Alexa Bigwarfe and Leslie Rasmussen talk about the challenges involved in the novel writing journey, including how to get started. They also discuss themes in writing, empowering the characters, and more!

Leslie A. Rasmussen is the award-winning author of the novel, After Happily Ever After. She was born and raised in Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA. She went on to write television comedies for Gerald McRaney, Burt Reynolds, Roseanne Barr, Norm McDonald, Drew Carey, as well as The Wild Thornberrys and Sweet Valley High. After leaving the business to raise her boys, she attained a master's degree in nutrition and ran her own business for ten years. Recently, she’s written over twenty essays for Huffington Post, and Maria Shriver, and spoken on panels discussing empowering women in midlife. Leslie is a member of The Writers Guild of America, as well as Women In Film and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. In her free time, Leslie loves to read, exercise, and hang out with friends. She lives in Los Angeles and is married and has two sons.

“It's funny because sometimes people say, from the cover, is it romance? I'm like, no, the only romance in it really…it's mostly that she is sort of falling in love with herself. I love that romance. She's on a journey to find herself and she's learning how to find her voice and fall in love with herself.”
Leslie on her newest book, After Happily Ever After.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Explore how the work challenges genre expectations and the impact this might have on reader perceptions.
  • Consider how readers might relate to the protagonist's journey.
  • Universal themes of self-discovery and the quest for self-love that can resonate with a broad audience.
  • Delve into the significance of self-love as a central theme in story.
  • Explore the importance of finding one's voice as a central theme in the narrative.
  • Explore strategies for overcoming self-critique and gaining confidence in one's creative work.


Key Takeaways

  • The Art of Writing Dialogue: Dialogue is important for character development, something Leslie learned working on television scripts.
  • Learning from Mistakes:  All writing has a learning curve where mistakes are made, Leslie's first novel took 4.5 years.
  • Role of a Developmental Editor: Working with a developmental editor from the early stages of the writing journey to streamline the process is important.
  • Multi-Perspective Storytelling: Experiment with different narrative perspectives, providing readers with a more rounded understanding of the characters.

Memorable Moments:

00:06:26 – The Process of Writing a Novel
Leslie and Alexa delve into the challenges of writing a novel, including the importance of creating a detailed outline to guide the story and the value of working with a developmental editor to streamline the writing process.

00:18:11 – Challenges of Descriptive Writing
The conversation delves into the challenges of transitioning from technical writing to descriptive storytelling. Leslie discusses the struggle of “showing, not telling” and the use of emotional thesaurus to enhance descriptive writing. Both hosts share their experiences with acting out scenes to improve their writing.

00:23:11 – Writing from a Single Perspective
Leslie discusses the challenges of writing in first person and the need to bring forth other characters' perspectives. She shares her approach of including chapters from other characters' points of view to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the storyline.

00:25:43 – Trend of Multiple Points of View
The conversation shifts to the trend of writing from multiple points of view in current literature. Both hosts discuss the growing acceptance and preference for books with multiple perspectives, highlighting the evolving nature of writing and reader preferences.

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