I was very grateful that Terri Ann Leidich participated in an Author Interview. Part 1 of the interview included her take on the writing process sprinkled with a few random questions. Check it out here.
Part 2 consists of questions specific to her book Family Inheritance, that is set to be released on October 1, 2014. I recently completed the book and wrote a book review on it.
I’m always curious about an author’s process of writing a book because they speak of the same struggles that I’m going through with mine. You know what I’m talking about…finding time, motivation, and inspiration. It’s also great to hear about books I enjoyed reading and what it took to get them published.
So, here are a few questions and answers…
Q: What was your motivation for starting Family Inheritance 30 years ago and what motivated you to finish after all these years?
I was in my early 30s and in a very difficult time in my life, and writing has always been a stress release for me. I was working on some poetry and Helene’s character came into my mind, so I started an outline and the other two sisters appeared in my imagination. Over the months, I began talking with friends, acquaintances, people I would meet on airplanes, etc. about their lives or the lives of women they knew. It’s amazing what people are willing to share if they feel you are interested and truly care.
I began to realize that behind the facades of “perfect lives”, a lot of trauma could be hiding, and many times the difficulties women would talk about had some connection to their childhood. That’s when the title of Family Inheritance took hold in my mind. It probably took about ten years to finish the basic story, but the publishing environment at that time was tough for new writers and we didn’t get to have a lot of say in our stories.
After many rejections, I had a tentative offer from a large publisher about 20 years ago, but they wanted to eliminate Alice from the story, and I wasn’t willing to do that. So, I put the manuscript in a file drawer. I realized a few years ago that if I wanted to bring Helene, Alice, and Suzanne into the lives of other women who might be helped by them, I needed to do something about it, because I’m not getting any younger.
Q: Did you develop your characters based on where and how you grew up?
Each character has a small piece of either my experience of the life or experience of someone I know. The rest is fiction. My family, like most families, had its own level of dysfunction but nowhere to the degree that Helene, Alice, and Suzanne experienced. For instance, my father was an alcoholic and my mother’s life when she was married to hims was difficult, but not to the degree of Anna’s life.
Q: How many drafts went into this book before it got published?
So many that I lost count over the years. As with any writer, the more I wrote, the more I learned, and the more I learned, the more changing and honing I did with the book. My sister Kathy read one of the first drafts over 25 years ago and she recently read an advance copy of the book. She gave me the greatest compliments, “You’ve done good, girl!” If you have sisters, you know that’s sister talk for “I liked it.”
Q: In what ways is Family Inheritance being marketed?
Through reviews, giveaways, through the distributor working directly with wholesalers, working with bookstores, strong social media campaigns, press releases, book signings, book club appearances, etc.
Q: What part of the book was the most difficult to write and why?
Alice’s story was the hardest to write. When I wrote the scene where she was talking with Thelma about wanting better for herself and Thelma said, “There ain’t no better for you and me…Just put up with what you gotta put with and get on with life…Your father hit your mother. My father hit my mother. Al hits me. Jake hits you. What’s that tell you, Alice? Who do yu know that’s got different?”
When the scene was written, I sat down and cried because I know for many women, abuse is and has been a strong part of their lives. That breaks my heart to this day.
Q: What part of the book did you enjoy writing the most?
When the sisters started really connecting and helping each other take good, long looks at themselves. Whey they did, they all came out better because of it. I totally enjoyed writing those scenes.
Thank you again to Terri Ann Leidich for being a part of an author interview.