We both worked in Biglaw in our thirties. I worked as an Intellectual Property attorney at large laws firms in Chicago and San Francisco, and I remember how all-consuming the work could be, especially as an associate trying to prove yourself. Adeline is a thirty-three-year-old corporate associate who is up for partnership at her firm. Since it’s hard to have a personal life when most of your waking hours are spent billing, it seemed like the perfect setting and career for someone like Adeline who uses her job as an excuse as to why she isn’t in a fulfilling relationship.

Angela Terry

Angela Terry

We’re both runners. In my debut novel, running was part of the main character’s identity. In Adeline’s case, running seemed like a natural workout for her personality, in that it’s convenient and can be done anywhere—just lace up your shoes and go. Running allows Adeline to clear her mind (mull over her romantic life), burn off any anxiety about upcoming events (like a blind date!), and see the sights of San Francisco. My running experience lies between these two characters. I like training for an event, such as the Chicago Marathon, but I also just like the way running de-stresses me and makes me feel more focused afterward.

We both moved from Chicago to San Francisco. When I was thirty-six, I moved to San Francisco. I expected one big city to be the same as another—I was wrong. Each city has its own distinct personality, and once the excitement of moving wore off, I experienced culture shock and homesickness (and really missed pizza). I put some of my own early feelings about moving into the story. Adeline grew up in Wisconsin and has lived in other places, but Chicago is her “home” in that that’s where she’s spent most of her adult life.

We both tried online dating. I met my husband on Match.com, and our first date was on my first weekend in San Francisco. And while my online dating experience turned out to be a success story, I channeled my initial wariness about it onto Adeline. While she wants to find love, I imagined her to be very cautious, not even wanting to post a photo of herself. I know most of my single friends are using app-dating, but for Adeline’s character swiping left or right wasn’t going to work.

We both had to make new friends in our thirties. When I moved, I only knew one person living here. Similarly, in Adeline’s case, the only person she knows is Mark from her office. It’s hard to make friends as an adult! People are settled in their lives and aren’t always looking to widen their friend circle. Also, San Francisco is a very transitional city, people move here for work and then move out again. I signed up for Meetup.com and joined some women-only groups for book clubs and dining out, but, seriously, it felt more exhausting than dating.

We were both awkward kids. Truth be told, as a kid I was probably more weird than awkward (a trip to the child psychologist in kindergarten decided that); whereas Adeline is more of the typical bookish kid. Though one eventually grows out of that awkward stage or leans into what makes us “weird” (e.g., become a writer), there can still be an underlying insecurity that’s hard to shake, no matter how outwardly successful one’s life might appear to others. So, writing how Adeline could be feeling like a rock star one day, but then feel imposter syndrome on another day, made her character more real to me.

A new event means a new outfit. I saved my favorite comparison for last, though this one is truer of my younger days than now. Back then, if I had a big date or deposition, I bought a new dress or suit. Like Adeline, my wardrobe was an array of business casual, so anything out of the ordinary usually required a shopping trip. But a new outfit was also a way to feel more prepared and confident, and it seemed like something Adeline would do too (see above about underlying insecurity).

The Trials of Adeline Turner: A Novel is available for pre-order at Bookshop.org, Amazon, and wherever books are sold. Connect with Terry at www.angelaterry.com, @AngelaTerryAuthor on Facebook and Instagram, and @AngelaTerryLit on Twitter.

About the author 

Angela Terry is an attorney who formerly practiced intellectual property law at large firms in Chicago and San Francisco. She is also a Chicago Marathon legacy runner and races to raise money for PAWS Chicago—the Midwest’s largest no-kill shelter. She resides in San Francisco with her husband and two cats and enjoys throwing novel-themed dinner parties for her women’s fiction book club. Her debut novel, Charming Falls Apart, is a 2021 Independent Press Awards Winner, 2021 IPBA Benjamin Franklin Awards Finalist, and 2020 Best Book Awards Finalist.