Saturday, October 1, 2022

Q&A with Sarah Adlakha




Sarah Adlakha is the author of the new novel Midnight on the Marne. She also has written the novel She Wouldn't Change a Thing. She lives along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.


Q: What inspired you to write Midnight on the Marne, and how did you create your cast of characters?


A: Midnight on the Marne was a novel written around one character, and, if you’ve read the novel, it’s probably not the character you would expect.


I think most people would guess Marcelle Marchand was the driving force of the book, since she’s the main female character, but it was actually written around George Mountcastle.


George played a very small role in my debut novel that came out last summer, She Wouldn’t Change a Thing, and he was such a crowd favorite that I felt compelled to tell his story.


Q: How did you research the novel, and did you learn anything that especially surprised you?


A: I spent about six months researching and learning about WWI – the battles, the strategies, the weaponry.


Most of my research was done online and through written texts about the war, but since the story has an alternate history, I also got involved in some group chats with historians who liked to debate what might have happened if the Germans had won the war.

So, not only did I have to learn the real history of WWI, but I also had to really understand the dynamics of the rest of Europe during that time, as well as around the world, and how a German victory would have impacted all of that.


Q: The writer Kristin Harmel said of the book, “Midnight on the Marne is an extraordinary tale of ‘what if,’ which cleverly explores how both fate and personal choice can change the course of the world.” What do you think of that description?


A: I love that description. And the fact that she pulled that from the story really shows how closely she read it.


On the surface, I think it would be easy to read this as a tale of fate and how one small act from one person could change the history of the world. But underneath this premise is the idea that fate is the result of personal choices from many different people.


It also explores human nature to a certain extent, and the human psyche. How knowing the possible outcome of a decision – having seen it in real life - can really test your moral fortitude.


Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: I typically know how my novels will end before I write the first word. There are always changes along the way, but the basic premise of the story doesn’t vary much. I see my writing as a sort of a journey from one place to another. I know where I’m starting, and I know where I’m ending. But the route I take may not be the one I thought would get me from point A to point B.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Right now, I’m working on book three, which will be a historical fiction novel set during WWII in the Philippines. It’s about an American nurse who is there when the Japanese bomb Manila and the secrets she’s brought with her. I probably shouldn’t say much more about it since I’m in the early stages of writing and things might change a bit along the way.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I try to keep my website up to date, so if you have any interest in what I’ve been up to with my writing – recent releases, articles, press, or events – you can find it at I’m also on the usual social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook where I’m fairly active with the handle @sarahadlakha.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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