Author Interview: Laurie Frankel

From Laurie Frankel, the New York Times bestselling author of This Is How It Always Is, a Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine Book Pick, comes One Two Three, a timely, topical novel about love and family that will make you laugh and cry…and laugh again. We spoke with author Laurie Frankel about the inspiration for One Two Three, her audiobook recommendations, and more!

One Two Three by Laurie Frankel is the kind of novel that immediately grabs your attention and never lets go. In a marvelously constructed narrative, told in the three distinctly different voices of the Mitchell triplets, the reader learns how the town of Bourne had its water poisoned 16 years ago by a chemical company, resulting in many deaths and even more birth defects….Suspenseful, funny, heart-wrenching and ultimately hopeful–this is a novel book clubs will adore. For lovers of Barbara Kingsolver, Jodi Picoult, and Richard Russo, but this will be a book I try to handsell to everyone. It’s that good!”

William, An Unlikely Story

Please tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this book and how this story took shape for you.

The book is shaped by three sixteen-year-old sisters (triplets). They take turns narrating, and they were very demanding. Because of the structure of the book, if one has something to tell, they all get their say. They are very different from one another, but each is kick-ass and also surprising in her own way.

So I’m inspired by how strong these girls and girls in general are, even though their power is so often discounted and discouraged. I’m inspired by families and communities like the one in this book who fight terrible injustice against terrible odds. I’m inspired, always, by the ways people change and grow, which I think is the wonderful business of novels.

In two sentences or less, what’s something that might surprise listeners about your audiobook?

Translating this book from page to audio required three incredible voice actors plus an audio editor to partially engineer yet a fourth voice. Not only did they do a beautiful job, they’ve given the audio version of this book an added dimension.

Have you listened to your own audiobook? What struck you about the narration?

I’m so impressed with how distinct these three narrators sound from one another. It’s also true that I’m big on dialogue as a writer, and these narrators do a beautiful job on all the many characters’ voices. This was a tough book to narrate, and they–Emma GalvinJesse Vilinsky and Rebecca Soler–did a remarkable job.

Are you an audiobook listener? What are some of your favorite audiobooks?

Like everyone else, I loved George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo. I loved Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. I loved Julia Child’s My Life In France, Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing, Bill Bryson’s Notes From a Small Island and In a Sunburned Country, Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers.

What have independent bookstores and/or booksellers meant to you personally and professionally?

Indie booksellers and indie bookstores mean the world to me. I am lucky to live in a city (Seattle) with a wide variety of indies and also lucky to have gotten to know so many of the people who work in them. Their support and enthusiasm–not to mention, book recommendations (and eagerness to discuss them with me afterward)–are invaluable. And then, when I’m far from home, I find the local bookstore and feel welcome and among friends.

Anything else to share with us?

Just my deep gratitude to you for all the good work you’re doing in the world!

Playlist: Monday Mitchell's Audiobook Recommendations cover

Playlist: Monday Mitchell’s Audiobook Recommendations

Monday Mitchell, a.k.a. Two, is one of the three narrators of Laurie Frankel’s new novel, One Two Three. If she met you in person, she would pick the perfect book for you. Since that is not possible in this case, she has recommended some books she loves which are excellent for everyone.

View the playlist

Header photo by Natalia Dotto

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