Last month I read Emily Listfield’s new novel Best Intentions, and this week I was very lucky to get the opportunity to interview the author. Please enjoy!
1. For those who haven't yet read Best Intentions, can you briefly tell us what it's about?
Best Intentions examines the question of how well you can ever really know another person - even those you love best. The narrator, Lisa Barkley, 39, has been married to her college boyfriend, Sam for many years and they have 2 daughters. They live in Manhattan and are struggling to keep their kids in private school as the economy collapses around them. When Lisa overhears a suspicious phone call, she suspects Sam of having an affair. And when her best friend, Deirdre, is murdered, she has to question how well she knows her husband - and everyone else in her life.
2. Can you describe for us a typical day in your life
Hmm. I have 2 typical days. I work 3 days a week at Parade magazine as a consulting editor. Those days, I get my 15 year old daughter off to school then go in and edit, come up with story ideas, etc for a new launch for Parade, Healthy Style. The other days I work on novels at a place called the Writers Room - really just a way to get out of the house and away from distractions.
3. Is writing something you always wanted to do? If not, how/why did you start writing?
I always wanted to write. In college, I studied literature and journalism - and I have ended up going back and forth between the two for my entire career, writing novels, doing freelance journalism, and working as an editor, sometimes separately, sometimes at the same time.
4. What are you currently working on? (If you can tell us)
I'm working on a new novel about the intersection of politics and family secrets, the right to privacy versus the public's right to know - and the toll it takes on all involved.
5. As book bloggers, we're always eager to know what people are reading. What are you reading right now? Are you enjoying it?
I'm late to the party on this one, but I just finished reading (and blogging about) Obama's book, Dreams of My Father. It is so beautifully written, so reflective and fascinating. His is truly an amazing journey. And nice to have a writer in the White House!
6. What is your favourite book?
For me that's a little bit like choosing between children - I have loved different books at different times of my life.
7. In reading Best Intentions, I really felt bad for Lisa as she tried to keep afloat of everything in a busy city. How much, if any, of her experiences based on your own life in Manhattan?
Well, I'm a single Mom so the marriage is not based on my life (though I was married for 10 years.) But the sense of all the various intersecting worlds in the city, being a downtown parent with a child at a very uptown school, the economic pressures, especially lately, are all closely observed from my life and those around me.
8. I saw on your website that you have recently started your own blog, are you enjoying writing in this medium?
I love the immediacy of blogging - and I love the sense of contact and community it can foster. Writing is essentially a solitary activity so to feel connected with others, particularly your readers, is fantastic. Also, it always you to enter into the dialog of the day without the year long wait for a book to be published.
9. You've written seven books now, would it be unfair to ask you to pick a favourite?
My first book, It Was Gonna Be Like Paris, was published when I was 23 and it is kind of embarrassing now -- but it holds a special place in my heart because nothing can compare to that moment when you hear that you really will be a published writer. It helped set everything in motion. The book just before Best Intentions, Waiting to Surface, is the most clearly autobiographical. It is about the disappearance and death of my husband, so that too has a special, though quite different, place for me.
10. If you could pick one book to live your life out in (as a major or minor character), which would it be and why?
This isn't advice - we wouldn't really want to live our life there - but I love Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night, the doomed glamour of it all. A day in the South of France in the company of his characters has a certain allure.