I met novelist Leslie Lehr in January 2009 at the Girlfriends Weekend in Jefferson, Texas.
The Girlfriends Weekend is a weekend of awesome sisterhood among women who love books, and was founded by the amazing, generous, spirited Kathy Patrick–one of my favorite people because she’s combined her hair expertise (she’s a stylist, and you know I love great hair) with her passion for books with her famous Beauty & the Book store, before going on to found the Pulpwood Queen Books Club, which gave birth to the Girlfriend Weekends, and more.
But this blog isn’t about Kathy, its about Leslie, whom I met in Jefferson and promptly adored. The lovely Leslie has a new book out and I’m really excited to introduce Leslie to you all. She’s a star and an angel and a warrior, and I know once you know more about her, you’ll cherish her as much as I do!
Leslie, thank you soooo much for being my featured author this week. Can you tell us what you love most about being a writer?
The hours. That’s also what I hate about being a writer.
Seriously? While I am a horrible typist, I really love the act of putting words on the page, making them come alive. I love playing with this word or that one, to see which is closest to the what I’m trying to express. I love having an idea that grows and grows until there are real people – if only in my head – acting out an entire story. Then I get to share the story and make it real for someone else. It becomes this solid thing, no longer just an idea. It’s magic.
Is there anything that has surprised you about writing or publishing your books?
That each book takes longer to write, because I know more and want it to be better.
Some writers like to let plot ideas percolate and grow for a while before they start writing the story. Would you say this applies to you as well?
Absolutely. When I just write something on a whim, I end up with a great first chapter, then I’m stuck. When I really think about the idea and develop into a solid story, I can write the whole book. Knowing the ending is like knowing where to aim in archery – makes it easier to hit the bullseye.
Do you incorporate any of your own life experiences into your stories? Do you get asked this question very often?
Yes! That’s why I write – to work out the what-if’s of real life. WAMK was inspired by my daughter who was crying at at night, every night, and I felt so helpless that I imagined the worst. I knew I would do anything to protect her. So that’s what my hero, Michelle, does – I get to live through her vicariously. Yes, people ask that all the time. I’ll bet you get that too. But did this really happen? No. By making it up we can control the situation and dig deeper for the emotional truth.
Was there anyone or anything that helped inspire you to be a writer?
Reading. I was a bookworm growing up. My high school friends might be surprised at this, but I came back to it soon after.
Do you have a writing schedule or any writing rituals to help you achieve your daily writing quota?
I don’t have a quota unless I am writing the first draft, then I like to get through a whole scene, whether it’s short or long. I used to do ten pages a day, but my stories were simpler then. There are so many different stages of writing, from research, to working out the story beats, to writing, editing, and then the whole business side. The actual writing process is the most fun, but it’s risky. I’ve been known to spend hours an entire day on one paragraph.
Tell us what your new book is about, in 2 or 3 sentences.
A woman who recovers from a fatal car accident and is accused of murder risks everything to find her missing daughter, the only one who might know the truth of what happened that day. People are calling it contemporary drama or literary suspense, but for me it’s a love story.
What’s your favorite time of the day and place to write?
Late morning at my desk. By then, I’ve exercised and eaten and finished business emails and am starting to get back into the story. I look out over our yard, which has an enormous hundred-year-old tree in the middle, and I can see the blue sky between the branches. The yard is bordered by fruit trees and flower bushes, like a park where something is always blooming. So I take a long look, because once I’m back in the story I don’t see any of it at all.
Name five items sitting on your desk right now.
1. The glass top covering my desk holds dozens of pictures of my daughters, from baby pictures on up.
2. A small sparkly frame holding a wedding photo of my husband and me on the beach in Malibu.
3. One empty Diet Pepsi can.
4. My black patent leather FileO Fax planner. I’m old school
5. Iphone. I’m not totally old school.
What’s your astrological sign?
If you could meet one person who has died, who would it be? What would you want to discuss with him/her?
My great grandfather, Billy Watson. He was vaudevillian who started the Beef Cake Trust – a chorus line of zaftig women. He also gave Gyspy Rose Lee her start. My late grandmother, a beauty, was a dancer, who said her father was the proof of the ‘one day chicken, one day feathers’ side of show business. I never met him, so I ‘d love to hear what it was like to live at that time and be so daring and creative.
