Author Lisa Gabriele on the Nostalgia and Anger That Inspired Her New Book “The Winters”

A portrait of Canadian Author Lisa Gabriele, bangs partially over her eyebrows, wearing a white dress shirt with the top button undone.

Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Gabriele

“In the despairing days after the U.S. election, the only thing that worked to take my mind off the news was rewatching old movies. Rebecca is a favourite,” explains Windsor, Ont.-born Lisa Gabriele, 51, the bestselling author of Tempting Faith DiNapoli and The Almost Archer Sisters.

Her latest novel, The Winters, is a reimagining of the 1938 modern Gothic classic by Daphne du Maurier, which was turned into the 1940 Oscar-winning film starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine.

Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine in the 1940 Oscar-winning film, Rebecca.
Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine in the 1940 Oscar-winning film, Rebecca.

“I’m obsessed with female relationships, sex and power and how they intersect. And though I love du Maurier’s book, I began thinking about all the ways modern female characters and a new setting would completely change their relationship with each other and the story. So you could say nostalgia inspired me to reread Rebecca, but anger drove me to write The Winters.”

Gabriele is also an award-winning TV producer, writer and director and the author of the S.E.C.R.E.T. erotica trilogy, under the pseudonym L. Marie Adeline.

What advice do you wish you’d given your 25-year-old self?

Quit drinking now. It’s never going to be more fun than it is at 25. In fact, it’s pretty much downhill from there.

What advice would you give your 80-year-old self?

I know you want to, but please don’t adopt those two cats when you’re 65 years old because they might outlive you. (Note: I will ignore this advice.)

The book cover for The Winters featuring a background of red roses behind the title and author.
Lisa Gabriele on her new book The Winters.

What do you know for sure?

Not everyone is going to like my work, and that’s okay. It means I’m doing something right. It means I’m not people-pleasing.

What have you learned?

How to say no. This didn’t come naturally, but I have learned to say no all the time now, to things and people that aren’t good for me, that don’t have my best interests in mind.

What will you never learn?

I should not cut my own bangs no matter how certain I am that this time it’ll be different.

Best piece of advice?

Don’t wait to get over fear before you make that big leap. Leap, then the courage comes. Also, for women in particular: apply for jobs for which you’re not completely qualified. Men do it all the time.

Did it work?

Yes. I got the jobs. And though I didn’t lie about my qualifications, I had to scramble a bit.

What inspires you?

My sister, who has dealt with the illness of her son with grace, anger and humour. I deeply bow to all parents who haunt hospital hallways.

The moment that changed everything?

Feb. 12, 2006, when I quit drinking, (hopefully) for good.

Happiness is …
Working on a project where everything just flows, time passes, there are no blocks, and you hand it in feeling like no matter what anyone says you’ve done your best work. There is no feeling like this.