Five Questions for Therese Walsh

Therese Walsh is at the top of my list of wonderful-talented-friendly people I’ve met through social media. We bonded over 140-characters-or-less musings about our children. Little did I know what a gifted writer she is. I ordered her book, THE LAST WILL OF MOIRA LEAHY, read it,  and was blown away by the stunning, poetic, haunting story. And I was not the only person to note how wonderful this book is. Among other things, it was selected as a Target Breakout book. (Check out her reviews.) I found that not only is she a friendly sort on Twitter, but that she is also an amazing writer. If you haven’t read the book by now, you simply must. Enough said.

I give you my five questions for Therese Walsh:

1. I loved your first book. One of the many things I loved about it was the “paranormal” thread in it–even though I wouldn’t call it a paranormal book. It’s kind of like life in that sometimes these things happen–inexplicable–and there you have it. It fascinates me. And I think you handled it beautifully. It didn’t feel gratuitous or forced in any way, like in some other books I’ve read. Was that thread a part of your first draft of the book? I’m curious about how that idea was worked into it.

Thanks so much for your kind words!
Yes, the thread involving the Javanese keris was in the first draft of The Last Will of Moira Leahy. It came about as a fluke. I decided that the protagonist, Maeve, would win an item at an auction house. I’d already compiled a list of antiques–items that would reside in the antiques shop that would become a part of the story. The keris was on that list; it was an interesting looking item, and I decided it would lend itself to unique descriptions in the first scene. A friend of mine read the scene and asked if the blade would play a part in the rest of the book. It sounded like a smart idea, but I didn’t know anything about the keris. After researching it, I felt like I’d landed in a goldmine. Javanese mythology and mysticism guided a lot of the story–and character development–after that point.
2. Can you give us any clue about you next book? Where are you in the process?
I’m thick into revisions for the next book. As happened to me with Last Will, this new story didn’t fully reveal itself until the draft was finished. Revision is the time I go back, get rid of the threads that didn’t really support the story’s main message, and strengthen characters and the story theme.
It’s just like me to write a book that’s difficult to describe in a few sentences, but I’ll give it a try. On the surface, this next work is the story of two very different sisters on a week-long trek through the wilds of West Virginia to try to find the end of their dead mother’s fairy tale. Below the surface, it’s the story of two sisters struggling to come to terms with one another and–on a bigger scale–the meaning of life, death, and hope following their mother’s probable suicide.
I like to keep it light.
3. One of your other “babies,” along with writing, is one of my favorite writing websites, Writer Unboxed. It’s a group effort, I realize. But how much of your time goes into helping out with it?
It depends on the week. I’m very active in the upkeep of Writer Unboxed–from little things like approving comments, to big things like adding and updating contributor pages and arranging guest posts–as well as the Writer Unboxed Facebook community. It’s been especially busy lately as my fellow blog mama, Kathleen Bolton, and I are pursuing a new project that will expand the site. This Secret Business on top of recently adding five new contributors (Keith Cronin, Crystal Patriarche, M.J. Rose, Chuck Sambuchino, and Yuvi Zalkow) means we’ve been very busy.
4. We first “met” on Twitter and bonded over “Tweeting” about our children. I wonder how you handle that balance between mothering and writing. Any advice?
“Family first” is going to sound cliché, but it’s the best advice I have to offer in this realm. Obviously the ideal is that your family is there to support you–your husband does his share of household tasks and your kids leave you alone when the office door is closed. But when family needs come knocking, listen. This might be because someone is sick and physically needs you, or it might be that someone is mad-bored and missing Mom; both are equally worthy of shutting down the computer for a few hours and taking time to be something other than Writer. It’s important.

5. You knew this was coming, right? What kind of pie would you be, and why?

I spent more time thinking about this than anything else! My daughter said I would be a star fruit pie, because it’s unusual. My husband said I would be a pumpkin pie–both savory and sweet. My son decided on pecan, because I lean nut here at home. I think I’d like to be a dark-choco-raspberry-nut pie, because it sounds delicious. And maybe a little unboxed.

Thanks, Therese.
Thank YOU, Mollie!
If you haven’t already, please check out Therese’s website and book here and Writer Unboxed here.

4 thoughts on “Five Questions for Therese Walsh

  1. Amy Sue Nathan says:

    Love it, T. I especially love that your stories reveal themselves fully once you’ve written the whole thing…and then as you revise it becomes what it should be – was meant to be.

    And now, of course, I want pie!!!

    Thanks, Mollie!

    • Therese Walsh says:

      I wish (oh, how I wish) that I had the foresight to see all of the layers that will eventually exist in a story when I first sit down to write, but it never works that way for me–even if I *think* I understand what’s going on.

      I made a blueberry pie the other night using Mollie’s book, and it was insanely good. If you don’t already have a copy, and you love pie, it’s well worth the investment. Mmmmmm…

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