Sunday, September 21, 2008

Author Tosca Lee - HAVAH - Free Book

Welcome, Tosca. Why do you write the kind of books you do?

Sometimes I wonder that same thing. I think because I like to turn things inside out or upside down. I’m interested in new perspectives and vantage points of the same familiar truth. I’m tired of the pat, cliché answers. I want the depth that comes from re-examining the things we take for granted in our faith and in our lives.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

It’s got to be any one of the days that I was signing my first book, Demon, and looked up to see that there was a line. Holy cow. If they could bottle and sell that euphoria, everyone would be hooked on it. It was amazing. But contrary to what you might expect—what I might have expected—it didn’t make me feel all look-at-me important. It was actually very, very humbling. For days, for weeks afterward, I thought, “Who am I to have these people want me to sign this book?” Even now, when I get an amazing letter or nice review, I think, “Who am I?”

The coolest and really the moments that have broken me are the ones where I’ve realized God knows who I am. I saw this chiropractor, Dr. Bo, for the first time while working on Havah. A friend referred me—I think she was tired of me complaining about my back from all the travel I do for my work. Dr. Bo is a Christian chiropractor. Anyway, he asked how I was and I broke down. And he gave me a Bible verse, this man who had never met me, and said, “You know, God is really pleased with the work you’re doing.” I just lost it and I’m sure he thought I was a nutcase. He asked if he could pray for me after he cracked my back. Poor guy.

How has being published changed your life?

It’s been the fulfillment of a dream. It’s also made life more stressful. I have about three zits waiting to happen as I type this. With my consulting job, which I travel almost every week for, and then the pressure of deadlines, edits, and marketing efforts, it’s a constant sense of something hanging over my head. That is the biggest challenge for me: learning how to manage that. I have sort of lost any semblance of a social life, which is really ironic because when Demon came out, a bunch of my former high school and college and other friends from the past heard about it and we reconnected. Now I’m trying to find more time in a tighter schedule to try to catch up with more people. But that’s a good problem to have, I think.

I’ve also felt a little more private about myself, which is weird considering that you have to get out there to promote the book and be accessible, and share your thoughts on your blog and things like that. Being single, I’ve felt a little more protective about my privacy and making smart decisions.

What are you reading right now?

I’ve been waiting for Havah to get done so I can hunker down and savor a stack of books by new friends. It’s a huge, growing stack. Actually, my friends are really prolific and I secretly hate them a little bit. I’ve also got Michael Crighton’s Next, and some Philipa Gregory on my nightstand. The Tudors just started up again on Showtime and I’m really into the Henry VIII thing right now.

What is your current work in progress?

Havah: The Story of Eve. It’s finished. Thank God. Literally. This has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I fell friends that I feel like that Russian woman who gave birth to that 17 pound baby. That’s how I feel—like that woman. And even more importantly: who in their right mind would ever want to do that all over again? Seriously. When I finished the draft, I said, “That’s it. I’m done. I don’t want to do this any more.” Though just tonight I was scribbling ideas for another book here in my New Jersey hotel room. I mean, bare, bare bone ideas. But still.


Meanwhile, as soon as copy edits are done for Havah, I’m going on a social binge for a while. Between trips for work. And closet cleaning. And mail sorting. And dishes.

What would be your dream vacation?

A week alone in my house. With a stack of books. And a personal chef.

Barring that, I’d like to go back to Bora Bora or to one of the Cook Islands. There isn’t much to do out there other than lay in the sun and eat so much that your bikini won’t fit. It doesn’t get much better than that.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

I chose Boston for Demon because it was readily accessible for me—my sister lives there, and I visit frequently enough to research. I went to college west of there at Smith, so I’ve been there off and on for years. The other option was Lincoln, where I live. This didn’t seem the book for that. I’ll set something in Lincoln in the future though.

For Havah, the location came with the story.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

I probably ought to say Jesus, but I’m going to be cheesy instead. I’ve got a new significant other—someone I so eloquently called my “Significant Dating Person” in a moment of great eloquence when faced with the question of who this person was at a time that I was unprepared to answer—so right now it’d be him.

And Jesus.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

Cooking. Eating. Catalog shopping (you can browse on the plane, in airports, in the bathroom…). I like shopping at Whole Foods. Seriously, that place is like Disneyland to me. Traveling. Movies. Eating—especially stuff that other people cook.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

Procrastination. Perfectionism. Oh, terrible perfectionism.

