Writers Voices – Trophy Life – Lea Geller

Writers Voices  - Trophy Life -  Lea Geller

this week our guest League eller author of trophy life talks about a few of the things she learns is a first-time novelist I think you learn as a first-time writers that have to plant seeds for things that are going to happen later either personality so I realized that this is going to happen so I need to go back and put a plant the seed sort welcome to writers voices with Monica and Caroline I'm your host Monica Hadley and with me is my co-host and wonderful mother whom I haven't seen for a few weeks Caroline and I'm so glad you're back in the country my dear I know I know you know on this trip I met a couple a lovely couple from Lebanon I learned a lot about what's going on in that part of the world and they really would love for me to come visit them and Beirut but I said I don't think my mom will let me go you were absolutely right many decades old grandmother we have we have a fantastic book today I mean and talk about a page-turner this is absolutely one and the name of the of the novel is trophy life by Lee Keller and Lee is a I'll of this a recovering lawyer who lives in New York with her husband and children she began her writing career by blogging about her adventures in the trenches of parenting and got the idea for trophy life when her two sons were in middle school and I can really identify with this this character in the book because I taught middle school and so I know exactly some of the things and it was but I really you know I started to read this book again okay I finished it about a week ago and then I this morning I said I'm going to start again so I started to read it again and you know I could read the whole thing I mean it's one of those books just it's great welcome to writers voices Lee I'm so glad to be here so is this your first published novel it is my first novel I had been blogging about raising children in the years that I was luring from home and I got a message one day from a woman who had read my blog and asked me if I never thought about writing it nah because a friend of hers was teaching a workshop at a university near me so I showed up and wrote this book so I think that was it every day several years later okay okay so what did you start blogging I was living in Seattle at the time I'd lived there for a few years and I have I had five kids and they were all little and I was home with them when they were in school I was a part-time whirring and I was just slowly losing my mind with some of their antics especially my two oldest boys and some story that I would tell people I mean just about some of the shenanigans they got up to many of which made their way into this book by the way the garlic and the pillow sheet the garlic in the pillowcases is it directly other side of the prank that they call in my house and so everyone would say to me you should write these down so I started to write this out and turns out maybe I was living a more extreme life than most people but everybody seemed to identify with just what it's like to raise children and read boys today mom did we do anything quite so naughty oh my are we getting so well I'm my older brother I know climbed down the drainpipe a few times to sneak out at night oh yeah we still have that going on in our house yeah yeah yeah one time I the power my god they caught him at it yeah I opened the front door yes I had a buddy with him they were you know I opened the front door I said you guys get upstairs and go to bed before I wake up your dad that was another of course that's great of course the worst thing was when my older brother who was a year older sent my younger brother who's a year younger on fire and okay that's a prank yeah I think what happened is they there was this ditch by the house and they were experimenting with pouring gasoline on top of the water that was sitting in the ditch and lighting in a fire but my brother's pant leg caught fire and they got it out pretty fast and but he you know there were blisters and they I remember this they told mom that he scraped his leg climbing over the stone wall at the neighbors but I think she heard it out pretty quick do you remember that one mom oh my god that's insane okay I don't know if I remember that or not I probably forgot it because I wanted to wanted to forget it so but we survived we survive solely you were working from home as a lawyer you were raising these kids you were blogging about it and and then somebody suggested you write a novel you winter somebody suggested yeah had you not thought about that before well she actually had moved to New York she had sent me this message have you ever thought about writing a novel and I was thought and act like yet who hasn't I mean I had always been writing in some form I had written short stories I had taken writing classes even while I was in law school I think journaling once in my life so it wasn't like I had never thought about it and even never had often thought about it and I think this is the case with lots of women especially I never really knew what I was going to write about and as soon as this woman suggested I take this class it was clear to me that I had a story to tell about middle school boys it wasn't it was sort of like having these children in general having my children help me found find my voice as a blogger and raising my sons for sure prompted me in this direction like I it wasn't like I had to work hard to figure out what I was going to write about so but trophy life although it you know is set partially at a boys school for middle school boys and there are middle school boys as a character it's not a young adult novel and the main character is a woman yeah so who she's a yeah tell us tell us a little bit about about your main character about Agnes Agnes is a foreign trophy wife she is married to someone much richer and older and more