Monday, April 5, 2021

Adam Mitzner

Adam Mitzner is the acclaimed Amazon Charts bestselling author of Dead Certain, Never Goodbye, and The Best Friend in the Broden Legal series as well as the stand-alone thrillers A Matter of Will, A Conflict of Interest, A Case of Redemption, Losing Faith, and The Girl from Home. A practicing attorney in a Manhattan law firm, he and his family live in New York City.

Mitzner's new novel is The Perfect Marriage.

My Q&A with the author:

How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

Titles are very tricky business. I’ve written 9 novels, and I’m at about 50% whether my title ends up being the title when the book is published. I had the title before I began writing for exactly two of the books.

The Perfect Marriage was one of those two. Before I wrote the first line I knew that the book was going to be about this couple that were very happy together, but that the title would suggest otherwise because no marriage is actually perfect. So it worked well on both levels – before starting the book, the reader knows that the titular couple at least think they’re blissfully happy, but the reader also knows that there’s more to it than that.

What's in a name?

I like to give the main characters names that evoke some feeling in the reader. In The Perfect Marriage, the main characters are named James and Jessica Sommers. To me, Sommers – like summer – is a carefree happy time. And I liked that their first names shared a common first letter, which gave them that cute couple vibe. One of the characters is named Hayley, and she’s a force of nature, like hail. Wayne is a weaker character, and no offense to Wayne’s, but I chose the name because it’s slightly old-fashioned and also because it’s Batman’s alter ego’s name – his weaker part. And Owen is what we might have named my daughters had they been boys.

Minor characters I name after my friends and family, often to their chagrin.

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your novel?

This is a funny one for me because I would say that my younger self would be shocked because I do not recall ever having any interest in being a writer until I was in my forties. However, since I’ve published, I’ve heard from friends from my teenage years who remember that I always had such an interest. So, I’m not sure who to believe.

On substance, however, I think the themes I explore in my novels are the ones that intrigued me even as a teenager. What’s the “right” thing to do? What price do we pay for pursuing our passions? What will we do for the people we love? Can good people do bad things?

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

Like the famous Mad Men line, I am like Don Draper in that I prefer the beginnings of things. Writing the beginnings are more fun because it’s like meeting people for the first time. You get to know them slowly, imagining things about them that may or may not be true, fantasizing a little bit about who they truly are. At the end, all those mysteries have been revealed.

I do not know the ending when I start writing, which requires that I go back to the beginning once the ending is finished to make sure that the characters are true to themselves throughout the book. Another reason that I edit the beginning more is simply because I am constantly editing as I write, as opposed to
doing a first draft completely and then beginning to edit. So the beginning is around longer and therefore subject to more edits.

Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

There’s a school of thought that you are all the people in your dreams. I think the same is true of writing. Which is my way of saying that all of the characters are me, in some form or another. The way I am, the way I’d like to be, the way I think others see me. Sometimes the characters are based on people I know, but even then they’re really how I think those people see the world. Obviously, I have no idea whether that’s right or not, so in that way I still think even those characters are more like me than the people I’m actually basing them on.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

My family, first and foremost, because the issues in my books usually revolve around family dynamics. The Perfect Marriage hews closer to my life in some regards than most of my books, as my wife and I are both previously divorced and have children from our prior marriages. And I think my marriage is perfect, of course. But all of my books are at their core about personal morality and the ties that bind people, and to find that place I am most influenced by my own relationships.

I’m also very influenced by television, especially the type of limited series you see on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. I watch them with an eye toward the visual cues as well as the story telling techniques. Over the past few years I’ve noticed that I’m often able to guess the endings, which I think is because I know what I’d do if I were writing the show.
Visit Adam Mitzner's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Perfect Marriage.

The Page 69 Test: The Perfect Marriage.

--Marshal Zeringue