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Fuquay-Varina novelist writes about life after retirement

Fuquay-Varina novelist Lila Hopkins just celebrated her 83rd birthday and is celebrating by promoting her seventh book, “Mabel’s Way.”

“Mabel’s Way” follows widow Mabel Yancey, who is ambivalent about moving to a retirement community. Once there, her life becomes fun but hectic as she offers to “help” others. Mabel soon finds herself at the center of both romance and mystery.

Q: How did you find inspiration for “Mabel’s Way”?

Many people are afraid of moving to a retirement community. With so many Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, I wanted them to know that in many ways, it’s just the beginning. I wanted to write something that was fun and full of life.

Q: Are your characters based on people you have met in real life?

My neighbor across the hall (who has since passed away) was the inspiration for the main character. I deal with real people and real problems. But Mabel is only the inspiration; it’s not a biography.

I do write about real life character traits, and not all of my characters are pleasant. I don’t want people to read about a character and see themselves reflected in a bad way. It is fiction.

Q: What is your background?

We moved to North Carolina over 30 years ago, and we lived in the mountains (Linville) for 12 years. I have written children’s books and three regional, inspirational novels. I was a member of High Country Writers, which was a great group.

Q: One of the places your novel is for sale is on Amazon, as an e-book. Do you read books on an e-reader now?

I didn’t used to, but when “Mabel’s Way” was published that way, I started. My husband bought me a Kindle Fire for Christmas. It’s quite easy. Now, I can take 15 books on a trip without carrying anything extra.

Q: Are the people at Windsor Point interested in your writing?

They are. I have been teaching a creative writing course there for about eight years, and there are great writers in the group. We started with our parents, writing descriptions of each of them. We have a collection of memoirs, and I hope we can publish them in a single book. We critique each other’s work, but also, these writers now have stories they can share with their families.

Q: How long does it take you to write a novel? Do you plan to write another one?

It took me about three years to write each of the other three novels because they required a lot of research. “Mabel’s Way” didn’t require the same amount of research, so it only took about a year.

As far as writing another novel, I keep saying, “Absolutely not,” but I’ve said that before. I’ve learned to never say never.

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