An interview with Leslie Handler author of Rats, Mice and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank
I’d like to introduce Leslie Handler, author of Rat’s, Mice and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank. Leslie describes herself as ‘a late bloomer’, meaning she was born at the tail end of the boomer generation. She writes memoirs and personal essays about her experience and observations of life.
What is one thing people wouldn’t usually know about you?
I’m a loner. Most people don’t know this about me because I’m very outgoing. I do love chatting with people and learning about what makes them tick. I prefer getting together with friends one on one or two on one as opposed to parties. I find that at parties, I end up going hope at the end having never had a decent conversation with a single person.
In the end though. I spend a lot of time alone. Part of this is due to a health issue I have that forces me to have many rest days, but I do actually enjoy my own company. All of my hobbies are solitary: reading, writing, sewing, beading, swimming, and too many more to count.
What did your best review say about your work?
I’ve had the fortune of having two favourite reviews.
One said: “When I begin to think of others with whom I want to share a book, even start ordering copies for them before I’ve finished reading it, I’ve found a book that serves the heart.Leslie Handler’s warm, transparent — sometimes fearless — perspective clears out inner cobwebs like a rush of springtime air. Her writing
strikes a welcome balance between humorously forthcoming and gently poignant.”
My other favorite: “I have a love for Erma Bombeck. I try not to compare authors, but when I find one who does remind me of someone I cherish, I have to do it. Leslie Handler reminds me of Erma. Her essays bring smiles, tears, laughter and a feeling of comfort. I took my time with Leslie’s book. With each essay, I felt as if I was sitting with a kooky, clever neighbor, enjoying coffee and talking about life… ”
What did your worst review say about your work?
The only bad review I’ve received wrote just three words: “What a disappointment.”
I really wish I knew why. I can’t change someone’s mind, but I’d love to understand why the book didn’t resonate with them.
How did you choose a title for your book?
Ah! The title has a lot of meaning. One has to read the book to understand the title, but let’s just say there’s a definite reason that rats, mice, and banks have been part of my life.
Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer?
I’ve found a lot of joy in writing. I’ve met many wonderful writers whom I have befriended and have been contacted by some amazing readers who seemed to relate to my columns. I’d have to say the only hazard I’ve found in writing is the rejection from publishers and editors. I just take every “no” as being one step closer to a “yes.” I think the “no’s” actually make the “yes’s” just that much sweeter.
Have you ever wished you could do, or be, something else?
I’ve had a million other lives and careers. I’m now entering my senior years and am truly where I want to be, doing what I want to do. I feel so very fortunate.
Have you ever written naked?
Ha! Jammies, yes. Naked, no. Although, I don’t think I’d be that objectionable to it. I once wrote an article about a trait I have that I learned from my grandmother: stripping! Really, she always hated clothes and took them off the minute she got home. She passed almost fifty years ago, but I still remember her doing it. To this very day, the minute I’m home for the day, my clothes come off, and my pjs go on, even if it 10:30 in the morning!
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
Write. Share your writing. Network with other writers. Writers are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever met.
How do you remain sane whilst writing?
Writing IS my sanity!
What is the best excuse you’ve had for missing a deadline?
Never missed one yet. Thank you writing Gods.
Are you jealous of other writers?
Of course! Anyone who says they’re not is lying. I’m very happy for them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t also wish I’d thought of that line or had that talent. I think a little healthy jealousy can make one strive to be better themselves.
Where do you find your inspiration
I only write personal essay/memoir so all of my writing comes for real life experiences. It’s all about observation in the mundane.
What was the most important thing you learned at school?
I obviously learned a lot at school, but I believe the most important lesson I ever learned was from my Dad. He taught me the difference between being an assertive woman and being an aggressive or passive woman. Knowing how to practice quiet, kind assertiveness has served me well in all aspects of my life.
Which book would you like to have written?
The first thing that comes to mind is any Shakespeare play. He wrote about the every day man, about humor, tragedy, and the human condition with such simple talent.
Do you have a favourite writing resource to share with my readers and other writers?
Read, read, read. If you want to know who to contact to publish your writing, you need to be a good student of other publications and other writer’s work.
Tea, coffee, water, juice, beer, wine or ‘other’ – what do you prefer when writing?
I’m a major coffee drinker, but to be honest, when I’m writing, I get completely lost. Time passes without my even noticing. I have to set an alarm to remember to pick up my husband from the train station or I’ll write right through his arrival time. Don’t laugh at me, but I think it’s only the need to pee, or my alarm that make me stop writing once I’ve gotten started.
Are there any habits you wish you didn’t have?
Yes. I’m totally OCD. If I can do it and do it now, I will. Whatever it is, I want it off my plate. I guess opposites truly attract because my husband is the king of procrastination. We make a good team.
Where can I find out more about Lesley and her book?
You can find Rats, Mice and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank in paperback and Kindle format here: :
You can meet Leslie on her website here: http://www.lesliegoesboom.com
WHY ‘THE THURSDAY THRONG’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.