Musings & Meanderings
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MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS: Lisa Williamson Rosenberg on writing a novel in a minivan during soccer practice, feeling like you’re not doing enough/too much, distractibility, making art when not inspired, more

By Leslie Lindsay

A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more

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Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book


Hello, Friends!

I’m not working well today. I don’t know…the gears feel rusty. My brain feels cramped and distracted. I’m worried about my kids, who aren’t really kids, but young adults. They are amazing and talented and busy and so that makes it even more challenging. I worry, in the best parent-kind-of-way. Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? Are they happy? It’s hard to be parent. It’s harder still to be a teenager. The emotions are big. The problems have ramifications. Everything feels new and important. Because it is. Kids this age often are experiencing things for the first time (first car, first date, college applications, sports, perceived failures), so the feelings are bigger.

I’ve got an interview by psychologist-mom, Lisa Williamson Rosenberg today who says she wrote her novel, EMBERS IN THE WIND, in a minivan at soccer practice (I can totally relate!). She also says that she is often not writing. And you know what–I think that is okay! It’s about balance.

What inspires you to write? Do you write when you’re not inspired? Do you ‘force’ it? I have. Sometimes that gets me moving. Other times–like today–I just feel gummy and frustrated. My mind wanders and I think of a million other things I’d rather be doing. The ‘zone’ doesn’t happen.

How do YOU get through it?

Respond here in a comment, or find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.


~Leslie : )

There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!

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What’s obsessing me:

  • Books. Home decor. Nature. My Kids. Bonus kid(s). Basset hounds.
  • Art
  • Finding time to create it.
  • Finding time to read more.
  • Heck, time. That’s a big obsession. Why it goes away. How some people do more with less. How some people do, like, nothing. And is that boring? Or more fulfilling?
  • What I am going to have for dinner.
  • If I have a turkey neck.
  • See above: dinner.
  • How to fit in more yoga; see above: turkey neck.
  • If I am getting enough protein.
  • Wow–was that a much more personal list that you expected? Same here.

NEW! Four Questions: A mini-interview series

Lisa Williamson Rosenberg


Photo credit: L.Lindsay @leslielindsay1

1. Without responding in complete sentences, what would you say EMBERS ON THE WIND is about?

Lisa Williamson Rosenberg:

An Underground Railroad safe house turned 21st century Airbnb, the spirits of the freedom seekers who perished on the property over 2 centuries earlier call out to modern black women, seeking peace and redemption.

2. Where did you write EMBERS ON THE WIND? Do you have any special writing routines or rituals? Do they change with each project, or remain constant over time?

Lisa Williamson Rosenberg:

I wrote most of Embers on the Wind sitting in my minivan, parked in the lot of a big, indoor soccer arena where my son was enrolled in a 4-day a week, 3 hours-a-pop intensive soccer program. I volunteered to do more than my share of carpooling once I figured out how I could use my time. I had one of those silly foam laptop rests and I was good to go. It did get cold during those winter months, but the thoughts of Embers (along with my purple ankle-length down coat) kept me going.

An earlier novel, which I’m currently revising and have yet to show my agent, was born in the wee hours during a bout of insomnia while my kids were very small.

In general however, once I have a decent sized manuscript to work with, I’ll plod away any time I have a break between therapy clients and on weekends. I am lucky to have “A Room of My Own,” on the third floor of my house where it is relatively quiet.

3. If you weren’t writing, you would be…

Lisa Williamson Rosenberg:

Often I am not writing! I am a psychotherapist, so my writing life has to compete with my clients. And of course my kids. And dog! And sometimes my husband, though he’s pretty self-sufficient most of the time.

4. What book did you recently read that you can’t stop thinking about?

Lisa Williamson Rosenberg:

Recently? The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan. Dystopian The Handmaid’s Tale meets 1984. It’s full of heartbreaking moments, but so well done and compelling, I was literally unable to put it down. So inventive and imaginative. No spoilers, but I’ve been talking and thinking about this one since I read it back in April.

Get your copy of EMBERS ON THE WIND HERE or where books are sold. Check out Lisa Williamson Rosenberg’s website for more information, including talks and signings.

Take a peek at all of my historical fiction recommendations at

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Recently-published Stuff You Might Have Missed:

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Coming soon:

A conversation with Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder about her book, Existential Physics (Viking, August 9, 2022) in Hippocampus Magazine.

A conversation with Lauren Acampora about her novel, THE HUNDRED WATERS (Grove/Atlantic, August 23, 2022) in The Millions.

A piece about being a book ambassador, reading about family, inheritance, postmemory, and landscape in Moms Don’t Have Time to Write.

A a hybrid flash non-fiction piece about the mysteries of ancestry in ELJ Editions Scissors & Spackle.

My experience at a retreat/workshop abroad, featuring architecture and design, how writing is always a work-in-progress in The Smart Set.

A conversation with Kristine Langley Mahler about her new hybrid memoir, CURING SEASON: Artifacts (WVP, October 1) in Brevity.

I’ll be sharing my published interviews here, after they’ve ‘gone live’ with their various publications.

There’s more to this newsletter. Keep scrolling.

What I’m reading:

I am smack in the middle of Lauren Acampora’s new novel, THE HUNDRED WATERS. I mean…that cover!!! Plus, I just love her work.

Images designed and photographed by L. Lindsay

What I’m listening to:

My own truth. No one else can tell you what is ‘true,’ except…you. A little corny, but heck…yeah.

L.Lindsay archives.

You are reading Musings & Meanderings, a consistently inconsistent weekly newsletter about the literary life from Leslie Lindsay, and home of an archive of bestselling and debut author interviews. I’m also on twitter and instagram. I try to answer comments as best I canFeel free to find my book suggestions on, and also check out the authors I’ve hosted in in-depth interviews HERE.

In the meantime, catch me on:

Reviewing books and talking about them with others on-line and in-person is one small way to engage with & support the literary community.

Thank you for letting me guide you on your bookish journey.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

Let’s walk this bookish path together.


Some of you have been reading my reviews, interviews, and meanderings for more than a decade now. That’s huge and I am so humbled. Thanks for being here.

Connect with me on Instagram, and Twitter. See what I’m reading on Find my reviews on GoodReads. I’m also a Zibby Books Ambassador.

Learn more HERE.

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