controlling and she was Santa Monica where I had lived at one point she finds out one day early on in the book that her husband has to sort of go underground because he's lost a ton of money for people and to keep her safe and their babies safe we have to move her to this boarding school on the other side of the country where she's going to sort of pretend to be an English teacher and wait for him to get there and it's about it's really her story it's about how she finds herself lost and what she does to pull himself out of that situation it's about her relationship with her childhood friend a student ultimately her husband and I did know always found I mean everyone's interested in other people and their relationships in different kinds of marriages and I had actually when I lived in Santa Monica identity baby classes with my first kids and there were some women in these classes who kind of like Agnes they were married two older wealthy men were all sort of your farm struggling and there were some women who just weren't like they were struggling in some ways but they just had me very fancy lies that older husbands and I'm so curious about the dynamic and I always wondered to myself I wonder what that looks like in ten years and she just seemed to be a good foil for a middle school boy because I started the novel that I was going to write about these boys and I sort of thought who's not their likeable like middle schooler she was sort of underestimated like little schoolers and for some reason and sort of a trophy wife came to mind and so you don't have personal experience of being a trophy wife sadly I do not I haven't very much not a truck well my mother I remember mom you saying at some point in my life that that women who marry for money end up earning it yes yeah that's it I never married obviously but I I had red band it's probably true it's probably true yeah yeah yeah it is yeah and there's to me there's easier ways to earn money are easier yeah unless soul-destroying probably yes so how did how did you research what it would be you know what a trophy like wife's life would be like do you just watch like Beverly housewives or I know that I should I mean I lived in LA I lived all over the country I sort of I'm also an eavesdropper I mean so bad that my husband won't take me out anymore because I sort of disappeared from our conversation and I'm listening to everything that's going on around you so I think that I just sort of listen and watch just sort of soak it up part of it is in my imagination there's a piece of her that she no she's not just a trophy wife she's married with controlling that or at that very exacting he knows what he likes he has very specific details for the things that can come into the house the food they can eat the stuff they could use and I think those wouldn't know someone like that everyone's got a friend she's married if someone's kind of controlling and so you know everyone sort of feels the way that beaks and friend the fields in the books I mean maybe we all just have someone I'm like wow she's really controlling guy or maybe she dated someone like that you kind of wonder why and so I just think I pulled from all those people on my youth dropping well I think this would be a good point to hear a little bit about Agnes from the beginning of the book this is Lee Geller and I'm reading the first section from the first chapter of my novel trophy life when you're making your husband's green smoothie and forget put the lid on the blender and you're crouched on the counter staring up at the oozing ceiling when the housekeeper shows up and is standing under you it's a good idea to be wearing underwear I was not why do I look you let me make mr. jacks breakfast Sandra asked her eyes thankfully fixed on the ceiling I'm fine I said desperately swabbing away at the green juice that had started to drip down while trying to keep my knees pressed firmly together I've got this I looked at the clock 7:55 I had five minutes to clean up before jack walked in seven years ago when I first saw this kitchen Jack's kitchen I thought it looked like heaven everything was white on top of white adorned with more white at first I didn't understand why a compulsively neat person would want to decorate in white but I soon realized that white kitchens and white bathrooms allowed people like Jack to eradicate do it before it got too comfortable before it settled in the green glob was doing more than settling in it was threatening to take over the mop was useless or perhaps I was because all I was succeeding in doing was moving the smoothie around the ceiling increasing the down for blended kale handful cucumber 1/4 almond milk half cup shelled hemp seed 2 teaspoons and blueberries one dozen I wiped some juice out of my eyes wincing as I remembered adding the pinch of cayenne that Jack said was good for memory Sandra forced herself to look at me she often had to force herself to look at me you okay Agnes she asked as I stood on the counter my eyes now squeezed shut mop overhead drip I'm fine I loaned Dam that cayenne burned I'm here early anyway she said it's no problem for me to make it yeah I get that drip it might not have been a problem for Sandra the bleep up Jax daily green smoothie in addition to all the other cooking she was doing for us but I wanted to make this smoothie I needed to make this smoothie I needed to do one thing in this heavenly kitchen other than sit at the island and eat what was given to me you don't have much time she said unspooling a heap of paper towels she began mopping at the counter and floor and then motioned to the clock on the wall he'll be down soon and I don't think you want him to see this she wasn't wrong I didn't want Sondra cleaning up my messes but I really didn't want jack seeing them fine I said lowering the mop in defeat I took stock of myself my oversized tank top was covered in green juice