05-07-2013 10:43 AM
Please welcome L. Alison Heller a divorce attorney who started her own practice after working for years in Manhattan firms. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children. The Love Wars is her debut novel and has been called chic-lit-esque and in the vein of Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada.
Alison, thank you for chatting here about your brand new novel.
Thank you so much for having me!
Can you tell us about it?
THE LOVE WARS peels back the curtain on the world of high-powered Manhattan divorces. It follows Molly Grant, a newly minted divorce attorney whose days are consumed with one goal: working to please her demanding clients and bosses. When Molly meets Fern Walker, a desperate mother who hasn’t seen her children in several months. Molly’s boss forbids her from taking the case against Fern’s powerful ex-husband. Soon, Molly is torn between her conscience and her obligations. With the unexpected assistance of her colleague Henry (the department’s smartest—if least friendly—lawyer), Molly is soon deep into the fight of her life.
Tell us about the birth of you as an author and the conception of the novel.
Like Molly, I started my career as an associate at a large Manhattan law firm but the need to write creatively has always been an interest, a little buzz in the back of my head. For some reason, a few years ago, that little buzz became a burn in my stomach. Which then became a flame. Which then became an obliterating fire. Okay, now I’m getting dramatic, but when I think back to those first few months when I was sitting down to write chapters of what eventually became this book, I was a woman possessed: like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, sculpting Devil’s Tower in my mashed potatoes. The mountain! The mountain!
What most surprised you about the actual writing experience?
Honestly, how much fun it is. It’s intoxicating to create a new world and get to the point when the story takes on its own life. It’s fascinating to be able to be surprised by something that’s technically your own creation.
Did you or do you belong to a writing group?
Not a formal one, although I am blessed because my sister and a few friends are great initial readers who aren’t afraid to point out what bugs them about a draft.
What type of reader would enjoy this novel?
It’s fun in tone—I wanted to make people laugh—but it was important to me that Molly’s story also has a heart and a conscience.
Are you a reader?
YES, big time.
How do you find time to be a mom, wife, attorney and now author?
It’s a daily triage because, unfortunately, I love and need a fair amount of sleep.
It helps that I don’t litigate anymore, which cuts down on both my stress level and the scheduling rigors of my law practice.
Like most people wearing more than one hat, I feel out of balance sometimes but: I love writing. It can be torturous, but it’s also therapeutic. I’ve been in the workforce long enough to know that if you find something you love to do—you grab hold!
Is there another novel in your future?
In fact, there is—my second is coming in 2014, also from Penguin/NAL. The manuscript is currently with my editor. I’m working on the initial draft of my third while I wait for her comments (and try not to annoy her).
What is your very favorite guilty pleasure?
I’m a woman of many vices: TV, good food (one of the great things about living in NYC is the food), online shopping (it is DANGEROUS spending this much time at the computer, let me tell you). Also, I am committed to checking gossip websites several times more a day than I should.
Will you be hosting any signing events for the release?
Yes, my wonderful publicity team is setting some up now and they’ll be posted on my website (www.lalisonheller.com) soon. I’m also already scheduling some book club visits, which I’m incredibly excited about doing. Contact me—I’d love to visit yours!
Thank you Alison for taking the time out of your incredibly busy schedule to answer my questions and good luck with the novel!
Thank you so much!