Author Interview: Alina Adams author of My Mother's Secret


Today, The Book's Delight is thrilled to chat with Alina Adams, author of My Mother's Secret!

JMR-Welcome to the Books Delight, Alina. Tell our readers where you live, what you do for fun and what does the perfect day look like?

AA- Thank you so much for having me! I currently live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City. A typical day involves me juggling my three different jobs: I write about education in NYC and help parents find the best fit schools for their children. I write for a soap opera website where I not only critique the shows on the air, but have written my own serial about the early days of serials. And, of course, I write my books, promote my books, and think about what books I am going to write next. I should be embarrassed to admit - but I’m not - that I love all three of my jobs so much that getting the chance to do all three of them is my idea of fun!

JMR-What’s your favorite historical time period? Why?

AA- Now, see, this is tricky. I am a Jewish woman, my husband is African-American, and our three children are biracial. When it comes to a favorite historical period, we always ask, where, exactly, would a family like ours fit in? The answer is… not a lot of times and places, that’s for sure. (And I refuse to time travel without my family. They’d never forgive me.) So when it comes to my favorite time period to live in, I’d have to go with here and now. (We know what we all would have been put through in the past, and we have no idea what’s looming ahead in the future.) However, my favorite historical time period to write about, the setting for my past two novels, is the Soviet Union in the 1930s and 1940s, as, while most people know what was going on in Western Europe at the time (for obvious reasons), very few know what was happening simultaneously in Eastern Europe.

JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

AA- Well, I don’t know if he’s my favorite historical figure, but my husband and I are intrigued by second US president, John Adams. We’d love to know how he managed to be “unpleasant and disliked,” and still get so much done!

JMR- You’ve had a varied career in soap operas and figure skating. How did you come to be a writer of historical fiction?

AA- Write what you know, right? I worked as a writer, producer and researcher in the figure skating departments of ABC Sports, ESPN, NBC and Lifetime. So I wrote murder mysteries set in that world. I worked for the soap operas, “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light,” so I wrote tie-in books for those shows. I was born in the Soviet Union, as were my parents and grandparents. So I wrote “The Nesting Dolls” and “My Mother’s Secret: A Novel of the Jewish Autonomous Region” to share all the stories I’d heard growing up.

JMR- You don’t just write historical fiction. You have also written books about Soap Operas and Figure Skating murder mysteries. Where do you get your ideas from? What’s your favorite genre to write?

AA- My favorite genre is family sagas. I love following a character from birth to adulthood, and I love seeing how one generation’s experience influences the other. (My Gen Z kids call that “inherited trauma.” I call if “life.”) Historical fiction obviously lends itself to such a multi-generation approach, but so do mysteries, where the crimes of today are often influenced by the events of the past. And soaps are all about families and their traumas!

JMR- Did you visit anyone of the places in your book? Where did you feel closest to your characters?

AA- In “My Mother’s Secret: A Noel of the Jewish Autonomous Region,” the lead characters, Lena and her mother, Regina, travel back to the Soviet Union in 1988, right at the beginning of glasnost, when it became possible for former Soviet citizens to visit their countries of origin - without an excessive amount of fear that they wouldn’t be allowed to leave again (just a reasonable amount of fear). That is something my mother and I did, as well. We went to Moscow and Odessa in 1988, and some of the things that happen to Regina and Lena happened to us!

JMR- Alina, tell us about your latest book, My Mother’s Secret: A Novel of the Jewish Autonomous Region.

AA- In the 1930s, that great friend of the Jews, Josef Stalin, decided that, after 1000s of years, he would be the one to finally give the Jews a homeland of their own. Under his auspices and rule, of course. Birobidzhan is located on the border of Russia and China, and over 10,000 people from not just the USSR, not just Eastern Europe, not just Western Europe, but from South and even North America immigrated there in the 1930s, hoping to build an independent Jewish state. What happened there was a microcosm of Stalin’s many repressive policies, including the random arrests, the forced confessions, the starvation, and the police state which defined the rest of the country until his death in the 1950s.

JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline?

AA- Oh, I’m always working on something! There is the serial I mentioned earlier, about the woman who basically invented the soap-opera genre - which I manage to tie into the World Youth Festival held in Moscow in 1957, when Stalin’s successor, Khrushchev, wanted to show the world how open and free the USSR now was. There is also a manuscript which starts in Rumanian-occupied Odessa during World War II, goes through the 1970s Soviet refusenik movement, and into today’s Russian oligarchs and the war in Ukraine.

JMR- You once wrote a book live on-line! What a crazy idea! What did you learn from that experience?

AA- I learned that writing sex scenes when you can see the icon that someone is watching you do it is hard!

JMR- Tell our readers how to find you on social media and the web.

AA- I am on Facebook as: Alina Sivorinovsky Wickham, I am on Instagram as: @IamAlinaAdams, I am on the app that is no longer a bird as @IamAlinaAdams, and my website is,

JMR- What question were you hoping I’d ask but didn’t?

AA- I always like to spread the love to other authors, so I was hoping you’d ask about which post-Soviet books readers who enjoyed “The Nesting Dolls” and “My Mother’s Secret: A Novel of the Jewish Autonomous Region” should check out next.

And I have an answer for you! My teen daughter and I have a YouTube channel reviewing post-Soviet fiction (how else could I get my kid to talk to me?) which should help you find your next read at:

Thank you for this interview, it was lots of fun!

 JMR- Thank you, Alina for stopping by for this fun chat. Readers, I've include a link to Alina's book below! Be sure to check it out.


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