Amy Impellizzeri is the author of the new novel Why We Lie. Her other books include The Truth About Thea and Lemongrass Hope. A former corporate litigator, she is based in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Why We Lie, and for your characters Aby and Jude?
A: Unlike my first two novels (where the ending came to me first), Why We Lie started for me as a beginning.
What if someone - namely a politician - lost his ability to lie?
But, what if, going against all usual clichés, this sudden inability to lie was much more devastating to the politician’s wife than to him? What if it were HER secrets, and not his, that were damning?
I was also inspired by a 20-year-old political scandal in which a young D.C. intern named Monica Lewinsky told the truth and a politician named Bill Clinton told a lie. There can be little dispute that history has been much, much kinder to the liar.
From there the layers of Why We Lie unfolded. I had always wanted to set a book in D.C.; the current political climate rendered the themes of #MeToo and false accusations all the more contemporary and relevant. The characters developed slowly and I’ve grown to love all of them. Except Dominic Treese.
Q: Can you say more about what you think the book says about the concept of truth and lying, and how that fits into today's political landscape?
A: The discussions that I have been having with readers at book events and book clubs are as engaging as I had hoped while writing the book.
I’ve never really bought into the notion that “honesty is always the best policy” and I’m fascinated others still hold tightly to it. (Or at least claim to.)
We claim that we want everyone, especially our spouses and our politicians, to tell us the truth always. But do we? Remember the famous line from A Few Good Men? You can’t handle the truth!
This book explores the notion that maybe we can’t handle the truth. At least not all the time.
Q: Do you usually know how your novels will end before you start writing, or do you make many changes along the way?
A: Not necessarily before I start writing, but hopefully soon after. I need a direction to head in as I write, but I’m open to detours along the way. The detours are what make the process fun for me as a writer!
Q: Who are some of your favorite writers?
A:The Tall Poppy Writers are my people. They are a supportive group and I’m so grateful to count them as friends and colleagues.
If you look at my “to be read” and “read again and again” piles - in addition to Poppies - you’ll see titles from Bethany Chase, Glennon Doyle, Kimberly Belle, Meg Donahue, Tembi Locke, and Mary Kubica, just to name a few!
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I’m headed to Italy, including Florence and Rome, where I’ll be researching/writing my next story. More on that soon!
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: The news just broke that my next novel is hitting shelves March 2020. I Know How This Ends is the follow-up to my bestselling debut, Lemongrass Hope.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb