An Alternative Author Interview:
TCL’s Countdown Questions.
This week I’m featuring author
Just before I discovered Greer Macallister, I discovered Ariel Lawhon, when I read her debut novel, “The Wife, The Maid, and the Mistress.” I loved that book, but was bowled over by her second novel, “Flight of Dreams” which I thought could be used as a masterclass in writing historical fiction. Lawhon didn’t disappoint with her third novel “I Was Anastasia” either, and her latest novel, “Code Name Hélène” once again proved her stunning talent with biographical, historical fiction. That’s why I was thrilled that she agreed to answer my five, fast, and fun questions, and here are her replies.
- If you could visit five (5) places you’ve never been, where would you go and why?
Israel—because it’s the holy land and I’ve wanted to visit for as long as I can remember. My sister and I have a pact that we’ll go there together one day. I feel as though it is something my soul needs.
The UK—my father’s family comes from Scotland and my mother’s family comes from England and I’ve always thought it would be wonderful to take a pilgrimage and discover my roots. So why not loop in Ireland and Wales while I’m there?
Australia—I’ve had a thing for Aussies for as long as I can remember. Likely because we had family friends who traveled from Brisbane to New Mexico every summer and I grew up hearing stories about their sun-soaked coast.
New Zealand—my oldest friend is a born and bred New Zealander and we’ve spent twenty years dreaming about visiting her homeland together. I’d love to see her old stomping ground firsthand.
Canada—Particularly Banff, Vancouver, Whistler, and Prince Edward Island. I grew up reading Anne of Green Gables and have always longed to see her country firsthand. (Also, for the record, even though you did not ask, Gilbert Blythe was my first love).
- Name four (4) foods or dishes that you enjoy so much that they’ve practically become part of your personality.
Tacos. Tacos are my love language and—at the risk of flattering myself—I make some of the best. That’s likely because I grew up in the American Southwest. Regardless, there are few things as satisfying as a hot, crispy taco.
Red wine—especially a nice, rich cabernet. And yes, I know that’s not a food or a dish, but I love to sit on the back deck with my husband and a glass of wine after a long day. I can’t even call it a guilty pleasure because I don’t feel guilty about it at all.
Brownies. The gooey kind with crispy edges that are filled with chopped pecans. I want the corner piece and I want it to be slightly warm.
Humus. I judge a Mediterranean restaurant by their humus and I usually order it as a meal when I’m traveling—particularly on book tour since I get tired of salad and it’s a great way to make sure I’m eating veggies.
- There is the past, the present, and the future – if you could choose, which of these three (3) would you prefer to live in, and why?
The present because that’s all we get and if we don’t make the most of it, we won’t have much of a life. Also, as a writer of historical fiction, I spend a great deal of time in the past anyway. And the future? Well, it’s not guaranteed.
- Best and/or worst – you choose which – name two (2) of either your best moments of your life, worst moments of your life, or one of each.
I’ll give you one of each:
Best moment: My wedding day. Cliché, perhaps. But I really love my husband and I wouldn’t have my kids without him. Almost twenty years later, that day still stands out as utterly perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Worst moment: Watching my father die. He had cancer and watching it ravage his body remains the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
- Name one (1) book you’ve read in the past year (or so) that you wish you had written, and why.
11/22/63 by Stephen King was easily the best book I read within the last year. I can only think of three perfect time travel novels: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, and 11/22/63. At over 860 pages it was enormous! But I didn’t want it to end. He somehow managed to write a novel that was absolutely unique and yet vintage King. I loved it and I’ve been recommending it to ever reader I know. Side note: one of my secret career goals is to write a time travel novel.
Thanks Ariel! Now, although I enjoyed the Niffenegger book, I’m not really into time travel stories. But if anyone can write a good one, then I think you can! By the way, if you ever make that trip to Israel, I hope we can meet up and you’ll let me show you and your sister around Jerusalem!
Ariel Lawhon – The Official Version:
Ariel Lawhon is a critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction. She is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), I WAS ANASTASIA (2018), and CODE NAME HÉLÈNE (2020). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, Indie Next, Costco, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, four sons, black Lab, and a deranged Siamese cat. She splits her time between the grocery store and the baseball field.