Though I live just outside Philadelphia now, I was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, the youngest child of a textile executive and nurse-turned-architect. My mother is Canadian and my father was born in D.C. so my older brother and sister and I were the first people in our family to have southern accents. The three of us enjoyed a pretty normal childhood, enjoying Greensboro’s great public schools (go Whirlies!), putting on skits, playing tennis and Boggle, watching Time Bandits, and hugging our golden retriever to death (not literally, but close).
After high school, I found myself at the University of Delaware majoring in History and Journalism, intending to become the world’s most fabulous and fashionable museum curator. But instead of to the Smithsonian, life delivered me into the vague and all-encompassing field of “public relations,” a career I would have for more than fifteen years (and still do, though now for only one beloved client). PR has no easy or exact definition but let me try: For many years, I helped other people explain their businesses, announce mergers, get elected, sell product, influence public opinion and minimize/avoid/redefine catastrophe, while enjoying many a free catered buffet, corporate junket and brainstorming-session-turned-happy-hour.
As a flack, I made some life-long friends, moved from one great mid-Atlantic city to the other (before settling in Philadelphia); got hired, fired, hired again; and eventually started my own PR shop. Along the way, I lucked in to a great relationship and that man and I have been together now for fifteen years. We have two glorious kids, a girl and a boy, who make every day both magical and exhausting. NOTE: These children may be similar to the children described in my book, though my daughter Lulu is not a brat and she hates pink. (And yes, she made me clarify that.)
So where does the novel come in? After fifteen years of writing almost every day for other people, on October 26th, 2012, I began writing THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY. The idea came to me when I saw a photo in a magazine of a man I almost dated years before. After my husband and I had a few laughs about how much better my life would have been with him (yuck, yuck), even days later, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. Why do we make the decisions we make? Why does life take us where it takes us? And why do we always imagine the road not taken as far better---never far worse?
Writing this book has given me answers to those questions, and so much more. It has taught me to appreciate not only my own life’s path, but the million and one decisions that kept me on it. It has taught me that those steps are not necessarily random, and that with time, they can be understood. And when needed, forgiven.
But most importantly, writing this book has taught me that the past is just the boring, old past. What lies ahead is the delicious mystery.
Wherever you are on your journey, I hope you never look back.
Want to get in touch? Email me at leigh[at]leighhimes[dot]com.
For Media and Publicity Requests: Michelle Aielli, Hachette Book Group
Agent: Theresa Park, The Park Literary Group
Foreign Rights: Abigail Koons, The Park Literary Group
For Booksellers: ISBN-13: 9780316305730, $26.00 US/$31.50 CAN, Hachette Books, 5/31/16, 384 pgs. Also available in e-book (9780316305723) and audiobook (9781478909491). For more, visit Hachette Books.
Author Photo: Nina Subin.