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Sunday Profile: Alyson Richman

A new weekly segment featuring some of Huntington's most interesting people.

This week, meet author and Huntington resident Alyson Richman, whose fourth novel, "The Lost Wife," comes out in September.

How did you come to write The Lost Wife?

AR: I was hoping to write a book about an artist during Word War II who was somehow touched by the Holocaust, but I didn’t know how I was going to frame the novel. Then one day I was getting my hair cut in a local salon right here in Huntington, and overheard the stylist telling a story about a client who attended a wedding where the bride’s grandmother and groom’s grandfather had not previously met. The grandfather was convinced he knew the grandmother from somewhere, and finally asked her to roll up her sleeve, which revealed a six-number tattoo from Auschwitz. He studied her face and then said, “You were my wife.” I had my answer — and it had its first seeds of germination right here in Huntington!

Do you have a certain environment that you like to work in?

AR: It’s ironic, I have a house on the water with a beautiful view, yet my desk faces the wall, because I don’t want to be distracted. So I have a small little room that has no view that I work in, very little clutter, and I don’t have internet in the room.

What is your typical day like?

AR: It’s very regulated. I don’t really “live” when I’m writing — I’m kind of a hermit, and then I’m taking care of my children. For the most part I try to juggle everything, which is hard.

How did you end up in Huntington?

AR: My husband and I lived in Long Island City overlooking the World Trade Center. After 9/11 happened, I wanted to return to St. James, the safe place of my childhood. My husband worked in the city, so my mother suggested Cold Spring Harbor because it would still be an easy commute. Well, we got lost! We ended up in Huntington Bay and thought it was so charming and beautiful, that’s how we ended up here.

What do you like most about Huntington?

AR: I love that it’s so low key, I love the bookstore and the wonderful selection of restaurants, and I just like that it has a very non-competitive atmosphere.

Who are your favorite authors?

AR: I love Gabriela Garcia Marquez, Cynthia Ozick, Geraldine Brooks. I loved "Reliable Wife." I also really loved "A Glass Room" by Simon Mawer.

Chocolate or vanilla?

AR: Chocolate, definitely! Dark, bitter. Definitely 80 percent cacao. 

What’s next for you?

AR: I’ve already started researching my next book which will take place in Italy. I always come up with the idea for my next book right before I finish one!

Alyson Richman will be appearing at the Book Revue on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.


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