Soap industry veteran and New York Times bestselling author Alina Adams recently spoke to TVSource Magazine about her past with soap operas, thoughts on the future of the industry and her current writing endeavors.
As a child Adams moved from the Soviet Union to California, where she grew a love for soap operas that would shape the rest of her life. After college, Adams went on to write for the E! talk show Pure Soap, then on to ABC Daytime where she had the chance to work in Corinth on Loving and New York City on The City. Later, Adams was picked up by Proctor & Gamble where she worked nine years in their creative department, spearheading P&G’s soaps’ online aspects. She was also employed as a researcher for the Daytime Emmy Awards from 1996 to 2006. More recently, Adams work with Prospect Park’s reboots of One Live to Live and All My Children.
In 2011, Adams published enhanced e-book Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Dramas Greatest Moments, which took a look back at some of daytime’s most memorable moments. The book is a true fan experience, including actor interviews, insider information and 45 of the most significant scenes in soap history as picked by the fans.
Ever the innovator, she is currently writing her next book live via the internet. Fans have been tuning in to watch her write, edit and re-write since last year when she began. With bestselling soap opera tie-ins, mysteries, non-fiction and a soap opera greatest hits anthology under her belt, there’s no doubt that her latest project will be one to talk about too.
It was a true pleasure to be able to talk to not only an influential writer in the industry but also someone who loves soaps just as much as the rest of us! If you haven’t already, please check out Part One of our interview.
TVSource Magazine: So currently, do you have a favorite soap opera and why? One that’s airing right now. Can’t dip into the past.
Alina: Yeah, yeah. I know, I know.
TVSource Magazine: Not like how I do. Passions is my favorite.
Alina: Um, right now I’d probably say it’s The Bold and the Beautiful because of the Maya story which is actually the first time in 30 years that it’s ever been my favorite. It was just so stunning! Every day I would give my husband reports, I’m sure he was excited to come home and hear updates on The Bold and the Beautiful. He is a soapie though! He used to watch All My Children. He said he learned everything he needed to know about women from Tad Martin, so…But I would tell him. “I’m sure tomorrow’s going to be the day they’ll screw it up because they’ve been doing it so beautifully so far!” For the first few weeks I thought Rick’s reaction was going to turn out to be a dream sequence.
TVSource Magazine: It’s been so great. I feel like everyone across the board is really loving B&B right now. The way that I see it, when I watch it is that it’s very modern but also has one fit in old soap operas.
Alina: They’re telling a classic story in a fresh way. So it’s not like they’re trying to reinvent daytime. But here’s the thing Shakespeare said there are only seven basic stories, so really what it comes down to is the characters of the story. I’ll give an example but I’m blanking on her name, maybe you can remember. Who was the Iranian nurse on General Hospital who dated Patrick for a while? The really beautiful woman…?
TVSource Magazine: I feel like I know who you’re talking about, I can see her face.
Alina: Go home and look it up! (laughs) But here’s something interesting, they were playing the same old story where I think she took Spinelli to her parents’ house so her parents wouldn’t bug her about not dating someone. Just A, B and C typical story! But because she was Iranian and her parents were Iranian – not in a cliché way – but in a sense, the issues they were bringing up for the same story were fresh and different. And I think it’s the same with Maya and Rick. They’re telling a classic soap story but because of whom Maya is, it’s fresh and interesting.
TVSource Magazine: I think the biggest part of that is obviously Maya’s race. My grandmother, the number one CBS soap opera fan, is really into The Bold and the Beautiful now and she’s loving the fact that Rick and Maya are together. Number one, Rick is white and Maya is black and you do not get to see a lot of diversity in soaps especially if you’re someone who’s watched for 50+ years. Then the transgender storyline too. I was a bit worried that my grandmother might take offense to it because I was never sure how liberal she is but she has been enjoying every moment. Do you wish daytime had more diversity? Not even just as far as races but religions too.
Alina: I do! It would make the stories fresher. Everyone’s a product of who they are and where they’re from, which I know is not a very politically correct thing to say but everyone is who they are.
TVSource Magazine: I think it’s true!
Alina: Even if you play the same old love triangle but having these people be coming from different places and having different mindsets. That’s what would make it interesting.
TVSource Magazine: Unlike Steffy, Liam and Ivy again… Which is just Steffy, Liam and Hope all over again.
Alina: That’s actually one of the reasons why I think The Bold and the Beautiful hasn’t been my favorite show ever is because they do tell the same story over and over again. But look they did it with Maya and suddenly it’s all fresh again.