Five favorite things to do on a weekend?
1. Hike with a girlfriend to a spot overlooking the ocean
2. See a movie, preferably romantic comedy – but not at a Writers Guild screening, because you can’t have popcorn there
3. Eat take-out that requires chopsticks but is okay with red wine in front of the fire
4. Sleep in until it’s time time for the yoga class with music
5. Shop at the Farmers market and taste everything in sight so there’s no need to cook until Monday.
What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without if you were stuck on a deserted island?
Sunblock. No, wait – my husband, he’s pretty fun. He’d keep me entertained.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
You can’t fail until you quit. Thanks, Dad!
Five things every writer should know?
1.Lock you refrigerator.
2. Love the process, that’s all you have control of.
3. Follow the golden rule and respect other writers.
4. Remember that taste is subjective and so are critics. Sometimes a person will say something mean just because their stomach hurts.
5. Write something good enough to make your children proud, but don’t let the thought of your children stop you from writing something good.
Your favorite desert or snack?
Since going to Italy on my honeymoon, I’m crazy about good parmesan cheese with a slice of tomato and crusty bread as a snack. Cabernet and dark chocolate on a date night. I love big fat blueberries anytime. And every night I crave frozen yogurt with chocolate sprinkles – perfect for watching The Bachelor or Project Runway or The Good Wife. That’s more than one favorite, but I lost my taste buds for a few months going through chemo and now that they are back everything tastes good!
What do you do in your spare time?
Read. Novels and all kinds of magazines.
What does success mean to you?
Gong to bed with a smile on my face.
Rock or country music?
Rock! And since I grew up in Ohio, Southern rock – which is a two-step away from country.
Sweet or savory?
Savory in the day, sweet at night.
Drama or comedy?
I tend to read drama, but watch comedy. Especially romantic comedy. I’ve seen every romantic comedy movie ever made – and if not, I hope to catch up soon.
What A Mother Knows
How Far Will a Mother Go to Find Her Daughter?
Michelle Mason can’t remember that day, that drive, that horrible crash that killed the young man in her car. All she knows is she’s being held responsible, and her daughter is missing.
Despite a shaky marriage, a threatening lawsuit, and troubling flashbacks pressing in on her, Michelle throws herself into searching. Her daughter in the one person who might know what really happened that day, but the deeper Michelle digs, the more she questions the innocence of those closest to her, even herself. As her search hurtles toward a shattering revelation, Michelle must face the biggest challenge of her life.
A poignant story of the unshakable bond between mother and child, What a Mother Knows is about finding the truth that can set love free.
With a B.A. from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Leslie Lehr is a popular panelist at literary and film conferences around the country. She is a member of PEN, The Authors Guild, WGA, Women In Film, and The Women’s Leadership Council of L.A. She is a contributor to the Tarcher/Penguin Series “Now Write” and teaches in the world-renowned Writer’s Program at UCLA Extension.
Leslie lives in Southern California, where she continues to explore the dark and light sides of contemporary women.
Find Leslie on Facebook, and as @leslielehr1 on Twitter. For Skype book club visits email email@example.com.
Thank you so very much for being here, Leslie. Readers, be sure to look for Leslie’s book, What a Mother Knows, and check out her website to learn more about her other novels. I’m celebrating Leslie’s visit today by giving away 3 prizes. Each winner will receive a box filled with great reads, sweets, treats and more. Your great reads will include Leslie’s What A Mother Knows, and signed copies of my Bellevue duet, Odd Mom Out and Mrs. Perfect, which are perfect for an early Mother’s Day giveaway. My Leslie Lehr blog contest runs through May 10th, with winners announced May 11th. Want a chance to win? Please comment below, and in honor of Leslie’s book, tell me about your mom, and what she’s taught you either about life, or being a mother.
81 Comments / Add Your Comment →
Thanks again for introducing another new-to me author!
Not trying to be mean, but my mom + I never had the greatest relationship so I’m digging deep for something she’s taught me. I guess by the way she raised me, I don’t want to raise my kids her way…
Funny thing-the farther away we live from each other, the better we get along.