my eyes still crusted with sleep my hair I'm brushed the wrinkles I had gifted myself for my 35th birthday were screaming for a tub of spackling paste there was a lot about this track didn't need to see I squatted as to merely as possible and handed the mark to Sandra thank you I said I keep telling you she replied helping me off the counter and looking up at the ceiling stay away from the kitchen you're listening to writers voices with Monica and Caroline and our guest today is regular author of trophy life so Lee when you were writing trophy life you were also still raising five kids and were ya know working as an attorney as well no so I I stopped worrying York and I gave a year a year to myself to sort of settle two kids into school and then I was blogging the whole time I then I started I wasn't doing anything and I knew that I needed to pivot I wasn't thrilled with what I was doing it didn't feel like a great fit for me and I decided to try my hand at the book so I wasn't I was just I was just raising kids when I was writing this it also happens that my youngest went to kindergarten right here so I actually had for the first time in years a chunk of time to write and funnily enough subsequently I started teaching middle school English very part-time after I like killer some of them have read the book or they you know with their parent submissions they heard about it and then I was Geller you wrote about me I'm that kid that can't sit in his seat and I want to tell them that every year there's a kid in middle school who doesn't know how to sit to see that I had finished the fourth years before I met you know my current students and the same kids keep coming back every year in some form you know those boys are that's every year oh so are you are you still teaching I am I still teach part-time very part-time a couple days a week just broke in our day but I love it I I do like Agnes I just love middle school I do I love it I love teaching them well mom how what was your experience like teaching middle school did you enjoy that well you know see I wasn't the high school as an aide first and then you know God's got my D degree in teaching degree and then went to middle school and the thing is interesting was about the first first week and a half the teacher is still like God to these kids because they came out of elementary school this was seventh grade I was teaching seventh and ninth and the seventh graders were still you know you know but that quickly changed and I am the balloon comes off pretty quickly yeah right right I had some I had some students course I had both boys and girls because it was you know public school but I had some kids who were really having a hard time and at home I think and they so they acted out at school and I was kind of glad really kind of glad to get to the high school mmm say the truth but I talked about the junior high two years I think three years yeah so it was interesting what's interesting and this was and of course mom you started teaching as an older teacher not you know you weren't twenty-two coming out direct out of college right after you raised kids of your own right yeah and then when I went to went to high school I encountered some of those children again of course as high school students and that was interesting to see how they had you know maturity some of them had matured but it was that you know it wasn't that were eventually they all mature yeah eventually well I don't know I know some men who really haven't my thing was I had a very small room and it had been a storage closet one time place office and it was there was one window which looked over a black tarred roof and that the door was on the other side of the room in the opposite corner so it was very hot and you know some summers and falls in Iowa can be very hot and so it was you know I know kind of bad from that from that standpoint but what we persevered and you know like I said it was an experience you're listening to writers voices with Monica and Caroline and our guest today is legal or author of trophy life now Lee your blog is called this is the corner we pee in there's got to be a story behind that you know just like I think put your carpet down in our basement and you I've done like a little self remodel and I remember my sons who were I think they were either they were like three and five or four and six and I said to them I'm looking to hang up this poster have you seen it but you know we just painted and carpeted and they said oh yeah you could we know where there's an eyesore is it is it what to the corner we Pierre Corneille opinion isn't well I'm watching TV and we don't want to get up to go to the bathroom we just pee in the corner and I said first of all it was a toilet with the bathroom right here you can see it you can see the taught the TV from the toilet in the next room and I said where is it corner and if it okay showed me it was a corner behind the TV on top of all the cable wires getting up and peeing behind the television of the carpets and new carpet and wires I mean it could have electrocuted themselves that poorly let me think about it so I just felt like that was very emblematic of the things that were happening to me at the time and so and if not you know it's an easy title to remember that is true it's true now you have five children how many of them are boys yes the first humor boys and then I tried every trick in the book and I got some girl uh yeah so so three two boys three girls two boys three girls yeah now part of you know Agnes has a child a baby and yeah at the beginning of the book she doesn't really have all that much to do with this baby because she'd had an OB nurse she had a housekeeper she had a nanny and then suddenly the money is gone and she's on her own with the baby yeah how did she make that adaptation not easily I think that it's just hard to jump in do you have the doing it for