You’ve written books in more than one genre, which I haven't seen a lot of writers do. What made you decide to branch out?
I read across genres, so to me it didn’t seem odd to write in more than one. There’s some overlap between readers of my women’s fiction and my romance, but the speculative fans are separate group.
Can you tell me a little about the books you've written?
My first novel and its sequel are serious contemporary fiction; some call it women’s fiction. The Brevity of Roses is told in three viewpoints and tells the story of one man and two women, each struggling to let go of the past that’s preventing them taking a chance on happiness in the present. In the sequel, An Illusion of Trust, two of those characters have married, but ghosts from their past resurface to threaten that relationship. My first attempt at writing romantic comedy resulted in High Tea & Flip-Flops, the story of a young Southern California woman who hasn’t figured out what to do with her life and a young British man who knows what he wants to do with his life, but can’t do it as himself. My fourth novel, Forever, is a complete departure … well, it’s still about relationships, but there’s a sinister element to this story of a married man who’s tempted by a woman with whom he believes he’s shared a past life and ends up fighting an evil spirit for the lives of everyone he loves.
For how long have you known you wanted to be a writer?
I’m not one of those writers who can say they knew from an earlier age they were going to be a writer. I was an avid reader from the day I learned to read, and like most children, I tried to write my own books. Throughout my school years, I wrote stories and the beginnings of novels, but these were only for myself. When I married and started a family, most of the stories stayed in my head. In 1998, I had a weird experience that sparked the idea for what eventually became my novel, Forever, and though I finally finished a first draft, it was left unpolished for fifteen years. But in 2007, I had a dream that was so vivid I told a friend about it. She urged me to write it as a short story, so I did, and after she read it, she then urged me to try to get it published. I laughed at first, but the idea wouldn’t let me go, so I started revising the story and as I did, more story came until it lengthened it into a novel, The Brevity of Roses.
What is your writing process like?
It might seem undisciplined and chaotic to other writers, but I do what works for me. Normally, I live with a story for weeks, months, even a year before I ever get to the keyboard. Occasionally, during that time, I jot down dialogue, and in fact that’s usually what I write first for a scene. By the time I actually begin to write, I don’t have an outline or synopsis, but I’ve mentally viewed the story or book as a movie. I work from that. Of course, that’s not to say my characters don’t surprise me by changing up things—sometimes drastically, as one did in The Brevity of Roses. I’m also a writer who can’t resist editing as I go, so my first drafts are fairly tight and clean. In fact, I’ve rarely had to cut anything in revision, but I often have to add.
What are some of your favorite books?
My favorites have changed many times through my adulthood, which I suppose is natural. But off the top of my head, these are some novels that I’ve not forgotten: A Thousand Splendid Sunsby Khaled Hosseini; Back When We Were Grownups and Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler; The Stand by Stephen King; Firefly Summer by Maeve Binchey; Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson; The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie; Their Eyes Were Watching Godby Zora Neale Hurston; The Red Tent by Anita Diamant; and The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.
Do you have any works in progress?
Always. I’m working on a sequel to my romantic comedy High Tea & Flip-Flops, which takes Chelsea and Jeremy to London before they marry. And then I plan to finish the novel I was working on when HT&FF interrupted me. That one (working title Fish) will be literary women’s fiction like my first two novels.
When you're not writing or reading what else do you like to do?
I read, of course, and follow a few TV series. I’m not a social person, so activities that include others are almost always family get-togethers. Before I started writing full time, I was a portrait artist, gardener, and beader, but those have taken a back seat now.
A few fun quick questions:
Print books or e-books?
I appreciate the convenience of my Kindle when I have to read away from home, but otherwise I still love the feel of a print book in my hands. I think I retain what I’ve read better from print.
I’m not much of a cocktail drinker. I prefer a single-malt Scotch, neat. If it has to be a cocktail, I guess I’d choose a margarita on the rocks with a salt rim. And a few months ago, I had a lavender martini that I enjoyed. Recently, I’ve been trying to make myself like gin (and tonic) because I hear it’s good for your health.
Last book you read that made you ugly cry?
Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You. The book had been published three years before I read it, but I’d purposely avoided reading any reviews or discussions of the story, so I knew nothing about how it ended.
If you want to learn more about Linda Cassidy Lewis and her books you can check out her website or find her on: