Interview with Ariella Cohen

What inspired you to write The Ninth Wave?
Many things. First, I did an independent study on Irish land law during the Famine while I was in law school. As my family's Irish, I've visited Ireland many times and have always loved it. Plus I wanted to write a pure mystery, not what passes for that nowadays when 'mystery' just means murder. The novel provides readers with all the clues the protagonist has so by the end (it's the first book in a series) the reader should be able to solve the mystery. Having said that, doing so won't be easy as I've used no internet sources for my research!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
That's an easy one. Although I received great feedback from many literary agents, they all told me the novel was 'too literary' and that readers wouldn't follow a story that combined history and religion in such a way. I disagreed. It's still early days, but it seems I was right.
What's next?
Before the Setting of the Sun is the sequel to The Ninth Wave. In that novel, the mystery is finally solved...unless my readers manage to solve it first!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy and the hardest bit is the same: staring at a blank screen/page. When the words come, when the characters whisper in my ear, it's more discovery that creation. The stories are waiting to be discovered more than crafted, but only I can unearth them.
What keeps you writing?
My characters. They are tired of living in the crowded confines of my mind and need to stretch their legs. And to run.
What are you working on next?
The sequel to The Ninth Wave, an historical novel set during the War of the Roses, and a work of women's fiction. I find working on multiple projects makes things easier: when you're stuck on one, just move on to the next.
Who are your favorite authors?
Anthony Trollope, Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen are dependable friends. There's nothing like a comforting read, though, like the works of Maeve Binchy (I think her last novels were her best - Minding Frankie was a gem, and A Week in Winter lovely).
How do I learn more about the Irish Famine?
There are lots of sources - Internet and otherwise. I set up a blog at to cover some aspects I wasn't seeing other places.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm retired from my law practice and am a full-time caregiver for a family member. I've been doing that job for 15 years now. To relax, I garden or play with my animals.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Not really. I've always been scribbling. My mom gave me a typewriter when I was a child and I slaved away on it, convinced that the stories filling my mind MUST make it to the page. My writing style was of the Norah Lofts/Mary Stewart/Anya Seton variety (although I was no where near as talented). The stories were pretty standard Gothic romance: heroines who find themselves reduced to penury and seeking governess positions on the wild Cornish coastline, or in drafty castles in the far reaches of Scotland - you get the idea.
What is your writing process?
Who has a process? Who has that luxury? I write whenever I have 15 minutes, usually in the middle of the night when no one needs anything from me and the house is quiet. Still, I love reading interviews with authors who describe toiling away in their lovely studios overlooking a tranquil garden - how wonderful it all sounds!
Do you remember the first story you ever read or even learning to read?
I can't remember learning to read, only a time when I was quite little and I couldn't. My eldest brother held a book out to me and it looked like a bunch of nonsense. I cried in frustration because I knew there were secrets locked within those squiggles, but I couldn't ferret them out. It's the way I felt before I studied Arabic and Hebrew. The letters made no sense, they locked me out. It was the same kind of frustration. BUT once I did know how to read, books took me everywhere - back in time and into the future.
When did you first start writing?
When I was a little girl. My mother is a wonderful writer (a poet - that's beyond my skill!).
What do you read for pleasure?
Historical fiction, classics.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Northern New Jersey (USA) in a small town, one mile square. We walked everywhere! My mom raised the 4 of us alone and she taught in the Catholic school we attended. She worked all the hours God sent and somehow managed to be available whenever we needed her. How did she do it??? I still don't know. She taught me that women can do anything and family is everything.
Published 2013-09-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The White Cat
Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 4,520. Language: English. Published: December 2, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Christian » Contemporary
Two stories of love and inspiration. In 'Matchmaker' animal shelter littermates are reunited when their human parents fall in love, while 'The Memory Garden' reminds us that we honor the dead most profoundly not only by remembering, but by rebuilding.
The Value of Grey
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 880. Language: English. Published: November 23, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
To see beyond the trinity of primary colors that light our world, one must be comfortable living on the margins of morality. Only then does grey come alive as the merging of all colors and the absence of any. Would you be comfortable in such a landscape? Would your partner?
The Bargain, a Faustian Tale
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 13,300. Language: English. Published: December 20, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Would you risk your soul for those you love? When Aveeva Kenig's family is savagely beaten, she makes a Faustian deal to save them. That she’s mortgaged her future isn’t in doubt, but who holds the note and what are its terms? With the help of a private investigator and a priest, she takes on the most formidable of adversaries - determined to redeem the debt and herself.