MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Sofia Lundberg Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Sofia Lundberg

Sofia Lundberg

An interview with Sofia Lundberg

Sofia Lundberg discusses her first novel, The Red Address Book

Sofia Lundberg's Great AuntHave you always wanted to write?

Yes. For as long as I can remember. I grew up in a home without books and my parents weren't readers. Yet, I always felt so close to literature. I started to read before I began school. I loved the library and the bookstores. I used to sit and read on the floor until they threw me out. I remember reading writers like Dostoyevsky, Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Graham Greene when I was very young.

The Red Address Book was inspired by your great aunt's address book. But you did not begin writing the novel immediately after you found it. What prompted you to finally write this story?

My Doris—my great aunt was also named Doris—was my best friend growing up. She took care of me and she gave me so much love and attention. When she died, I found her address book hidden in a shelf in her hallway. She had crossed most of her friends' names out and had written the word 'dead' next to them. It broke my heart to realize how lonely she must have felt.

Her death was very painful for me, as we were so close. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Many years later, I came up with the idea to write a novel about this. It took a lot of thinking, and the thinking took time.

In the book, Doris can tell that her niece Jenny is talented and urges her to write. Did your great aunt encourage you to write also?

I often stayed at Doris's house on the weekends and she would tell me stories about when she was little. She was an amazing storyteller—she didn't read many books to me, she just opened up and told me stories from her heart.

I wish that she would have seen my talent for writing and urged me to write, but I don't think she did. But she always gave me books for my birthday. She knew what I loved.

It is not that common to have an address book nowadays when information is digital. What do you think about that? Are people losing the romance of the past?

I think we know more about the people from our past today. We are now connected by social media, and we often get to see the lives of our lost loves and friends. And yes, maybe that takes away the romance. But life still hurts and awakens emotions. I lost a friend just months ago. He is still on my list of friends on Facebook, and I sometime visit his Instagram just to see his smile. He will always be in my book of life. There will always be a small circle of people who touch your heart in that very special way.

In the book, Doris has a computer, and she uses it skillfully. Did you great aunt know her way around the computer as well?

She was open minded and very smart. She was the only working woman in my family when I was little. If she were alive today she would most certainly be digital.

Is there a single phrase in your book that means the most to you?

The last sentence: Did you love enough? I think that sentence is so important; life is too short not to love. The world sure needs more love.

Why did you choose to have a 96-year-old main character?

I wanted to show how much the elderly have to say, and how much life wisdom they have.

The most rewarding response I get to this is book is when readers write to me to say that, upon finishing, they immediately contacted an older relative. It warms my heart that my book has actually brought people closer together.

Do you think it's important to talk to older people? What can we learn from them?

Many old people have led adventurous lives. If you ask an older relative about his or her youth, chances are he or she will take you on an adventure. Maybe they don't remember much from yesterday, but old memories stay intact much longer, even when our memories fail. Your relatives will likely share stories

Image: Sofia Lundberg's Great Aunt Doris

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

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