Quite a bit! On the surface, my character Ruthie seems most like me. She was raised Catholic; she arrives as an outsider at
; she comes from a big, loud
family. Her mother’s illness and death mirrors mine. Candace, the senior
pastor’s wife, has parts of the me I wish I was: fierce! And Ginger has parts
of the me I wish I wasn’t: hesitant, anxious and overwhelmed. Greenleaf Church
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I chose to attend a gigantic state university (Rutgers, in
New Jersey) after graduating from a teeny high school in Japan.
For no particular reason. It worked out great for me, but this is why you don’t
let 17-year-olds make life-changing decisions!
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I became a writer when I discovered I had no other skills. None. I can’t sing, I can’t cut hair, I can not split a molecule. This is it, folks.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love to read, but like most moms, I never, ever have enough time. Let’s take a look at some books on my nightstand and in my Kindle: In Good Company by James Martin, about how he left corporate
to become a Jesuit priest; Happier at
Home by Gretchen Rubin; The Magicians
by Lev Grossman; Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-wide? Cause I Need More Room for my Plasma TV by Karen Spears Zacharias; Bossypants y Tina Fey; The Still Point of the Turning World by
Emily Rapp; A Year of Biblical Womanhood
by Rachel Held Evans.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Who said I was sane? :) No, seriously, I do think that if I wasn’t a mom, my world and my world view would be skewed. I have a lot going on right now, including my newly published book and my CBS TV pilot, over which I could be stressing 24/7. Instead, I have the school run, and packing lunch, and third-grade state tests to stress over as well!
How do you choose your characters’ names?
All of my main characters have Biblical names. They were great fun to choose. Candace, for instance, is a New Testament name that may derive from a Nubian word meaning “queen mother.”
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My children. They’re not quite finished yet, but we have strong hopes that they will grow to be good people.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Something powerful but relatively peaceful. An elephant, maybe, or a hippo.
What is your favorite food?
This sounds boring, but I love toast. Not just any toast: shokupan, the freshly baked, square loaves I grew up on in
Japan. When it’s toasted and
slathered with butter and honey, I tell you, it’s divine.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Time. As a mom, I have the hours between school drop-off and pick-up. I read about great writers like John Updike who’d write from dawn till dusk, and I think—yeah, and I bet you didn’t change a diaper or kiss a boo boo in your life. The thing about writing fiction is that you can’t just sit down and start typing. You need a lot of time to think, plot, consider. Often I’d do that for hours and then find I have only 45 minutes till pick-up, and then I write like a lunatic.
It’s called Pastors’ Wives and was inspired by an article I wrote for Time magazine. It centers on three, very different women married to pastors who work at an evangelical megachurch called Greenleaf. It’s told in their alternating points of view: Ruthie, the skeptical newcomer who followed her Wall Street husband there when he heard a calling; Candace, the powerful, ruthless wife of the senior pastor; and Ginger, the lonely, unhappy wife who’s desperate to hide her unsavory past. There are pushy congregants and conniving elders and a big climax. It’s about faith and marriage and what we do for love, but most of all I hope it’s a ripping good read!
Please give us the first page of the book.
On the first day of my life as a pastor’s wife, I decided to buy a Star magazine. Not People. Not even Us. No: Star, trashy Star, with its cover promises of fabulous people in unfabulous situations, page after page of full-color schadenfreude. You know. Porn for housewives. If I gave it any weight at all, which certainly I did not at the time, I would have to call it a $3.99 act of defiance. A purchase to attest things had not changed, I had not changed. That Ruthie Matters still belonged to a population that consumed celebrity gossip without guilt or thoughts of spiritual consequence.
Still, I hesitated. I stood there in the airport newsstand, my hand hovering over Jennifer Aniston’s chin. Funny thing about becoming a pastor’s wife: You felt watched. Not by God, exactly. Just . . . watched.
With a start I realized I was being watched, by the cashier, an Indian woman with chipmunk cheeks packed tight with chewing gum, black eyes steady and suspicious. It took a moment to comprehend why. I almost laughed. So much for my new status as a moral pillar of society. If a shopkeeper could suspect me of filching a supermarket tabloid, then clearly I did not yet reek of saint-type values.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Please friend me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/lisa.t.cullen and or “like” my author page (www.facebook.com/LisaTakeuchiCullen , follow me on Twitter (@lisacullen), and visit my website at www.lisacullen.com I blog about the book and my experiences creating a CBS drama pilot. If you like the book, I’d be so grateful for a review on Goodreads and Amazon. Oh, and please join me May 23 for my Facebook chat party about the book ...
and you’ll be entered to win an iPad Mini! Thank you for the interview, and I
hope to see you soon!
One winner will receive:
- An iPad Mini
- A $25 iTunes gift card
So grab your copy of Pastors' Wives and join Lisa on the evening of May 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)
Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!
Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your life and your new book with us today.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.Pastors' Wives: A Novel - paperback
Pastors' Wives: A Novel - Kindle
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