Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Q&A with Leesa Cross-Smith




Leesa Cross-Smith is the author of the new novel Half-Blown Rose. Her other books include Every Kiss a War. She lives in Kentucky.


Q: What inspired you to write Half-Blown Rose, and how did you create your character Vincent?


A: I was really inspired by the trip to Paris that I took in 2019 pretty much right before the world shut down. Like everyone else, I wanted to escape the darkness of the world we were living in. So Paris and escapism were my main inspirations and I knew I needed a strong, beautiful, knockout of a woman both inside and out to fill that space for me.


I named her Vincent after Vincent van Gogh because she is the daughter of famous artists and an artist herself. I really fell in love with the idea of her immediately and didn't have to wrestle with her very much at all.


Q: Author Deesha Philyaw said of the book, “Within the deeply intimate worlds she conjures, she captures love, lust, and longing with such emotional intricacy and verve, I’m fairly certain I read this entire book with my hand pressed against my heart.” What do you think of that description? 


A: Wow, well I'm so grateful to Deesha for these words and I absolutely love them! Feels so precious to me and when I see something like this, I know the reader got the book and understood what I was doing.


I love that she uses the words intimate and intricacy and verve. And the hand pressed against the heart is just so lovely because that's exactly what I do when something touches me!


Q: How was the novel's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: The title Half-Blown Rose comes from several different classic works of literature, but I took it specifically from Jane Eyre....just a description of Rochester plucking a rose from the bush and handing it to Jane. “He gathered a half-blown rose, the first on the bush, and offered it to me.”


I love how the words sound together and I love the feeling it gives me. I write about a lot of liminal spaces in the book and something being half-blown is also liminal. Not a bud and not full-blown...something in between.


Vincent is also experiencing a lot of in-betweenishness in the book as she decides what to do next in her life...her marriage. Her husband has written a bestselling book also called Half-Blown Rose, so the title and the theme runs throughout.


Q: The book is set primarily in Paris. How important is setting to you in your writing, and do you have any other favorite novels set in Paris?


A: I'll say that sometimes setting is important to me in my writing and sometimes, not so much. In this book, setting is very important. And although I don't have a favorite-favorite novel set in Paris, I do love reading books about life in Paris...especially the lives of artists living in Paris and anything about the history and/or beauty of Paris.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Right now I'm finishing up Book Six...my fourth novel...which hasn't been announced yet, but I'm in the process of putting the final touches on it!


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I do hope you enjoy Half-Blown Rose! It pairs well with your favorite tea and pain au chocolat! There are a lot of playlists inside and descriptions of food and I hope readers curl up and get whisked away in the romance and adventure of it all! Thank you so much!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

No comments:

Post a Comment