Feature Image Credit: @vintageanchorbooks

A New York Times bestseller and long-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Claire Lombardo’s The Most Fun We Ever Had is out this week in paperback. This “rich, complex family saga” (USA Today) is full of long-buried family secrets with viewpoints spanning half a century.

I wanted to go deeper with this author and understand more about her inspiration and experiences. And don’t miss out on some of her favorite books, her favorite first line of a book and other fun book-related questions she answered in our  Ten Book Challenge: Claire Lombardo’s Book-It List.

Tell us about your new book in 3 sentences. 

The Most Fun We Ever Had is the story of a family—and the intensely loving marriage at its core. It’s also a “man who came to town” story with a lot of secrets in the center. And it’s an exploration of perception, how no two people will ever experience or remember a single event exactly the same way.

Where did you get the idea for this book? 

I wanted to explore what it would feel like to be a fly on the wall of a family for an extended period of time—in this case, half a century.

What is your favorite thing about this book? 

I love how much I came to love my characters while I was writing Most Fun—I have deep affection for all of them, despite their shortcomings and their occasionally questionable behavior, and I hope that comes through on the page.

Three emotions readers should/will experience when reading this book. 

The euphoric highs and terrible lows of being a person—and hopefully some amusement along the way?

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

The Most Fun We Ever Had spans many decades and has seven narrators, so figuring out the right structure by which to deliver the story was very tricky and took me several years of work.

Take us into the research /prep part. In a nutshell, what did that look like for this book? 

This is a character-driven novel, so it didn’t require tons of conventional research, but I had to spend a lot of time getting to know the characters myself—namely, writing many, many scenes that I knew wouldn’t make it into the book but that helped me better understand who the Sorensons were and how they moved through the world.

Why do you write books? 

I write books because I believe that every human life, no matter how quiet, is endlessly, intricately fascinating: everyone has a story to tell, and I consider it a great privilege to explore those stories in my work.

I am drawn to books that….

Make me laugh! While also making me cry! Then too, enjoy laughing while also crying—because you recognize something of yourself in the characters on the page.