the beginning and you don't know the baby like even the little things you know how the baby likes the spoon to be held in the bottle and the small things that moms or caregivers know about a baby she didn't know and also that feeling that you know a lot of moms have is that you know you any second you have where that baby is put down it's like a second to get a tearing down or to to take a breath or to you know do something around the house or just put your feet up but she was used to just handing off this baby whenever she needed to go out and suddenly she's got this life dictated by the busy schedule and that's not easy so I think that it was a real transition and then being a working mom having a baby in daycare and just having to like either she's you know as we all know the first thing that goes when you were working home and any time for yourself and she all he had was time for herself that was a whole job before so I think just the transition was really difficult I think you know there's a piece of her that ultimately is happy to do it and is grateful for it but I think had nothing ever happened to Jack she'd be living it up in Santa Monica yoga every day having watch with her friends and hanging out with a baby when she could but you know she'd still be looking after herself you know 18 percent of the time and by looking after yourself it means staying in perfect shape your hair is always right your clothes are always right your job is to look good right that's a job looking after herself really means looking after herself for her husband yeah and yet she did that in mind.this she didn't I'm thinking I've talked about her history and how there's a piece of her that's just grateful for someone else to be looking after her and even if it means doing all these things that means she has to work a certain way she's happy to do it I think also there's a piece of her that it's you know I think she would okay with it I think she sort of liked hanging out with her friends and going to lunch she's gone to exercise classes and I think that I hope that I fade I mean there are plenty of women who do like that and I think that's choice and I think that you know I think ultimately you know in terms of her real self she finds that person when she gets to New York but I think that in that interview again if she if you went after was she happy in the life she was in yeah she was yeah I think that she was happy to be taken care of but she was happy to look after herself even though her best friend from from her youthful age thought it was didn't like seeing down like this and yet she did I mean she was defensive about it but but you got this I got the feeling that she was that she sincerely was okay with it I think she was I mean we all have that friend that we say you know but maybe we're not as vocal and speak but we do think for itself you know I don't like who you are around this guy I don't like who you become but but Agnes is okay I think again she grew up with very little and with a lot of uncertainty and I think that she likes a certainty of life and I think she likes the ease of it and you know when you're writing women fiction it's very tricky because unless you're writing one of these you know mystery girl books with the girl disappearing or the girl by the window or on the tree and what are these books where the characters sort of not likable but it's okay because she's a mystery and she's kind of delusional the rest people in fiction you really need a likable / relatable character and the challenge for me was making Agnes different from me a lot of people that I do but in some way relatable and even if she didn't start out that way and that because I want her to be the friend that you kind of want to shake sometimes and of course right and I think once she you know lost her position and and the money was gone and the first thing that went was the fancy underwear yeah so I could write a love song two giant underwear which is basically I said what longest relationship of my life is just me in giant undo I'm wearing them right now as long as I have been around the whole song and even a small underwear things like it should be I mean in general to me the best clothes are the most comfortable even the most beautiful clothes should be comfortable but something about us aware that should just be like a giant hug I just don't just I mean I just think it should go like up to your belly button a little bit low down on the legs like you know tuck things into them I don't know I feel like so she doesn't be a little bit rude so you have some room so yeah I just wrote this book so I could praise giant underwear see has a lot of people the funny thing is a lot of people want to talk about the underwear because they think that lots of women's are secretly wet though they're buying a little underwear laughs in a while but they're shoving them in the back of the drawer like the big underwear yeah I don't wear the little I don't yeah what else do you have in common with Agnes other than her preference for giant underwear it's funny one of my daughter my eldest daughter who's almost 13 she read the book and she goes on Agnes is just like you which was a surprise to me and she said you know because you're also a hot mess and I was thinking to myself I let you know she meant that in a loving way like I think that I'm sort of a little bit clumsy and bubbling and disorganized like active things are always falling out of my purse and I underestimate the situation and I'm never fully prepared so that is sort of like clumpiness about her and the chaos about and I would like to in your defense you were an attorney raising five kids and writing and that is not I think I was I would always like this though even before even when I was single and you're right like I've learned it now but I just think it's sort of like some of us move through life you know with more chaos