Tracee: Today I am thrilled to introduce one of our new Miss Demeanors, Emilya Naymark. It will feel like a week-long party since her book Hide In Place launches Tuesday.
I’m always fascinated to learn what prompts a book – the setting, character, a special idea. How did you come to Hide In Place?
Emilya: Years of hearing my husband’s tales of buying drugs in the city got my gears churning and instead of helping him write his memoirs, as we always joked I would, I up and made him a lady and stuck him into a crime novel.
Tracee: I can imagine he was thrilled to be immortalized in a novel, maybe not so much suddenly being a woman in a novel! Before our readers think your husband had a bad drug habit, tell us more about him. He’s NYPD, right?
Emilya: Yes, and at first, I thought it was just his particular morbid sensibility that made him enjoy his NYPD undercover days, but then I met one of his colleagues, a woman, and her face lit up as she shared some of her own experiences.
Tracee: And a character was born!
Emilya: Yes, Laney, the main character in my novel, is an undercover who loves her job and a single mom with secrets and murky motivations. But it was her absolute devotion to her son that made me relate to her so much I still think she is a real person.
Tracee: I love that personal connection, actually a double connection. Hide in Place explores other aspects of your background, such as place, right?
Emilya: As a Russian immigrant, I’d spent a fair amount of time in Brighton Beach, also known as “Little Odessa”. When I started writing Hide in Place, I knew I’d set part of it there, in the sun, on the boardwalk, with the smells of piroshkis,pelmeni, shashliks, and cheburekis fighting it out with the ever-present NYC summer reek. It was a no brainer—Laney works a racketeering case against the Russian mob, and Brighton Beach is where the modern version of the Russian mob was born, so… I got to be there in my mind as I wrote.
Tracee: I have a lifelong interest in Russian history, culture, and language so it is with great effort that I tear myself away from exploring much more of this today and get back to your book launch. A pandemic launch! What has this year been like for you?
Emilya: Although I went on submission before the pandemic hit, Crooked Lane Books decided to take a chance on me in April 2020. At the beginning of the shutdown! When everyone was still reeling!
Tracee: Making you one of the few people in the country – maybe the world – with something to celebrate in April.
Emilya: The first time I left my house after the shutdown began, other than to buy groceries, was to drive to the post office and mail off my contract. Before COVID, I’d often fantasized about the party I would throw for my launch and the breakfast I would buy my co-workers to celebrate the day. But I can’t miss what I never had. I’m beyond happy and thrilled for my book baby, and utterly grateful to everyone who put aside their own pandemic frustrations and concerns and treated my novel and its launch with exactly the same professionalism and attention as if it were 2019. In fact, I think I’m getting more attention than I would have gotten in 2019. I consider myself extremely fortunate in every way.
Tracee: We are thrilled to have you join us at Miss Demeanors and even more thrilled for the release of your book, Hide in Place. Let’s hope everyone spends this weekend preordering from their favorite bookstore or through one of these links.