Home > NewsRelease > A Conversation With Martin Sneider As We Unveil the Complexity of Relationships in his recent novel, Amy Unbound
A Conversation With Martin Sneider As We Unveil the Complexity of Relationships in his recent novel, Amy Unbound
Norm Goldman --  BookPleasures.com Norm Goldman -- BookPleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Monday, March 18, 2024


Join bookpleasures.com foran interview with Martin Sneider, author of Amy Unbound. Martin wasa luminary in the shoe and clothing industries spanning over fivedecades.

Since 1992, Martin hasbeen an adjunct professor at Washington University's Olin School ofBusiness, renowned for his creation and instruction of agroundbreaking course centered on luxury goods merchandising andmarketing.

His innovative approachincluded immersive trips to Milan, Paris, and London, where studentsexplored the showrooms of iconic brands like Armani, Gucci, LouisVuitton, Chanel, Burberry, and Cartier.

A scion of retail, Martinbegan his journey as a humble shoe salesman, ascending to the heightsof president, chief merchant, and co-CEO of one of the nation'sforemost fashion and shoe apparel specialty chains.

His contributions extendbeyond the boardroom, having served on the Alumni Board of Directorsof Harvard Business School and as chairman of St. Louis Children'sHospital. Martin's distinguished career has been recognized with theprestigious Distinguished Alumni Award from Washington University.

Not content with industryaccolades alone, Martin is also an accomplished author, celebratedfor his debut novel "Shelf Life" and its sequel "AmyUnbound." He has also penned a compelling nonfiction workdelving into the intricacies of the shoe industry.

Beyond his professionalendeavors, Martin cherishes his role as a family man, with twochildren and four granddaughters. Splitting his time between St.Louis, Missouri, and New York City, Martin continues to be a beaconof knowledge and innovation in the world of fashion and business.Join us as we delve into his remarkable journey and glean insightsfrom his wealth of experience.

Norm: Good day Martin andthanks for taking part in our interview.

Can you share the inspiration behind AmyUnbound and what motivated you to explore the intricacies ofmodern marriages in the novel?

Martin: Amy is amodern woman.  The reader meets the college-age Amy in the firstbook of the Feldman saga, Shelf Life.  She marries Josh Feldmanin 1981. 

But she makes it clear that she has career ambitionsand is a social justice warrior but intends to balance family andcareer issues. 

She articulates this in part because Josh has beenraised by his loving and doting mother Maddy, a woman of the 1950’s,who was a stay-at-home mom.  

Josh is wholly supportive as Amybecomes a partner in a prestigious law firm and is named head ofvarious civic organizations.  After a bitter showdown with hisfather, however, 

Josh goes into a prolonged funk and is filled withguilt and self-doubt.  Amy grows frustrated with her husband’sbad mood and temper and yearns for greater career challenges andsexual satisfaction.  Amy decouples herself from Josh. AmyUnbound.

Norm: The novel touches onthe consequences of questionable actions. How did you develop thetheme of consequences, and why did you choose to focus on it in thecontext of relationships?

Martin: Amy’s affairwith Chip Henson is an act of liberation and self-affirmation forAmy.  Her success in D.C. is equally affirming. “I’ve stillgot it.” 

Professional excellence and sex appeal.  Commuting toChicago and D.C. gives her the space and opportunity for herinfidelity. This contrast with her ho-hum life in St. Louis anddeteriorating relationship with her husband reaffirm her decision toseparate from Josh.

Norm: The character Amyundergoes significant personal growth and embarks on a journey forindependence. What influenced her character arc, and how did you seeher evolving throughout the narrative?

Martin: Blinded by hertriumphs she loses sight of what Josh means to her, her true lovesince college days.  As her self esteem is bolstered by herachievements, she becomes increasingly confident that life withoutJosh may be possible and maybe preferable to the moribund situationin St. Louis.  “He’s not the Josh I married.” Sherationalizes to justify the prospective divorce from her husband.

Norm: The novel exploresthe challenges of balancing career aspirations, personal development,and marital bonds. How did you approach depicting these challenges,and what message do you hope readers take away from this aspect ofthe story?

Martin: I believe manywomen of Amy’s modern generation struggle with the tradeoff betweencareer ambitions and at-home obligations.  Amy’s quandary isaccelerated by her husband’s inattention in and out of thebedroom.  

So, for Amy, who is wealthy, sexy and capable, escapeand freedom are not only possible but preferable to the balancing actand tradeoffs she has to employ at home.  

Many women lack Amy’swherewithal to break free of the quandary of career, family and aflagging marriage and reconcile themselves to the status quo. So, in this sense, Amy is not a role model.  These women mayfantasize about breaking free, but few can afford to do so.

Norm: Why do you believereaders are drawn to narratives that delve into the hiddencomplexities of romantic infidelity, corporate betrayals, and thesuffocating dynamics of suburbia and cross-club culture, as exploredin your novel?

