By Leslie Lindsay
Dark, intricate, mind-bending tale of truth, addiction, and reinvention.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THEA is the third book for Impellizzeri, and it’s such a twisty, gripping ride, you’ll have to buckle up to follow the labyrinth through social media, addiction, and deceitful behavior.
Will is a recovering heroin addict turned counselor, for whom truth is important to recovery. But his past is dark and shrouded with secrets. Now, Will has Thea in his counseling group at Juniper Lane. Thea has been diagnosed with a pathological addition to social media and creating false identities for clients. But there are secrets, and lots of them as Will and Thea unwind this torrid web of deceit.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THEA is a dark, complex and gripping read. At times, it’s very mind-bending.
I can’t really say much more, or I may give away too much! Kudos to Amy Impellizzeri for this deeply plotted, richly told story. Please join me in welcoming her back to the blog couch.
Leslie Lindsay: Amy! Welcome back. I can honestly say I’ve never read anything quite like THE TRUTH ABOUT THEA. Can you tell us what was haunting you when you set out to write this, and why now?
Amy Impellizzeri: Wow. You hit the nail on the head here. I was indeed haunted at the time I wrote this book. I was struggling with the big enormous difference between the selves we hold out to the world and the selves we are stuck living with. I’ve always thought of myself as a truly authentic person and trusted the authenticity of those in my private circle, but in the last few years the myths of social media and other private struggles (both my own and those of people close to me) have made me question that perception. Writing this book was really cathartic, but it also helped me understand how truly layered the “truth” really is.
L.L.: I found the writing dark, edgy and the voice of Thea very well developed. In many instances, I felt I really had to “read hard” to unravel the subtext. Also, I felt I might miss something. Was this intentional on your part, or maybe it was just being a bit…dull?
Amy Impellizzeri: I definitely hoped readers would respond to Thea Brown’s many layers in a positive way – and so far they have! I absolutely loved developing her. I love her voice – it was so different for me to write, and really freeing to write. There are hidden clues all the way through this story to lead you to the final twist – but no one has admitted to picking up on them yet! Kudos to you for the hard read of the subtext! At the same time, though, I don’t really want anyone to guess the ending. My hope is that readers will indeed by stunned, and then want to go back and re-read once they get to the end.
L.L.: There’s a big, giant piece of reinvention in THE TRUTH ABOUT THEA. Many of the addicts at Juniper Lane are restructuring their lives. I enjoyed meeting the characters in the inpatient substance abuse unit. I felt the portrayal of their stories very authentic. Can you tell us what research you did to get that part right?
Amy Impellizzeri: The characters at Juniper Lane were so important to “get right.” I’m sure – like so many – my life has been touched by many beautiful souls struggling with depression, addiction, and other demons. The patients at Juniper Lane became the aggregate of that personal experience. I love them all, but I confess a special soft spot for Cassandra – who is based loosely on a real person, with her permission.
L.L.: And following up on that reinvention theme. Names become a big deal in THE TRUTH ABOUT THEA. Thea is derived from a figure in Greek mythology meaning ‘truth,’ and also Will Cann comes about his name in an organic sort of way. Plus, there are a few others in the mix that have a deeper subtext. Cassandra, though it’s not spelled out in the story, is also based on a Greek myth about truth. Can you talk about how these names worked their way into the narrative?
Amy Impellizzeri: Ah! You’re the first person to pick up on the Cassandra reference. I love your careful eye! Names are often a hard thing for me. I get attached to names from the beginning, making it impossible to change them during the writing process. So I spent some time carving out the names in this story from the beginning. I researched several Greek myths until I came to the “Thea means Truth” revelation. And at the time I started this novel, I didn’t know any Thea’s so it was perfect! Now, of course, I have met lots of Thea’s. Funny how that works.
L.L.: THE TRUTH ABOUT THEA seems like it might require a good amount of intricate plotting. What’s your process like and did anything change drastically during the writing?
Amy Impellizzeri: This was definitely my most ambitious plot to date. I sketched it out carefully from the beginning – which is NOT my usual process. I knew exactly where I was going. But I confess that there were still some necessary detours along the way. I had to allow for changes and evolutions – right up until the end. For example, the nuances of Elizabeth Barrett’s storyline developed in a much later draft and surprised even me!
L.L.: I think it would be fair to ask what’s obsessing YOU?
Amy Impellizzeri: Lately, I’m obsessed with authenticity, empathy, and karma.
L..L.: Amy, it’s been such a pleasure! Before we go, what’s on your bucket-list for 2018?
Amy Impellizzeri: Finishing my next novel! I’m working on a story that is set in the political scene of one of my favorite cities -Washington D.C. – and yet it’s not really a political book. It’s called WHY WE LIE. I guess I’m not quite done with this authenticity theme yet, can you tell?!
L.L.: Is there anything I forgot to ask, but should have?
Amy Impellizzeri: Well, it’s only just been announced – so you might not have heard – Francis Ford Coppola likes THE TRUTH ABOUT THEA! Well, at least enough to include it in a special new gift from the Francis Ford Coppola Winery as part of their inaugural Books & Bottles package – a curated box of wine, customized recipes, playlists, fiction and more!
For more information, to connect with Amy via social media, or to purchase a copy of THE TRUTH ABOUT THEA, please see:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Impellizzeri is a reformed corporate litigator, former start-up exec, and award-winning author. After spending a decade at one of the top law firms in the country, Amy left to advocate for working women, eventually landing at a VC-backed start-up company, Hybrid Her (named by ForbesWoman as a top website for women in 2010 and 2011), while writing her first novel, LEMONGRASS HOPE (Wyatt-MacKenzie 2014), named a 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Bronze Winner (Romance). Her sophomore novel, SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS was released on December 1, 2016, and was an Editor’s Pick in Foreword Reviews Magazine.
Amy’s third novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT THEA, released in October 2017.
Amy’s first non-fiction book, LAWYER INTERRUPTED, was published by the American Bar Association in May 2015 and has been featured in TheAtlantic.com, Above the Law, ABC27, and more.
Amy is a Tall Poppy Writer, Past President of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and a contributor to She is Fierce! and Women Writers, Women’s Books. Amy’s essays and articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, The Glass Hammer, Divine Caroline, ABA’s Law Practice Today, and Skirt! Magazine, among more.
Amy currently lives in rural Pennsylvania where she works and plays and keeps up on all of the latest research confirming that large volumes of coffee are indeed good for you.
You can connect with me, Leslie Lindsay, via these websites:
- Facebook: LeslieLindsayWriter
- Twitter: @LeslieLindsay1
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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[Cover and author image courtesy of A. Impellizzeri and used with permission. Image of Greek goddess Cassandra retrieved from Wikipedia on 12.07.17, image of books and ‘believe’ from L.Lindsay’s personal archieves. “Truth” image from.]