Thursday, March 17, 2011

Author Interview: Lindsey Leavitt

photo credit: Jennie Slade

Lindsey Leavitt is awesome. And I'm not just saying that because she did a very cool Q&A with me and writes fantastic books. I've actually met Lindsey in person and let me tell you, she is just as sweet and kind and funny and she is on her blog! Seriously-totally awesome author. So of course when I got the chance to interview her here at GreenBeanTeenQueen, I had to take it! Lindsey has a great new contemporary YA book out called Sean Griswold's Head-and oh my goodness I loved it! So please welcome Lindsey to GreenBeanTeenQueen!

OK, so I saw in your acknowledgements that your husband was your high school lab partner! Did you crush on him like Payton does Sean and did you draw on your relationship for inspiration?

Here’s the deal with my husband. The man is a fine wine. Or, I don’t drink wine, so maybe… a good cheese? The kind of cheese that is yummier the moldier it gets and… er. What I mean is, it’s a scientific fact that he’s gotten cuter the older we’ve gotten. When we were younger teens, he had braces and goofy and I had awful bangs and pegged my jeans and do not get me started on my dark lip liner. So it’s not like we were each other’s dream dates. But we were friends, and he dated my friends, and I don’t think one thing about either of us changed, but little by little I just started noticing things about him, things that I liked. Then he asked me out in the middle of anatomy class, we had an amazing time, and I remember thinking during our first kiss, “Oh. Huh. So I guess I like this boy.”

Which is very different than a lot of the I MUST HAVE YOU EVEN IF IT KILLS ME kind of love we read in a lot of YA fiction (which hey, I love me some of that too). With this book, I drew from the sweetness of my very ordinary but very real experience of first love. I think there’s still magic in those relationships too.

I think there's magic in those relationships too! Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan and I had a friendship turned romance and I always think that's the most romantic!!

Sean Griswold's Head is more contemporary compared to your previous novel, Princess For Hire (which has a bit of fantasy mixed in). What's the hardest part about writing contemporary fiction? What's the easiest part?

I can’t say this for all contemporary fiction writers, but for me the difficulty was keeping the external plot going while still focusing on that internal character arc. In early drafts, I just had the characters sitting around talking about their feelings, and I realized, oh. Stuff needs to happen too. So I worked on the complexities of… stuff.

The easiest part, or maybe the most enjoyable part, was creating the characters. They became more and more real to me as I wrote deeper and deeper in the story, until it got to the point that I’d be at the mall and a girl would walk by and I’d think, “Oh look! It’s Jac! Except Jac wouldn’t wear that skirt.”

Okay, that sounded dorky. Which makes sense, because I am a dork. AND PROUD.

In what ways is Payton like you, if any?

I’ll tell you one way she’s not like me—I’m not organized. Organizational stores make me queasy, because they just remind me how cluttery my life really is. I’m also not as much of a Type A personality, although I love me some gold stars and attention.

But sports have always been a part of my life, both playing and watching, and Payton is a sporty girl at heart. And we both like boys in spandex. Grrr.

I wish I could be more organized like Payton! In the book, Payton has to do a focus project and chooses Sean's Griswold's head. What literary character would you do a focus project on?
Going with the cliché answer: Mr. Darcy. And by project, I mean I’d go Lost in Austen and travel back in time to a world where he really exists and… talk to him, because I’m married, but maybe this is before I’m married. Yes, before. And then after Mr. Darcy and I…. talk… I return to the present day, more aware of the glorious world and prepared to meet a modern man, like my husband.

Whew. Bullet dodged. Are you trying to get me in trouble over here?

Ah...Mr. Darcy-he would make a great focus project, wouldn't he??

You're a writer, you're mom to three adorable girls, you write an awesome blog and are active on Twitter. How do you manage it all?

Alien superpowers. And Junior Mints. Mostly Junior Mints.


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