Leah DeCesare is the award-winning author of Forks, Knives, and Spoons. Her writing has been featured in The Huffington post, Eligible Magazine, Simply Woman, The International Doula, and The Key, among others. Leah is the cofounder of the nonprofit, Doulas of Rhode Island, and she led the fundraising efforts to build a medical center in Uganda. The mother of three, DeCesare lives with her family in Rhode Island, and is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts at The Newport MFA.
For more, visit leahdecesare.com
Biggest literary influencers:
Harper Lee and Daphne DuMaurier, whose stories touched me as a young girl and still resonate decades later. I always love reading closely, searching for nuggets of craft and gems to admire in any book I read.
Last book read:
I always have one book I’m listening to, and one I’m reading (either physical book or ebook). I recently finished Katherine Center’s upcoming book, Things You Save in a Fire, and began Leading Men by Christopher Castellani. I’m about to finish the audiobook of The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman, then comes the joyful decision of what to listen to next.
The book that changed your life:
To Kill a Mockingbird. Not only is it still one of my favorite books, it was one of the first books I remember digging into and analyzing. What a discovery, to see all the depth and wonder beneath the surface of the words. I was so moved by that book that I wrote a letter to Harper Lee after reading it in middle school.
Your favorite literary character:
Since I don’t have a true favorite, I’m going with Eleanor Oliphant. She’s a character so elegantly crafted that she remains with me years after reading the book. Eleanor is complex, wounded and hopeful. I was moved by her and dwelled on her long after the last page.
Currently working on:
I’m working through final notes from my copy editor on a manuscript about a doula who becomes too close to one family and how her client’s secrets open a space in the family that she steps into. Hopefully that will find a home soon. I’ve just begun another novel that is too soon to say much about, but I’ll be working on this through my MFA program.
Advice to new and aspiring authors:
- Believe you can do it and go write! Study the craft of writing and keep challenging yourself to grow as a writer. There is always, always, always room to keep learning and improving.
- Work with and be wide open to learning from professional editors. Don’t submit your work anywhere without first working with a solid, serious, quality editor—not just your cousin who was an English major.
- Build connections with other authors for mutual support, encouragement, and possibly to find critique and early reading partners. Find your tribe.
- Read a lot and read closely. There is so much to learn from deeply reading and pulling apart writing that you love.
Sarah Scoop – Interview April 19, 2018
PopSugar – 5 Killer Books for Fans of Riverdale – December 6, 2017