Anne Lamott really helped with the perfectionism thing. Well, a little bit, anyway. She talks about ugly first drafts in her book, Bird By Bird, and I took a great deal of relief in reading that we have to write some real garbage to find something good and lovely. It’s really true. At least for me. I really dislike anyone it’s not true for. And once the perfectionism monster is stalled, that seems to help with the procrastination.

The thing is, it’s really a challenge for me to regard the process of writing as great fun. It’s not. It totally sucks. I’d rather pick my cuticles to a bloody pulp than write most days. Some days I do both.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Don’t do it. Put down the pen and back away slowly. I don’t want any more competition than I already have. Help me out here.

You are so funny, Tosca. Tell us about the featured book.

Havah is the story of Eve told from her point of view. What did she really think about Adam the first time she saw him? Why did she eat the fruit? How does a woman love one son who murdered her other?

I wanted to know these things. I wanted to get away from the flannel board, pale-skinned Adam and Eve holding leaves over their groins, and see what it could have been like. Just like the story of the angelic fall, I believe there’s got to be more to this one as well.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Easily! Find me at,, or

Tosca, thank you for spending this time with us. I can hardly wait to read Havah. I loved Demon.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Havah. Then check out all three of Tosca's web sites.


blueviolet said...

That was a super interview. I like Tosca's personality and spunk very much. I'd love to read her book!

bigguysmama said...

Thanks for that interview Lena. Tosca has quite the sense of humor! It was fun to meet you at the MOA. I hope you were able to find some herbal tea. :)


Mimi B

mnjesusfreak at gmail dot com

windycindy said...

Hi, She sounds a lot like me. I am the type of person who doesn't care for pat answers. I also question a lot of things very often. Just ask my family! Please enter me in your book drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

Carolynn W. said...

Sounds really interesting, please enter me, thanks!

Lia said...

Havah sounds totally awesome. Tosca Lee is so funny! Please enter me in the drawing!

liatheddrfreak (at) gmail (dot) com

bookwurm70 said...

THanks for the interview, very interesting. Please enter me to win Havah.


Grateful Gramma said...

Great interview. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

Abi said...

Oh, to get into the minds of some of the Bible characters and really see why they did what they did. This sounds like a neat story. I'd love to win.

Donald James Parker said...

Tosca is a very special lady. God has blessed her brains, beauty, and most of all humility. I look forward to seeing what God can do through her in the future. One of the highlights of my trip to Mt. Hermon was bumping into Tosca. If this book is as good as Demon, it'll be wonderful.
Donald James Parker
Author of Reforming the Potter's Clay

AmandaSue said...

This book sounds really interesting, thanks for entering me!

Lindsey said...

Great interview! I would love to be entered for this book - it looks so good!

Thank you!

ladyufshalott at

Alyce said...

This is the first time I am hearing about Tosca Lee or Havah. It sounds like a great book!

akreese(at) hotmail (dot) com

Sandy said...

great interview..would love to read

ForstRose said...

I've read Demon and would love to read this book. Please enter me.


stampedwithgrace said...

this sounds like another great book from Tosca Lee! please enter me :)

Jean Matthew Hall said...

Havah sounds fascinating. And Tosca sounds wonderfully transparent.

Please enter me. I'd LOVE to see how she got inside Eve's head.


Cheryl said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. Please enter me in the contest. My email address is shryackmom[@]charter[.]net

Carole said...

I am intrigued by the questions Tosca explores in Havah and would love to read this book.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Jennifer @ Quiverfull Family said...

I've never read Tosca's work, but they both sound awesome!

Patricia PacJac Carroll said...

Hi Tosca,
I loved your first book and am waiting for Havah to come out so I can run out and get it. Good interview. Lena always asks interesting questions.
Patricia PacJac Carroll

Janna said...

I ran into Tosca at ACFW and she was so nice (Go Huskers!) Please enter me in the drawing...

ryanx6 at msn dot com

Sally Bradley said...

I really enjoyed Tosca's first book. I'd love to read Havah. sallybradleywrites AT gmail DOT com

Martha A. said...

It sounds very interesting!

carla stewart said...

Not sure if the contest is still open, but please enter me in the drawing. I met Tosca at the MOA and am so intrigued by her unique style. Great interview, Lena!

Dawn Michelle Michals said...

This is my next book to buy! Unless I win it here. *wink, wink* Tosca is wonderful and inspiring. I can't wait to read this one!