Genre - Women's Fiction / Contemporary
Rating - PG13
What is one book everyone should read?
The Road, by
Cormac McCarthy. This powerful novel transports us to a harsh post-apocalyptic
world, where humans have been reduced to animal instinct—for the inhabitants of
this world, murder and cannibalism are a means of survival.
In this unforgiving environment, McCarthy gives us a tender,
elegantly rendered father and son. In their travels, the man and his son meet
horrific challenges and hardships, yet they face each challenge with dignity
and grace. Near death, the man says to his son: "You have my whole heart. You always did.” Years
after reading the novel, the love of this father and son—their amazing bond—awes
and inspires me.
This stunning work ends
unexpectedly, with a promise of rebirth and renewal.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Almond Joy. In my novel, In Leah’s
Wake, there’s an ice cream stand called Sullivan Farms, run by Bob Sullivan.
Bob is a real person. Sullivan Farms Ice Cream is located in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts. Bob’s homemade Almond Joy ice cream is to die for.
If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
Growing up Catholic, I don’t think I fully appreciated the historical Jesus. A
few years ago, considering a PhD in theology, I took two grad courses. The
critical analyses fascinated me—literary, historical, archeological, feminist,
etc.—and I realized how relevant the readings continue to be. From a humanist
perspective, Jesus was a brilliant man with a tremendous capacity for love and forgiveness.
He loved, trusted and forgave even those who didn’t deserve love, trust
or forgiveness, and he forgave out of strength, not weakness. I’d love the chance to learn from him.
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
If I could eat anything at all without gaining
weight, I’d start each day with a stack of pancakes with butter and maple
syrup. In the real world, I typically go for a low-ish fat protein. In San Francisco, Dave and I enjoyed a wonderful egg white
omelet with broccoli, arugula, leeks and goat cheese. That’s now my favorite
Night owl, or early bird?
I was an early bird for most of my life. Lately, because I tend to
over-commit and am usually behind in my work, I’ve turned into a night owl. I
also hate to miss anything.
and entitlement bother me. We share one world with limited resources.
Circumstances sometimes require privileging certain people – for instance, in a
health emergency medical personnel must be first to receive medical attention
so they can care for the rest of us. In everyday life, there is no excuse for
pushing and shoving. We’re all in a hurry. We all want what we want. That
doesn’t give us the right to cut the line or demand special treatment. In a piece called “All I Really Need to Know
I Learned in Kindergarten,” Robert Fulghum writes that he learned, among other
things, to: “share everything;
play fair; don’t hit people; put things back where you found them; clean up
your own mess; don’t take things that aren’t yours; say you’re sorry when you
hurt someone.” There is a lot of wisdom in those lessons.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read
In Leah’s Wake, about a family in transition, tells a
topical story that people relate to, but it’s also about the need for community
and connection and, although sometimes sad, offers hope and redemption.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I’m currently at work on a psychological thriller with a
historical twist. Nowhere
to Run takes place in the White
Mountains in northern New
the brutal unsolved murder of her six-year-old daughter, award-winning writer
Abby Minot had put her laptop away. A year later, emerging from a deep
depression, she accepts her first assignment, a human-interest story on the
wealthy and powerful Chase clan, the immediate family of Matthias Chase—a
wildly popular congressman from northern New Hampshire.
Chase—a self-described "new Republican," fiscally conservative,
socially just—has built his platform on unsubstantiated claims that his
ancestors were abolitionists. When a subterranean chamber is discovered under a
barn on the family property, the Chase estate is declared an official stop on
the Underground Railroad. Soon after, Chase launches a campaign for the
accepting the assignment, Abby and her two surviving children travel to the
Chase estate in the White Mountains for a month-long stay. In her initial research, she
glimpses darkness under the shiny veneer. Digging deeper, she uncovers a
shocking web of lies and betrayal, dating back to the nineteenth century. Abby
soon finds herself trapped-between an editor obsessed with uncovering the truth
and the town and family who will stop at nothing to ensure it stays hidden.
The book is set to launch on September
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
When I published In Leah’s Wake, I had no clue as to what
I was doing. Stupidly, too embarrassed to self-promote, I posted the book on
Amazon and left it at that. I mean really
left it at that– not even my parents knew I’d published the book!
I sold two copies in October, four in November, and
thirty-four in December. By March, with sales lagging, I realized that if I
didn’t do something my book would
die. In early March, I began blogging and activated my Twitter account.
Once I got used to the idea that marketing didn’t have to
mean shameless self-promotion, 24/7, I began to have fun and I actually enjoyed
it. I’ve now sold close to 100,000 books. Getting there took a lot of hard work
and dedication, and I’m proud of that accomplishment. Publishing In Leah’s Wake forced me out of my
comfort zone. I had to learn to respect and value my work and share it with
other people. It was hard and it took time to figure it all out. But it’s the
best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I’ve also had the great good fortune of
meeting many wonderful people!
What is your dream cast for your book?
Will Tyler –
Matt Damon. Mr. Damon exudes fatherly love and protectiveness and he’s very
intense. If his daughter were in trouble, I can picture him going into
overdrive, like Will, and doing whatever it takes to pull her back.
Zoe Tyler – Sandra Bullock. I see her as loving, driven and
ditzy, a less strident version of Leigh Anne Tuohy, the mom she played in The Blind Side.
Leah Tyler – For the role of Leah, I’d search for new
talent. Caroline Wakefield, as played by Erika Christensen in the film Traffic, reminded me of Leah, in her
all-American beauty and stunning transformation from preppy to drug-addicted
prostitute. Ms. Christensen is too old for this role, but she’d be the
Justine Tyler – Abigail Breslin. Like Justine, she’s sweet and dorky and cute.
She’s also precocious and strong.
Jerry Johnson – Vince Vaughn. He’s not the guy who walks
into a room and gets the girl, but he’s centered and responsible, the rock for
the others to lean on.
Todd Corbett (Leah’s boyfriend) –
Jordan Masek. Jordan
plays the role of Todd in my trailer. In real life, Jordan
is actually a very sweet guy. But he knows how to channel his inner bad boy. I
can’t imagine a more appropriately cast Todd.
What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
in yourself. To deal with rejection, boot your computer, day after day, when it
seems as if no one cares and you wonder if maybe the stars are misaligned, you
have to believe in yourself.
is a lonely profession. Most of the time, we’re alone with our work. That
loneliness can wear on you and cause you to question yourself. Cherish your friendships. A community of
supportive writer friends can encourage and sustain you when your confidence
faith. Don’t ever give up. You can
make your dreams happen!