Leah Stewart, author of three books, is one of those authors you recommend to all your girlfriends.
Whether you're in your twenties and pick up The Myth of You and Me about a best friend break-up or in your thirties and devour Husband and Wife because you can relate to the tale of motherhood, infidelity and identity -- you'll feel like Stewart is in your head and in your heart.
Stewart was busy this summer promoting her newest book, Husband and Wife, and organizing major author contests on Facebook. But SheKnows got some questions answered from this talented author we love!
SheKnows: In your last book The Myth of You and Me, you explored the subject of "best friend break-ups." How did you get from friends to spouses, motherhood and infidelity?
Leah Stewart: I've realized that what fascinates me in my personal life is the same thing that fascinates me in fiction -- the emotional and psychological ties in close relationships, in all their complicated, contradictory, confusing glory. I figured out how to write Myth when I realized I needed to treat a close friendship as being not unlike a romance, so it was a natural move from there to an actual romance. Because I have two small children I've given a lot of thought lately to the parent-child relationship, as well as to how parenthood complicates and changes your relationship to your spouse, so those dynamics made their way into the book as well. Next up -- siblings.
SheKnows: How much of your heroine Sarah Price in Husband and Wife is based on you? In other words, is your work autobiographical?
Leah Stewart: I have a character give a long answer to this question in Husband and Wife, and it's essentially my answer. I'll paraphrase here -- I'm a believer in writing from emotional truth but not necessarily literal truth. In other words I have to put my characters in situations where I'll understand what they feel, and to do that I mix elements of my own life with details from other people's lives and add a healthy dose of stuff I made up. Body of a Girl is about a young female reporter in Memphis covering a murder. I was a young female intern at the Memphis paper, but I was in the Neighbors section and wrote about council meetings and family reunions. Still, I was living alone for the first time. I knew from another intern about crimes in my neighborhood, and I was scared to go out by myself at night. This fear particular to being a woman in an urban environment was what I wanted to write about (ie the emotional truth) so I put a character in a situation where she'd have to confront that fear much more directly than I ever did.
Up next...Leah dishes where she gets her ideas!
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