Monday, August 22, 2022

Rachel Linden Interview - The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie

Photo Credit: Mallory MacDonald

Rachel Linden is the bestselling author of The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie, The Enlightenment of Bees, Becoming the Talbot Sisters, and Ascension of Larks.

Rachel’s taste for adventure and interest in people first led her to a career as an international worker with a faith-based aid organization, and her experiences living and traveling in more than fifty countries around the globe continue to provide excellent grist for her stories. She loves writing novels that combine so many of her favorite things – strong women facing big challenges, food, travel, and second chances at love. Rachel enjoys crafting bittersweet stories of struggles and triumphs infused with a touch of magical realism and with ultimately happy, or at least very hopeful, endings.

Currently Rachel lives with her husband and children on a sweet little island near Seattle. When she’s not dreaming up a new story, she enjoys camping with her family in their pop top campervan, exploring the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, eating sushi, and having grand adventures in far flung places.


Can you tell us when you started THE MAGIC OF LEMON DROP PIE, how that came about? 
I was on a flight from Nashville back home to Seattle and I scribbled the words “What if you could redo your 3 biggest regrets?” on a Delta Airlines drink napkin. And gradually Lolly’s story was born from that question. What would happen if a woman who had given up everything, including an engagement ring and her dream career in England, after her mother died, was given the magical chance to redo her 3 greatest regrets in life? I just found that question and the possibilities so intriguing that I had to write the story to find out what happened!

Greatest thing you learned at school. 
That I had a voice and could use writing to connect with people through story, to engage their curiosity and imagination. It’s a euphoric feeling to have someone read your words and connect to them with empathy and interest.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
Hearing from readers all over the world who connected with my protagonist and her story in such a strongly way that somehow my main character’s journey impacted and affected their own life choices positively. Once I received an email from a woman who was in a wheelchair who told me that my novel The Enlightenment of Bees had reminded her that we all have something good to give to the world. She said she was encouraged that despite her disability, she had something good to share with the world too. It is humbling and amazing to know that my stories are encouraging and affecting people’s own life stories. What a joy!

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? 
I adore Little Women, my favorite childhood book. It was the book that I connected with SO much as a young adult– I laughed, cried and grew with the March sisters! Outside of my genre I thoroughly enjoyed A Man Named Ove this year. I adored the theme of the power of connection and community to combat loneliness and pain.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
I wrote The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie in 2020 during the Covid pandemic lockdowns in Seattle. My husband and I had 2 small children at home and were both trying to work. It was a challenge to be in an apartment in the middle of a pandemic with 2 active littles, trying to write this story while SO MUCH was going on inside AND outside the house! I loved all the family time we got, but it was an intense year. Writing this story was honestly a relief and a sweet escape from the complexities of that time!

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes? 
I recently finished reading The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. It’s an invitation to live more mindfully and simply. I felt like every page was meant just for me. It was such a clarifying and helpful book. I took email and social media off my phone and started trying to focus on being more present and stop multi-tasking so much! I’m really trying to slow down and keep a peaceful pace to my life even in the midst of busyness and career and raising a family.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us? 
I think we humans are wired for story. Story allows us to connect to other people, places and experiences through empathy and imagination in a profound way. We can connect through story in a way that actually affects our brain chemistry, our emotions, and even our lives! Stories can broaden our horizons, change our viewpoints, deepen our understanding of the human experience and hopefully help us to be more empathetic, wise, connected people alive in the world. Stories are SO powerful as a way to show us what it is to be human and how to live well.