My mom has taught me to stand up for what you think is right for you. I really appreciate that.
My mom was a career woman and growing up was hard but now since she is a lot older retired and I am having to help her out more due to her health problems we have gotten closer.
My Mom has been taking care of my Dad who is fighting brain cancer for the past three years after losing her two sisters to cancer. She has taught me what true love is and what having faith and hope means.
My mother instilled in me the principles and values that were important and which I still follow. She was compassionate and giving to all which I believe in. I miss her wise words and kindness.
Thanks for another great introduction and good luck with your writing Leslie and with your health.
My mother loved unconditionally and that is a great gift. I want to pass that on to my children and grandchildren, too. No matter what they do, where they are, or what happens I hope they know they can depend on my love.
Happy Mother’s Day to you Jane and all your blog commenters who are mothers/caregivers, too.
I was close to my mom until I was about 13 and then it just went downhill from there. I love her, but I am just not close to her. I have learned quite a few things from that experience, and hope that I will NEVER make the same choices as my Mother did.
I have an awesome mother. She taught me to be an independent woman as well as respecting my husband. She taught me how to balance motherhood and work and my husband and friends and whatever else life throws at you. She is a strong, amazing, christian women!
My mother and I never had a great relationship. She was always partial to one of my other sisters during the years, I needed a mother the most. There were times in my life where we would get close, but then someone or something would come between us again. But, she did teach me don’t hold back what you’re thinking. Some times it creates huge fights at home. But, we do get it all out in the open so we can figure out how to overcome the problems.
I lost my own mother when I was only 8 yrs old, but when I married my husband I gained another! I love Leslie Lehr book cover
Sounds very interesting and I hope to read it soon!
My mother is amazing. She taught me to never give up and to always have faith that God has a plan for us all. My mom has always been there for me and never allowed me to fail. She’s my rock and I love her very much!
Great questions, great interview!! I loved it.
My mom…well, she didn’t raise me, my dad did. My dad was stuck in two roles – and he taught me how to stand up for myself and how to let some things go – he taught me how to pick my battles.
My mom has taught me that it’s okay not to be perfect, but that we should never stop striving for excellence. By example, she shows me that being compassionate is one of the highest qualities a person can have. She’s also taught me and my sisters that no matter what else is going on in life, sisterness will persist.
Let’s see…tell you about my mom. Well she was amazing. Before she died she told me she hated knowing she wouldn’t be with us in the future to help us and to give us advice. She said I know marriage can be hard, real hard. But I can look at your husband and I know without a doubt he loves you…so when things get rough and your not sure about your marriage my advice is to always work through it. When there is that kind of look you can work through anything, so never give up. My mom was never afraid to tell us when she thought we were doing something wrong, lol. So I really miss having that one person in life is loves me enough to always be honest. I keep her marital advice close, and try to be the kind of parent who is honest with my kids. I want to build them up on a solid foundation. Honesty with love is what she taught me.
My mom has taught me that no matter how hard things get, never give up and just keep going. I don’t know where I’d be without her! (She also passed down her love of books, for which I am most thankful.)
Another fabulous interview/post! Thank you for this.
What did I learn from my Mom? That it’s okay to treat myself after putting my family first.
I won an ARC of WAMK from Goodreads (first reads) and I loved the book! I read it in one sitting. The ending was totally unexpected. Fantastic, Leslie!
My mother is one of my best friends. I love her dearly. We share our love for reading and usually give eachother suggestions.
Thanks Jane for introducing us to another author – I love your books and so therefore, your recommendations too
My mom taught me to treat people as you want to be treated.
She always said to have clean underwear on in case of an accident. We used to laugh and say who cared if you have clean underwear if you have to go to the hospital. She said to never get in the car with a stranger and this was in the 50’s and 60’s. She taught me to love books. You have introduced me to a new author. can’t wait to read her book.
Hope you both have a great Mothers Day.
Oh wow, what an amazing collection of books for the giveaway!
