I'm always interested in the origins of a book - how do writers come up with their ideas? Does something specific spark that first line? In Delia Ephron's case the answer is yes......
"This book happened because of an anxiety attack. I was worried about something… something that I knew wasn’t going to be resolved for a while, and I thought how can I ever get through this? And that night when I went to sleep, I had a dream. A most vivid dream about three women and a lion. When I woke up, I wondered for a second if what I dreamed was real. Then I knew it was my next novel."
Lana and Tracee (who is wearing a wedding dress) pull over to the side of the road with a flat tire. And along comes Rita, calmly walking down the side of the highway, on her way to - well, she doesn't really know where. Rita helps fix the tire and accepts a ride to wherever the young women are headed. The trip ends in North Carolina when the old Mustang breaks down again. Between the three of them, they have little money, no clothes, no anything. So, they break into a shabby looking roadhouse for the night. And discover that the name of the bar - The Lion - is, in fact reality based - there is a huge old lion in a cage inside. And so begins The Lion is In.
I was engaged right away - I wanted to know the reasons behind that wedding dress and the older woman walking alone on a highway. A lion in a bar promised quirky and Ephron delivered on that promise.
Each of the characters (including the supporting cast)is flawed or wounded to a certain degree. But they're all trying to find their footing and break away from what's holding them back. And segue to the lion - Marcel -yes, that's his name - though caged, is the catalyst and the impetus that sets them free.
The Lion is In was a quick, fun read for me. Yes, you have to suspend disbelief a few times, but if you're in the mood for a heartwarming, feel-good read, this is a good bet. Nothing too deep, although I did like Tim's Theory of One. " All you need is one person to make a difference in your life. You can have the world's most awful life....but if one person believes in you, you'll be okay."
Delia Ephron is also a screenwriter - remember that movie - You've Got Mail? The Lion is In has the same feel - lots of off-centre, quirky characters (Tim is a favourite), odd situations and the hope that it will all work out in the end. I could easily see this book being made into a movie.
Read an excerpt of The Lion is In. Book clubs - there is a reading group guide available as well.
You can find Delia Ephron on Facebook and on Twitter.