Leslie Esdaile

Leslie Esdaile
Rivers Of The Soul

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
June 2002

1. Who is Leslie Esdaile?

A mom, a wife, an entrepreneur, and author... I wear many hats, just like so many African American women do. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, so I love using my hometown as a backdrop for my work.

2. What inspired you to write Rivers of the Soul?

I went through what Antoinette went through, and had heard SO MANY other women tell this same story, that I thought it merited putting our reality in print. I, like the heroine, had been divorced, and had to rebuild my life from the ground up. There were days when it seemed hopeless... but I wanted to inspire other sisters out there, and to let them know that all is not lost. You can come back from the ashes.

3. How did you come about the plot for Rivers of the Soul?

From life. Seriously. After my divorce, I moved back to Philly, where I remet my old highschool sweetheart. (My husband's middle name is Jerome, by the way, LOL). He and I were both divorced, and fell in love with each other all over again, warts and all. A lot of this book simply came from walking that long mile in the heroine's shoes.

4. How long have you been writing?

Since 1992, but didn't get published until 1996.

5. How did you come about Toni and Jerome characters?

A LOT of me is in Toni, and so much of my husband is in Jerome, it isn't even funny. I used a combination of girlfriends and aunties, and family to develop the rest. Almost got me run out of town, though, LOL. But Aunt Pearline is a cross between my mother, and my two favorite aunts (all of whom have passed away now.)

6. You reflected upon so many different relationships in this story from Toni's father and May, to Toni's and Jerome's friends as well as Toni and her ex and Jerome and his wife. Is there a message you are conveying by doing so?

Yes. The message is to be gentle with other people... you never know what they are struggling with or why. And it is also about being responsible, even when you don't feel like it, and even when you are angry with the other person--there's a way to do things (children should never be left wanting because of adult decisions.) But it is most about not losing hope or faith in the goodness of people, no matter what is going on around you... love is possible.

7. Are there any of your personalities traits in any of your character?

LOL... ooooohhhhh, yeah. I'm a cook, am constantly battling my weight, and have taught in women's shelters, have done the "come back from the ashes" thing... and have a bit of a temper (at times--don't get me started on diversity issues, LOL!)

8. Will there be a sequel to Rivers of the Soul?

Absolutely... it's out now, entitled, "Still Waters Run Deep," (Genesis Press imprint, June 2002 release.)

9. What type of atmosphere do you require to write?

Ideally, I would say a quiet one on the beaches of St. Lucia, ha ha ha ha ha. But, as a mother of four (blended family), with a wild household filled with children, schedules, chores to do, and traffic noise going by it, I make due with a computer in a one that I barricade from the family from time-to-time. LOL