My mom has taught me so much over the years … but most importantly, she has taught me to accept and love myself. She has taught me to face life’s challenges with grace and confidence, that no matters the errors I make I will always have a place to call home, that I am a worthy individual regardless of my weight/height/social status in school, and that it is more important to be a good listener than to the be the one everyone else listens to. My dad is a wonderful man, but very motivated and driven, and my mom is the comforting sort that even if I didn’t get straight As or do everything right, she always accepts me flaws and all which has helped me to accept myself. Now that I am an adult I really appreciate all the lessons she has taught me over the years. My mom and I are close and one of our favorite hobbies is discussing books we read. We live in different states, but when one of us gets a new book, the other buys a copy too and then we read and chat about them. My mom was my first “book club” partner. She taught me the love of reading and a myriad of other things. Her lessons over the years have helped to shape the person I am today and I will always be so grateful for her love and guidance.
My mom was a single mom, who raised 6 kids. She taught me to work hard and not give up on your dreams. I am hoping that I instilled that ethic into my 2 children too.
Love this blog. And the book sounds so intriguing that I’m heading over to amazon to buy it.
My mother is the reason why I love baking and cooking so much. She learned me that it’s okay to be a stay at home mom. That you can have time for that and your self.
another author to add to my ever growing list of books I need to buy! thanks for the great interview.
My mom was the mom who could do it all…sew, cook, garden, butcher animals, decorate, entertain, can, clean… I’ll never measure up.
I love hanging out with my mom, she gave me my love for reading and showed me how to follow my passion, whatever that looks like with everything I have.
Leslie Lehr is a new author to me. Her book sounds wonderful.
My mother always gave my sisters and me a chance to work with her in the kitchen. It is because of her and the wonderful camaraderie of all of us working together. Because of my mom, I am a good cook and baker, as are my sisters.
My mom and I are best friends. She has always been there for me.
My mom told me early on not to dream small. She encouraged me to set high goals for myself, work hard and be persistent.
I have this book on my to read list already, thanks for doing this giveaway! My mom has taught me that I don’t have to be the perfect mother, that as long as I tell and show my kids every day that I love them I have done my job right.
My mom has taught me to give to others. My mom has always given of her free time to many church and charity functions. She was always running something, baking something, hosting something and giving love to others. Now, I am doing the same thing. Even at 74, I can’t keep up with my mom and all she does for others!
My Mother was light years ahead of her time, and she forged her own paths in life. She was a tall, beautiful, statuesque, Elizabeth Montgomery look-alike, who was also a single-parent, career woman – in a world of Carol Brady moms. She went on to become what I always referred to as “The ORIGINAL Cougar”, marrying a man younger than ME, back in the 80’s – when it was unheard of! What I learned from her was to be strong, and to be me – to dance to the beat of MY drum in life. I think if it weren’t for my Mother I wouldn’t have been nearly as adventuresome as I turned out to be! I also learned to live each day to the fullest, and to appreciate every day that I have, even though I’m sick. I’m a fighter, thanks to my Mom! <3
Being a mother has taught me so much about myself and what I want for my children. But it’s also seeing the moms around me too and how they view things. My friends and sisters show me everyday what kind of mom I wish to be and realistically am. The book sounds great…can’t wait to read it 🙂
Hope you are well. Wanted to come see you on the East coast while you were in VA and MD but I went in for my 2nd kidney surgery. Hope you enjoyed MT!! I love it there 🙂
Oh, would so love to read Leslie’s book!! If I don’t win I am going to get it! And your 2 books are on my wish list too!!
I love my mother with all my heart and she is my best friend. For everything that I have done in my life she has always been there. I can tell her anything and she listens with an objective ear. I value her advice and insights. She has taught me love, honesty and respect and I am passing those traits on to my own 2 girls. I am so glad that my mother is my biggest supporter in life.
Happy Mother’s Day, Jane!! Hope that your boys spoil you with lots of love and kindness!!
My mother taught me to keep a book in my purse/bag at all times! I have carried an entertainment bag with me everywhere for as long as I can remember.
She taught me that you love your children no matter what and showed me that she lived this. I have the best parents ever!
wow just wow I havee to read that book first and Jane you rock sharing another new author I haven’t read ty!
