The Healing of Lily Wentworth
Melissa Martineau Alexander is a writer from Texas, US. She published her second novel, The Healing Of Lily Wentworth: Part II. We have conducted an interview with her.
In your second novel, The Healing of Lily Wentworth, who is Lily? Why did you choose to write about her, is she someone close (in proximity and personality) to you in real life?
Lily Wentworth is a woman in her early forties who grew up the daughter of a seventies rock legend. She’s grown up having a privileged life, but her parents were diligent in not spoiling her, which allowed Lily to avoid the pitfalls of growing up the child of a celebrity. She’s a woman who, initially, has been sheltered and experiences difficulty in expressing her opinions or feelings. Eventually, Lily learns to think for herself and have a voice.
These books are written in first-person, as Lily’s way of revealing her life and the choices she’s made to the reader. I chose to write about a person who’s damaged and makes decisions that are detrimental to both her and the people around her. I wanted to show that not everything is always “black and white” or “right and wrong.” It’s an understanding (though not an excuse) to the world of “grey” surrounding the actions people take.
The character of Lily is a composite of a few women that I know who have experienced love and loss, including myself. I think, as with any author, there is a little their personality inflected when creating their protagonist, but I wouldn’t say the character is directly based on a particular person.
What are the risks of writing a sequel for Anatomy of an Affair? How did you decide this will be a sequel and also the last book in a series?
I think the obvious risk of writing a sequel is that the second book won’t hold up to the first one. It’s a difficult line to walk in having readers interested enough to learn the outcome of the characters in the story. It’s always a question of “Will they like it?” “Are they satisfied with the final ending?” In the end, you have to put those worries aside; write the story the way you intended it to go and let the integrity of the books hold up on their own. It was always my intention to write a two-part story. I wanted to write the first book as (pardon my language) the “sh**storm” and the second book, its “aftermath.”
Just a sneak peek, where do your readers expect to take off for the sequel and what new plot-lines will they get?
Not to reveal anything, but the first book ended on a cliffhanger. The second book takes off immediately where the first one left off. As for new plotlines, the second book bring back a couple characters who played a very small part in the first book. These characters will play a bigger role to either help/hurt Lily.
Will it still make sense for anyone to read the Part II before the Part I. What will your readers not expect in the sequel of the story?
Because the first book ended on a cliffhanger, in addition to creating the backstory and character development, the reader will definitely need to read Part I before reading Part 2. As for what to expect or not expect???? You will just have to read it. ;)
Was there any beloved characters in Part I that you had to let go? Why did you do so?
All of the characters, good, bad or indifferent are beloved by me. As far as who I had to let go…I can’t reveal…but as a writer, when you end a series and will not be writing about certain characters anymore, there is a sadness. I definitely went through a “mourning” period when I finished the second book. These characters consumed so much of my time and energy in both creating them and putting them to paper. There is a kinship with them and all remain a part of the writer.
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