When she is not writing, Lissa tinkers with her bluegrass banjo on the porch of her log cabin. She's a member of North Carolina's High Country Writers, the North Carolina Writers Network and SheWrites.com, an online community of mostly women writers. She is a reluctant gym rat and enjoys hiking along mountain streams near her home. You can see more details about her at her website, www.lissabrownwrites.com
LB: Imagine you had the opportunity to choose who would be in your family. Rory Calhoun Wilson, the boy who was the subject of Another F-Word, is now a practicing physician who must decide whether he should legally adopt the two young children of his partner. His doubts about whether he is good father material stem from the terrible relationship he has with the father who bullied him as a child and then abandoned him for years. Should Rory try to forgive this man he detests? If he doesn’t, will he be able to heal the wounds left by years of being bullied? His future happiness rests on the answer to that question.
BBB: How did you come up with the idea for Family of Choice?
LB: Some of the readers of Another F-Word actually gave me the idea with questions they raised at book signings and readings. I spent last year speaking to groups about the issue of bullying and many readers, especially young ones who were victims of that horrible experience, raised the questions that led me to explore the whole issue of forgiveness and reconciliation. I decided their questions were important enough to devote time to writing a sequel, Family of Choice.
Forgiveness is difficult for many of us, yet we know that it can be a key to good mental health. Most people struggle with this issue during their lives, so they will be able to relate to Rory’s challenges. Sometimes we learn from fiction what our heads will not allow us to take in from everyday living.
BBB: Tell us about your main character.
LB: Rory Calhoun Wilson is a sensitive man who was fortunate to have strong mentors who made it possible for him to go to college and then medical school. He suffered while growing up in Tennessee because he was different. Rory is gay.
As an adult living in Baltimore with his doctor partner, he’s thrown into the role of father to two young children. There’s genuine love between Rory and the children, and they want him to be their “real father,” as they call it. He’s unsure of his ability to be a good father because he lacked a good role model growing up. His insecurity causes friction between him and his partner. Driven by his love for his partner and the children, he confronts his tormented past and discovers some surprising information during his journey.
LB: I’m writing a novel about a group of people who place great importance on their body images, sometimes to the exclusion of aspects that are more important. I also take time out to write humorous essays about all sorts of topics. It’s a good brain cleaner after spending time in the heads of the novel’s characters. I find I need that from time to time. I’m fortunate coming from a family of people with highly developed senses of humor. It’s a wonderful gift.
BBB: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
LB: I invite readers to my website, www.lissabrownwrites.com to see what I share about my personal life.