Friday, April 9, 2021

Leslie A. Rasmussen Interview - After Happily Ever After


Photo Content from Leslie A. Rasmussen

Leslie A. Rasmussen was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated with a bachelors from UCLA in Communications and went on to write television comedies 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, Maria Shriver and Sheknows. Leslie loves dogs and besides having two adorable Labradors, she volunteers at The Burbank Animal Shelter, in Burbank, California. Leslie lives in Los Angeles and has two sons, and a husband she’s been with since college. This is her debut novel.

        
  


Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Encino, California and my home is in Los Angeles, California. I’m one of those rarer Los Angeles natives that have never left.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published
As this is my debut novel, just seeing my manuscript in book form and holding it in my hands was incredibly exciting, but more rewarding was the support I got from friends and family who were excited to buy it. Even people I hadn’t seen or spoken to since high school were happy for me and eager to read it.

Tell us your latest news.
I’m currently working a on a second stand-alone book that I’m excited about. It’s from two different women’s points of views as they deal with a similar crisis, both separately, and later, together. They’re from diverse backgrounds and religions so their way of dealing with things is different. The book is each one of their stories and how they come together, support each other, and find a bond that neither of them would have ever expected. I’ve also written a few more personal essays that will be posted on various sites.

Can you tell us when you started AFTER HAPPILY EVER AFTER, how that came about?
I was a television comedy writer in my past and I quit to raise my kids, but writing was always my passion. While raising my kids, I wrote personal essays, but I wanted to write something longer. I sat with different ideas, but I always knew I wanted to write something that would be relatable to women. I started out deciding to write a nonfiction book. I wanted to delve into women’s points of view on marriage, or long-term relationships, sex, love, romance, jealousy and how they handled conflict with their partner. I created a survey of questions which would allow the women to answer anonymously. By the time I was ready to start the book, I had a lot of material. The one thing I noticed about the interviews, was that so many of the women’s stories were similar and relatable. I decided that I’d rather write a fictionalized version and make my protagonist and story an amalgam of people. Because of my comedy background, I wanted to make it humorous, but also have some heartbreaking moments. Before I started the book, I went to a lot of writing conferences, read a lot of books on writing novels, and joined a writing group. I tried to learn everything I could, but then I realized I just had to start writing, and all that hard work became After Happily Ever After.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I would like my readers to be thinking how much they see themselves, their friends, their parents, and their kids in my novel. After Happily Ever After is about love, marriage, the empty nest, aging parents and rediscovering yourself when you hit a midpoint in your life. I want my readers to go on Maggie’s journey with her, rooting her on at times, and getting really mad at her at other times. I’m hoping people fall in love with her the same way I did when I was writing her.

What part of Maggie did you enjoy writing the most?
I had the most fun writing Maggie’s inner thoughts, the way she was sarcastic or witty at times, and at other times trying not to deal with the things that overwhelmed her. I had fun writing her quirkiness, the way she bantered with her husband and the relationship she had with both her parents.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES/SCENES FROM AFTER HAPPILY EVER AFTER
  • 1) “After a moment, teenage mumbling echoed down the hall as sleep escaped her seventeen-year-old body. –Maggie heard after she called for her daughter, Gia to wake up for school.
  • 2) “You’ll get a warning. Spring doesn’t really ‘spring.’” – Maggie’s reply to Gia about the weather when Gia said that it’s winter right now, but at some point, it will be spring.
  • 3) “I shed my pajamas and wondered how the heck thirteen-year-old me had morphed into the body of a forty-five-year-old woman.” –Maggie thinks when she sees herself in the mirror.
  • 4) “I yearned for the little girl who always turned back, wanting to see me wave one last time, but this young woman didn’t give me a second thought.” – Maggie referring to her daughter who’s asserting her independence.
  • 5) “Part of me wanted to say I was going to Vegas to lose all our money and start a prostitution ring, but I figured he’d just ask me to pick up his favorite cookies on my way home.” –Maggie’s reaction to Jim asking what she was going to do that day.
  • 6) “I could really have used a glass of wine. Or some chocolate. Or a glass of wine made from chocolate.” Maggie said after her day of clothes shopping with Gia.
  • 7) “It’s in the job description. At some point, there’s cutbacks and then you get
    demoted.”---Maggie’s mom tells Maggie about what happens when your children stop needing you anymore.
  • 8) “I needed a shirt because I probably wouldn’t be taken seriously in just a bra and skirt. So, I did the only thing any middle-aged mom would do; I raided my daughter’s
    closet”. –Maggie when she’s looking for a job.
  • 9) “I’d told him I was afraid of a workout machine, I had crazy hormones in my house,
    and my dad had health issues. What was next, that my C-section scar depressed
    me?” – Maggie realizes she’s giving too much information when she meets Michael for the first time.
  • 10) “How could she take that away from me? What was next, she wouldn’t let me plan her wedding?” –Maggie thinks after Gia tells her that she’s planned her own eighteenth birthday, and Maggie’s realizes that her daughter doesn’t need her.
  • 11) “I took a last look in the mirror and wondered who that older and more worn woman was looking back at me. Note to self: stop looking in mirrors.” – Maggie thinks as she’s getting ready to go see her former boss at her old publishing agency.
  • 12) “When she graduated from high school last year, she had frizzy brown hair, a unibrow, and an ample midsection. The girl standing in front of me had blond straight hair, perfectly plucked eyebrows, and wearing a cropped sports bra and tight running shorts. Her abs were giving my abs a heart attack.” – Maggie’s observation of Gia’s best friend, Taylor.
  • 13) “I looked at my reflection in the lingerie boutique window and imagined myself as a dominatrix. My reflection blushed and said, No way. He needs to marry his second wife for that.” – Maggie when she’s shopping for lingerie for her wedding anniversary trip with her husband.
  • 14) “As I slid down it’s trunk to sit on the grass underneath, I didn’t notice the leftover patch of snow below. Feeling a small wet spot against my skin caused my emotional dam to burst. I was a tearful woman loitering outside an old age home with a soggy
    butt.” – Maggie after she goes to visit her dad at his assisted living facility.
  • 15) “He brushed a strand of hair out of my eyes, and it felt as if fireworks were exploding from my roots. Suddenly, I heard music playing –how cliché. Oh, wait, it was coming from his cell phone.” – Maggie the first time she visits Michael at his apartment 
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Venture out of their comfort zone. I have never been a risk taker, and if something makes me really nervous, I tend to avoid it. But every time I pushed through that nervousness; I was thrilled. I don’t like public speaking, but one time I was asked to speak to a group of people, and because this person wanted to help me in my career, I felt like I had no choice. The day came and I thought I would die; I didn’t even think I could drive my car to the event. Somehow, I did make it there and I pushed through. It turned out that as soon as I started speaking, everyone in the room was so receptive and interested that I left feeling wonderful. I’m not saying I would want to do it again, but I’m glad I forced myself to do it. I find it interesting that my husband and I are both terrified to speak in public, but both my boys are great at it and don’t get nervous. I guess the apple does fall far from the tree sometimes.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I would go back to the time after college when I was in my later twenties. I was just starting out as a television writer and I was always second guessing myself. I’d listened to enough successful stand-up comics say they thought their success and their humor came out of having a tortured childhood and therefore being prone to depression. I came from a loving family and have an optimistic nature, so I worried that I was too boring to be a comedy writer. I’d also lived in Los Angeles my whole life, so I hadn’t come from the east coast like a lot of successful comedy writers had. Having a normal life shouldn’t work against you, but I thought mine might. I now know that writing comes from your heart and is something that you work on and get better at and you don’t have to come from less than perfect circumstances, or more exotic locales to have interesting stories to tell.

