Women’s fiction author, Lisa Roe, joins The Spotlight this week to talk about her debut, Welcome to the Neighborhood
Author Name: Lisa Roe
Book Title: Welcome to the Neighborhood
Book Genre: Women’s fiction
Release Date: April 5, 2022
Welcome to MY neighborhood, Lisa, and congratulations on your release! Please tell us about Welcome to the Neighborhood.
After years of struggling to make ends meet, Ginny, an artist and single mom from Queens, relishes the idea of moving with her quirky eleven-year-old daughter Harri to her new husband’s home in an upscale New Jersey suburb.
And then she meets the neighbors.
What sparked the idea for this book?
Having moved around so much as both a child and an adult, I was often the new girl in town and had to work to find my place in existing social circles. While things were harder for Ginny than they ever were for me, I feel a connection to her over this often-fraught time in life.
How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do any research?
I wrote the draft that I queried with of Welcome to the Neighborhood in eighteen months. Much of the book is based on personal experience with school fundraising, artists and crafts fairs, and with backyard chickens. For the little things, my research method is something I fondly refer to as “Google and Go” but I sought out expert advice on disordered eating, habits and styles of fifth graders, and I did take a painting class, although I also relied on my sister who is pet portrait artist like Ginny.
What drew you to women’s fiction?
I want to write about motherhood, families, and friendships. I call my work mom-com because it is a humorous, but emotional and very honest look at mothering and a mother’s story. I want to write about how fiercely we love our children, the lengths we will go to make them happy and protect them, but also about how we are only human and that we mess up. Sometimes often, regardless of our best intentions. I also love to explore the world outside of our nuclear family—neighbors, friends, parents, lovers—because after all, we are more than simply moms.
What’s your favorite part about writing/being an author? What do you find challenging?
My favorite part about writing is when I hear someone laugh while reading my book. The hardest part is maneuvering through the self-doubt. And being brave enough to keep going when so many obstacles pop up on your path.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read Welcome to the Neighborhood?
My book would be the right fit for someone who is looking for humor, honesty and relatability in stories about moms who fight (sometimes with themselves) to do the right thing for their children and families.
What about the writing/editing/publishing process has been the most surprising to you so far?
I was surprised about how much time everything takes. How patient you must be to get a story right. How slowly and carefully you must revise. How willing you must be to read you work over and over and over again. How once you think you are finally done, you aren’t. Also, I was delightfully surprised to find out how nice and generous fellow writers, reviewers and readers are.
Any words of wisdom you give your pre-published writer self (or to a new writer)?
Be brave. Everything in writing is an act of bravery. From putting those first words on paper to sharing your work to querying to learning the ropes of publishing and fearing making every mistake in the book. Just push yourself past all that fear—it will only hurt for a minute and it’s the only way to get to the finish line.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I’m obsessed with animals. I call myself a Dr. Doolittle wannabe. If I could talk to the animals, I’d ask for nothing else in life. In the past few years, when we were all home, I got into building Lego (I made the typewriter!) and mini kits (which are basically one room of a doll house.)
Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.
I just handed in book two! It’s another mom-com about a woman who is volunteered to work on her daughter’s school play and finds out the drama isn’t limited to the stage. Can’t say more yet, but it will be out Summer 2023 so I’ll keep you posted.
Where can readers find you?
Come find me on my website, lisaroe.com where you can sign up for my newsletter, read about my weird—ok, unique childhood, invite me to your book club, and learn about my upcoming events. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @lisaroewrites.
Thank you, Lisa! Welcome to the Neighborhood is OUT NOW.
At the heart of this story about a new beginning thwarted by badly behaving neighbors and duplicitous friendships is a mother-daughter love story, a dive into what it means to want the best for your child, and a cautionary tale about holding on to what really matters.
After years of struggling to make ends meet, Ginny, a single mom from Queens, falls for sweet, divorced Jeff, and relishes the idea of moving with her quirky eleven-year-old daughter Harri to his home in an upscale New Jersey suburb. Though she’s never been impressed by material things, she is thrilled that getting a second chance at love comes with the added bonus of finally giving Harri everything she never could before.
And then she meets the neighbors.
Ginny is quickly thrust into the complicated realities of a neighborhood defined by the ever-shifting alliances of PTA moms, Real Housewife contenders, and their mean-girl daughters. When the neighbors’ secrets, back-stabbing, and bad behavior take a devastating toll on her daughter and new marriage, Ginny must decide what really matters―and protect it at all costs.
Lisa Roe graduated from the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and spent many years as an advertising creative director and copywriter in New York City until she accepted the tougher job of stay-at-home mom and turned to writing fiction — mostly to entertain her kids, but then to tell her own stories. A classic first born, reluctant empty nester, Dr. Doolittle wannabe, and the author of WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD, Lisa lives in New Jersey with her husband and three incorrigible dogs.