All posts tagged: backstory

Ladee Hubbard on her new novel, THE RIB KING, how it is a historical novel haunted by the present, racial violence, cultural stereotypes; plus, developing strong characters with compelling backstory

By Leslie Lindsay  Bold, original frame story of a class, race, revenge, set in 1914 at a white home with black servants, THE RIB KING is truly a unique read not quite like any other. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Women Writers of Color GLOWING PRAISE for THE RIB KING: Book Riot – Our Most Anticipated Releases of 2021| Real Simple – The Best New Books to Read in 2021|Chicago Review of Books – 12 Must-Read Books of January | Book Riot – January 2021 Horoscopes and Book Recommendations |Glamour–7 of the Best New Books in January | Vulture – 46 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2021 |Lit Hub – Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021|GMA.com – 16 January reads for the new year |Harper’s Bazaar – 24 Books You Need to Read in 2021|The Millions – Most Anticipated: The Great First-Half 2021 Book Preview | Popsugar – From Bravery to Outlawed – These Are the Best Books of January 2021|Ms. Magazine – January 2021 Reads for the Rest of …

Best-selling author Sally Hepworth is back with her best yet, THE MOTHER-IN-LAW. It’s a fragile bond, but could you kill her?

By Leslie Lindsay  A twisty, compelling novel about the fragile bonds of women–particularly the wife and mother-in-law dynamic–ending, or rather, beginning, in a mysterious death.  I am so intrigued with Sally Hepworth’s ‘darker’ women’s fiction and I think THE MOTHER-IN-LAW (St. Martin’s Press, April 23 2019) might be her best yet. From the moment Lucy met her mother-in-law, Diana, things had been rocky at best. Diana told her friends (and son) after that first meeting that Lucy was “just fine,” and well…Lucy wasn’t all that taken with Diane, either. She was polite and properly friendly, but guarded, cold. Having lost her own mother at a young age, Lucy was expecting a bit more…still, she wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law. That was a few years ago. Now, Lucy is mother to three and a stay-at-home mom. Things with Diana haven’t exactly been unicorns and rainbows, but Lucy has managed just fine. But, now, Diana is found dead in her home. There’s a suicide note near her body. Diana claimed she no longer wanted to live because she …

Wednesdays with Writers: What if your mother–a flaming narcissist–died and left you a mound of debt and unanswered questions? Debut novelist Gina Sorell delves into family secrets, grief, reinvention, and so much more in MOTHERS & OTHER STRANGERS

By Leslie Lindsay  A riveting story of a woman’s quest to understand her recently deceased mother, a glamorous, cruel narcissist who left her only child a mound of debt, mysteries, threats, and questions.  Gina Sorell has my attention. I loved her searing debut, MOTHERS & OTHER STRANGERS and absolutely reveled in the mystery surrounding both of her characters, daughter Elsie (Elspeth) and her mother, Rachel/Devedra. Just take a read of the first, magical line:  “My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was pregnant with a dead man’s child, she accepted.”  I found MOTHERS AND OTHER STRANGERS written in such a crisp, flow-y manner propelling the story forward, making it a challenge to set it down. I wanted to know more. The prose is absolutely stunning, the mystery absorbing, and Elsie’s mother–troubling. Sorell writes with such authenticity it was a bit hard to believe this wasn’t a memoir. I’m so honored to have Gina on the blog couch this morning. Leslie Lindsay: I’m always so, so intrigued about …

Write on, Wednesday: Developing Characters

By Leslie Lindsay I have been reading these great books from Writer’s Digest Books, their “Write Great Fiction” series.  In this particular title, Characters, Emotion, and Viewpoint:  Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints (2005), the author Nancy Kress gives us readers (writers?) a checklist for developing characters. Here it is: Your four sources for drawing characters:  yourself, people you know, strangers you hear or read about, and pure imagination.  Modify them if they are you, people you know, even strangers to some degree.  Don’t make it too transparent. List of potential characters?  Choose a protangonist.  Now, study your “cast of characters.”  Are they interesting?  Diverse?  Are you excited to write about them?  Do they connect to your protagonist in a realistic manner? No matter how much backstory is presented in the narrative, you should have a clear picture of each character’s past.  Your character’s motivation should grow out of his/her backstory.  More unusual motivation–>more backstory.  (helps create emotion) Interesting characters hold conflicting values and/or desires.  “Help” readers select the character’s personalities …