Today’s guest is debut novelist Anne Marie Casey
We’ve got a copy of Anne’s novel NO ONE COULD HAVE GUESSED THE WEATHER up for grabs today, courtesy of the wonderful people at Amy Einhorn Books. Leave a comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win.
There are many true things in my novel NO ONE COULD HAVE GUESSED THE WEATHER. It tells the story of four women living in New York City through the eyes of an Englishwoman, LUCY LOVETT, who has to make a new life there with her husband and two sons and it was inspired by the time I spent living in Manhattan with my husband and two sons. And yes, I am English.
From the first time I saw the iconic cityscape of Manhattan I fell in love with the city but, just like Lucy, I struggled with some of the demands of life in the big apple when accompanied by two small boys – I know well what it’s like to push a double stroller down a crowded Avenue in the blazing sunshine or the bucketing rain. We did not settle ourselves uptown in a family friendly apartment block near ‘Mommy & Me’ gymnastic classes and Central Park, but lived in the East Village, epicentre of young, trendy New York, opposite a bar so hip it had no name but PDT. Please Don’t Tell that I took my children to nursery past at least six tattoo parlours. I consoled myself that, at the very least, it might help them learn to spell.
But the vividness of the experience and the extraordinary things I saw (we had a neighbour who kept a pet snake round her neck) awoke something in me creatively. I had written screenplays for TV and Film, and a play for the stage but no fiction. In New York I bought a notebook and scribbled down ideas and incidents; I stuck in pictures from magazines or photographs I took. Almost without realizing it, I was creating a character and writing the first chapter.
As I continued, I knew the book would not feel authentic unless I borrowed much of its texture from my own experiences, but I also decided that did not have to mean it would be autobiographical. What is true to my life in the novel is the geographical situation and experience that Lucy and I shared. But we are very different personalities. In the same way, I used my previous career in the high-octane world of series TV to create a background and story line for Lucy’s friend, JULIA KIRKLAND. But we are very different personalities. However, I had to laugh when, on my recent pre-publication tour, a charming woman who had read the book came up to me, very concerned, and asked me “do your friends mind you writing about them?” “No, because I made them up,” I replied, a little bemused, but then I thought about it and was delighted.
For I had hoped that in writing about what was true for me, then imagining what that would be like for a different woman, I would create characters who became real. And for one of my first readers they did.
* * *
When Lucy Lovett’s husband loses his job, she is forced to give up her posh life in London and move their family to a tiny apartment in Manhattan, where her husband has managed to secure a lowly position. Lucy finds herself living in the center of cool and hip. Across from their apartment is a trendy bar called PDT—whenever Lucy passes by, she thinks, Please Don’t Tell anyone I’m a middle-aged woman.
Homesick and resentful at first, Lucy soon embarks on the love affair of her life—no, not with her husband (though they’re both immensely relieved to discover they do love each other for richer or poorer), but with New York City and the three women who befriend her.
There’s Julia, who is basically branded with a Scarlet A when she leaves her husband and kids for a mini nervous breakdown and a room of her own; Christy, a much older man’s trophy wife, who is a bit adrift as only those who live high up in penthouses can be; and disheveled and harried Robyn, constantly compensating for her husband, who can’t seem to make the transition from wunderkind to adult.
Spot-on observant, laugh-out-loud funny, yet laced with kindness through and through, No One Could Have Guessed the Weather is a story of what happens when you grow up and realize the middle part of your story might just be your beginning.
About Ariel Lawhon
Ariel Lawhon is the co-founder of She Reads, novelist, blogger, storyteller, and life-long reader. She lives in Texas with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.