Emily Listfield's Best Intentions is a true page-turner that begs the question: How well can you ever really know a person?
The book follows four former college friends on the edge of 40 as they navigate marriage problems, career pressures, parenting tactics, and most importantly, past grudges. Readers will wonder just how much love influences how we perceive those closest to us -- how much we trust them, how many questions we're willing to ask, and when we'll allow doubt to take hold.
I've always been fascinated by this question and have touched on it in previous books, I think it's something we all wonder about in various ways, What is the next door neighbor who seems so friendly really up to? How could the Craigslist Killer's girlfriend swear he is 'beautiful inside and out?" Obviously those are extreme cases, But everyone -- your spouse, your lover, even your children are to some degree a mystery. I believe everyone has had the experience of looking at the person sleeping next to them and wondering what is going on in the head and in their heart.
Did you learn anything about "trust and perception" while writing the book?
My female friends are so important to me as a source of both humor and support. I think there are wonderful passages in Best Intentions about marriage and motherhood that all women will relate to, but I would chose something about the abiding friendship between Lisa and Deirdre. The two best friends get together to talk about everything -- men, children, jobs, dreams, desires -- and yes, diets. (Let's be real.) In this passage they are having breakfast a day before they will all gather for a reunion. It is, after all, a universal truth that you want to look as thin as possible before seeing an old boyfriend for the first time in years:
"Are we doing carbs or not this week?" I ask.
Deirdre shakes her head,"Too dangerous. I’m trying these seaweed capsules.”
“I thought we agreed, no diet drugs.”
“They’re not a drug. They’re completely natural. They’re from Germany,” she emphasizes. The European origin adds to their cachet, much like this past summer’s rampant use of a certain SPF 60 sun block from Sweden whose ingredients are not yet FDA-approved and thus has to be brought back from Europe, serving the dual purpose of announcing where you have been and that your skin is far too sensitive for any lotion America can come up with. “You take three before every meal. “They’re supposed to expand in your stomach and make you feel full. The only potential side effect, according to the box, is the risk of choking to death if one accidentally expands in your throat on the way down.”
“That would certainly prevent you from over-eating. Do they work?”
“Who knows? My stomach is so bloated from them that I couldn’t zip my jeans this morning.”
I glance at Deirdre, who is, in fact, wearing jeans. White jeans. And looks quite thin. As always.
“These are a different pair,” Deirdre explains. “My fat jeans.
I roll my eyes. “There is no such thing as ‘fat’ white jeans. It’s a complete oxymoron.”
Who would you cast in the film version of the book?
Now this is fun! For Lisa: Kate Winslet. For Sam: Gerard Butler. For Deirde: Rachel Weisz. For Jack: James Franco.
Being a mother influences everything in my life and that includes my writing. Having children gives you a deeper connection and stake in the world, it simply ups that ante in all ways -- love, hope, fear, appreciation. In terms of fiction, it has given me a broader canvas and a deeper understanding of characters' motivations, their deepest wishes and desires.