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Thursday, July 27, 2017
Interview With Author Cate Holahan
Lies She Told
1. What really inspired you to write your
book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
The very question of
where novel ideas originate inspired me to write Lies She Told. I think that writers can’t positively pinpoint the
source of their stories. All people have images, scenes, anecdotes,
experiences, and articles that stick with them for some reason. Maybe what
makes an impression has to do with an individual’s childhood or core
personality traits or subconscious musings. Who really knows, though?
What is clear, is that
writers take the things that stick and mash them together to form something
else entirely. The main character in Lies She Told, Liza Cole, is a writer who doesn’t really know what she is
drawing upon to pen her novel. As a result, when her fiction hints at clues to
a disappearance in her real life, she doesn’t understand the reason for all the
parallels. Maybe it’s all coincidence. Maybe she’s being influenced by
struggles in her own life but is completely abstracting them in her work. Maybe
she’s sensing things that she doesn’t consciously accept or understand.
In the book, every
other chapter is the novel that Liza is writing. The reader must determine
Liza’s inspiration for themselves. They have to figure out what is real, what
is abstraction, and what is pure invention. The fun of the puzzle is picking
2. What is it about and whom do you believe is
your targeted reader?
Lies She Told tells
the story of Liza Cole, a suspense writer who has thirty days to write the
thriller that could put her back on the bestseller lists. Her tight deadline is
complicated by fertility treatments and a distracted husband struggling to keep
his firm afloat after the unexplained disappearance of his law partner and
professionally and personally, Liza escapes into writing her latest heroine,
Beth—a new mother who suspects her husband of cheating. When Beth’s rival ends
up in the East River and Nick’s body is found in the same body of water, the
lines between fiction and reality really begin to blur. Before her deadline is
up, Liza will have to face up to truths about those closest to her. If she
doesn’t the final page of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.
My target audience is
anyone who enjoys suspense, intriguing puzzles, and nuanced characters.
3. What do you hope will be the everlasting
thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long
after putting it down?
I hope that readers
will be left feeling empathy towards all the characters in the book, even the
villains. I’ve tried to create a story in which people are put in difficult
circumstances that make lying appear a better solution than telling the truth.
All my central characters lie at one point or another. But I think I’ve made
their reasons understandable and sympathetic, if not forgivable. And I think
that’s why people will remember them.
4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have
for fellow writers?
This advice is for
writers who are still working to make a real living off of writing fiction. It
ain’t easy, but write every day. Fiction writing is a job as well as an art. Like
any job, you get better at it by doing it. When I wrote articles for a business
publication, I still penned fiction in the evenings and on weekends. Then,
after I became a mom, I wrote when I put the kids to sleep and during nap
times. Now, I write when they’re in school and also after they go to bed. It’s
hard to juggle a day job and a dream. But if you don’t treat writing like the career
you want it to become, it won’t ever evolve into that.
5. What trends in the book world do you see
and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
I think that writers
are asked to do more promotion now, in part because social media enables them
to and also because there is so much content out there that really wonderful
books can get lost in the shuffle if a writer isn’t actively discussing their
work on the web. The promotional requirements are good and bad. The good is
that writers can have some influence over whether or not people know that their
books exist. The bad is that we all have a limited amount of time and very few
writers have the luxury of only concentrating on writing a great novel. Not to
mention that many semi-introverted writers, like myself, struggle with
My guess is that, in
the future, even fewer writers will be able to avoid taking an active role in
promoting their work. It’s part of being an author.
6. What great challenges did you have in
writing your book?
Time is always a
challenge. Like many writers, I was rewriting and editing the book while
working on my next project. The juggling is difficult. That said, I like tight
deadlines. They remind me of my prior life as a journalist and force me to
focus. Who doesn’t do their best work when concentrating only on the task at
7. If people can only buy one book this month,
why should it be yours?
Lies She Told demanded
many sleepless nights, sponge-fulls of sweat, and quite a few tears on my part.
Sleepless nights because I’d spent so much time with the characters that they
wouldn’t let me rest, sweat because of the amount of work it took to create
these characters and this puzzle, and tears because the story warrants them at
points. I created characters that I felt for deeply that will form a bond with
readers. And I put them in a twisty, taught situation. Readers will keep
turning pages because the people are vivid and the puzzle demands thinking.
Plus, it’s entertaining. But don’t take my word for it. Take RT Book Reviews
word for it: “If you can only pick one
psychological thriller to read this fall, it needs to be Holahan’s Lies She
Cate Holahan is the acclaimed
author of Lies She Told (Sept. 2017) The Widower's Wife (August 2016) and Dark
Turns (November 2015), all published by Crooked Lane Books. An award-winning
journalist and former television producer, her articles have appeared in
BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Record and on web sites for CBS, MSN Money,
NorthJersey.com, BusinessWeek.com, and CNBC. She lives in New Jersey with her
husband, two daughters, ages 7 and 5, and dog Westley. For more information,