I recently had the opportunity to read "The Love Wars" by L. Alison Heller. And, if that wasn't enough...I also was able to interview the author, and learn about her inspiration in writing this new release, as well as find out what new projects she is working on. So, without further ado, please enjoy my interview with L. Alison Heller, author of the new release, "The Love War," followed by my review of her book, which I just finished over the weekend.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I came up with the idea to write a book about the world of divorce lawyer when I was, like Molly Grant, a relatively new divorce lawyer. I specifically began to think about Molly, her colleagues and friends a few years after I left that firm and started divorce mediation. (When I finally had time and the emotional availability.) I knew I wanted to write about parental alienation—when one spouse pits the children against the other— because it’s horrifying. The realities froze my blood even before I became a parent.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
I enjoy fun, readable books with characters I can imagine befriending, so I set out to write one. When I first started writing, I was very inspired by reading Emily Giffin—I love, love, love the way she creates characters.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Yes! Too many to list—I know I’m leaving some out, but: Sarah Dessen, Liane Moriarty, Jon Krakuer, Pat Conroy. I love to read Maurice Sendak to my kids—something about the meter of his writing is wonderful to chant aloud.
What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I write wherever I can. At home if my kids are at school and I’m not lawyering. At a coffee shop if they’re home and I have child-care. I pick up my kids and work around their school day and then try to squeeze in some afternoon/evening hours.
I don’t have a set goal, although I try to write at least every weekday. Sometimes I don’t write that much but I’m gnawing on the story—outlining and doing relationship dynamic charts and character development tables and wacky timelines—all of which are really just attempts to wrap my brain around the universe and story. When I’ve got the universe and characters, my output is much greater, but it can’t really flow until then. (Or I fool myself into thinking it can, but then I delete large chunks so the joke’s on me.)
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
From a craft perspective, there are a lot of false starts. I’m working on my third now and although there have been some differences, I’ve hit a point with all of them when I don’t yet have the dimension of the story and things look bleak ahead and I wonder what I was thinking when this idea seemed like the most intriguing thing I’d ever get to explore.
From a business perspective, the patience required, which is not my virtue. There’s a lot of waiting in publishing.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
So many things! I love the license to think creatively—to just let my mind and imagination wander and not have to retrieve it.
What are you working on now?
Revisions to my second novel and drafting my third.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Go for it! Also, be open to good suggestions. Revising is the lifeblood of the biz and in each manuscript, I’ve had “tipping point” moments where my agent or editor or a great initial reader has commented in a way that takes things to the next level. Initially, I was resistant to comments about my first manuscript. It’s that way for a reason, I thought, and I know it better than anyone. Now, I’m excited to revise. It’s the best part—you know the world and can play around with confidence.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
I will tell you that I spend a lot of time on the New York City subway and there is crazy material there. At one point, each of my books had at least one scene there. (So I guess the question would be, do you spend a lot of time on the NYC subway? And I have to say, I can totally see why you didn’t ask that.)
"Even though Molly Grant has only a handful of relationships behind her, she’s already been through more divorces than she can count.
At the premier Manhattan law firm where she’s a matrimonial attorney, the hours are long, the bosses tyrannical, and the bonuses stratospheric. Her clients are rich, famous, and used to getting their way. Molly’s job—and primary concern in life—is to work as hard as possible to make sure they do. Until she meets the client who changes everything….
Fern Walker is the desperate former wife of a ruthless media mogul. Her powerful ex is slowly pushing her out of her young children’s lives, and she fears losing them forever. Molly—haunted by an incident from her own past—finds herself unable to walk away from Fern and sets out to help her. She just needs to do it without her bosses finding out.
Now, as complications both professional and personal stack up, Molly can only hope that her own wits, heart, and instincts are enough—both in and out of court."
I am not usually a fan of chick-lit books, but after interviewing the author and reading so many rave reviews of her book, I had to check it out for myself. And, I am so glad that I did, as I was hooked from the start. I think what pulled me in and kept me engaged was her main character, Molly grant, a ruthless divorce lawyer to the rich. The other characters in the book were described in such a way that make the storyline more plausible. And, it also helped that L. Alison Heller wrote this story in such a way that it moved along at a good pace. She didn't throw in fluff, which would get a reader bored and want to put down the book.
I started reading her book last Thursday on the 3 1/2 hr. drive to NH for a Mother's Day getaway, and had the book finished by Saturday AM. Once I started reading the book, I couldn't put it down. This well-written book will have you laughing and wondering what it would be like if you were a matrimonial lawyer like Molly. Would you find yourself getting in too deep when it comes to representing certain clients? Would you jeopardize your job to go against the norm and follow your heart or morals? Pick up this page turner to find out what Molly Grant has to face as she becomes a matrimonial lawyer and gets caught in a case, which may cause her to lose her job.
I can't to read additional books by L. Alison Heller, and know that this new release will become a hit -- especially with those looking for a great beach or getaway read. This quick read will have you wanting more stories about Molly Grant.
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review. The views shared are mine and mine alone.