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My First Time...with Olivia Sudjic

Olivia Sudjic was born in London in 1988 and studied English at Cambridge University. Her first novel, Sympathy, is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (USA/Canada), ONE (UK), Kein & Aber (Germany), Minimum Fax (Italy), Planeta (Mexico) and Wydawnictwo Czarna Owca (Poland).

Olivia has written for publications including FT Weekend, Elle, Sunday Times' Style, The Debrief, Hunger, The Observer, and The Gloss.

Olivia Sudjic | The Rifff Raff

Here's the blurb for Sympathy...

At twenty-three, loner Alice Hare arrives in New York with only the vaguest of plans: to find a city to call home. Instead she discovers the online profile of a Japanese writer called Mizuko Himura, whose stories blur the line between autobiography and fiction.

Alice becomes infatuated with Mizuko from afar, convinced this stranger's life holds a mirror to her own. Realities multiply as Alice closes in on her "internet twin", staging a chance encounter and inserting herself into Mizuko's orbit. When Mizuko disappears, Alice is alone and adrift again. Tortured by her silence, Alice uses the only tool at her disposal, writing herself back into Mizuko's story with disastrous consequences.

Describe the exact moment you decided to write your book.

The “moment” stretched out over a few months, but the most acute memory I have from that period is sending a resignation email to my (lovely and very understanding) boss, only to be persuaded to “un-resign” the following day by my anxious father, which resulted in a job offer in the Dubai office of my company. The prospect of leaving London, my home, family and friends, and continuing a job I didn’t feel I was very good at alone in Dubai, plus the humiliation of the whole thing, really lit the necessary fire under my ass.