Know Your Neighbor: Natasha Sinel, Young Adult Author, Bedford

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For an aspiring author, publication of a first book is an unforgettable achievement. This week Natasha Sinel caps off a decade-long journey from enrollment in a writing class to hosting a launch party for her first published novel.

Today (Tuesday) is the official release date of “THE FIX,” a moving story written for teenagers and young adults and published by Sky Pony Press. The reviews have been strong, but invariably most debut authors have to pay their dues before they have that first taste of success.

“One of my instructors said (to me) you can do this,” Sinel said of the writing class she took in Manhattan in 2005. “Then I learned everything that I needed to learn about (the) business, getting an agent. It’s a long road. It’s really hard.”

Combined with raising a family – Sinel and her husband, Andy Cohen, who has been immensely supportive of her efforts, have three young boys currently in the first, third and fifth grades – it wasn’t as though she could sit in solitude writing “THE FIX,” which she said took several years to complete.

She would grab bits of time whenever she was able, even writing on her mobile device while standing in line at the store, for example. Other times she writes at one of the local libraries or coffeehouses.

“It was harder before,” said Sinel, a Bedford resident since 2001. “Now they’re all in school. I can write a lot of words in an hour.”

The book is actually the second novel that Sinel, 44, has written. While she’s still working to find a publisher to take on her initial effort, also in the young adult genre, the discipline and perseverance involved in completing a full-length novel and all the pitfalls that face an author were lessons that were well-learned.

“I think the process of writing a second novel made me realize that I knew I could do it,” she said. “I knew I could finish. It’s like a marathon but I know I’ll get to the finish line.”

“THE FIX” is about a 17-year-old girl with a tough exterior who has problems at home with her mother but finds a young man, who she finds out is an addict. Despite their problems, the characters connect with one another. Sinel said the two are good for each other and find hope together.

While writing professionally may still be relatively new for Sinel, it’s not as though literature was completely foreign to her. A Washington, D.C. native who attended the well-known Sidwell Friends School from fourth grade through high school, Sinel always enjoyed writing and graduated from Yale with a bachelor’s in English. She then spent a year in Spain, before returning home to work in public relations for a few years.

Sinel decided to go to graduate school, in part because she wasn’t certain what she wanted to do. She earned an MBA at the University of Michigan and hoped to break into the business end of the entertainment industry.

Afterward, Sinel relocated to New York, where she would meet her future husband, and become director of marketing at Showtime Networks.

She left that job after about five years to raise her family and pursue her dream of becoming a novelist, still getting her fill of the city by traveling into Manhattan once a week to attend the writing class.

The imposing odds of becoming a published novelist didn’t deter Sinel from her goal; agents typically look for promising new authors, she said.

“It’s a challenge,” Sinel said. “I think a lot of agents these days are very willing to take on a debut author.”

As she helps market “THE FIX” and find a taker for her first novel, Sinel is in the midst of writing a third book.

Meanwhile, this Thursday, Sept. 3, she will hold a launch party at one of the places she enjoys writing the most, the Katonah Reading Room, located at 19 Edgemont Rd., from 6 to 8 p.m. The following Thursday evening, there will be a second book launch at a bookstore and coffeehouse in Washington, returning home to where her love of writing began.

Next month Sinel will also be one of the authors attending the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival on Oct. 3.

For more information, visit http://www.natashasinel.com.




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