around us than others and I think that's what Agnes and I have in common but what else I also learned to cook kind of late when I had to you know like I got married my husband is most cooking I was so student and we were sort of tag statement and then as time went on it was one of those things where I had to have a crash course in it sort of like Agnes I would have been happy just eating like Twizzlers and barbecue potato chips for dinner so I I think that I was like like her that way but I think mostly I I feel like you know the compassion that she has for these kids is something that I feel towards my own kids when they're in this difficult middle school phase but it's how I feel about my students regularly like the one sort of the biggest mess of some ways the ones where I care about the most and I try not to sweat the small stuff you know and sometimes it's you know things fall through the crack as a teacher but I feel like in some ways you know your kids just have to get through those middle school years unscathed with their self-esteem intact that we got anybody but me they don't run everything so I that's sort of how I feel and I think that's that's the thing that she I really have in common that it's like do no harm should be the model of middle school like just sort of like like these kids be compassionate help them get through it and so I think that that's what we have in common yeah I know Mom you you've told me stories about times where you were maybe bent the rules a little bit to help the kids who needed it yeah yeah you have to do that you know it's just just one of those things I will never never forget the time that I didn't know that that they still paddled in school and yeah and and so this kid had him had I given him several chances and and finally I had to take me to the assistant principal and and I had to witness it to him it was the worst day of my life I just awful I just felt so bad you know yeah I am sorry my car backed up again I could say well let's not do that now okay I grew up I grew up in England so I got paddled in school even though it was like the late 70s early 80s they were still doing it when the American schools it stopped so I was on the other end of that I remember well in middle school I remember being terrified of get that or in elementary school I remember being terrified of getting paddled I never was but I remember something something like they would what they hit you with like the erasers from the chalkboard or something I don't know that which wouldn't really hurt but because felt you got built well when I was in middle settlin I think this is like sadistic and bizarre the boys in shop class had to make paddles out of wood with their names on them that would then hang in the principal's office to be used on them if they got in trouble oh my god that's a story why didn't I speak you guys before I wrote this book yeah yeah so no I know that it was a it was a wooden paddle that they used on this this young man by the way I saw him several years later and it I think it was that at Walmart one day and and he recognized me and he spoke to me and and I and I I said well what are you doing now he says well he said I'm in I'm in construction I'm doing fine I thought well thank God yeah because he could have you know he was having trouble at home and he could have been you know could have gone down the wrong path so I was glad you're listening to writers voices with Monica and Caroline and our guest today is League eller author of trophy life so let's talk a little bit about your writing process of course writing a novel is is different from writing a blog where you're basically just telling stories I assume your blog is pretty much stories about your own life yeah is that true and yeah so a novel requires support and characters and some narrative flow are you the type of person who are the type of writer who just sits down starts writing and let's see what comes or are you a planner I'm both I definitely sit down at right about 40 to 50 pages and a blast over however long it takes me because I just that's just what at the beginning is almost it's just sort of something I have to get out it's not challenging in the middle of the answer and I think that's exceeds its operators and it comes out myself and I outline very very soon over the middle which is the bulk of it I am I the first part of the middle and I write at the end of that outline and then I go off a little bit then I stopped and I outline again like right now I'm writing something I've written a page 200 I've stopped and I'm basically welcome to outline the next no the next you have 75 pages I don't I find that outlines the whole thing is not useful for me again because I need to see what I'm going and sometimes just being writing or just taking a walk or thinking we will produce an idea that I haven't forgot but I do need to especially that middle part which is where so many of us get stuck I have to sort of plan that out of it though along when you started the trophy life did you know what the ending would be I was going to ask that you I knew that she would end the way she did I knew the choice that she would make for sure I didn't know exactly how she was going to get there and I didn't know who would help her and so I got some interesting advice in a workshop that I took which is that not everybody should let her down some of the people who write her down should redeem themselves so some of those characters the end for different changes even in the process one in particular yeah that was a big change and I think that that was a very good piece of advice that was something Ellen did quite good like a classic first time writing to save him everybody stinks but no there is somebody who can actually come through and that was good and even the very first seed was a very late addition that I did on a very late workshop it originally began