Book Giveaway & Author Interview: Chasing the Red Car by Ellen Ruderman

Welcome to Author Ellen Ruderman.


Ellen G. Ruderman, PhD, is a psychoanalyst and mental health consultant who has published numerous books and articles about the challenges of women’s quest for autonomy in professional and familial relationships. CHASING THE RED CAR is her first novel. She holds a private practice in Encino, CA. Please visit for more info.


Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
It is a poignant coming of age story and a ride back in history to the “red scare”, “blacklisting,” and McCarthyism, with a touch of nostalgic yearning for the return of the Red Car, one of Los Angeles’ early transportation system.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
An early desire for expression, the encouragement and influence of my fifth grade teacher, and the rich, familial reality of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

What is one book everyone should read?
I must cite two. The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison or To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
As a child – Nancy Drew mysteries fascinated me; as a teen East of Eden (Steinbeck) greatly moved me

What is your dream cast for your book?
Kim Lebow – someone with independence of spirit – on the order of Ally Sheedy
Arthur Lebow – Jeremy Irons or George Clooney
Lila Lebow – I miss her terribly, but someone like Ann Bancroft Marion

What is your favorite quote?
History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. (Maya Angelou)

Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Besides Ralph Ellison, Simone de Beauvoir, Maya Angelou, Ursula Hegi, Toni Morrison, Lisa See, Sue Monk Kidd – who are favorites, my absolute favorites are Barbara Kingsolver and Margaret Atwood.

One book you wish you had written?
One book I wish I had written is “Cats Eye” by Margaret Atwood, the other is “Animal Dreams” by Barbara Kingsolver.

Favorite places to travel?
My favorite places to travel – Bariloche in Chile; Siena, Portofino and the Amalfi Drive in Italy; Glacier Park in Canada and the United States; and upstate New York and No. Carolina in September and October when the leaves change color – breathtaking.

What’s the best writing advice anyone has ever given you?
Show don’t tell; stay close to your authenticity; control your hyperbole!

Chasing the Red Car by Ellen Ruderman

Based on the author’s true life experiences during the McCarthy Era and the Communist Witch Hunts of the late 1940s in Los Angeles, CHASING THE RED CAR tells the story of teenage heroine Kim Lebow, transplanted from New York to the burgeoning San Fernando Valley of 1948. As political repression and fear takes hold of the United States, Kim is faced with trouble on every side: Her home life is rocky and emotionally unpredictable. Her mother alternates between rage and depression; her father, a college professor, continues to defend his liberal political views despite the danger of being blacklisted. Amidst the chaos of her home life, Kim struggles to follow her dreams and beliefs in a repressive political climate that reaches into every aspect of her daily life.
On Kim’s personal journey, “The Red Car” trolley system represents a symbol of freedom and liberation. Freedom from the boredom of hot, long Valley summers – and liberation from the distressing family environment she leaves behind as she rides the Red Car over the Cahuenga Pass to the excitement ‘on the other side of the hill.’ In part political history and in part the coming of age of a determined young woman, CHASING THE RED CAR reminds us that all politics is personal and just how vulnerable our hard-earned freedom is to fear and repression.

Giveaway Details:
1 copy of Chasing the Red Car
Open to US only
Ends 10/16/11

To enter just leave a comment on this post with a way to contact you if you win.