Book Nerd Interview
Lindsay Moynihan has had a passion for storytelling since her early childhood in Toronto, Canada. At eighteen, she moved to upstate New York to study at the Culinary Institute of America where she penned the text to Cake Art for the school’s publishing division. Moynihan’s personal friendships and religious experiences during college inspired her first novel, The Waiting Tree. After three adventurous years in New Orleans, Moynihan moved to sunny Orlando, Florida. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida in May and continues to write stories about the struggles and successes of today’s young adults. Learn more at http://www.facebook.com/thewaitingtree and at twitter.com/LindsayMoynihan.
Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Great question! I was “writing” before I even knew how to write. I have always been a storyteller and as a child I would concoct all kinds of wild tales and tell them to my dolls and teddy bears. I had quite the imagination!
Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Well, the first thing that comes to mind is where would culture be without storytelling? It is the way we share the essence of who we are and what we believe in to others spanning the generations. I love how storytelling educates us, transports us, and transforms us. The pen is mighty.
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
After agonizing over this question for several days, I’d have to say it is A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, which really could be classified as YA with adult crossover. I adore the character’s edgy sense of humor, but this book will also make you cry. Miriam is a Canadian writer like I am and you know, we have to support our own. J Outside of YA, I’d probably go with The Great Gatsby. Everything about that book is iconic.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Get to the point! I used to have a tendency to veer off track (The Waiting Tree was at one point over 110,000 words and was edited down to just over 60,000!) I’ve since developed a succinct and simple writing style that (hopefully) elucidates the themes of my writing clearly.
In your new book; The Waiting Tree, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
The Waiting Tree is a story about a young man named Simon who is “outed” to his conservative, Christian community in Louisiana by his lover’s father. Trapped in a cashier’s job he hates, he struggles to maintain peace with his brothers after their parents’ death, as well as look after his mute twin, Jude. Despite all these odds, with some help from his fellow outsiders, Simon fights for his faith, his love for Stephen, and for who he is as a person.
There are all sorts of reasons to read a book; one of which is to open your mind to new perspectives that might challenge the status quo. I think that is why your readers should consider The Waiting Tree. Writing this novel inspired me to ask a lot of tough questions. Hopefully it will do the same for your readers.
What part of Simon did you enjoy writing the most?
I loved the fact that over the five years it took to write this book Simon became a friend. Writing his story was like spending time with someone you think is really cool. I enjoyed his company!
For those who are unfamiliar with Stephen, how would you introduce him?
Stephen is Simon’s very best friend, turned best friend/boyfriend. They don’t ever stop being friends, which is why I think their relationship is so great and can survive the trials ahead. Stephen is incredibly strong and a silent hero in the story.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I am working diligently on another YA novel that I hope to complete in the coming months. I won’t say too much about it, but I’ll give you a hint – think Bridge to Terabithia meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower meets a popular A&E TV show. Any guesses?
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d love Simon to meet Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. Other than being from the South they couldn’t be more different, but at the same time they have the courage to stand up for principles they believe in even in the face of great odds.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
When the dentist asks if I’ve been flossing I say I have, but I never floss. Ever.
What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
People say you should write about what you know, but I think you should write about something – or someone – that challenges you; that makes you think. The more you get inside yourself and dig around in there the easier it is, I believe, to discover what your unique voice wants to say and to let it come out.
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
I send a little prayer up to God and then call my mom.
What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
I had a summer job making the most gorgeous designer wedding cakes you could imagine. We made a stunning cake for Louis Vuitton that looked like stacked luggage with their design and logo, as well as cakes that were featured in the movie The Perfect Man.
Tell me about your first kiss
Sadly it was underwhelming. One drawback of a vivid imagination is the inflation of expectations!
What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or that you do not love them back?
Oh gosh, that I didn’t love them back. You don’t forget that look on a person’s face.
When was the last time you cried?
Five minutes ago. I’m a crier :)
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
The roaring 20’s for sure. I’d like to think I’d make a good Flapper.
What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
French Fries. They are their own food group as far as I’m concerned.
Where can readers stalk you?
I’d love to hear from readers on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thewaitingtree and on Twitter at Twitter.com/LindsayMoynihan. Stalk away!!!
The real me? I thought. What was I now, the fake me? Would I suddenly wake up and discover I?d dreamt up this entire year or had been in some sort of coma? Eighteen-year-old Simon Peters wants to stand up for the truth about who he is. His love for Stephen is unwavering, but does he have the courage to defend it when his entire church community, including his eldest brother Paul, have ostracized him? Will Stephen's feelings change now that he's been banished to the Waverly Christian Center to learn how to be ?normal? again? Trapped in a cashier's job he hates, struggling to maintain peace with his brothers after their parents have died, and determined to look after his mute twin and his friend Tina, Simon puts everyone else's needs before his own. It takes a courageous act on the part of Jude, his devoted twin, to change both of their lives forever. Jude, who is wiser than anyone ever knew. Jude, who understands that the meaning of the fig tree blooming in their scrappy backyard can finally set them free.