in a massage parlor where she's you know lying on her stomach and she waiting for him to show up for the massage and that I got advised that to begin where her life was good where she thought that everything other day where she thinks that everything is fine show her in her life with her house with her staff and starts funny if you can if that's the kind of rookies on the right so I added that beginning smoothie feet what's also new Oh interesting because you also hear the advice that you start like you have to start with something dramatic to capture the the audience's attention so start in the middle you're right you're right I think because of the humorous loss you want you I don't want people to read this thinking it's going to be one of those mystery where has she gone books because it isn't that I mean there's a mystery in there but it's really a different kind of book and so I think it was important to sort of set the tone early on for the kind of book that it was you know that is that's true but even so I kept thinking it was going to get worse than it actually did that it was going that the mystery was it was more darker that the secret was darker and it was right and I definitely toured with some darker ideas about where he could be but I just feel like you know money troubles it's kind of my troubles are bigger than those seen of money's troubles but they're sort of you know not everywhere but people's fortunes rise in the fall and there was something dramatic in that but yes I know what you're saying yeah you could have had a whole could have been a whole other wife and wife somewhere yeah or yeah or he was yeah things things had gotten yeah yeah actually you know on yeah we can go on but I don't want to give I don't want to give any spoilers because then someone reading it would know that it wasn't that and I want them to think maybe it could be that and it was totally you know it wasn't it wasn't just an innocent oh I made a bad investment kind of thing there's more to it yeah he was he what he check was a bad guy and he was yeah she still loved him and she's yeah always loved him he had good qualities too but but very I would say narcissistic a hundred percent yeah that's exactly who you yeah well I like the characters oh yeah the gentleman who was the principal and what happened to him and and the way the way that she you know she found courage that she didn't ever know she had and that that was great that really was I like that I like that to dig for her too so the we're talking about you know that you would write a bunch and then you would kind of plan out or outline the next section and then write some more and then yeah so go step by step were there points were there things that you know you would get to a certain point and then like oh I need to go back and put in some you know change direction a little bit did you do a lot of rewriting did I change one of the characters I change the direction I don't not so much that people want well once a week once every two weeks I start again for the beginning to read so I'm always that a big while I'm writing they were like you know 50 or 60 drafts of this a lot of the things you learn as a first-time writers that have to plant seeds for things that are going to happen later even personalities so I did have to I realized that you know this is going to happen so I need to go back and put a plant the seeds for it so there's definitely some of that and just keeping also secondary characters presence throughout the book you know you can't just pop up two-thirds of the way through so little things like that keeping weeks in the scene you know keeping her baby in the seat that's the things that I learned the first time around that makes that makes a lot of sense so yeah are you now working on book two or are you even further beyond that I know it's not a sequel but I am I am at work on an X talking about hopefully more than two-thirds of the way done with this book it is not it's not I thought a kind of sequel because I was sad to leave those kids well it's a different it's an entirely different story do you think you would ever come back and to the to this middle school I think maybe I fight yeah I'm gonna sit like her adventures in middle school I'm not over everywhere is the hope and crop of kids her life is gonna change now but her life has changed so I could see revisiting it I think it would be really interesting to to come back when when the baby is like older maybe getting to mini yeah when grace is like almost middle school age or something and you know that's a great idea yeah a lot of experiences by then I'm not totally I like that idea I thought about that like that yeah I'm she's a girl for the experience would be different than with those boys but yeah that's actually agree yeah well I hope I hope to see that someday so you were writing the book did you have and you said you mentioned that you went to a few workshops during the writing process and did you also yeah okay did you also like having a writers group or some people who were reading as you as you wrote and giving you feedback the people in my workshop would occasionally read pages you know I also had a two of maybe four you know I found four people to be my readers and they read several drafts of the book and her whatnot in my workshop just friends and they were helpful and that actually at somebody who started out as a teacher but is now really a friend she and I to this to the SEBI meet once a week and write at the same time and ask each other questions and read each other's work so I did all of those things ah his writing can be very solitary so this is a good way to sort of get out there and talk me out of that yeah yeah do you have a certain time of day that you like to write well sometimes I get up like at 5 or 4 Cal for no reason so I'll try and write for a little bit before the kids wake up across the it