Interview with Patti Callahan Henry, author of THE STORIES WE TELL

the stories we tell


Today, at Traveling With T, I have Patti Callahan Henry, author of THE STORIES WE TELL revealing her favorite books, the behind the scenes info of THE STORIES WE TELL and her dream movie cast!

Last year, having the pleasure of reading my first PCH book, AND THEN I FOUND YOU, I knew that Patti would be an author to look out for- so when the opportunity to review happened, I jumped at the chance. My review will be posted later today, but I wanted you, my readers, to be able to enjoy the interview before reading my review!

Read on for the interview with Patti Callahan Henry and let me know if you think Patti’s dream cast is what you envision!

Interview with Patti Callahan Henry


Hi Patti! Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed at Traveling With T!

Hi, Tamara, I’m so glad to be here. Thanks for letting me travel with you. I’ll try not to overpack!
Patti, can you tell the readers of Traveling With T a bit about THE STORIES WE TELL?

This book is about the stories we tell and the ones we trust. It’s about so many other things too–family bonds, love, the ability of creativity to heal both a life and a heart. It’s about the Morrison family–Eve, Cooper, Gwen and Willa. The Stories We Tell  explores the transformational impact of keeping secrets and the importance of seeking the truth in all aspects of life and love. The Morrisons are the ideal Savannah family; successful husband Cooper, artistic and loving wife Eve, and beautiful daughter Gwen make up a picturesque trio beloved by their community. But not everything is as it appears. Behind the cultivated image is a family fraught with tension; Eve and Cooper are disagreeing over work, Eve’s fragile sister, Willa, and how to handle Gwen’s teenage rebellion. After Cooper and Willa are injured in a car accident, questions surrounding the event cloud Eve’s thoughts. Both Cooper and Willa tell different stories about the night, and Eve finds herself caught in a heart-racing search for the truth.



Where did you get the inspiration for the characters in THE STORIES WE TELL?

I was inspired by the beauty and handmade world of letterpress and typography. In our fast-paced world where image is everything in social media and branding, where does the handcrafted, honest life fit in? I imagined a woman who valued not only the image of her life and family but also the creative life that nourished her. I saw these two worlds colliding as she struggled to keep both worlds alive in a tension of opposites. Eventually something had to unwind, which of course it did. As an ex-nurse who specialized in closed head injuries, I was also inspired by the constantly wavering life of memory and imagination. What is real? What is imagined or remembered? How accurate is our memory, especially after a head injury? These fascinating questions pulled the story along as I uncovered the answers. I’m always inspired by storytelling and the ultimate ability of creativity to heal a heart, a life and an injured brain.



How much input did you have in selecting the cover of THE STORIES WE TELL?

I didn’t have any input until it was done and they sent it to me and said, “Do you like it?” And I said, “I love it.”

Patti, do you have a favorite character from THE STORIES WE TELL? Or was there a character that was difficult to write?

I don’t have a favorite character (that’s sort of like choosing my favorite child), but I did love writing about Willa very much. The story isn’t told from her point of view, but her words and her memories deeply impact the storyline. She is funny and creative. She is tortured and trying her best to remake her life and I love this about her. She is fragile and strong at the same time.

What are your thoughts on “unlikeable characters”? Do you think readers have to want to be best friends forever with the character to enjoy the book?

If I am writing the truth, there are going to be aspects of the character that the reader won’t “like”. Yet I hope that the reader still roots for the character, wants that heroine to find the truth or a better life even with the cracks and flaws in her personality. I don’t think readers need to want to be best friends forever with the character, but maybe at least spend a week a the beach with them?


What are some of the books you have been reading lately? Any book that readers of Traveling With T must put on their TBR list?

I have a Pinterest board where I’ve started putting all my favorite reads because I get asked this question so much and I usually freeze. Agh? What am I reading? But I’m really enjoying Katherine Center’s new book, Happiness for Beginners. I’m reading a non-fiction book titled Falling Upward, and I’m loving that. Bernie Shine has a new book titled, Famous All Over Town that comes out in September and I’m loving everything about it.

Do you have any #literaryconfessions?

Literary Confessions? Let’s see. I said I was going to read every book  my kids were assigned in school–the classics, the summer reading, all of it–and I didn’t do it. I opted out of that very quickly. Now that two of the three of them have graduated from high school, I wish I had done it. It was a good idea that I let slide by.


What are your thoughts on THE STORIES WE TELL being potentially made into a movie? Do you have a dream cast in mind?

I would love to see this story made into a movie. I do have a dream cast! The main character in THE STORIES WE TELL, Eve, is in her forties and running a letterpress company. Eve is a creative spirit trying desperately to keep the image of her life together. If I close my eyes I can see Diane Lane playing this character exactly right. Oh, to hear her say. “Can’t anyone be happy in your stories?” (a line from the book).

Eve’s husband Cooper is cool enough to pull off the best of lies and look good doing it. Sean Penn would saunter through this role with ease. By the opening of the movie, he’d have a scar across his face and look good sporting it while keeping his life together. And Max, Oh my favorite character and Eve’s co-worker. Mark Ruffalo definitely. I saw him while I was writing this part–his rugged good looks and raspy voice with a quick wit.

Eve also has an eighteen year old daughter struggling with her own “becoming” and Elle Fanning (From We Bought a Zoo) has that perfect pitch between rebellion and adorable.  Eve’s sister, Willa, is a co-star with Eve: her memories and dreams push the story forward with some comedy and some sadness. This part was made for Reese Witherspoon with her southern accent and whimsical air.
Patti, what are you working on next? Can you reveal anything about the next book?

I am so early in the process, the beginning part where I can’t articulate what it’s about in any solid way. But I can tell you that it’s about love (isn’t it always?) and whether two people can come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right.



*Thanks Patti Callahan Henry for agreeing to be interviewed!


Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,

T @ Traveling With T

T Traveling With T pic sign off

2 thoughts on “Interview with Patti Callahan Henry, author of THE STORIES WE TELL

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