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A ROUND OF 20 QUESTIONS WITH your author interview host, LESLIE LINDSAY


By Leslie Lindsay

A quick take on the woman behind the author interviews.

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~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

ALL ABOUT YOUR HOST: LESLIE LINDSAY

Each week, at least once a week, I share books and authors with a fabulous community of readers and writers. I’ve been doing this for almost eight years now. Eight (and over 700 interviews)! And I am so grateful. That’s enough time for two college degrees, one MD and a residency and board-certification, or a PhD and a post-doc, eight children, one each year. I don’t have any of that. But thought maybe you’d like to know a bit about the gal behind the interviews.

1. WHY DID YOU START DOING THIS? 

Leslie Lindsay:

It started…<whispers> as fan mail. I’ve always been a reader and so when I came across a book I really, really loved, I wanted to know more. Maybe it was the writing or a theme, or something, but I was absolutely enamored with a book and so I reached out to the author to gush. And she responded! And I was like, wow…I can ask authors questions all day! And then GoodReads made it so easy to review books. I thought if I could combine my love for reading and writing, why not share it with others?

2. WHAT BOOK WAS IT? 

Leslie Lindsay:

I knew you’d ask. And I have no real memory. That sounds terrible. But I have an inkling it was Lisa Unger or Caroline Leavitt, both of whom I love and admire, though they write very different things, but always with a psychological undercurrent. [Wait–how long have you been doing this? GoodReads? Since maybe 2011. Interviewing authors since 2013]

3. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BOOK OR AUTHOR? 

Leslie Lindsay:

What the heck! I can’t answer that! It’s like asking if you have a favorite kid. I do not have one of those, either. Though on some days, I will tell you that my youngest is my favorite because she brought her laundry to the laundry room without being asked. Another day, my oldest daughter is my favorite because she de-gunked the hair from the bathroom drain. As for books and authors, those vary, too. My tastes evolve. My mood fluctuates. I might be able to tell you my favorite historical fiction, my favorite memoir, my favorite thriller, but I won’t. Because that’s not fair, either. And it will change. Because next week, or next month, or next year, so will I.

4. WHAT’S THE ONE BOOK THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE? 

Leslie Lindsay:

You are tenacious, aren’t you? Well, let’s back up. Way up. I have this super-old giant red book comprised of stories  given to my for my first Christmas. I can’t tell you how I love that book. The spine is cracked, the pages are brittle. Some of the stories aren’t very ‘pc.’ But they are ingrained in my storytelling mind. When I was a little kid, my parents enrolled me in this mail-order book club, way before Amazon or anything ‘fun’ ever came in the mail. When those books arrived, I hugged them to my chest and ran into the house; I couldn’t wait for Dad to get home from work to read them to me. Dad did better voices than Mom. And then the Berenstain Bears books became my heart and I thought I’d be a children’s author/illustrator and focus on emotional/psychological wellbeing of children and life lessons. But then I moved into Beverly Cleary titles and Judy Blume. And also A WRINKLE IN TIME totally got the speculative fiction vibe going for me. THE BABYSITTERS CLUB came around and yep–I read nearly all of them, going weekly to the B.Dalton at my local mall to pony up the $2.50 they cost back then, and waiting impatiently for the Super-Special, which I would devour in a matter of hours? Days? Then there was a phase where I couldn’t read Joan Lowry Nixon and Lois Duncan fast enough. In high school, I fell hard for medical/crime dramas like THE HOT ZONE and Patricia Cornwall. And another phase where I didn’t read much more than an anatomy and microbiology textbook because, nursing school. When I was in the midst of final exams, I somehow managed to read Wally Lamb’s I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE. Maybe that book changed my life? Maybe that’s when I thought–hummm–I could write. Maybe. Anne Lamont’s BIRD BY BIRD changes me every time I read it. I loved Anita Shreve and still wish I could write like her. And to mention any others at this point, would be unfair. See question 3 above.

pile of books

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5. WHERE’S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE ON EARTH? 

Leslie Lindsay:

I mean, I haven’t been everywhere. And who’s to say that my favorite place isn’t right here? Right now? Why strive for the past or the future? Places I’ve been that I love: Italy. Especially Tuscany. Austria. Especially Salzburg. I felt a particular connection to the place in London where my hostel was located (years and years ago) and nearly felt a muscle memory type reaction, like I knew exactly where it was, though never to my knowledge had I been there. When I was in Ireland, I could sense dark histories that made my head and chest hurt, which was also quite magical. And in Greece, I felt a kinship with the ancient earth.