Martin: I suppose manypeople, men and women, want to immerse themselves in the fantasticallife of a character like Amy in a movie, video series, or novel. They may also forget to remind themselves that it is fiction!  

But most of us enjoy the vicarious thrill of a forbidden romance. Or thrill to a fractious boardroom drama.  We take sides, theadulterer or the cuckhold, the corporate takeover big shot versus thefamily run business operator.  

But for most of us it’s thestuff of fiction and enjoyable and a welcome diversion from carryingout the trash and helping kids with their homework.

Norm: The characterAllison aligns herself with a left-wing newspaper advocating forsocietal change. What role does she play in the broader narrative,and how does her perspective contribute to the themes explored in thenovel?

Martin: Allison is a wildchild.  Smart, articulate, talented but a bomb thrower. One bomb in particular, the prank at Northwestern University,unwittingly puts her mother’s job in jeopardy.  

Learning thather actions are not merely performance art but have real lifeimplications is a wake up call for Allison.  

Her character arc isimportant as it helps define Allison and prepare the reader for thethird book in the Feldman Family saga which will be published nextyear.

Norm: Amy's pursuit of arole with an advocacy group and her interactions with Chip Hensondelve into themes of social change and corporate involvement. Can youdiscuss the research or inspiration behind these aspects of thestory?

Martin: Years ago, I sawan ad for a petroleum company which extolled its efforts to save theplanet.  I muttered to myself, “This is Eco-pornography.” My personal view is that almost every major corporation’s focus ison pleasing the stockholder, not saving the planet.  

Proof ofthat is in the CEO remuneration incentives articulated in thecompany’s proxy statement.  While those same corporationsspout their ecological efforts, profits, profits, profits drive theirbehavior.  

This is true of Diversified Industrials, thefictional corporation in Amy Unbound.  It’s an oil companythat allocates a minor amount to social justice pursuits and almostbreaks it arm patting itself on its back.  I wanted to highlightthis hypocrisy.

Norm: The novel is dividedinto seven distinct parts, each introducing various characters andstory lines. How did you decide on this narrative structure, and howdoes it enhance the storytelling experience for readers?

Martin: Each of the sevensections help to keep the story moving, introduce new character likeChip Henson and Andy Womack, and hopefully induce the readers to keepturning pages.

Norm: The novel exploresthe fragility and resilience of the human heart. How did you approachportraying the emotional complexities of love, loss, and the pursuitof happiness in the novel?

Martin: Josh’s heart isbroken when he secretly discovers the probability of his wife’saffair.  That discovery prompts self-examination.  “Whathave I done to cause this?”  His brother Rand drives thatmessage home at various times.  

Josh is determined to save themarriage, but his early efforts prove futile. At this point in thenovel, I want the reader to begin sympathizing with Josh, root forJosh, yet be at a loss as to how to achieve a reconciliation withAmy. 

 Maybe the reader sympathized with Amy in her earlyadventures and endeavors.  But maybe the reader switches sidesas the novel progresses…as he or she witnesses Josh’s refusal tostray while Amy has her affair, his steadfast loyalty to Amycontrasting with her betrayal of him, and his misery over heraffair?  I believe or rather hope that the arc of the readerprogresses in concert with the arc of the characters.

Norm: How did you decideon the setting, particularly the locations Amy visits during herjourney, and what role does the setting play in shaping the overalltone of the novel?

Martin: Place matters. Chicago works for a number of reasons.  It is an easy commutefrom St. Louis, giving Amy space and opportunity.  But like manyfortunate well-meaning people she has no clue as to how the poorlive.  

She rejects the Elevated in Chicago for taxis.  Shespends her free time shopping on the Miracle Mile of MichiganAvenue.  She buys her dress at Valentino which she will wear tothe fund raiser. 

Rather than rent an apartment she arranges to stayat the Four Seasons Hotel and convinces herself she’s savingmoney.  Importantly, her daughter, Allie, spends freely andunwisely while working for a left-wing throwaway newspaper.  Iwanted the reader to see the parallel.  

Norm: Where can ourreaders find out more about you and Amy Unbound?

Martin: Readers can findout more about me and Amy Unbound at various personal appearances. Am currently booked in New York, Chicago (suburbs and downtown), St.Louis, Omaha other cities.  My website will have a completeschedule. 

What is next for MartinSneider?

Martin: Themulti generational Feldman family saga will end with book five. Books 3, 4 and 5 will take the reader to Chicago, Miami and New Yorkwhere their stories unfold. Challenges will test them and theirrelationships.  Tragedies and traumas will befall them. But they will triumph.   I fell in love with the family.  Ihope the reader will as well.

Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors


 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Norm Goldman
Title: Book Reviewer
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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