By Sarah Moosazadeh | email@example.com
Alice Hoffman is no stranger to the literary world: She has composed more than 20 novels for children and adults.
Her work has been translated into more than 20 languages and has received countless mentions in publications such as The New York Times, People Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. Six of her books have been made into movies, including “Practical Magic” and “The Dovekeepers.”
Her last novel, “Marriage of Opposites,” about impressionist artist Camille Pissarro’s mother, Rachel, became an immediate sensation and New York Times best seller.
Hoffman returns to Atlanta to discuss her new novel, “Faithful,” at the Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center on Monday, Nov. 14, when she’ll be in conversation with 11Alive’s Melissa Long.
In a phone interview, Hoffman described “Faithful” as “a coming-of-age story which deals with mother and daughter relationships.”
Shelby Richmond, the young main character, must come to terms with being the driver in a car accident that leaves her best friend in a coma. Guilt, fear and loneliness are among the many emotions Shelby must overcome to build a life and adapt to the modern world.
Shelby’s mother stands by her as she attempts to find her own path. “I think it is important for women to support each other in various facets of life,” Hoffman said. “I believe it makes a big difference for women when they have an extra support system. It can raise their level of confidence and esteem.”
Hoffman particularly enjoys writing about female characters who are dealt difficult life challenges while striving to come to terms with their own identity. “It’s important to capture trauma and how women can make something out of it.”
The author added: “Women face struggles all the time, not only in our society, but in other societies. At times it can be difficult to find their inner strength because there are just so many challenges. A lot of people feel like they are on their own during hard times, and that is certainly true for Shelby. She feels like her traumas are only her own, and it takes her a long time to see herself and understand that this is life. It doesn’t always go by the playbook or the way you want it, but it’s not always your fault.”
Survivorship is a concept Hoffman is all too familiar with. As a breast cancer survivor, Hoffman experienced an array of emotions and relied on her inner strength to help get her through.
“I often asked myself, ‘How did I survive, and why not someone else?’ ” she said.
Hoffman grew up on Long Island, N.Y., which is where the car accident in “Faithful” occurs, and she was extremely close to her mother and grandmother.
She spent a great deal of time reading fairy tales and listening to her grandmother share Russian stories. “I was always fascinated by how they related to our lives and how symbolic they were.”
“The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank had a big influence on Hoffman as a child. “Finding beauty, wonder and hope in the toughest times was intriguing to me and made me interested in stories of survivorship,” Hoffman said. “Finding your inner strength and being independent is a common theme among women, and I think that’s why Shelby’s story resonates.”
Hoffman has written many stories that primarily involve mother-daughter relationships, and she is looking forward to writing about women’s relationships in the future. She now is working on a prequel to “Practical Magic,” which is about sisterhood, magic and fun.