Please welcome Ellen Meister, author of The Other Life!
How The Other Life Was Born, by Ellen Meister
Like most writers, I’m often asked where I get my ideas from. In truth, the big secret about inspiration is that there’s no secret at all. A writer’s job is to pay attention–to what’s going on in the world around them … as well as the world within. We watch the outside world to carefully collect those tiny details of real life that make our fictional scenes come alive. And we listen closely to the stray strands of thoughts that pass through our minds in case there’s something that can be spun into a story.
That’s how I got the idea for my latest book, The Other Life. I was alone in the house, contemplating the notion that each day, after my husband left for work and the last of the three children headed off to school, I got to escape into this fantasy world I was creating with my fiction. For a moment, I wondered what would happen if a married woman like me had the ultimate escape–the ability to slip through a portal to the life she would have had if she hadn’t made the choice to get married and have children.
Almost immediately, I pictured a crack in the foundation of her home, a fissure she could slip through to her other life. I thought that was a deliciously literal interpretation of a metaphorical image. But I needed something concrete that could create havoc in my character’s emotional life, because I understood that it would take something monumental for a happily married woman with children to consider leaving her family, even temporarily.
I lived with the idea for quite a while before it all started coming together. However, it wasn’t until I realized that her mother was dead in one life and alive in the other that I knew I had a book.
The Other Life has been an exciting journey for me. It was such a departure from my previous novels that I didn’t know if my agent would want it or if the publishing industry would be interested. But in February it came out in hardcover and it is now available in paperback. It has made several best of the year lists, was nominated for the Best in Women’s Fiction, and it was even optioned by HBO for a television series.
But perhaps most exciting of all is the response I’ve been getting from readers, including those in book clubs. I love spending time with these groups via speakerphone or Skype, and if your book club would like to schedule an appearance, I’d like to meet you, too! Just visit my website and use the book club form. You’ll also find a surprise in the Book Club Guestbook!
Ellen Meister is doing something really fun for Book Clubs!
She just launched a program to thank book club members by name in the acknowledgments section of her next book. She has a Book Club Guestbook on her site now and anyone in a book group that read or plans to read The Other Life is free to sign up. All you need to do is visit her site at and fill out the form. That’s it!
Don’t forget to enter The Other Life giveaway!