My mom well shes awesome she has taught me to follow my heart and to love with everything and to be more patient and understanding. She is the most giving person I know and I almost wish I could be more like her. She has this inner strength that I never would have known if it wasn’t for her. In an 11 month time span from march of 2012 till feb of this year she lost a grand daughter her oldest daughter and her husband and now in her twilight years she is raising my sisters 7 children that makes me want to be even more like her and giving she is more giving then any person I know and a true inspiration in strength and faith that not many have. Ty for the chance and for letting me tell about my mom
Thanks again, Jane, for introducing us to great writers!
My Mom is the best. She has taught me that you’re never too old to need your mother! And countless other things – way too many to record here. The most important thing I think is to never be afraid to fail. It’s the trying that counts.
My mom taught me to be a strong woman and to stand on my own two feet.
Mom is awesome and taught how to be responsible.
My mom is the best mom in the world. She has taught me a lot. One is how to cook. She is the best cook too.
My mother died many years ago. She was kind and loving, and had a very hard life at times. Even though she had her own struggles, she made my siblings and my life magical. She taught me to be compassionate.
All of your recommendations have been the best books i have ever read… except yours of course. 😉 Can’t wait to read this one too!!
she taught me to always try my best
Okay – so my mom and I did not have the best relationship. And … I have a sense of humor. So the advice I remember her giving me is to ALWAYS buy a package of toilet paper every time you go to the grocery store – it is something you will always need, it doesn’t spoil, and you don’t want to run out. (this was back in the days of only 4 rolls per package)
But seriously, thanks for this awesome giveaway honoring all those great moms out there!
My Mom taught me to always be patient and kind, and to make sure your kids know they are loved always. She passed 15 years ago, but I still feel her presence every day.
Happy Mother’s Day Jane, and all the other Mothers out there. <3
My mother has taught me to always be kind to others and treat them how you would like to be treated. =]
Another great author to read. Can’t wait!
My mother taught me to be independant, that if anything happened to her, I wouldn’t have to rely on anyone, unless I wanted to. She taught me that (having had 7 children) you should take a special day just for one on one with Each one. She taught me responsibility and to pray each night and to love. I love you, Mom.
Great guest post!
My mom taught me that you’ll get more by being polite and than by NOT being polite or kind; in any situation, no matter how mad you are…ranting will only make it worse.
My mom has taught me a lot in life. The most that has stuck with me: as long as I do my best, she will be proud of me no matter what.
This sounds like a great read! Thanks for the opportunity!
My mother has been gone many years but she taught me to always try to do things right the first or at least try my best to do it right. My mother was injured when I was eight which left her crippled, so we had to be strong and try to do things right. We had a rough life but it only made use stronger.
I would love to read this book, it sounds really good.
My mom taught me …never say never…that certainly bit me in the butt a few times. She always instilled tremendous amount of confidence in myself and not let anyone shake it by saying I couldn’t do something.
This story sounds really good and look forward to reading it soon!
What I learn from my mother was to be stronger. When I was child, our life is very simple cos my dad was passed away when I was 5 years old so my mom who is the one to feed all of her child – 5 kids.
And now I have to be stronger so I can give the best to my mom
My Mom is always there for me and instilled a love of reading (and kids) in me. She had a total of six kids, and though things were tight, we never felt it and always felt loved. I love my Mom, and hope she will always be here for me, and her grandkids, who she adores!
My mother taught me to treat people the way I wanted to be treated.
She let me figure out things for myself…most of the time. I was quite a goody-two-shoes, but I’m proud that I never tried smoking, drugs, drinking before legal age, etc.
Hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!
I learned to appreciate the differences in people and where they came from….and to above else, make time each day to listen to your child, really listen. The book sounds great, must read!
Sounds like an amazing story! My mom and I are quite different and don’t often see eye to eye, but she has taught me there is nothing more important than family. I have 2 girls of my own and should do anything for them!!!
My mom had a hard life but she never became bitter. She had a career when most moms stayed home, and she encouraged me and my sisters to not depend on a man. She had many friends, besides being a wonderful Mom. She taught me to never give up,and to never say mean things about other people,instead to be kind.
My mom, Maria, is almost 70 years old and she still works. She has taught me many things. Two of the things she taught me was having a great work ethic and to love unconditionally.
My mom may be 82 but she still can run circles around me. When we go visit she wants to wait on me and my husband(I’m 56 to old to have my mother do everything for me) she also is very generous saying she rather let us have it now than later!
