I'm so happy to have the luminous, TALENTED Leslie Lehr on the blog today to celebrate the release of her latest novel, What a Mother Knows: an unsettling, emotional and suspenseful novel of the unshakable bonds of motherhood, in which Michelle Mason not only loses her memory after a deadly car crash, but can't find her 16-year-old daughter, the one person who may know what happened that day. But the deeper Michelle digs, the more she questions the innocence of everyone, even herself. A dramatic portrayal of the fragile skin of memory, What a Mother Knows is about finding the truth that can set love free.
NYT Bestselling author Caroline Leavitt called it an "achingly moving suspense drama. Dark and unsettling, but with a ray of hope like a splash of light, and a knockout ending you won't see coming."
Leslie has stated that it will be a few years before her next novel is available, so savor this one--I know I plan to!
1) What inspired you to write What a Mother Knows?
When my daughter was in middle school, she started crying at night, every night - and I felt so helpless. I imagined the worst. I wrote an essay called “Parenting Paranoia” that Arianna Huffington excerpted in her book, On Becoming Fearless. But I was still afraid.
Then I had jury duty on a manslaughter case in which two women were suing the driver of a car that crashed into a sports bar and killed their sons. We had to decide on the value of their loss. And so, in the worst of what-ifs, I started worrying about what my daughter’s value was to me, who I was without her…and how far would I go to protect her.
2) Who are some of your author idols?
Different novelists inspire me for different reasons. Starting out, I idolized Carolyn See, Margaret Atwood. and Isabelle Allende. I love current authors who combine beautiful language with solid storytelling, like Leslie Schwartz and Carolyn Leavitt. I love Jane Porter for writing as if she’s my best friend telling me a story. I like Heather Gudenkauf and Jillian Medoff for sucking me into their worlds and making me race to the end. I love Megan Abbot for being so snarky and Megan Crane and Emily Griffin for making me smile. And I’m loving all the authors in the Girlfriends Group Book Club – so much diversity and talent like you, Jess, in this one group, it’s hard name everyone! I do favor women authors, not just because I can relate, but also because I do think it’s harder to carve out writing time, let alone a career.
3) What teenage memory makes you cringe?
Tumbling down the stairs in front of my first date and his hunky big brother, who was driving us to the Eighth Grade Dance. My girlfriend sewed a new dress for me - a short flowered number – and I had a new pair of platform shoes that I forgot to buckle. I’d been crushing on this boy for months and was so excited that he asked me instead of a girl with bigger boobs. I thought I’d make a grand entrance when he arrived, and did I ever. He ended up being my boyfriend all through high school, but I could never look his big brother in the eye.
4) Are you a cat or dog person?
Both. I adopted a cat and named him Puppy when I started out on my own, because my apartment didn’t take dogs. My younger daughter had several kittens - Buttercup, then Cupcake - a friend asked of number three would be named Cup ‘O Soup. But they died tragically, so my older daughter adopted a black lab and named her Scout after the girl in To Kill a Mockingbird. When she left for college, I was traveling a lot, so we gave her to a family with another dog to play with. (We see happy pics of her on Fb all the time.) Both of my girls made up for it by adopting dogs as soon as they moved out after high school. It drives me crazy, but they love those dogs, so what can I do?
5) What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
1. Read!2. Love the process, that’s all you have control of.
3. Lock your refrigerator.
4. Write something good enough to make your family proud, but don’t let the thought of your family stop you from writing something good.
6) If you could have any super power, what would it be?
I would like to zap my kids from afar to be happy and safe all the time.~~~~
Isn't she lovely? Leslie is a prize-winning novelist, screenwriter, and essayist; What a Mother Knows is her third novel. She's also incognito as "Chemo Chick" in Karen Rinehart’s breast cancer blog, Sick of Pink. Book clubs, Leslie would LOVE to Skype with you after you read What a Mother Knows! (Which you're going to do, right???) She's got a beautiful website (www.leslielehr.com); you can also find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/