Lisa Pasold

The Next Big Thing: What I'm working on

Talking about my work-in-progress terrifies me. But it is probably a good habit to confront such things before breakfast... and two writers I respect & love, Lauren B. Davis and Jennifer K. Dick, both tagged me with this—many thanks, you two. Now I owe ya. So...this is a questionnaire which has been circulating through writerly websites: ‘the questions are the same for everyone. The answers, they are not.”

What is the working title of the book?

Up to the Knee


Where did the idea come from for the book?

One morning during my daily walk in Paris, I walked up to the big white Basilica in Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, and thought about how impossible the route would be in a wheelchair. I don’t even know why that thought came to me, at that instant. But I went home and started on the book.

Paris 18th

What genre does your book fall under?



What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Okay, let's say time travel is possible and I’ll cast Belle du Jour-era Catherine Deneuve as French war photographer Geri, Roman Holiday-era Gregory Peck as the soldier Mug, and Japanese silent film actress Toshia Mori as Annie, the fashion journalist. And I’ll convince the ghost of Theadora Van Runkle to do the clothes (she costumed Bonnie and Clyde!) 


What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Injured Canadian Sergeant Mug Rusken arrives in Paris to visit his girlfriend, Geri, a successful war photographer—but when he arrives in the City of Light, he discovers that her latest assignment has ended in disaster.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

To get a first draft - 2 years. 


Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My Up to the Knee war photographer character, Geri, first popped into my head during a laughter-filled night drinking red wine with a photographer friend—we discussed the craziness of photographers in general and the over-the-top craziness of war photographers in particular. ‘What makes them so crazy?’ we wondered. And I started to think about the myriad possible answers to that question. Not long afterwards, I was looking for something to do on a grey afternoon in Toronto. I wandered into the Textile Museum and saw an exhibit of rugs from Afghanistan—specifically, rugs woven with images of battle and weaponry, from a country that has seen war for most the past century. Walking through those rooms, I felt as if I could see the plot of a novel woven into those rugs. My lead character, Mug Rusken, came into my head there and then.



What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Up to the Knee is a literary thriller set in the contemporary City of Light—which means my lead character, Mug, spends his time bumping his wheelchair through the cobblestone streets of Paris, confronting corrupt officials, manipulating French media moguls, and bribing hard-working mercenaries, all with the help of a dippy fashion journalist named Annie.


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m fortunate that Up to the Knee is represented by Chris Bucci at Anne McDermid & Associates 


My tagged writers for next Wednesday are (click on their names to visit their sites & check out their work!)

Kristin Saunders 

Mari-Lou Rowley

Anna Leventhal  

Mandy Len 

Sandy Florian