Friday, April 27, 2012

S.B. Lerner and In the Middle of Almost

Welcome to The Wormhole!
It is my pleasure today to feature S.B. Lerner and her collection of short stories, In the Middle of Almost.
? When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
 When I was single and working at a high pressure job in Manhattan, I took a writing workshop and wrote my first story in a fit of inspiration. The teacher called it a “little gem” and I was hooked. Not only because I can’t resist a compliment, but because the process of zeroing in on an emotional state and revealing through a story was liberating. Often I didn’t even know what I was writing about until I finished. Even then, other people would see things in my stories that I hadn’t realized were there. It was all very heady.

? How many jobs did you have before you became a writer?
 I worked as an attorney/businessperson for many years, while writing.

? How long does it take you to write a book?
A couple of years, including researching and editing.

? Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?
Sometimes from research, although the personalities are often derived from friends and family.

? How do you decide what you want to write about?
The stories in IN THE MIDDLE OF ALMOST came about from conversations with friends and from observing people. There are potential stories in every overheard conversation.

I was inspired to set my upcoming novel, A SUITABLE HUSBAND, in prewar Poland after learning about the Zionist youth group my father belonged to as a kid in Poland. His enthusiasm for it showed, even all these years later. I began to research and learned they were educated and serious young men and women who were passionate about social justice and rejected both the anti-Semitism they’d experienced in Poland, as well as the stratified Jewish cultural hierarchy.  As I researched the period and learned more about the plethora of politically active youth groups, I knew it would make a great background for a novel.

? What books have most influenced your life?
I read mostly historical novels because I like to learn about other periods of history through great characters and a touch of suspense.

? What are you reading right now? 
I’m in the third book of Game of Thrones. It’s outside my normal fare, and I’ll admit I skim through some of it, but it’s got some great characters that show moral ambiguity and complexity.

? What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I play with the puppy, exercise, and enjoy the family.

? What do you think makes a good story?
Complex, interesting characters and a sense of suspense.

? Who would you consider your favorite author and why?
I love Ken Follett. I’ve read everything he’s written.
And now for the book:

Amazon Product Description:
An engrossing collection of funny, poignant and bittersweet stories about busy young women who find men in all the wrong places (the garage attendant across the street, the stay-at-home dad in the playground, the younger man at the diner counter) and discover something about themselves in the process. 

The short stories and memoir were previously published in literary magazines and newspapers.

You can buy your own kindle copy and see reviews by clicking HERE.

Review:  My thoughts:
This is a nice collection of short stories about women and their encounters with men.  Some are fleeting encounters and some are potentially much more.  Each story gives the reader an inside glance at the woman and where she is at in her life.  They are touching, personal, and thought provoking.  Each story is different, but all encourage the reader to look at the piece of their life that the story reminds them of.  I both liked and disliked the unfinished aspect of the ending for each short story.  I am usually looking for either closure or a " be continued" feel at the end of a story, but these stories don't actually have either of those.  Each story leaves the reader with the opportunity to find the ending in their own story or imagine what happened next.  
I am normally a strict "not about real life" story reader, in other words - I am all about fiction.  I tell people I have enough reality in my day to day life that I read solely for pleasure and solely about things that are no where near my life.  Having said that, this was not my normal, average read.  I am pleased that I had the chance to read this well-written collection and will look for more stories written by S.B. Lerner.  

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