|Pic and bio from her website|
Lindsey Leavitt is a former elementary school teacher and present-day writer/mom to three (mostly) adorable little girls. She is married to her high-school lab partner and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is the author of the PRINCESS FOR HIRE series and SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD.We're thrilled to have Lindsey Leavitt on Operation Awesome today to answer our questions, especially given her tremendous recent accomplishment of releasing two books within months of each other! Both The Royal Treatment and Sean Griswold's Head are new releases. Without further ado, here's the amazing author's interview:
Katrina: What was the first story you ever remember writing?
Lindsey: THE WINDOW SCENE in 4th grade. It’s about a girl who dreams about scary stuff out her window, wakes up and that scary stuff is there, and then she dies. The End. I still have it, and often read to classes I visit to prove I have a dark side.
Katrina: I just devoured the first two books in your Princess for Hire series. See my gushing review here. How many books do you have planned for the series? And is a third book in the works? (I know, I’m so impatient, but it’s just getting so good for Desi!)
Lindsey: Thank you! Yep, third book is in the works, out next summer (sorry it’s not sooner. The robots I pay to write only type so fast). The third book will be the final adventure for Desi, but I’d be open to writing from another character’s POV or maybe writing something else set in the world.
Amparo: You've mentioned shelving Princess for Hire's first draft to work on something else because it was too "cute" and not "literary". How did you finally come to terms with your love for writing novels for a younger audience?
Lindsey: The more and more I read in the tween genre, the more I realized how much depth and goodness is hiding in these girly books. A friend of mine, Lisa Schroeder, also once wrote me an email suggesting I think about why a reader would want to read my book, that maybe that girl would want something light and funny to help her get away from reality for a bit (I’ve since received fan mail confirming this!) Seeing the value in writing simply for entertainment really helped me embrace the pinkness of Princess for Hire, and these books have since been a delight to develop.
Amparo: Sean Griswold's Head, in my most humble opinion, sounds amazing. As both a writer and reader of the genre, what do you think makes contemporary YA awesome?
Lindsey: Strong voice and strong characters. I don’t think these elements are exclusive to YA contemporary, but that’s what draws me in. It’s a broad genre—from the sweet and funny to the gritty and raw—and yet those elements are evident in most great contemporaries. I especially like when there is a mix of funny and angst, like in FLASH BURNOUT by LK Madigan. Also check out a great group I’m a part of, www.thecontemps.com for more fabulous books.
When writing, I love getting to know my characters and making observations from their world view. In SGH, the main character is super-organized, and it was a treat getting into her little neurotic head even though I can’t even organize my own sock drawer (actually, I don’t even have a sock drawer, just a basket of unmatched socks)
Lindsay: How did you approach your research for Sean Griswold's Head as far as understanding the disease (MS) and the family issues surrounding it?
Lindsey: I knew something of MS because my father-in-law was diagnosed when my husband and I were friends in high school. Although my FIL is more open with his kids than Payton’s parents, he doesn’t always communicate how he’s doing, and so it can be hard to know what he’s really going through. So I used that as a base, and also I did lots of research online, mostly through The National MS Society and chat rooms. My husband has also done a few bike rides for MS, so that’s furthered my exposure to the MS community. I’m not an expert, but it’s been really amazing to have readers reach out since the book released and tell me how close or different their own experiences have been.
Katrina: What’s next for you?
Lindsey: I’m working on revisions for the third princess book right now and drafting my next contemporary, AUTHENTICALLY VINTAGE, about a girl who deals with her boyfriend's online cheating by "going vintage"--quitting 21st century technology and accomplishing the goals her grandma once set at age 16. That should be out in 2013, based on how the robots do.
Awesome answers, Lindsey!! Thanks so much for joining us.
Op Awesome peeps, (if Blogger let's you) shout out to Lindsey in the comments. And if you haven't yet, I highly recommend you read her books. (They also make great gifts to the girl in your life.)
Happy Friday, everyone! May the Blogger be with you!