so I get them off to school and then I write until they come up Oh until I have to teach but yes Joey you know while the kids are in scores when I get most of it done once in a while I'll be coming over the weekend for a couple of hours if I really need it but generally it's just a week and some people like to write in a public place like a cafe or something like that even though they're very you know it's there alone but they're around other people other want to be in a cave somewhere do you have a preference oh you know I I wrote trophy life but how mostly but with this book that I'm working on now and finding it too distracting and I actually could be out with the doors of the ambient noise and so yeah I'm definitely writing in other places more now and what are your favorite ways to procrastinate from writing check my garden my vegetables now they're doing I talk to the cat buy something that I don't need on line in front of the fridge and staring through it check your email check my email of course yeah that's me nightmare a nightmare Twitter right now so I take it off my phone that I shake it off again it's a disaster yeah what is your family how have they I'm assuming some of your kids are old enough to actually read this how are they dreaded yeah how'd they react to it I mean you did mention that we grant whatever mind that that Agnes was you but other than that right well my oldest son is not unlike one of the characters in the book and his friend he and his friends really were a huge inspiration for these boys at the book you'd like you know you got the color of my eyes are on in the book they're blue not great I think they're actually very proud in there's not some secret way and if they much prefer this than be writing about them directly on the blog like that's for sure and even as the blog continued I started to write more more about me and less about that and it was clear that it wasn't really enough it really wasn't my place to be telling all of those stories even if I was cleaning up the pee so so yeah they're okay with it they prefer fiction oh really okay that makes sense yes that makes sense and how about husband paper he loved it oh yeah it's great he's also know this is something that I really wanted it's anyways for a long time so he's a big fan and he's just been great really great is there anything he's very relieved that I know he's like.he nobody would write a book about him I love him but he's like the nicest she might on the planet everyone he really it up for better or for worse like know what yeah since there's nothing else he's just so kind and considerate generous and all these things I'm like that's not interesting so there's no we're a little bit in my next one nothing I think he'll eat anything yeah you're listening to writers voices with Monica and Caroline and our guest today is legal author of trophy life mom do you have some more questions I was interested in and what if she is gonna if she is gonna write a sequel you know what what that will be like does she have any ideas about what that might be I haven't I mean it's not really like I think that if I come back through it it will be after I do at least one or two other things I sort of feel like I need to let that sit for a while as much as I want to I think that I another project sort of like bursting out before I do that now the character Agnes she was a foster child right yes so did you know anybody and you know anybody like that I mean is that is she she formed on anybody that you knew or the kind of law that I did I often represented kids who spent a lot of time in foster care I actually wanted to make a point that not all foster care is you know the big battle role that you can have perfectly fine foster parents even if you don't love being in foster care who look after you and take care of you act you know she didn't have a bad experience it just wasn't her family I I did have some experience with that so now let's talk about getting published at what point did you find an agent and/or a publisher so the funniest thing is through a friend I actually submitted it to Amazon Publishing to like Union before I signed with an agent at the same time that I was looking to sign with an agent they made me an offer before I had sanguine right so I actually was completely unattended assualt it was pretty soon after I finish I did a year of writing and then a year of revision basically and I got an agent right then I got sorry I sold the book right then so I did I had so for my next book I actually spent a hundred pages out to some agency sign that way with trophy life I did not have an agent so tell us how Lake Union publishing works it works pretty much like most other Publishing's although they like to involve the author more in the process so I was very softly cover art things like that the big difference is that they primarily sell it on Amazon and if book stores that are willing to carry Amazon publishes book but mostly its online I mean boxes in the box is actually hardcover but you know the vast majority of the books that are sold to Amazon publishing themselves through the Amazon website and they have the full team of editors and so forth yeah editors copy editors developmental editors PR I mean it it's not yeah once I sold it to them they took over anything to edit do they pay in advance and royalty like traditional publishers yes yeah same thing and how many books do they publish and what types of books do they publish I don't know how many books they publish they have a whole bunch of imprints they're like Union increase which I publish with is like women fiction or nonfiction which they call but there are others there's like a romance one or maybe there's a more literary fiction imprint but I think like Union might be the biggest of the imprint but I'm not sure about that how long have they been doing like lick Union how long has it been around