Sondra Helene is a board member and writer at GrubStreet, Boston’s center for literary life. Her publications include “Jewish Magic Protected My Sister” in Lilith Magazine, “The Switch” in Voices of Caregiving: Stories of Courage, Comfort and Strength; and “Losing My Sister and the Long Road Back” on better50.com. She has studied fiction and nonfiction at GrubStreet, the Fine Arts Work Center, Gotham Writers Workshop, the Sirenland Writers Conference, and Kripalu. She is a graduate of Ithaca College and Columbia University. A past president of the Friends
of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, she has also been involved with fund-raising for the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Lung Cancer Research Foundation. Helene is a Life Member of Hadassah, a member of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and a former overseer of the Boston Ballet. She has two grown children and lives outside of Boston with her husband. Her first novel, Appearances, will be out April 9, 2019.
For more on Sondra, visit her website.
Biggest literary influencers:
Alice Hoffman, Joan Didion, Cheryl Strayed
Last book read:
The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer
The book that changed your life:
I couldn’t put down The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman. I loved the story about the protagonist, Rachel, who claims her own life and has a forbidden love affair with Frederick, her deceased husband’s nephew, that causes a huge scandal for her family. I loved finding out that Camille Pissaro, the father of Impressionism, ended up being her son!
Your favorite literary character:
Right now, my favorite character is Lee Miller from The Age of Light. She is strong and beautiful, and worked hard to be taken seriously as a photographer in a man’s world.
Currently working on:
Blogs and essays and promoting my novel!
Words to live by:
“One morning she woke up different. Done with trying to figure out who was with her, against her, or walking down the middle because they didn’t have the guts to pick a side. She realized that opinions were a dime a dozen, validation was for parking, and loyalty wasn’t a word, but a lifestyle. It was this day her life changed. She realized that life is way too short to leave the key to her happiness in someone else’s pocket.” – THIRD EYE THOUGHTS
Advice to new and aspiring authors:
Be diligent with your writing, and be persistent if you want to get your work published.
Articles / Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews – Appearances
Popsugar – “10 Books by Debut Authors to Watch in 2019”
“Appearances gets to the heart of what happens when illness interrupts the good life of a seemingly close family: it strains the bonds of a fraying marriage and tests the love of two impossibly close sisters: one sick, the other trying to prepare for life without her. A tense and moving drama about loss and love and what matters most.”
―Laura Zigman, New York Times best-selling author of Animal Husbandry
“Sisters,” the old Irving Berlin song, winkingly covers primal themes of romance and family; this novel tackles them with detail and realism…and makes quietly clear how precious any extra time with a loved one can be.”
“Sondra Helene captures the fragility of human relationships, in all their forms. How brief we are here, how complicated, and how little time there is to put on pretense.”
―Kerry Cohen, author of Lush and Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity
“Appearances is a powerful first novel that is for any woman who has struggled with the complicated roles of sister, wife, mother and daughter. Sondra Helene is a writer to watch.”
―Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times best-selling author of The Perfect Couple