  • 1. I always try to incorporate food, travel and second chances at love in each of my stories, as well as a touch of magical realism and a happy, or at least very hopeful ending. The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie has all of these elements!
  • 2. There is a lot of Danish diner food, lemon meringue pie, some beautiful botanical popsicles with flowers in them, and a lot of other delicious food throughout the story. Early readers have been telling me they finish the story and just want to go eat pie!
  • 3. The main character in The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie is named Lolly which was the name I gave myself at the age of 5 when I pretended I was a famous movie star. I had white star-shaped sunglasses and felt VERY glamorous! I’ve always had a fondness for the name and decided to use it for this main character.
  • 4. I always try to incorporate cool places I’ve actually been into my stories. For The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie, Lolly ends up in Brighton, England (one of my favorite towns in England) and Hawaii. Most of the story takes place in a charming neighborhood of Seattle called Magnolia (where Lolly’s family diner is) and a few chapters are set on a quirky island off the coast of Seattle called Vashon Island.
  • 5. I created a real Lemon Drop Pie recipe for the back of the book. I had a few duds in the kitchen while I was creating the recipe, but the end result is really yummy and I finally learned how to make a meringue! (It’s easier than it looks.)
  • 6. I based the character of Lolly’s quirky, opinionated Aunt Gert on my own Great-aunt Kay. She didn’t make Aunt Gert’s outrageous fashion choices, but she was every bit as tart and smart as Aunt Gert is!
  • 7. Lolly’s Basset Hound Bertha is based off of my childhood best friend’s doleful Basset Hound Myrtle who was quite a character.
  • 8. I wrote 3 endings for the novel. After 2 that didn’t seem quite right I suddenly had a flash of inspiration and wrote an ending that felt like a surprise and exactly right. It makes me smile because it was a surprise even to me, right up until the end of the story.
  • 9. I always try to highlight themes that are important to me in books, everything from women’s rights to refugee and relief work. For this book I chose to highlight an environmental theme. I wanted to show Lolly, who is ecologically conscious, making choices to pursue her passion in life in ways that are also kind to the earth.
  • 10. I loved getting to write kids into this story. As a mom, I was able to draw on my own experience (and I think in some ways they are very universal mom experiences) to write about Lolly seeing what her life would be like as a mom - the sweet and tender and the messy and sticky parts of that time of life!
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? 
Which child is waking me up by tickling me, poking me, standing staring silently at me, or jumping on me? And sweet heavens, how early is it?

What is your most memorable travel experience? 
Traveling into the jungle in Fiji in a heavily laden canoe down a rain swollen river. Then sleeping in an open-air house in the jungle, eating leaves plucked from the bushes outside, and showering in the woods with pigs!

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew? 
Yes. I was always the kid who had a lot of empathy for the kids on the fringe, or for animals, anything that needed help or needed to be protected and defended. I was like a tiny little blonde knight in shining armor trying to save anyone who needed to be saved.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought? 
Oh my gosh my hair is HUGE! I have wavy/curly hair and often in the mornings it looks like my hair went out on the town and had a party by itself while I was asleep.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? 
Why, oh why do I never learn my lesson and go to bed earlier? Every. Night. I never learn. Also I think about whatever book I’m currently reading. I read every night before bed. Or I fall asleep thinking about my own current work in progress and how I can make it better. I fall asleep with very bookish thoughts every night.

What event in your life would make a good movie? 
I got chased by a big bull shark in Florida some years ago. It was so scary and memorable that I used it as a scene in my novel The Enlightenment of Bees. People think that chapter is fiction but it’s actually based on crazy fact!

What is one unique thing are you afraid of? 
Diving! I can’t dive. I flunked intermediate swimming lessons as a kid because I refused to dive. There is no reason I can come up with that I need to dive into water head first. I can just as easily get the job done by jumping in feet first!

An uplifting novel about a heartbroken young pie maker who is granted a magical second chance to live the life she didn't choose. . . . from the bestselling author of The Enlightenment of Bees.

Lolly Blanchard's life only seems to give her lemons. Ten years ago, after her mother's tragic death, she broke up with her first love and abandoned her dream of opening a restaurant in order to keep her family's struggling Seattle diner afloat and care for her younger sister and grieving father. Now, a decade later, she dutifully whips up the diner's famous lemon meringue pies each morning while still pining for all she's lost.

As Lolly's thirty-third birthday approaches, her quirky great-aunt gives her a mysterious gift--three lemon drops, each of which allows her to live a single day in a life that might have been hers. What if her mom hadn't passed away? What if she had opened her own restaurant in England? What if she hadn't broken up with the only man she's ever loved? Surprising and empowering, each experience helps Lolly let go of her regrets and realize the key to transforming her life lies not in redoing her past but in having the courage to embrace her present.

You can purchase The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


  1. Happy Friday! I hope you have a great holiday weekend!

  2. Forgot to add that I'm just resting this weekend. :)

  3. We are just BBq'ing and relaxing!