Lisa Kusel spent a year in Bali with her husband and daughter, when her husband accepted a teaching job with an innovative new school. It was an experience she carried with her for some time, until she was finally ready to write about it.
The decision came when her agent took her out to lunch at a fancy restaurant in New York City. Over fig and prosciutto flatbread, they talked about her future. “Write the Bali book,” her agent told her.
“Who cares that a forty-something woman ran off to Bali to save her marriage,” Kusel responded. “It’s everyone’s story,” her agent said. “Everyone who ever thought it’d be the greatest thing in the world to run away to a place like Bali.”
Kusel reflects, “I thought back to our time in Bali, to the people, Green School. I thought of the ants and the heat and the tree fire and the beach, the monkeys—the alarmingly bright images flashing like carnival side-show posters through my dessert-deprived brain. Sure, it was crazy and horrible and terrific and horrible all over again. But, really, what had I expected it to be? Of course I could tell the Bali story.”
She wrote the Bali story and submitted it to WiDo Publishing™ through her agent, Priya Doraswamy of Lotus Lane Literary.
And at WiDo, they loved it. Submissions editor Allie Maldonado states, “The experience Lisa and her family had in Bali was fascinating, but it was her skill as a writer that made it come alive. It’s always hard in a memoir to know what to leave in and what to take out. Lisa was able to make that transition. She took a real life experience and turned it into a hard to put down story.”
Lisa Kusel’s Bali experience “didn’t turn out at all like I wanted it to,” she says. But then, this is after all what makes a good story. “I’m thrilled WiDo Publishing will bring my crazy funny poignant story out into the world.”
“What’s doubly satisfying, of course, is the happy ending,” Maldonado says. “I read it straight through because I had to see how this would all end. It’s a wonderful book. We’re so glad to have Lisa and her memoir on board.”
Lisa Kusel is the author of Other Fish in the Sea: Stories (Hyperion) and Hat Trick (Hyperion). Her poems and essays have appeared in Parent Co., Zuzu’s Petals, The Mondegreen, as well as in the tea-stained journal on her nightstand. She recently completed Annie’s Dead, a suburban suspense tale, and is in the midst of writing her first young adult novel, tentatively titled Just Jes. When she’s not parenting or meditating or running or cooking, she can be found writing at her desk overlooking Lake Champlain. She blogs at lisakusel.wordpress.com