Interview with Eva Lesko Natiello
As a reader, I love getting a peak into writers’ lives. I hope you’ll enjoy this glimpse into the life of Eva Lesko Natiello, an Amazon #1 ranked author for her psychological thriller, The Memory Box.
Eva also writes for the Huffington Post and the New Jersey Monthly. For a chance to win a copy of The Memory Box, sign up for Eva’s newsletter by sending in the contact form on her website. Just write ‘From Inglath’s newsletter’ in the subject line. Now on to the interview!
What inspired you to become a writer?
That’s an interesting question. Honestly, I never intended to be a writer. For me it was always more about storytelling. In fact, not until I had finished writing The Memory Box, did I really come to terms with the fact that I had written a book. It had felt like I was telling a story through my fingertips. (Well, that was the draft!) Then the hard work . . .
How do you balance your personal life with your writing time?
This is very difficult for me. I often don’t get the amount of writing time that I really need. But I’ve become very good at using my non-writing time. When I am not writing and life calls me into different directions, I take advantage of that time to think. That’s because I bring my brain everywhere I go! Half of writing is thinking, imagining, problem solving. For me, these things happen away from the keyboard, so that when I sit down to write, I have direction.
What do you think is the most important thing a reader can do for an author whose work she enjoys?
Talk about it with friends! I credit reader excitement and word-of-mouth for the success of The Memory Box. Mentioning a book you like on social media is a tremendous help to authors. And of course, writing a review on on-line bookstores, Goodreads, blogs, or anywhere you connect with book lovers on social media.
Do you have a favorite setting for your books?
Since I love to write psychological thrillers, I think they are especially creepy when they are set in very relatable places. The Memory Box is set in the suburbs of New Jersey, but honestly it could be anywhere. I’ve had readers in Australia tell me they thought it was their town! As soon as a reader is able to relate to the setting, they become more emotionally invested. Then when they discover something strange is going on in this town, they start to wonder about their own town . . .
Do you prefer eBooks, paperback, hard cover, all of the above?
“Writing from the intersection of oops, yikes, & awe” is written on your website. Can you elaborate for readers what you mean by that?
Years ago, before I started my blog, I attended a writer’s conference. One of the sessions I attended was on branding and how a writer’s website and blog should be used to communicate your brand. I remember talking to the presenter after the session about how my “brand” may not fit in a neat box. I write humor (often about personal blunders—of which I have many), satire, thrillers, about things that leave me contemplative and also, I write about writing. She encouraged me to find an umbrella term that would encompass those themes. That’s where writing from the intersection of oops, yikes & awe came from.
Eva Lesko Natiello
You’re a native New Yorker who moved to the New Jersey suburbs. Do you still live in New Jersey and, if so, why do you prefer it to the city?
Yes, I still live in New Jersey. I moved out of New York when my second child was born so that we could raise our kids in the suburbs. But I still love New York!
What about moving to the suburbs of New Jersey inspired you to write your first book?
There are a couple of reasons I chose Farhaven, a suburban town which is loosely based on the New Jersey town I live in. I’ve always been intrigued by stories which have beautiful, upscale settings which juxtapose a dark, subversive storyline. The Stepford wives introduced me to this idea. It provides the first misconception to the reader, that only upstanding people could live in a place like this. The other reason it seemed right for the story was when I started to write The Memory Box, I was relatively new to the suburbs. I had just moved to New Jersey from New York City. It presented an instant learning curve. With my young children starting school, I was plopped into a new social circle of suburban moms. There is a definite way things are done in the suburbs that’s different from the way they’re in the city. I knew instantly that I wanted to set this psychological suspense in a bucolic, upscale suburb where the community of stay-at-home moms, a sub-culture all its own, would help highlight the juxtaposition of conformity and deception.
So you have a particular fascination with misconceptions. You say it appears in your second novel – is it in your first, as well?
Yes! I believe misconceptions often manifest from facades. And there are several facades in The Memory Box. Some are in the form of objects: a beautiful house, or well-manicured lawn, for instance. Or even the location of the story, the suburb of Farhaven, acts as a façade. Sometimes misconceptions happen from limited information, like hearing parts of a conversation, or even the lack of information. It is human nature to fill in the blanks when there is a lack of facts. Sometimes filling in the blanks will lead you to the wrong place. More than that, I cannot tell you!
You also mention an interest in the concept of control. Are these innate fascinations or did someone in your life influence these particular interests?
That’s a good question! When I was young, I do remember thinking that when people would say “It wasn’t meant to be” it was a cop-out of sorts. I felt that people would use that expression when they didn’t want to work hard at something. They would disguise a lack of determination or work ethic with this cosmic decision of “it must be the universe telling me something.” I thought to myself, you have the control to make things happen, just try a little harder. But then I thought about the opposite of those “It wasn’t meant to be” people: someone who thought they could control everything. And make everything happen. That idea was really creepy to me. A character who thought they could control every outcome. Sometimes it can be evil and sometimes it can be unintentionally catastrophic. This theme is present in The Memory Box and book #2 (yet-to-be-named) but I’m not revealing any more. 😉
Have you traveled anywhere that had an impact on your writing?
Anywhere and everywhere I travel has an impact on my writing. Seeing and experiencing different cultures or countries helps with character development and also enriches setting descriptions. Traveling often helps with the non-writing part of writing. The imagining.
Thank you, Eva, for giving us a glimpse of your writing life. And thank you, Michele Walsh, for putting together this interview.
If you’re looking for your next great escape, see a list of my books here.