I am blessed to have my mother in my life. She has always been there for me. I love her youthful spirit. She taught me to be kind to others and to not let small/insignificant things get to me. She always believed in me and my siblings and has supported our dreams throughout our lives.
My Mom has been gone 25 years now and I still miss her. She taught me to be thankful for what I had and no matter what – there was always someone worse off than me. She taught me that “this to shall pass”. And always play the glad game – you can always find something to be glad about.
My mom taught me that family was the most important thing. I still have her, she’s 91.
My relationship with my mother became stronger once I became a mother myself. From her I have learned that you should always say I love you and to love unconditionally.
I have a daughter who is now entering teen years and we butt heads sometimes. Although we don’t always agree she is the center of my world. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for her!!
Taught me to bake.
I learned a lot from my mother. My mother taught
Me about right & wrong. Doing things the
Right way. Don’t take shortcuts. Don’t ever
Quit. I am lucky to still have my mother in my
Life & still learn from her today.
This sounds like another book I must add to my TBR pile.
My Mom has taught me to try and laugh every day, and to always pay it forward in someway. Blessings will come back to you when you show compassion to someone else.
my mom taught me always do the very best to the family 🙂
I’m new to Leslie Lehr’s works so thank you for bring her to my attention.
My Mother has taught me that we women can do anything.
my mom was always there for me…thanks for the chance to read this fabulous story 🙂
My mom has taught me valuable lessons in how to treat other people and how to be a good person. She is the nicest woman I know and although I am biased, I know others would agree with me!
Happy Mother’s Day!
I’ve learned lots of lessons from my Mom. She is my biggest fan.
My mom had problems. She was/is difficult and we have a tumultuous relationship. From this I have tried to be a better mother…no hitting, more warmth and have a closeness with my girls that I wish I could have had with her.
I’m so lucky that I have a wonderful mother. She always told me that I could do anything and be anything I wanted, which I will teach my daughter. And she’s always been there for me, flying out to help while I was going through surgeries and chemo, and she visits whenever she can! She’s actually visiting in less than two weeks, and I can’t wait to see her 🙂
As I was raising my kids so often I would think of my mom and what she would do in a situation that I encountered. Also, she was great to talk to through the years since she would listen but not give her opinion unless I asked.
Unfortunately I lost my Mom 16 years ago in a tragic car accident. I still miss her everyday, but what she taught me was invaluable and so cherished. She was such a wonderful and loving mother and I am sad that she did not get to meet my daughters. My younger one laughs like her and it is so incredible to see it. I enjoy so much being a mother also because of what I learned from her.
Every mother’s day I think how wonderful it would be to be able to celebrate it with her and my daughters.
I would love to have the opportunity to read Leslie’s book.
Leslie’s book sounds so great to read. You are such a lucky lady to have the sisterhood you’ve made with other authors, it is so refreshing. My mother was a great gal and we always were such good friends too. I miss her and loved her very much and we truly only get one mother. Happy Mother’s Day to all…Ruth
great contest; Mom taught me to not worry and breathe deep and things would be so much easier.
thanks for introducing Leslie to us.
I had my first son 7 years ago, and everything went great with my pregnancy. But after 3 years, when I started thinking about another baby, we just weren’t that lucky. For 3 long years I couldn’t stay pregnant, though everything seemed fine with both my hubby and me. There was no explanation, I thought I will never have another baby. BUT my mom told me never to give up, always to hope and believe in miracles and that life is good and always on my side. Now I have two boys, the eldest is 7 and a half, and the youngest angel is 7 months old. I LOVE my mom, she always knew one day I will have my wish come true. So now, after going through everything, I can only say I will never ever give up, and always stay positive about everything.
Thank you for this awesome giveaway!!!
I’m just back from a week long trip in Montana. I loved every minute of it but now it’s time to catch up. The winners for this contest are:
#45 Susan Schleicher
#26 Kristin Jones
#35 Missy Roth
Thanks for showing Leslie so much love. You’re all awesome! Winners, shoot me an email with your mailing address and full name and please remember to include your comment # and the title of this blog as it’ll remind me what you’ve won.