To judge by her fiction writing, the retired schoolteacher turned bestselling writer Leila Meacham would seem to be personally acquainted with outsized heartbreak, betrayal and the cruelties one generation commits unto the next.
Her 2010 novel Roses follows the three founding families of a fictional Texas town over the course of nearly a century of backstabbing and secret-keeping. Her newest book, Tumbleweeds, published last week by Grand Central Publishing, features an orphaned teenager, a manslaughter that is covered up to look like autoerotic asphyxiation, and a child fathered by either a sterile professional football player or his Jesuit priest best friend.
To hear Meacham describe it, though, her own life is peaceful and decidedly un-melodramatic. She is 73, lives with her husband in San Antonio, where she writes five days a week, and does