Thursday, December 6, 2018

A Frank and Real Interview with Alison Littman Author of Historical Fiction Radio Underground

Alison Littman lives in San Francisco where she’s a writer by day and standup comedian by night. A former journalist in New Mexico, she covered politics and education while also contributing articles on John F. Kennedy and The Beatles to various specialty magazines. Her feature stories focus on listening to rock 'n' roll behind the Iron Curtain and Cold War politics. Radio Underground is her first novel.

About the Book:

After years of suffering under the communist regime in Cold War Hungary, Eszter Turján—fanatical underground journalist—would sacrifice anything, and anyone, to see the government fall. When she
manipulates news broadcasts on Radio Free Europe, she ignites a vicious revolution, commits a calamitous murder, and is dragged away screaming to a secret underground prison.

Her daughter Dora, then a teenager, cowers in her bedroom as the secret police arrest her mother. Haunted and hurt, Dora vows to work against everything Eszter believes in. But, it’s not that simple.

After nine years, Dora meets a strapping young fan of Radio Free Europe and is unwittingly drawn back into Eszter’s circle. She finds her mother, driven mad by years of torture, is headed for death.

On the brink of losing Eszter again, Dora must decide if she should risk her life to save the mother who discarded her—or leave it to fate.

“A propulsive read and a timely reminder that maintaining our humanity requires courage as much as love.”- Kim van Alkemade, New York Times best-selling author of Orphan #8 and Bachelor Girl

“Littman’s debut novel is a delectable blend of history and heartstrings, sure to please the palates of literature lovers everywhere.”- Selene Castrovilla, award-winning author of Melt and Luna Rising

5 out of 5 star review from Readers’ Favorite

Radio Underground reads like a movie…A revolutionary tale written with style.”- Readers’ Favorite


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What is your name?

Alison Littman

What do you look like?

Like Sarah Silverman – really, it’s true. Very true.

Where are you today and what are you doing?

Today I am in San Francisco and I went to the Hungarian National Dance Ensemble’s production of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 (this is not a joke, I know it is very closely connected to my book!) I also walked a Boston Terrier named Lucky through the Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco, and went to a graduate school class to boot.

Describe the outside of your home.

I live in a shady street in San Francisco, with a wide bike lane and grassy park across the way.

You come face to face with your worse enemy. How do you react?

I’d probably give them a piece of my mind, in a calm tone (this is my fantasy right?), and then walk away before they can respond.

You keep a photo album of memories from your lifetime. If you could only keep one photo, which one would that be?

That’s easy – my grandma and I at my third birthday party when, for some strange reason, we had the same exact smile on our faces. We have very different smiles it turns out, but in that one picture, we look so similar.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Night time!

A police officer stops you for a minor violation. What violation is that and how do you react?

I can’t answer this question – I feel like I’ll get a speeding ticket tomorrow if I do.

What is your favorite piece of clothing?

A nice snug pair of jeans.

Do you have any phobias? What are they and how intense are they? How have they impacted your life?

I cannot stand when people bite into frozen popsicles. My mom used to do it next to me on the couch every night despite me pleading with her not to – the sound alone is just so jarring for me, and then imagining the sensation of frigid ice on teeth…I can barely write about it.

Open your wallet, purse, or briefcase. What do you find?

Not much, I like to travel light.

You move into a new home. What's the first thing you buy for it?

A bed. I need to be comfortable to sleep.

How do you feel about mortality?

I don’t think I understand it.

What scares you?

Losing anyone from my family.

How would your parents describe you?

Hmmmm…I think they’d say I’m ambitious, athletic and it’s probably best not to talk to me when I’m hungry.

What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed at night?

Watch Friends. I think I’m on my third round through the entire series, but I grew up with these guys and they just calm my mind down before bed.

Are you married or in a relationship?

Single lady!

Do you have children?


You just woke up to find that war has been declared. What’s the first thing you would do?

Make sure my family is okay. After reading Station Eleven, I started really thinking about this, and I realized I should tell my mom that I’m going to walk to get my grandma first and then I’ll go find them. I’ll make sure my dad stays put as well, and pick him up after. Am I being too paranoid?

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

This. Exactly this.

If there was one thing you could change about yourself, what would that be?

I would love to be able to fall asleep easily. Oh how I envy those people.

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