I love to meet authors. For book bloggers and writers they are celebrities. My local library brought Leah Stewart, author of 3 books, to talk to us and answer questions. I am over halfway through her latest book (and the first one I’ve read) and I’m loving it. It is about a woman’s identity and how it changes once she becomes a mother. Given my nine months of motherhood I relate. I hope to have it finished and my review posted in the next few days.
Leah talked about her writing process. When she started Husband and Wife she had a 3-year-old and a 7 month old at home. I am in awe of that! It took her a little over a year to write and was her easiest writing experience because she knew the story before she started writing. Her second novel, The Myth of You & Me, took her 5 years to write because she had no clear vision, just the suggestion from her editor to write a contemporary story about a woman. She offers the advice to know the story before you start writing.
If you’ve read Husband & Wife she based physical likeness of the Rajiv character on Naveen Andrews . A few authors she feels are important because she connects with them personally are Austen, Eliot and Fitzgerald. She had just finished reading a Sarah Dessen book and My American Unhappiness. She does not like the labels of chick lit or women’s fiction, but understands their marketing value.
She was asked if she was happy or sad when she finished a book and she said, “I’m so happy when I’m done.” I loved the honesty. When she was asked the most important quality for a successful writer to have, her answer was perseverance, determination, or the inability to stop doing it.
I really enjoyed her talk and the easy way she listened to the questions and took her time to answer them completely, not just giving stock answers. She describes her books as ambiguous, moral situations. Husband & Wife centers on infidelity and she told us right up front that she has no knowledge of her husband cheating on her! It’s fiction people.