This post first appeared two months after my debut novel debuted in April 2012.
I hope you don’t mind that I’m including the interview that my colleague, Rebecca L. Boschee, did for the Avalon Authors Blog. I haven’t changed a word!
June 20, 2012
Today we’re talking to Avalon author Leigh Verrill-Rhys about her novel Wait a Lonely Lifetime. Join us to learn what makes this novel special…
Wait a Lonely Lifetime (Avalon Books, 2012)
Sylviana Langdon’s marriage went bad from the start. She married the wrong guy, and there was no chance of ever making him right — not for her. Divorced and dating again, she can’t stop thinking about a smart guy she met a few weeks before Steve came into her life. Eric Wasserman walked away from her with no explanation back then. What would he want with an airhead artist’s model now, fifteen years and two little girls later?
When he doesn’t reply to either of the two letters and a third arrives, his ungentlemanly behavior threatens the morale of his combat support unit. For the sake of his unit, Eric takes the hit from his best buddy’s wife, wondering why Steve has put her up to writing to a man she doesn’t know.
Welcome, Leigh! We’ve read the synopsis, but please take a minute to tell us in your own words what your latest novel is about.
Besides girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy back? I began with that basic framework and built in betrayal, loyalty, self-sacrifice, hope and determination. Sylviana is a wide-eyed innocent looking for direction. When she meets Eric, he’s a bit roughed up by four years in combat zones but still has a strong commitment to doing right. Their natural connection is torn apart by Eric’s best friend, who is also attracted to Sylviana. Steve is smarter and meaner. When all his lies come to the surface, Sylviana ends her marriage to him and turns back in search of the man she believes she was meant to marry.
There’s lots to like about that set up. I understand a big part of Wait a Lonely Lifetime is written in letters and emails. What inspired you to take that approach?
I couldn’t agree with you more. There’s something inherently romantic about letters. And speaking of romantic…your novel is set partly in Firenze. You’ve been there and have described it as one of the most enchanting places you have even visited. Was there anything in your book based on real life experiences?
The moment I arrived in Firenze, I knew I was going to write about it but I didn’t make notes or keep a travel diary. I had a camera but took no pictures. I observed and absorbed. What I wrote about the city is distilled from all I remembered. Quite a lot! I made mental notes of some details like the high water mark and the monument to the victims of the Mafia bombing. I wove those into the story because they were unique. I kept the tourist map so I could find my way around once I was back in Wales.
It sounds like a great place to fall in love. Your heroine, Sylviana, falls in love with Eric at first sight. I’m a big believer in this, but how does she know?
Smart move! Let’s talk about your writing. What was your favorite scene to write and why?
Based on your discovery writing style, you must have learned something from writing your book. What was it?
Good thing you followed that instinct! Was there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
You’ve just made me add about a half dozen books to my reading list (with the exception of the one on economics). What about more books from you? What are your current works in progress?
I love the title—intriguing! What would you say has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
I’m sure many of us can relate to that. On the flip side, what has been the best compliment?
And that’s what makes it all worthwhile. In closing, do yo have any advice you’d like to give to aspiring writers?
Great advice. Thank you so much for your time today, Leigh and congratulations on your new Avalon release!
About the Author:
A native of Paris Hill, Maine, Leigh Verrill-Rhys spent most of her childhood and early adult years in San Francisco before emigrating to Wales to marry and raise three sons. She has been a writer, editor, and lecturer for most of her life, intermingled with career portfolios in marketing, finance, and community arts projects.
Wait a Lonely Lifetime is her first published novel. Leigh admits to running with scissors and leaping before she looks.
Follow Leigh at www.leighverrillrhys.com, her blog: http://www.everwrting.wordpress.com, onTwitter: @EverWriting9, or Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LeighVerrillRhysAuthor