Blog Archive

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

It's All About Making Contacts: Author Interview with Lea Geller

Most everyone thinks they can write a novel. What made you decide to write one? 
I began writing for public consumption by blogging. In my blog,, I shared publicly the parenting stories all my friends were urging me to “write down.” As a mom of five kids relatively close in age, I felt like each week brought a new misadventure or mishap. Once I started sharing them, I was surprised by how many people wrote and thanked me — and I heard a lot of “I’m glad to know it’s not just me.”  

I did this for a few years (and still do) and one day, a reader reached out and asked me if I had ever thought about writing a novel because a friend of hers was teaching a novel workshop at Sarah Lawrence. The class was actually a romance novel class, and I knew one thing for sure: I did not have a romance novel in me (at least not at the time). The instructor assured me that a novel is a novel and I’d learn all the basics I’d need for any genre. She was right. I walked into the class and started working on the book. 

What inspired your story?
The story was inspired by some of the women I’d met when I lived in Santa Monica years ago — at the time I began having children. They were women married to much older, wealthier men, and I’d always wondered what their marriages would look like in ten years’ time.  

It was also inspired by my sons when they were in middle school. The house was full of them and their friends and I remember sitting where they would not see me, but I could listen to them talk about how little their teachers liked them, how little they thought their parents liked them, and how little they liked themselves. Middle school is a fascinating time for me as a parent and this book was partially borne from those experiences. 

Okay, that needs some clarification. How do Santa Monica trophy wives and insecure MG kids fit into the same book? Could you give my readers a short blurb about how they merge together in the book?
The two are not a normal mix, but I started with the boys and asked myself -- people don't really like middle school boys... who else don't they like? who would be a good foil? I think that's I fell upon the fallen trophy wife idea. Also, they are both underestimated, and at times misjudged... the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a good fit.

And it seems like the idea worked with your publisher as well. Tell me about your publisher, Lake Union, which is Amazon Publishing’s “Book Club” Fiction imprint. What exactly does a “book club publisher” mean?
That’s a great question. I think it means you write a book that people — often women — want to sit around and discuss. It’s a pretty wide genre, when it’s put like that — because virtually anything can be book club fodder. But I think books about women, in particular, are front and center. 

How did that connection come together? 
I actually sold to Lake Union without an agent, early on in the process. I had sent a draft out to agents and through a friend got it in front of Amazon Publishing.

When they made me an offer, I jumped! The pros and cons of Amazon Publishing are pretty well known to authors — you may not see your books in all stores, but as an Amazon author, there are certain benefits/promotions. So far, I have been really happy. 

Is Lake Union a hybrid or a traditional publisher? What marketing do they expect you to do?
They function as a traditional publisher in terms of buying your book and setting you up with an editor, cover artist, and marketing team. Then they distribute your book online and in some stores. A few months after they bought the book, I began the editing process with them. As with any publisher, as a new author, I am responsible for a good amount of my own publicity - both in terms of social media and promoting myself at events. 

How long did it take you to write your book?
It took me a year to write, and a year to take apart and rewrite! 

Who encouraged you along the way?
My novel workshop, my teachers, my blog readers and my family. My kids were calling me a novelist when I only had a rough draft in hand. It’s hard not to be encouraged by that! 

How many rewrites did you do on it? Who helped you with the editing?
MANY - too many to keep track of. I worked with a teacher of mine at Sarah Lawrence who read and commented on many drafts of the book. 

What has surprised you the most in writing/publishing?
I’ve been surprised by the incredible online community of women’s fiction writers and readers. It turns out that the loneliest profession isn’t so lonely after all.

What frustrated you the most? 
I think all writers are frustrated by things they hear along the way. I’ll never forget a call I had with an agent who told me that women’s fiction was dead. Most of the book-buyers I know are women and they all love to read stories by and about other women… 

What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
If the scene adds nothing to your story, cut it - even if it’s hysterical.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
Nora Ephron: Everything is copy. (Your life is material, even if you don’t directly write about it.) 

Any other points about writing you would like to add?
I know a lot of people who say they’d write if they could find the time. I said that, too. At the end of the day though, the time is there to be found. It can be done, and if you’ve been waiting a long time to do it (as I had), it’s surprisingly liberating to sit down and start. 

That’s all for today’s interview. If you’d like to learn more about Lea’s writing and buy a book, here are some ways to do that.

No comments:

Post a Comment