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
I have two best memories as a writer. The first was when I found out that I was going to be assigned my first television script. I’d written so many spec scripts that they filled up my entire file cabinet, and to find out that I was going to get the chance to write for real actors and see my name in the credits, was thrilling. The second-best memory I have is the day I finished the first draft of my book. I printed the entire thing and put it on my table, and just looked at it for a long time. I couldn’t believe I’d finally accomplished something that I’d been working so hard on and for what felt like so long.

First Heartbreak?
When I was in middle school, I had a crush on a boy, who never gave me the time of day. It broke my heart watching him talk to all the other girls. In high school, he started flirting with me, but never asked me out. Back then girls didn’t ask guys out, so I had to just wait and hope, but I thought something was wrong with me, especially when he would ask out friends of mine. After high school, he all of the sudden called me and asked me out. I no longer had any interest, so I turned him down, which was so fulfilling. Years later, I heard he’d never married, so I guess that was all on him and not me.

Best date you’ve ever had?
The best date I ever had was with my husband when my boys were young. We hired a babysitter and went out to dinner and then to what used to be The Universal Amphitheater to see two bands we loved, The All-American Rejects and The Fray. We had such a good time, escaping our lives, but we very quickly realized that we were the oldest people in the room. It was as if we were at a concert with our children if they were teenagers, and all their friends.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
I would easily pick true love even if it led to pain. No matter how much you love someone, there’s always pain at some point. Whether they say something that hurts your feelings or walk out on you or someday, die. Still being loved is something so special. Having someone know very side of you and still want to be with you every day is worth whatever heart break could come in the future.

Maggie Dolan finds herself at forty-five at a crossroads in her life. Once a high-level executive, she’s chosen to be a stay-at-home mom for the last seventeen years. But now with her daughter, Gia, soon leaving for college, and her husband, disconnected and with secrets he hasn’t shared, Maggie decides it’s time to figure out what she wants for the rest of her life. As she begins her journey, she has to deal with a narcissistic mother, a brother who doesn’t like her and most damaging of all, the news that her father, her rock, has medical issues that may take him from her. Overwhelmed by all these issues, she’s led in a direction that could destroy what she’s built and make her question the choices she’s made. She’s torn between the life she’s always known and something more exciting that she never expected.
You can purchase After Happily Ever After at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LESLIE A. RASMUSSEN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of After Happily Ever After by Leslie A. Rasmussen.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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6 comments:

  1. I'd like to go back to a point where I can be with my grandma and grandpa again

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  2. thank you for a chance to win

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  3. To when my daughter and I went on vacation in California.

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  4. I would travel back to when I was 20 years old, and make a different decision.

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  5. Wouldn't we all love that chance! I think I would go back to the point where I could participate in a family reunion. In retrospect, I really missed out on a very special time.

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