Q&A with Angela Lam, The Divorce Planner
What inspired you to write The Divorce Planner?
Shortly after my year-long divorce was finalized, I wistfully wondered if the process would have gone more smoothly if I had hired someone to navigate it for me much like brides hire a wedding planner to plan their special day. My boyfriend and his mother said there was no such thing as a divorce planner. I looked up the profession and discovered they were right. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of such a career and wondered who would be brave enough (and crazy enough) to help divorcing couples through the process. That’s when Darcy Madison came to me. Once she started telling me her story, I began to write.
Who inspired Darcy? Who inspired Victor?
Darcy is a little bit of me (the woman in a man’s body), a little bit of my husband (I never want to get married again), and a little bit like my favorite female friend (who has the same name as Darcy’s best friend), and, of course, the rest is herself.
Victor is every male Peter Pan I’ve ever met with a dash of the classic Alpha romantic hero and a whole lot of himself.
What inspired the mother-daughter dynamics between Darcy and Joyce?
Obviously, Darcy and Joyce’s relationship mirror my own relationship with my daughter following my divorce. (Shhh…don’t tell her that).
Why include the 2017 Northern California wildfires in the book?
I sold the manuscript to The Wild Rose Press in December 2017. My editor, Leanne Morgena, thought the wildfire was relevant to the setting. I rewrote extensively to include the fire and its aftermath in the book.
Is rewriting difficult?
I was in labor for 72 hours with my daughter and giving birth was much easier than rewriting anything, including The Divorce Planner. Luckily, Leanne is patient and understanding with an open heart and open mind. In spite of her talent, the rewrite took over one year for me to complete. I’m hoping to reduce that amount of time with the next book I’ve sold, Friends First. But I’m a slower learner, so we’ll see…
Any advice for aspiring authors?
I think the famous authors have said enough. I have nothing more to add. I’ve tried to quit writing but writing is the only reason why I am still alive.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
During a work conference, I trekked three miles by foot to visit the Not My Brother’s Bar in Denver, Colorado, where Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady drank. The register still shows the amount of Kerouac’s bar tab. Fabulous!
What is the first book that made you cry?
Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery. I identified with Emily Bryd Starr’s quest to become a professional author.
Does a big ego help or hurt authors?
It definitely helps. Most of the local authors I’ve befriended since I started writing professionally in 1985 focus exclusively on writing, because their confidence was contagious. If you dream big, believe big, and live big, you will definitely experience big results. I, on the other hand, am trying desperately to build my self-confidence so I can eventually retire and focus exclusively on writing and painting.
My first love is drawing. You can read more about my journey as a visual artist in my memoir, Red Eggs and Good Luck.