Wednesday, March 2, 2011

PR Special Edition (25): Lindsey Leavitt Interview!

Poisoned Rationality 
Special Edition

Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition! Today we have Lindsey Leavitt, author of the recently release Sean Griswold's Head and the "Princess for Hire" series!

Synopsis: According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It's supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold's head. They've been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it's an alphabetical order thing), but she's never really known him.

The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father's newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it's working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He's cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.

In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.

First, the most obvious question, in school did you have a classmate who's head you studied in depth?
I always tried to sit by my crushes. Didn’t mean I always had the courage to talk to them, but the scoping made class more interesting. And I married one of those cute high school classmates, so I’ve been looking at his big ol’ head, specifically the front part, for years and years.

Sean Griswold's Head seems to be a very different kettle of fish from your debut Princess for Hire, was it intentional to take a different course of action, or did Sean just sort of pop up with no warning?
It did sort of pop up, as all my stories really do. If I plan my books out too much, thinking I need to do XYZ for my career or I must write 10 of these books because that’s what is expected, it takes too much joy out of the discovery. I like variety. If I wrote princess stories 24/7, I’d start to vomit glitter, and if only did contemporary, emotional writing, I would probably cry all day. So I switch it up as much as my deadlines allow. I love both genres, and I’m very lucky to have two different publishers willing to work with me on different kinds of books.
When first pitching the book did anyone kind of give you weird looks?

I get weird looks everyday, mostly from my kids, so I’m used to that by now.

I’m assuming you’re referencing The Quirky, and yes, the title is different, and at more than one point we considered changing it, but I’ve always taken different as a compliment, so I’m very happy we kept it.

Speaking of pitches, I’m awful at them. Even now, when someone asks, I start out, well, it’s about this girl. And her dad. And this boy.
What sort of research did you have to do for MS? Was this a subject you knew something about already, or did it fit the storyline so you went with it?
Both. I started off knowing that this girl was keeping a journal about this guy to help her get over something happening with her family. This girl was very structured and organized, so that “something” needed to be unpredictable. I first thought of MS because my father-in-law was diagnosed when my husband and I were in high school and I knew something about the challenges a family faces. But still, I researched quite a bit. MS symptoms can range from inconvenient to debilitating, so I had to figure out where Payton’s father fit in the spectrum.
Do you have any advice for readers who may be suffering from MS or have family members that are?
Get involved with organizations like the National MS Society. They have lots of great resources, including meetings and chat groups. There are also many bike rides and runs like the one mentioned in SGH. Yeah, it’s not going to take away all the suck of the disease, but it’s helpful to talk to people going through the same thing.

5 Quick Q's

Cake or pie? Pie. Not apple. I was in a pie eating contest once and… not apple.

Hollywood crush? Danny Devito

Favorite hairstyle (for men)? New Kids on the Block Rat Tail

What are you reading right now? The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. I’m on the second page, so all I know it’s about the Queen reading books. Check back for more later.

Favorite movie time snack? Buttered popcorn with melted junior mints


Speaking of rat tails...one of my big time crushes throughout elementary school and parts of junior high sported a rat tail.  Like Payton and Sean we had named that were grouped together often due to alphabetical order, though he was behind me.  I used to pull his rat tail all the time so he'd pay attention to me.  Ah memories of youth!

Make sure to check out my review for Sean Griswold's Head, I'll be honest this was one of the best contemporary novels I've read in a long time.  Filled with humor, heart and a healthy dose of teenage exasperating antics, I can't recommend this book enough.

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