Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Yom Kippur is tomorrow.  In honor of the most important holiday on the Jewish calender, I offer a 2001 interview with me from J Weekly, about the secret Jews of romance novels:

Alina Sivorinovsky has a passion for passion.

Writing romance novels is an unlikely career path for the 31-year-old emigre from the former Soviet Union. A New York resident who writes under what she calls her "goyishe name" of Alina Adams, Sivorinovsky grew up in San Francisco and served as president of Hillel during some turbulent times at San Francisco State University.

"Before I could write I knew I wanted to be a writer," says Sivorinovsky, who arrived in San Francisco as a 7-year-old child in 1977. She spoke no English.

She has since gone on to publish four romance novels, including two that feature Jewish characters. Because of editors' fears that overtly Jewish figures might prove "offensive" to romance readers, Sivorinovsky crafts her fiction with what she calls "secret Jews."

Her first book, "The Fictitious Marquis," tells the story of a 19th century noblewoman who hides her Jewish roots from English society.

Hidden Jews, she says, also fit into her most recent book, "When a Man Loves a Woman."

The two lead characters are Jewish, but Sivorinovsky says she only gives subtle hints of their true identity. "I can't tell you how much I'd like to have my Jews out in the open rather than being Marranos," she says.

Born in Odessa, Sivorinovsky takes a pragmatic approach toward being "part of a minority population." But, she adds, that "doesn't mean I can't be a little subversive."

In "When a Man Loves a Woman," published last April by Dell, Sivorinovsky features two physicians in a plot that she jokingly describes as "When Harry Met Sally at the ER."

Neither character minds working on Christmas. The heroine is named Deborah Brody. "Non-Jews don't pick up," she says, but the author gets mail from her Jewish fans saying, "We figured it out."

As a writer for mass audiences, Sivorinovsky acknowledges that Jews constitute "a minority culture in a majority culture." But she questions editors' reluctance to feature openly Jewish characters.

"I genuinely feel editors underestimate their readers," she says. She believes editors are governed by a view that romance readers only want accounts of "white bread people in white bread towns.

"That's not true," she asserts.

Read the entire piece at: http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/15059/writer-hides-jewish-characters-in-her-popular-romance-novels/

1 comment:

Rachelle21 said...

When A Man Loves a Woman is on my Kindle for PC as is Counterpoint 2. I have a friend Roni Denholtz who wrote a book with Jewish characters in it also.