6. WHO’S THE ONE PERSON WHO CHANGED YOUR LIFE? 

Leslie Lindsay:

Well, that’s a tough one. My mother had a major psychotic episode when I was ten. That changed my life. In many ways. I had to grow up awfully quick. I had always been mature and preceptive, but this shattered me, my home, my family. She made my life nearly impossible. She was narcissistic and emotionally unstable and we became estranged. I overcame a lot. And maybe I’m stronger because of it, because of her. My dad. He had to step up (though he always did a lot of the parenting, even before my mother’s mental illness). Without Dad to ease the corners of that transition, I might not be the person I am today. But then, there’s my husband and my daughters–they’ve changed my life, too.

7. WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH? 

Leslie Lindsay:

Exercise. Fresh air. Natural things, like nature. Being in it. Creating. Art, photography, writing.

8. WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WORRY ABOUT? 

Leslie Lindsay:

It used to be, ‘will I be crazy like my mom?’ I guess I still worry about that, to a certain degree. But now, I know there are ways to support myself. And never have I experienced anything to the magnitude as to what my mother did. Also, the shame and stigma is lifting. Also, I worry about when I must stop writing to make dinner, if my 15 year old will pass her driving test, if I’m doing enough.

9. IF YOU COULD SEND A NOTE TO YOURSELF in 2030, what would it say? 

Leslie Lindsay:

Does any of this really matter? Just be you.

10. IF YOU COULD SEND A NOTE TO SOMEONE WHO PASSED AWAY, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? 

Leslie Lindsay:

I love you. You are important. You did your best. It did not go unnoticed.

shallow focus of letter paper

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11. WHAT’S YOUR WORST HABIT?

Leslie Lindsay:

That depends. Who is judging? My husband will say cracking my elbows is my worst habit. I mean, they get stiff while I am writing (long-hand or typing). My kids will say I be a little bossy. My dog thinks I move too much and don’t create enough ‘lap’ for her to sit on.

12. IF YOU COULD CHOOSE A MAGICAL POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 

Leslie Lindsay:

To make everyone kind. Read a book and be kind.

13. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHEN YOU’RE NOT WRITING OR READING? 

Leslie Lindsay:

Shouldn’t I be reading or writing?! [That’s the thought] Maybe I’m creating something else? In that sense, I am thinking: color, pattern, design. I am absorbing story in some other form: a song, a television show or movie. Maybe I am thinking about Def Leppard and how I secretly want to be a rockstar.

14. DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE A PROJECT GOING?

Leslie Lindsay:

Yep. Always. But it might not always be a writing project. One must vary projects to keep ideas fresh and flowing.

15. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU PUT YOUR FEET UP? 

Leslie Lindsay:

What is this thing you speak up? Feet up? Okay, okay…yesterday? But it was Sunday. And gloomy. And I read half a novel. Does that count?

crop man reading book on grass in sunshine

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16. WHAT HOUSEHOLD CHORE DO YOU LOVE? WHICH ONE DO YOU DETEST? 

Leslie Lindsay:

When my hubby goes back to the office after this COVID-19 work-from-home is done, I am going to miss his dishwasher unloading skills. I love running the vacuum. So satisfying to hear the crinkle and suck of particles, don’t ya think? Also, ironing is stupid. I wish I didn’t love cotton so much.

17. DO YOU LIKE COOKING? 

Leslie Lindsay:

Not particularly, though I can do it well. To me, it’s just another chore.

18. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FOOD? 

Leslie Lindsay:

I mean, ice cream! And anything thick and warm from the oven. Fresh bread. Cookies. Cake. Sweets. That’s my favorite.

19. HOW DO YOU DEFINE SOUL-MATE? 

Leslie Lindsay:

Carbs. Ice cream. See answer 18 above. In reality? Someone who would always be there for you. A similar way of looking at the world. A shared sense of being on the same journey. Again, carbs.

20. WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO LEAVE BEHIND? 

Leslie Lindsay:

Kindness.

white printer paper with be kind text on plants

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, OR TO CONNECT WITH LESLIE LINDSAY VIA SOCIAL MEDIA, PLEASE SEE: 

IMG_1175ABOUT YOUR HOST:

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir. Her writing has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-Station, and others. Her cover art was featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; poetry in the Coffin Bell Journal, and CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine and The Family Narrative Project; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available this fall. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

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~UPDATED, 2nd Edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA available from WOODBINE HOUSE!~

Represented by Catalyst Literary Management: MODEL HOME: Motherhood, Madness & Memory

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LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#alwayswithabook #amreading #aboutyourhost #LeslieLindsay #writinglife #childhoodbooks #mothers #mentalillness #bookreviewer #lifegoals 

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