Please welcome Lesley Kagen to Books and Needlepoint. I am currently reading her book Whistling in the Dark and have Good Graces (sequel) primed and ready to go when it is finished. Whistling in the Dark is really good and I am glad that I picked it up to read before Good Graces! Now let's meet Lesley Kagen!
Lesley: I've always written--poems, short stories, journals, outraged letters--but It wasn't until my kids grew up a little that I found the time to sit down and take a stab at crafting a novel.
2. Do you do any special research for your books?
Lesley: Since I write what I like to call "near" historical novels, occasionally I'll need to check dates. My long-term memory is good. I can't remember half the time where I parked my car, but I can remember all the lyrics to "Kookie, Kookie, Lend me Your Comb".
3. How important do you believe setting is to a story?
Lesley: Setting is the air that I breathe, the feel of the grass beneath my bare feet. I need to feel deeply attached to a place in order to write about it.
4. Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?
Lesley: Mostly from deeply felt issues that I want to explore further in my writing.
5. Do you follow an outline when you write or do you just "let it flow?"
Lesley: Outline? Ha. If only I was that organized. I'm more a sit your bum down in the chair and let it rip kinda gal.
6. If you had to summarize your life with a book title - what would that title be?
Lesley: I think GOOD GRACES covers it. Like most of us I've had my share of tough times, but I feel incredibly blessed. I have a wonderful family, a lovely place to live, food on my table, dogs and horse, and work that I'm passionate about.
7. What is currently on your nightstand?
Lesley: Stacks and stacks of books. I just finished THE END OF EVERYTHING by Megan Abbott, which knocked my socks off. Last night I started, Felix Francis's GAMBLE. I'm a diverse readers. Love both character and plot driven stories. I have favorite series I've been reading for decades.
8. Out of your characters/books - do you have a favorite?
Lesley: I love all my characters, even the bad guys. Sally and Troo O'Malley from WHISTLING IN THE DARK and GOOD GRACES are especially dear to me, but I also have a deep affection for my protagonist, Gibby McGraw, in LAND OF A HUNDRED WONDERS. And I adore Shenny's gumption in TOMORROW RIVER.
9. Is there an author or a book that has influenced either your life or your writing?
Lesley: There are so many wonderful writers whose work I admire. So many genres. From Carolyn Keene to Amy Bloom. My admiration is vast and runs the gamut.
10. Is there anything else that you would like my readers to know?
Lesley: Just that I'm deeply appreciative for their support, their kind emails, their book club invitations. Writing is my passion, but such solitary work. When I hear from readers who love my stories when they let me know that I've connected with them...it means the world to me.
Lesley will be making some appearances in the near future: (I have a brother-in-law who lives in Cedarburg and am wondering if I can't get my husband to take me to one of the Cedarburg/Grafton appearances!)
September 17th, 11AM-1PM
September 18th, 1:30-3:30PM
Midwest Booksellers Association Show
September 27th, 5:30PM
Green Bay, WI
September 29th, 7PM
The Kiel Library
October 1st, 2-4PM
Read Between the Lynes
Signing and Reading
October 4th, 7PM
Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Trade Show
Lesley will speak and sign at the Author's Feast on Friday
October 19th, 11AM-7PM
Wisconsin Book Festival
October 20th: 5:30-6:30PM
A Room of One's Own with Nina Revoyr