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LYNDA HIRSCH ON SOAPS -- Q-AND-A

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Q: With all the sad news about soap operas, is there anything good? — Lauren in Walnut Creek Calif.

A: Well, there is one great new e-book on the world of soaps that came out in September. "Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime's Greatest Moments," written by Alina Adams, who is a soap insider and has had books on the New York Times bestseller list, loves soaps and wants to share her love of soaps with others.

She has many reasons to love soaps. One, it was because through soaps she learned to speak English. Coming from the Soviet Union, Adams had little contact with the English language. Moving to the States, she would watch soaps, and as she watched the soaps she learned to speak English. Adams appears not to have an accent but she often laughs and says: "Not true! Sometimes when I am nervous it comes through. But I owe my ability to often not have an accent to watching 'All My Children.' It is the show the Adams dearly loved.

Her soap book features interviews, the greatest scenes, prominent actors and writers, and links to classic video clips. She reached out to Internet fans and asked them to name their favorite scenes. Adams did not stop at merely recording what her fans responded with, she spent months and months looking through archives to find the scenes they were talking about.

Some of the topics in "Soap Opera 451" include interviews with "All My Children's" Eden Riegel on her character Bianca coming out as a lesbian to her mother, Erica Kane. She speaks with Linda Dano about "Another World's" Felicia undergoing alcohol intervention. She even went back to cult favorite "Dark Shadows," talking to Katherine Leigh Scott on bringing her character Josette back from the dead.

Michael Malone, the "One Life to Live" head writer who created Marty's gang rape story line, talked on record. "General Hospital's" Thom Racina, who is responsible for Luke and Laura's wedding, talks about what a major step it was for daytime and what it was like to write the most watched soap episode in the history of daytime.

While Prospect Park's plan for bringing soaps to the Internet fell through, Adams really believes that is eventually where soaps will be seen.

"My Children don't have appointment TV," she says. "They don't say, 'It's eight o'clock, let's sit down and watch NCIS.' They are used to going on the Internet or using the DVR to see whatever show whenever they want."

There is a difference with her book. When a print book comes off the line and into the bookstore, it is already outdated. You have to wait for the next edition to get updates. Not with "Soap Opera 451." With her e-book, Adams explains, she is able to link to the scene, where available. You can click a link in the book and have a personal chat with Eileen Davidson or Victoria Rowell, leave a message on John Lindstrom's Facebook page or donate to Hilary B. Smith's favorite charity. The information isn't static. It is constantly changing because daytime and television itself is ever evolving.

The book is available through Amazon.com, but you don't need a Kindle to read it. There is a free app that allows anyone to buy and read e-books on a computer or any other device at all that has Internet access. In fact, Electronic Books is the name of the program.

To get the free download, go to www.amazon.com/kindleforpc. Click the download now button, and follow all the instructions.

As for Adams' feelings on the cancellation of "All My Children": "I was very sad. My husband and I loved the show! It is what made me start watching daytime." She watched the last episode of AMC; she said she did want to see more flashbacks. "When they were talking about Erica learning that Bianca was gay, instead of using a clip, they talked about it. How much more interesting and current would it be if they had showed the clip? That's what I try and do in my book. Yes, there is dialogue, but there is lots of video. In this social networking climate, you need both."

To find out more about Lynda Hirsch and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

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