Rian: In your first novel, you tackled very serious subject matter, such as death, depression, weight and friendship issues. What made you decide to do a novel with such issues?
Lindsay: When I first started writing “Losing It,” all I had was an opening scene – a woman waking up in a psyche ward after crashing her car through the front window of a local cafÃ©, completely oblivious as to what made her do it. That part was vivid in my mind, but as for the rest of the story, I didn’t know where it was going! As I began to develop the character, I immediately saw Diana as someone with weight issues, probably because I struggled so much with weight/body image in my teens and early twenties and, having started the novel at 22, I still had a lot of fresh feelings on the subject. As for the other serious issues, I didn’t set out to write a book that tackled death and depression, but as Diana’s story unraveled for me, I found that in order to tell it honestly, I needed to include these things. Of course, I wanted to have some fun with the book, too. Diana may be “losing it,” but she’s also busy charting a course for self-reinvention – learning about the singles’ scene, trying to make up for the fact that she hasn’t had sex in fifteen years, dealing with overzealous aerobics instructors, etc. I hope the comic/lighthearted side of the book helps balance some of the heavier issues it deals with.
Rian: In your second novel, “Joyride,” (which I absolutely loved by the way and couldn’t put down!) the main root of the plot was the strong, lifelong friendship between Stella and Emily. Why did you make friendship the main focus of the book?
Lindsay: Thank you so much – I’m glad you liked it! I decided to make friendship the main focus of this book because I wanted to do something completely different than “Losing It.” In “Losing It,” although Diana shared a very special bond with her 93-year-old neighbor, Mrs. Bartle, she was basically a loner within her own peer group. I wanted to write a book about two young women who had been through the ringer together – survived it all – and were still going strong. But there had to be a twist, some kind of threat to that security. Hence, the long-buried secret that threatens to tear Stella and Emily apart.
Rian: In both books, the characters go through quite a bit of loss and sorrow and heartbreak. How come?
Lindsay: I admit, this may have something to do with being brought up on nighttime television dramas like “Knots Landing,” “Melrose Place,” and “Beverly Hills, 90210.” I’m a big dork and still watch all these shows in rerun, so the subplots of loss, sorrow and heartbreak are forever lurking in my subconscious. I never set out to write a book that will make readers cry, nor would I ever include such dramatic elements just for shock value. But if in the process of developing a story, heartbreak seems unavoidable, or in fact, necessary, to get the character to the happier place she needs to be in the end, I’ll go for it – even if writing that particular part makes me sad.
Rian: Are you like any of the characters in either book, and if so, who, and why?
Lindsay: I would have to say I’m most like Stella in “Joyride.” While our life experiences couldn’t be more different and I’m probably a lot sillier, we are both sentimental, somewhat resistant to change, and still living in the small suburban hometowns we grew up in. She is also close with her mother and has had the same best friend for fifteen years, just like me.
Rian: I loved your first two books. Do you have any others in the works? If so, what are they about?
Lindsay: I’m working on my third book now. I always feel funny talking about my books before they’re finished, but I will tell you that this one features three main characters and is told from three different points of view. I know that doesn’t say a whole lot – sorry to be so secretive!
Rian: Do you have any particular favorite writer or book of all time that inspires/inspired you to write? If so, who and why?
Lindsay: My favorite book of all time, hands down, is “She’s Come Undone” by Wally Lamb. It’s the first book I ever actually fell in love with. I can’t say that it inspired me to write because I’ve been writing all my life, but Wally Lamb’s style definitely challenges me to become a better writer. I think he’s just amazing.
Rian: When you are writing, is there any particular habits you like to follow or things that have to be “just so” in order for the thoughts to flow freely? If so, what?
Lindsay: Unfortunately, the thoughts flow even when I wish they would stop. I’ve taken to taping all my favorite TV shows – that way, if I have an epiphany and absolutely must go jot something down, I know I’m not missing any crucial moments on “The Bachelor” (God forbid). As far as my writing schedule goes, I’m pretty disciplined. When you’re working from home without anyone looking over your shoulder, it’s easy to slack off. But I try not to. A lot of my motivation comes from loving what I do. I generally write for seven or eight hours a day while my husband’s at work.
Rian: What do you think of the chick lit genre in general? Any particular thoughts on the people that bash it?
Lindsay: Hmm. Bashing something one knows nothing about. I think in some circles, they call this ignorance. I find it a little ironic that these so-called “critics” are not only completely clueless about the genre they’ve chosen to crusade against, but that most of them are women. I think chick lit is feminist lit – written predominantly by woman for women. Any woman who chooses to bash books about other women bonding with their girlfriends, finding themselves, establishing their careers, and going after love on their own terms is a sad, sad woman in my book. And any man who does it? Well, he’s just a sexist pig.
Rian: What made you decide to be an author/writer? Was it a lifelong dream or did it just kind of happen?
Lindsay: I’ve always loved to write. When I was little, I used to write plays for my dolls to “act out” in front of my family, songs for my friends and I to perform in some big neighborhood concert that never actually took place, books with colorful construction paper coversï¿½You get the gist. I was always writing. But I thought it was just a hobby. In sixth grade, I saw my first Broadway play and decided I wanted to become an actress. I took drama in high school and was actually a theater major in college. I used to get upset when professors would read my papers and tell me I should write because I’d think, Does that mean she doesn’t think I’ll make it as an actress? But the truth was, I was already beginning to doubt my theatrical abilities all on my own. By the middle of sophomore year, having only been cast in one play, I came to my senses and declared a writing minor. Soon, I began to wonder why I’d spent all that time fighting against what was so obviously in the cards for me my whole life. The summer after graduation, I started working on “Losing It,” but getting a book published seemed like a far-fetched dream. I decided to try for my own newspaper column instead. I thought I could be the next Carrie Bradshaw. I did get the column, but “Sex and the City” it was not.
Rian: And in closing, do you have any advice for someone who wants to become a published writer?
Lindsay: Think of your favorite author and remember that he/she was once in your shoes. I’ve never heard anyone say, “Getting published was a breeze.” It’s hard for everybody. If you really want it, you have to believe it will happen and go after it as if failure is not an option. Be willing to try new approaches if the old ones aren’t working, to take constructive criticism and revise your work. If you don’t have any luck with one project, keep going; start another one. A writer writes. And the market is always changing. Be persistent. And never let rejection or self-doubt stand in the way of your dreams.
Rian, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to read and review my books. I really enjoyed e-mailing back and forth with you these past few weeks. You run such a fun and informative site, here. See you on the forums!