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7 Questions With an Author: Tosca Lee

New York Times best-selling author and speaker – Tosca Lee

This post marks another installment of my “7 Questions With an Author…” series, where I ask published authors an unchanging set of questions and share their responses here.

Today’s featured author is Tosca Lee.

Tosca  is a  New York Times  best-selling novelist whose works include the critically acclaimed Demon: A Memoir, Havah: The Story of Eve,  and The Books of Mortals series with best-selling author Ted Dekker.

Iscariot, Tosca’s highly-anticipated novel about the infamous betrayer of Christ will release February 2013.

She is best known for her exploration of maligned characters, lyrical prose and meticulous research.

Tosca received her B.A. in English and International Relations from Smith College and has also studied at Oxford University.

Interestingly, she’s a former first runner-up to Mrs. United States and lifelong world adventure-traveler, yet Tosca makes her home in the Midwest. Here are Seven Questions with an Author – Tosca Lee:

1. Tell us about your book?
Demon is the story of creation, the Bible, of grace… told from the point of view of a demon.

2. What led you to write it?
One day, as I drove the stretch of Nebraska road that leads to my acreage, I found myself wondering what it would be like to be angelic and fallen. Would I go around tempting people to covet, lust, envy… just for kicks? It seemed too shallow a motivation for any complex, spiritual creature. There had to be more to it.

Suddenly, I realized that being angelic and fallen must be very similar to being human and fallen – except for one major difference: the provision of a messiah.

I immediately wondered what it must feel like to be damned for a single, failing moment – and worse, to watch humans luxuriate in and take for granted the grace made available to them from a doting God. And I thought: why wouldn’t an angelic creature resent a human recipient of God’s grace? And why wouldn’t a demon want to prove that creature unworthy again and again as a result?

Now I knew what it must feel like to be an angelic outsider looking in with jealous eyes and razored heart.

I re-read the story of God’s love affair with humans through this new lens and Demon: A Memoir was born.

3. Who is a writer that inspires you and why?
So many! Anne Rice for her lush descriptions. Anthony Bourdain for his snark. David Sedaris for his wit. Beyond that, the writers who haven’t been published yet, who work and work with the hope of sharing their words. I am inspired by the passion and ethic of many unpublished authors I know.

4. What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book?
Writing it was easy… the first draft only took about six weeks. I wasn’t a published novelist though I was a published author.

Without deadlines or pressure or expectations, the book could just happen on its own.

But selling and rewriting it… that was the hard part. It took nearly six years to sell and by the time I rewrote and edited it, I was knee-deep in massive life change, travel every week for my job, and the sudden throes of a beginning fiction career.

5. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Just write. So many people want to write and talk about writing, but they don’t actually do the writing. You have to get in the chair.

6. Where do you get your ideas?
Traveling… reading… looking out the window. From topics or figures that have fascinated me for a long time. From friends who say, “This sounds like something you should write.” That’s how my upcoming book, Iscariot, happened.

7. Anything that you’d like readers to know that I haven’t asked?
One thing about me: I love my readers. I have the best fans on earth. It is my joy to interact with them when and where I can. So come join me on Facebook, Twitter, or in person at my next event. I look forward to meeting you. :)

[EdiTOR’s Note: As a fan of Tosca I can personally attest to this last fact, she has been WONDERFUL to interact with – deep thanks to my blogging buddy Chad Jones for making the introduction.]

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  1. I absolutely concur, Tor–she has been, and continues to be, very gracious. Great interview.
    Chad blushes at that last line. My pleasure, man.

  2. Kim Constantino says:

    Can’t wait to read her book now, thanks!

  3. Very cool Tosca. I enjoy watching these great ideas you come up with. Just saw the Iscariot trailer too. Fantastic. Another good interview Tor.

  4. I’m a fan as well. Great interview as always Tor. I am looking forward to Iscariot.

  5. I’m so glad this is fiction. A few REAL people came to mind as the model for the book :-)

  6. Hip Mama Media says:

    Thanks, Tor for interviewing her. I absolutley loved the two Book of Mortals that she co-authored with Ted Dekker. I am looking forward to the next installment of that trilogy but now will also check out her other books! She sounds like a great person.

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