Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chandra Hoffman

From a Q &A with Chandra Hoffman, author of the forthcoming debut novel Chosen:

Question: Tell us the story behind the story. How did Chosen come to be?

Answer: This story grew out of three defining experiences: the first was my time in Romania post-Revolution as an aide worker in the infamous Orphanage Number One. It was overwhelming—I was given fifty infants my first day—but inspiring to see the human spirit surviving in spite of the bleakness. Romania led me to the second experience, a job in the United States as the director of the domestic adoption program for a private agency, the sole caseworker managing birth and adoptive parents. My goal was to create happy endings, everything I hadn’t been able to do in Bucharest. But I quickly learned that there was another side to this, the business side, and that it was very difficult to meet the needs of everyone in the adoption triangle and keep a boss happy. I left the adoption world when I became a mother myself—my skin had become predictably thin.

This was the final defining point that shaped this novel: our first son's birth and diagnosis with Pierre Robin Syndrome, nearly losing him as an infant. As a new mother to a child with huge medical hurdles, I pondered some of the deeper issues that form the backbone of Chosen: How does parenthood change you? How will the challenges you face shape you as a couple? What happens when your expectations of parenthood are so far from the reality? What makes a good parent? A good person? What happens when you get what you thought you wanted?

The story is fiction-characters and settings and scenarios are as though I took a handful of experiences, threw in a well-marinated childhood paranoia about abduction, seasoned them with the salt of my vivid imagination, put them all in a bag and shook it up. But the themes are real, straight from....[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue