanced Multimedia Edition." I am also developing other titles with writers of romance, Young Adult, and non-fiction to re-release them all as enhanced ebooks. Authors who think they have titles that might benefit from enhancement can contact me at: http://www.alinaadamsmedia.com/.
What was it like working for Proctor and Gamble Productions as website producer for the soaps, “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns”?
I was there for 10 years, and I had a wonderful time. Writing the websites meant writing in the voices of characters from the show, characters I hadn't created but still needed to bring to life through words (without the help of actors!). It's a great skill for any writer to have.
Tell us about your latest groundbreaking project, Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments.
Soap fans love to talk about their favorite moments. And there have been books written on the history of various soaps and stories. But, up until now, you could only read about how great they were, you couldn't actually view the scenes themselves. That's all changed now. Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments is a one of a kind book in that, after asking fans and soap experts what were some of the greatest moments of all time, I interviewed the actors, writers, producers and directors involved with those moments - and then I added links to where you could actually view them. It's a completely interactive experience that's never been done before.
How did you become a bestselling author?
Doug Wilson, who directed ABC's figure skating coverage for many, many years tells a story of how, during the 1988 Olympics, he was planning to open Brian Boitano's Long Program with a shot from across the ice. But, the camera he'd designated for it broke down, and he had to improvise what became Boitano's dramatic, opening head-shot, which is still used on retrospective shows today.
According to Doug, "This just goes to show, that if you work hard and prepare and plan everything out... there's not telling how lucky you can get." Like Doug, when it came to being a bestselling author, I got lucky. In December of 2011, I wrote a biography of skater Sarah Hughes, hoping she would at least make a respective showing at the Salt Lake City Olympics. Two months later, she won the whole thing.
In 2006, I pitched the idea of doing a book based on "As the World Turns" to coincide with their 50th Anniversary. The show wrote the book into the on-air story. And "Oakdale Confidential" debuted at #3 on "The New York Times" best-seller list.
Advice for novice writers.
Writing is a job. Treat it like a job. Don't wait for inspiration to strike. Just get up in the morning, do what you have to do (in my case, it's get three kids off to two different schools, pack lunches, and periodically remind my sleepy husband what time it is, so he can make it to work on time), and then sit down and write. (This advice also works if you're an evening person. In that case, just substitute doing the dishes and putting kids to bed for waking them up and packing lunches.) Write one word. Then write the next word. And the next sentence. Keep writing. I think it was Danielle Steele who said, "It's much easier to rewrite a bad page, than a blank page."
Oh, and here is something really depressing. You know those days when the writing flows and it's brilliant and easy? You know those days when every word feels like pulling teeth and sweating blood? Go back and read the whole book a year after it's published. Both passages will read exactly the same.
Finally, don't for a minute think that your job as a writer is done once the book is on the shelves and up at Amazon. Promoting your own work is the most important part of being a writer. As the frustrated artist laments in Stephen Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park with George," "If no one gets to see it, it's as good as dead."
We may not like it, we may wish matters worked differently, but keeping your work alive is your job. Same as writing it.
Alina can be reached via her website: http://www.AlinaAdams.com