Leslie Rasmussen is in the Author Spotlight–her debut novel, After Happily Ever After, just released this week
Author: Leslie A. Rasmussen
Title: After Happily Ever After: A Novel
Genre: Women’s contemporary fiction
Pub date: April 6, 2021
Publisher: She Writes Press
Welcome, Leslie! Please describe After Happily Ever After.
It’s the humorous and heartbreaking journey of Maggie Dolan as she hits midlife and wants to rediscover who she is and what she wants, even if it means throwing her marriage and the rest of her world up in the air.
What sparked the idea for your story?
As I raised my children and hung out with a lot of mom’s, I noticed I was hearing the same stories over and over again about their marriages, the jobs they had decided to leave to raise their children, and how they were dealing with their parents aging. I originally thought I’d write a nonfiction book, but then decided with my background in writing television, I’d be more suited to write a novel. That way I could take many people’s experiences and characteristics and combine them into what became my main character, Maggie Dolan.
How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do have to do any research?
The book from beginning to end took me about three years. I was raising my children and actually trying to learn as much as I could about writing a book, since I’d never done anything like that before. I did do research on different forms of illnesses that Maggie’s father had in the book and met with a neuropsychologist, and joined Facebook groups in order to make sure I was writing situations that were real.
What drew you to women’s fiction, especially given your background in screenwriting?
While raising my kids, I was also writing personal essays for both Huffington Post and Maria Shriver’s online site. My essays were humorous but dealt with everyday things that happen in a mom’s life. When I decided to write a book, it seemed only natural to write a women’s fiction book about what moms in the middle of their life may be going through
For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?
I love the process of writing, but I would say the hardest thing for me would be the initial outline. In the past I would write an incredibly detailed outline for a television script, but when I sat down to write this book, I wanted to just keep writing and not take the time to figure out all the details. As it turned out, I ended up getting stuck in the middle, and then needed to go back and take the time to write an outline. With my second book that I’m writing now, I definitely started with an outline because I wanted to do the harder work upfront and not get stuck again.
What do you love most about it?
The thing I love most about writing is the dialogue. I enjoy writing banter between characters and letting the reader find out who these people are by the way they talk to each other. A great description of someone is helpful to visualize who they are, but to me, hearing how they talk, and what their opinions are, helps you feel more connected to them and they become more relatable as people.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read After Happily Ever After?
I would want them to read the book to see that they weren’t alone in going through many things that women go through in midlife. Whether it’s feeling anxious that your children are leaving the nest, wondering if your marriage can survive the long-haul, worrying about the health of your aging parents, or just feeling like you want to contribute something new to the world.
What about the writing/editing/publishing process has been the most surprising to you so far?
I had no idea how hard it was to get an agent or get published. I had an agent the entire time I was writing television, and when I decided to write a novel, it was impossible to get anyone to even talk to me because I didn’t have a platform as a novelist. The whole thing seemed very daunting.
What advice would you give your pre-published writer self?
I would tell her to keep writing and to believe in herself and know that if she does the best possible job she can do, she will eventually find a way to get it published.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I like to work out, I enjoy going out with friends, going to movies, and going out for great food. I’m also a huge dog lover and have trained one of my Labradors as a therapy dog, and I have volunteered at an animal shelter in my neighborhood.
Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.
I’m about 2/3 the way through my second book. It takes place in 2004 and is about two young women from very different backgrounds who find themselves thrown together as they navigate the most difficult and painful decisions of their lives.
How are you adjusting to promoting a book during a pandemic?
Since this is my first book, and I don’t have anything to compare it to, I have just gone with the flow. I’m doing a virtual launch party on April 7th, I’ve been doing a lot of social media posts and ads, and I’ve been doing podcasts and Facebook live interviews.
Where can readers find you?
I’m having a virtual launch party on April 7th, where I’m being interviewed by Amy Silverberg, a writer and comic.
I’m doing a podcast for DIY MFA, which will be up in June
And July 8th, I’m being interviewed by Zibby Owens.
My website is www.lesliearasmussen.com
I’m on FB: @afterhappilyeverafternovel
I’m on IG: @leslierauthor
I’m on Twitter:@leslierauthor
Thank you, Leslie! After Happily Ever After is out NOW.
Seventeen years ago, Maggie gave up her blossoming publishing career to be the perfect wife and mother. But as her daughter Gia gets ready to head off to college, her husband is becoming more distant and keeping secrets, and her father is quickly deteriorating from Lewy body dementia. Now forty-five and feeling lost, a chance meeting with a hot stranger at the gym sends her down a tempting spiral of what ifs and maybes as she imagines a better life, one where she’s appreciated. After Happily Ever After is about second chances and a new lease on life that will having readers glued to the last page.
- “Smart and funny, After Happily Ever After is an exciting debut.” —Laura Dave, international bestselling author of Eight Hundred Grapes
- “Leslie A. Rasmussen has written a fiction story that most women can relate to in one way or another with compassion and love. After Happily Ever After is a wonderful read that will not disappoint. I highly recommend After Happily Ever After to women both young and old.”—Readers’ Favorite, five stars
- “Rasmussen is a freelance journalist and former TV sitcom writer, and the latter is evident in the novel’s sharp, funny dialogue and Maggie’s wry, observational narration.”—Kirkus Reviews
- “After Happily Ever After by Leslie A. Rasmussen is a refreshing story about a 45-year-old protagonist who is ready for her second act in life.”—Popsugar
Leslie A. Rasmussen is the author of After Happily Ever After: A Novel. She graduated with a bachelor’s in communications from UCLA and went on to write television comedies and is a member of Writers’ Guild of America, West. She wrote for Gerald McRaney, Burt Reynolds, Roseanne Barr, Norm McDonald, Drew Carey, and Ralph Macchio as well as The Wild Thornberrys and Sweet Valley High. Later, she earned a master’s degree in nutrition and ran her own business for ten years. Most recently, Leslie has written personal essays for online magazines such as Huffington Post, MariaShriver, and SheKnows. She loves dogs and besides having two adorable Labradors, she is a member of The Alliance of Therapy Dogs and has volunteered at The Burbank Animal Shelter. Leslie lives in Los Angeles and has two sons, and a husband she has been with since college. This is her debut novel. Learn more at: www.Lesliearasmussen.com.