Getting ‘adjusted’ in suburbia
People practice yoga to achieve physical and emotional goals, but in Ann Lineberger’s book, The Adjustments, things become far more physical than spiritual.
Lineberger, an author and real estate agent in Wilton, will host a reception to celebrate the novel’s publication on Tuesday, June 21, from 7 to 9 p.m., in the Brubeck Room at Wilton Library. Drinks, hors d’oeuvres and dessert will be served. Registration is required at http:// conta.cc/24P2tf7. Copies of the book may also be purchased at the registration site. Ten percent of sales will be donated to the library.
Lineberger holds a degree in journalism from NYU and a master’s in English from Providence College. She also has a degree in design. Before moving to Wilton she worked in journalism in New York City, then freelanced up here before having her own design firm for a while. Eventually she got into selling real estate.
The Adjustments is set in Cannondale — although the description of the town is closer to New Canaan — during the recent financial crisis.
The story centers on a group of well-educated and financially well-off women — at least that’s how it appears on the surface — who take yoga classes at the trendy studio in town. The instructor is the handsome and magnetic Yogi Jack, who promotes private sessions where the students often end up in positions more compromising than downward dog.
After moving to Wilton, Lineberger took some yoga classes and noted the difference between classes here and those she took in New York City. There, teaching was often a second job for people trying to advance another career such as acting. In the suburbs, however, she found instructors were more committed and interested in building a following and so were more engaging with students.
“I saw the students liked the attention,” she said. “I was thinking it could be a fun story. … I just kind of got a kick out of watching some of the women’s reactions. There were a couple of male instructors and the women would line up after class to talk with them, flirt with them. I didn’t know if anything was going on beyond it but I just got a kick out of it.”
While the story hits close to home in many ways, Lineberger promised none of thecharacters are real people.
“This isn’t a tell-all book,” she said.
But the characters are inspired by people she’s met over the years here and elsewhere, and personalities are ramped up for dramatic effect. A mother of two children, Lineberger saw firsthand the difficulties women can face when they choose to stay home with their children after enjoying careers.
“If your husband commutes to the city, you can be alone for 13 hours a day,” she said. “It’s not easy to make friends if you’re new [to town].” Not knowing about or perhaps wanting to join a club, women may turn to exercise programs that offer childcare.
All of this caused Lineberger to wonder how women could be vulnerable to a yoga instructor.
“What’s lacking in their lives? What are they confused about?” With someone like a yoga instructor “there’s contact and a way in.”
But it’s not all serious. “The book is meant to be light and entertaining,” she said.
It was picked up by the Full Fathom Five publishing house in Darien in 2014, when 50 Shades of Grey was popular.
Lineberger recognized her first draft was too predictable, and she worked on making it more “outlandish,” but still the editors “told me to take it up a notch.” Lineberger said her reaction was to “burst out laughing.”
They offered to bring in a writer to heat it up but Lineberger asked them “to let me try to think it through.”
Kundalini yoga, which is based in helping the practitioner embrace desire to reach ultimate wisdom, and tantra yoga, which aims to expand one’s awareness, gave her substantial material to work with.
“We’re in Fairfield County, which can be very strict in what’s right and wrong,” Lineberger said, and Yogi Jack comes along and offers to help “these middle-aged or getting to be middle-aged women fulfill their sexual fantasies,” and convinces them that by doing so they will eventually reach ultimate wisdom.
The Adjustments, which will be released on June 21, will be available online and locally at Snappy Gator, as well as at Books on the Common in Ridgefield, Elm Street Books in New Canaan, and Bikram Yoga in Norwalk.
“I’m very excited,” Lineberger said about publication of what is her second book. Her first was a non-fiction interior design book called New Spaces, Old World Charm, published 13 years ago by McGraw-Hill.
The reception, she said, is to thank all the people who helped her.