I had no idea I would imagine ten years or so but I really go obviously it's relatively new obviously it's relatively new but I don't know yeah yeah the publishing world is changing but it seems like there's more and more options these days yeah and not just self telling which of course yeah yeah so you say this is their women's fiction slash book club imprint yeah have you had some experience with trophy life being read by book clubs um I definitely started to get some calls and emails from book clubs yes and I'd be coming skyping to them this summer oh cool cool so just I was just looking online Amazon publishing launched in 2009 so you're right about right on ten years and it has 15 imprints and including Amazon Encore there's a romance one Thomas and Mercer this particular doesn't doesn't mention like Union but now I'm assuming and that means that the book also published to Kindle for Kindle yeah yeah yeah and do you like reading Kindle books or do you prefer hardcopy I do both obviously I don't read the Kindle in the bath but I can I do like I do like a Kindle I like it at night sometimes because it's not so heavy and I like the paperwhite but yes I do I do like though I don't have a book in my hand well tell us a little bit about you mentioned the cover tell us a little bit about the cover of trophy life my I was going back and forth actually my daughter my oldest daughter Frances pretty vision was like you know it looks awfully kind of funny you know how like when a kid who's not quite big enough falls into the toilet backwards to have to look like that with the trophy and I think she was right she has to look like she's fallen into this trophy but that's really how it came about oh it was the concept wizard the concept was your daughter's idea now I understand that you don't really like to travel very muchly no I know I do love to be away I do love to see the world I just don't sleep anywhere other than my own but I don't even really see that my own bed anymore but I don't sleep I mean if I'm gonna sleep well anywhere it's going to be in my own bed I also get sick carsick every sick and my stomach doesn't react well to any food other than foods I eat in my own home yeah I feel like every year I get worse at it but I love to travel just doesn't love me back so what kind of where have you gone that in terms of travel have you gone a lot have you done a lot of it even though you hate it I did I do I did a lot for sure I was younger a twin before we had kids and yes I was a period of time where we didn't really go anywhere we couldn't get to in the car to seven tickets anywhere it was crazy now that we've gone away my husband and I went away alone I thought my perfect kids happen to all be miraculously taken care of for 11 five days went to Portugal but this summer we're going to go to the Grand Canyon which I've never seen and I'm dying to see and then we're going to go camping on an island that we don't forget you by boat which to me just means lots of medicine but I'll go to the side Wow well I just came back from two weeks on the Greek island of Lesbos and I've been I've been to Greek islands before we had kids but I haven't been to that one well this one is just like a few miles off the coast of Turkey so you can actually see Turkey from it and it's it's quite lovely and I had thought it was going to be a real restful vacation it ended up being a lot more active than I expected but but to me that the best part and I think I think that you might agree with this like what really makes me feel like I'm on vacation is sitting at a cafe for a two and a half hour lunch oh my god and go and then you get up and you leave and you go down the street and you have a cup of coffee somewhere else yeah and then yeah because something like I never do in real life is to like have a two-hour lunch just if that doesn't happen and it just sit and talk and look around watch the scenery and you know it doesn't have to be go go go go all the time although I did do a lot of gogo going to but including including taking the ferry over to Turkey to the Turkish bazaar a real Turkish bazaar and half the island I think goes that they have it once a week and half the island of Lesbos Coast over there to do their shopping because one thing is so cheap and talk about amazing coffee shops it was just it was really really cool and it's this little fishing village really Avila it's not a big city at all but that but they have this pretty amazing weekly Turkish bazaar but that was fun I would have bought more except then you have to carry it all back that's the problem yeah so you mentioned you do have an agent for your next book already and just yes yeah I already sold do you have a contract I know I want I actually want to finish it before I before I share it with anyone yet but no it happens but hopefully I'll finish it by the end of the summer Wow well we look forward to to seeing that because thank you trophy life is just was just really fun to read I actually read it in Greece unless sitting by the pool yeah yeah absolutely and I kept reading and reading and reading until it was done I thought that was the one day that I didn't get up and do anything well thank you so much for being with us today my pleasure thank you making the time for me and mom do you have some final words yes I do this this I just thought this up I think this applies to Agnes the heroine in the book sometime is the life we thought was impossible to enjoy turns out to be the life we can cherish and even excel in well that's it right that is where and where did you find that that's am I made it up oh you made it up I just made it up why aren't you writing the book I thought about it yeah I better start now my age I guess yeah well thank you Lee thank you mom thank you guys and see you all next week on writers voices bye bye now bye bye

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