Fairfield County has a new writer in residence: Emily Liebert, author of the nonfiction book "Facebook Fairytales" and the novel "You Knew Me When." Liebert's second novel, "When We Fall," is scheduled for release in September, and she is at work on a third.
Born and raised in New York City and a former resident of Westchester, Liebert spent five years as editor-in-chief of The WAG, the luxury lifestyle magazine covering Westchester and Fairfield Counties. She has also written for The Huffington Post, Oprah.com, Elite Traveler, and Cottages and Gardens, among others, and edited Kerry Kennedy's "Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans Talk About Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning."
Here, she shares with Books, Ink her thoughts on her debut novel, inspirations, writing process, and more.
Tell us about your debut novel.
"You Knew Me When" is about best friends who were like sisters to each other. Katherine Hill left her small New England hometown in pursuit of a dream. Now, twelve years later, she's a high-powered cosmetics executive in Manhattan and a much glossier version of her former self, unrecognizable to her family and old friends. Laney Marten always swore she'd never get "stuck" in Manchester, VT. Instead, she wound up a young wife and a mother. When Katherine receives word of an inheritance from former neighbor Luella Hancock, she reluctantly returns home to the people and places she left behind. Hoping for a second chance, she's met by an unforgiving Laney, her former best friend. And there's someone else who's moved on without her. Someone she once loved. Tethered to their shared inheritance of Luella's sprawling Victorian mansion, Katherine and Laney are forced to address their longstanding grudges. Through this, they will come to understand that, while life took them in different directions, ultimately the bonds of friendship and sisterhood still bind them together.
What inspired you to write it, and where do you get your ideas?
I've always been interested in the bonds of female friendship. When I was younger, I had a best friend who dumped me when I met my first serious boyfriend. And I've had other friends who've either been disappointing or quite the opposite—who've stuck by me through the best and worst of times. I wanted to explore this. I also wanted to present two women—one with a husband and child, who was unhappy with her job and the other with a big career, but no family to speak of. It raises the age old question—can women really "have it all"? Generally speaking, I get my ideas from own life and the lives of my friends and family members...so stay on my good side!
What's your process like? Do you ever experience writer's block, and if so, how do you manage it?
I'm very disciplined. First, I map out an outline for the entire book, pretty much chapter-by-chapter. When I'm in writing mode, I try to finish at least two-three chapters per week. I do experience writer's block, but an outline goes a long way in relieving that. Once I get rolling with the first few sentences I'm usually good to go. You sort of have to "force" yourself and it will come. If it doesn't then it's truly okay to take a day off. That said, writing consecutively for days is the best gift because it keeps my head in that world, so to speak.
If you could meet three authors, who would you choose and why?
Ooh, love this question. Well, I've already met the fabulous Jane Green, who would have been at the top of my list. I've been very lucky to have already made the acquaintance of so many authors I admire. So, I'd have to say Sarah Pekkanen, Jennifer Weiner, and Emily Giffin. I'd love to be able to pick the brains of other women I admire in my genre!
Where is your favorite place to write?
My office in our new home, which is currently being overhauled.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm waiting for copy edits to come back from my publisher, Penguin Random House, for my next novel When We Fall, which releases in September! And, right before this interview, I finished the first chapter of my fourth book (as yet titled), which will come out in June 2015. Then I'll move on to my fifth book which publishes in April 2016. If all goes well, there will be many more to come!
Answer one question you wish I'd asked.
Why, yes, I would love you to bring me some lunch ;)