Luanne Rice Talks ‘The Lemon Orchard’
Bestselling author Luanne Rice’s The Lemon Orchard is a love story between two people from seemingly different worlds. It’s available now in paperback and the author answers our questions about her latest compelling read.
The Lemon Orchard hooked us with the authentic and beautiful setting, although we also quickly fell in love with your characters. Can you tell us a little about your writing process? What comes first, the characters, setting, or plot?
A character usually comes first, although sometimes setting does. I don’t plot, I let the character tell the story. She’ll start appearing in small, quiet ways, and I’ll find myself wondering what she might have for breakfast or whether she likes to garden. The intimate details lead to her inner life and then she comes alive. By the time she’s told me her name, I’m ready to start writing, and it’s all I can do to keep up with her as her story comes into focus.
The Lemon Orchard touches on a hot-button issue – immigration – in a very calm and humanizing way. How did you balance it with the rest of the story, and make sure it didn’t come across as overpowering?
I wrote about people. Human hearts are the same everywhere. I wrote about a man who loves his daughter, a woman who loves hers. They miss their children and come together to find the kind of peace that only parents who’ve gone through such a thing can understand. Along with an undocumented man who walked through the Sonora Desert, I wrote about a U.S. Border Patrol agent who worked at the checkpoints. His story is just as emotional as any other characters. I didn’t think in terms of politics, I just thought about human beings.
You’re so wonderfully book club friendly. Any fun tidbits you can share as you’ve been chatting with them about The Lemon Orchard?
Readers seem to enjoy discussing the relationships, the setting, the way people move from place to place, what drives us to leave our home places in search of…what? A better life in the case of Roberto, an escape from memories and sorrow in the case of Julia. How do they find what they’re looking for—how do we find what we’re looking for? These are questions my readers are asking in their book clubs. I’ve created a book club kit filled with lemon drinks and recipes—and I’d love to incorporate more ideas from readers. (** Readers can also win an IN-PERSON book club visit from Luanne. Details here.)
Five of your books have already been movies and mini-series. Any chance we’ll see The Lemon Orchard on screen?
A producer is interested, but we’ll see…
Where’s your favorite spot to read?
By an open window with a tree outside and a white curtain stirring in the salt breeze.
What book is currently sitting on your nightstand?
The Major’s Daughter by J.P. Francis.
What can readers look forward to next from you?
I am working on a novel that returns to Hubbard’s Point, the town on shoreline Connecticut where I have set many books.
Luanne Rice is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty one novels, most recently The Lemon Orchard. Her novels, including Cloud Nine and Last Kiss often center on love, family, nature and the sea, and have been translated into twenty-four languages. A number of Rice’s novels have been adapted for television, including Crazy in Love for TNT, Blue Moon for CBS, the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentations of Follow the Stars Home and Silver Bells, and Beach Girls as a summer drama series for Lifetime Television. She has contributed a theatrical piece to the new off Broadway play Motherhood Out Loud. Rice loves nature and frequently writes about it. Born in Connecticut, Rice divides her time between New York City and Southern California.
Learn more about order your copy of The Lemon Orchard here.
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