Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

interview banner

  • Be sure to read our review for You Knew me When here at OBS.

We are happy to welcome Emily Liebert to Open Book Society to talk about her new release, You Knew me When.

Emily Liebert is a TV personality and an award-winning author.  Her first book, Facebook Fairytales is available worldwide!  You Knew me When is Emily’s debut novel and we here at OBS are honored to have gotten a sneak peak at it!

Please keep reading as staff member Heidi sits down to chat with Emily and see exactly what she has to say!

emily_liebert_authorHeidi:   Hi Emily and Welcome to the site!  Let’s start off with some getting to know you type questions.  When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Emily Liebert: Thanks so much! I’d say I first considered myself a writer in an official capacity when I became the Editor-in-Chief of The WAG—a luxury lifestyle magazine covering Westchester County, NY and Fairfield County, CT. It was my second job out of college; my first was working for Peter Jennings Reporting at ABC News, but I didn’t do any writing there.

Heidi:  What would you say is your biggest writing quirk?

Emily Liebert: I edit myself as I write. I’ve never been one of those people who can sit down and let pages and pages of words flow without going back and re-reading every few paragraphs.

Heidi: How do you spend your time when you aren’t writing?

Emily Liebert: Mainly with my husband and two little boys—Jax (4) and Hugo (3). They’re my world! I also love to cook and travel and when—if ever—I get a free moment to myself, read!

Heidi: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Emily Liebert: A journalist. At first I thought I wanted to be on-air, but I didn’t want it enough to go live in Idaho and be the low woman on the totem pole, reporting in the middle of a thunderstorm. I’ve always loved telling stories, so writing came naturally to me.

Heidi: Hi Emily, can you please tell us about your current release, You Knew me When?

Emily Liebert: It’s about best friends who were like sisters to each other. Katherine Hill left her small New England hometown in pursuit of a dream. Now, twelve years later, she’s a high-powered cosmetics executive in Manhattan and a much glossier version of her former self, unrecognizable to her family and old friends. Laney Marten always swore she’d never get “stuck” in Manchester, VT. Instead, she wound up a young wife and a mother. When Katherine receives word of an inheritance from former neighbor Luella Hancock, she reluctantly returns home to the people and places she left behind. Hoping for a second chance, she’s met by an unforgiving Laney, her former best friend. And there’s someone else who’s moved on without her. Someone she once loved. Tethered to their shared inheritance of Luella’s sprawling Victorian mansion, Katherine and Laney are forced to address their longstanding grudges. Through this, they will come to understand that, while life took them in different directions, ultimately the bonds of friendship and sisterhood still bind them together.

Heidi: I’m not generally a person who likes flashbacks when reading, but I loved the ones in You Knew me When and found myself liking the flashbacks more than what was happening in the characters’ present day, especially in the earlier parts of the book.  Any particular reason you decided to show what happened to the reader in snippets through the flashbacks vs. having a two part book showcasing their childhood in the beginning and their present day in the 2nd half?

Emily Liebert: I thought that, given the way the plot unfolded, it made more sense to go back and forth—so readers could experience Katherine and Laney’s friendship at the best of times and the worst of times at the same time!

Heidi: What inspired you to write this book?

Emily Liebert: I’ve always been interested in female friendships—the ups and downs. Most of my closest friends have been in my life for decades. There have been disappointing relationships along the way, so I wanted to explore what that looks like and how those severed bonds can be mended if the love and respect is there.

Heidi: Are the main characters Katherine and Laney based on real people?

Emily Liebert: Katherine and Laney aren’t anyone specific, but there are aspects of both of them that are either based on me or my friends. There’s a lot of me in Katherine, the good and the bad. And Laney is very similar, in many ways, to a best friend I had growing up.

Heidi: How does writing You Knew me When differ from writing Facebook Fairytales?

Emily Liebert: It was an entirely different process. For Facebook Fairytales, I basically did 30-40 interviews and turned people’s real life stories into 25 short narratives. It was almost like writing 25 magazine articles. I had to stay true to what actually happened; there was no making anything up! Quite honestly, writing Facebook Fairytales came very easily to me, since I’ve written hundreds of articles throughout my career. Writing You Knew Me When was a labor of love. I lived with the characters in my mind. They were a part of me. They still are!

Heidi: You Knew me When has been well received and has even scored some fun and interesting endorsements.  Can you share with our readers about some of those endorsements and how they came about?  Which is your favorite?  And, did I hear this right a spin-class book signing?

Emily Liebert:Yes! There’s a “You Knew Me When” nail polish collection created by Zoya, with three polishes named after the three main female characters—Katherine, Laney, and Luella. The hues are gorgeous for Fall! There’s also a “You Knew Me When” dress collection by Meskita with three dresses named for the women. And, finally, the jewelry brand Dodo by Pomellato has spectacular 18kt gold charms, each with a special message. I had the unique opportunity to select the charms that best reflect the personalities of my novel’s characters: the butterfly with the message “I love my freedom” for high powered cosmetics executive Katherine Hill who does everything on her own and never takes no for an answer; the starfish “Handle with care” for the spirited and ever loyal Laney Marten who always says what’s on her mind whether you like it or not; and the angelfish whose message “You work miracles” echoes the relentlessly generous but also painstakingly private personality of Luella Hancock. I could never pick a favorite, it would be like picking a favorite child! I’m also working with Flywheel, a chain of spinning studios. They’re hosting a book signing for me at their Upper West Side NYC location on 9/11! And then we’re going to do two more signings when their locations in Westchester County open up.

Heidi: Can you tell us a little about your next release that I’ve seen is slated for a release of Fall 2014?

Emily Liebert: Yes! My second novel, The Love That Lies Ahead, is scheduled to publish in September 2014. It’s about a woman who lost her husband eleven years ago and found out she was pregnant with their son a week after he died. Now, over a decade later, she and her son are moving back to her hometown for a fresh start. Unbeknownst to her, her husband’s former best friend and his wife live there now…and that leads to lots of interesting plot twists!

Heidi: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Emily Liebert: Just that I hope everyone will enjoy reading You Knew Me When as much as I enjoyed writing it. I plan to be doing this for a long time, so stay tuned!

Heidi: Thanks for visiting us and I wish you all the best with your future endeavors. Thank YOU!