Q&A With Katherine Lin

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Q&A With Katherine Lin 

Publicist Maya Baran was kind enough to connect me with Katherine Lin who is an attorney & writer based in the San Francisco Bay area. Katherine’s debut mystery novel You Can’t Stay Here Forever is available to read now! 

Q: Katherine, would you please give a brief description of your novel You Can’t Stay Here Forever?

A: Soon after twenty-eight-year-old Ellie Huang’s husband, Ian, is killed in a car accident, she discovers he was cheating on her with one of her colleagues at her prestigious San Francisco law firm. In a rare act of impulse, Ellie uses Ian’s life insurance payout to book an extended stay at the renowned Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. She brings along her best friend Mable Chou, who has her own reasons for wanting to run away, too. While basking in obscene luxury, Ellie and Mable fall in with an attractive and sophisticated American couple. But as poolside chats roll into wine-soaked dinners (lots and lots of them), Ellie and Mable find it impossible to ignore their lives back home. All their demons are right there with them in the South of France, and there is nowhere else to run.

Q: Are the characters in your story taken from real people that you’ve interacted with as an attorney? I know many authors take bits and pieces of real people and places to create their fictional worlds and characters. 

A: I never base entire characters based on people I know or have met, but there are definitely parts of characters that are inspired by the real world. For example, Ellie is a hard-working, brilliant attorney–yet is completely adrift in life. She doesn’t actually enjoy her job but doesn’t quite know how to escape, and she finds herself constantly overshadowed by the closest people in her life. Ellie also has a strained relationship with her mom. I know lots of people who have struggled with these problems before, including myself. Still, Ellie, as with all my characters, is her own person, and as real to me as my best friend. 

Q: How long did it take for you to write You Can’t Stay Here?

A: The first draft came to me feverishly and quickly, within a matter of weeks. But then I had the task of revising, again and again. And again! Revising spanned a long time, from working on it myself, then with my agent, and then with my wonderful team at Harper Books. By the time the book debuted in June 2023, it had been years since my first draft was completed. 

Q: If it’s not too early, can you reveal details about your next book that you are currently writing?

A: I don’t share too much about my work before it’s finished (not because I don’t want to! Only because I find that talking about a story too early can oftentimes stall the creative process) but I will say that a lot of similar themes in You Can’t Stay Here Forever are in my current work-in-progress–charged complications of female friendship; the slippery nature of marriage and monogamy; the allures and limits of capitalism; and the interplay of race and privilege. 

Q: You Can’t Stay Here has been named People Magazines Must Reads For Summer, & Good Morning America’s 15 June Books That Everyone Will Soon Be Reading. How does it feel that these media outlets have given rave reviews of your book? 

A: It is, quite honestly, a dream. Writing a book and then finding an audience for it are such difficult tasks, bordering on impossible, so whenever any reader enjoys my work, I am truly touched. That publications I admire might want to show my work some love is something I will never take for granted.