We sometimes wonder how Emily Liebert gets it all done. Aside from being this magazine’s treasured Books Correspondent, for which she pairs book reviews by local authors with amazing luxe destinations around the world, she also frequently contributes her talents to other sections of this magazine (see “Under the Influence,” profiles of local influencers). And despite that work, she also regularly publishes her books, including her new one: Perfectly Famous. We can’t help but think there’s more than one person completing all this work, but she insists it’s just her and that computer monitor with the flashing cursor awaiting the next word. Lucky for us, Emily also finds time to enjoy living in locally. To celebrate Emily’s latest book, Kerri Rosenthal is hosting the author’s launch party at her Westport store on Thursday, June 4.
Another book? How many have you written now?
“Yes! Sometimes it’s hard to believe, even though I’m the one writing them. This is lucky number seven for me.”
When did you start this one?
“I started outlining this book in November 2018 and began writing it in January 2019. I emailed the first draft of the manuscript to my editor on May 21, 2019. Not that I keep track of these sorts of things.”
What’s the title—and why?
“The title is Perfectly Famous. As for why—one of the two protagonists is a famous crime novelist and her life is anything but perfect. On the heels of Pretty Revenge, my last book, my publisher and I wanted another title with two words that belied each other.”
What’s the plotline?
“Perfectly Famous is the story of a journalist obsessed with finding a crime novelist who disappears after a deadly attack on her daughter. Ward DeFleur, one of the leading ladies, is a mother and famous author, who appears to have it all. She lives in a beautiful estate in picture-perfect Connecticut, along with her teenage daughter, Stevie, where, supposedly, nothing can go wrong. Until, one night, when Stevie is brutally murdered and Ward’s entire world is shattered. Ward is so grief stricken that she vows never to write again. That’s when the other leading lady, Bree Bennett, comes into the picture. She’s a recently divorced, former-journalist-cum-housewife, who’s desperate to fill her days with something other than Pilates classes and grocery shopping. So she decides to start writing for the town newspaper. What begins as Bree’s effort to tell Ward’s tragic narrative turns into an obsession with finding her favorite author. Unfortunately, Ward doesn’t want to be found. Even worse, Stevie’s killer is still on the loose! Dun dun dun…”
Did it unfold the way you expected at the outset?
“Ninety-nine percent of the book unfolded the way I expected, due to the fact that I’d outlined it in great detail. That said, I changed the ending in the last line, as I was writing it, which I’ve never done before! It was deeply satisfying.”
When do you find time to write?
“I work during the weekdays while my kids are at school or camp, specifically my writing hours fall between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. After that, I’ll edit, return emails, schedule conference calls and attend to other projects. I have serious respect for authors who write at night. By 8 p.m. my brain is fried and the only thing it can metabolize is reality TV.”
Where do your characters come from—that is, do you need a certain character to drive the story forward by introducing conflict?
“My characters are derived mostly from my imagination but many of their traits and, certainly, plenty of the circumstances they find themselves in are poached from my life and the lives of the people I surround myself with. Without fail, every time I publish a new book, my friends and family ask me if specific characters are based on them. There is always one character who drives the story forward.”
What can we expect at the launch party?
“It’s Thursday, June 4, and you’re all invited! I’ll be in conversation with my friend Stephanie Szostak, star of the ABC series, A Million Little Things. We’re expecting a big crowd, lots of mingling, food and drink and, of course, I’ll be signing copies of Perfectly Famous.”
Why Kerri’s shop?
“For starters, I’m a big fan of Kerri Rosenthal and her art. She’s extremely talented and hard-working, a combination that I admire. In addition to that, Kerri’s shop is so joyful, fresh and unique. It’s such a stylish venue for a party!”
What’s next for you?
“I’m in the process of writing my eighth novel. At the same time, my last novel Pretty Revenge, was optioned for a television show, so I’m very involved in that. I’m also hoping to announce plans to adapt Perfectly Famous for the big or small screen very soon. I like to stay busy.”