Tag-Archive for » Caroline Leavitt «

An Interview with Caroline Leavitt (Part 3)

Caroline Leavitt, best sellers, best selling authors, interviews  Part III.  Caroline was so generous with her time in this interview.  Following is the final segment.       Enjoy!!          (click here for Part I)

 

   Q. and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like? (cont.)

Once I have the synopsis, I write a first chapter. I can’t go on without a good first chapter because often, when I am in the middle of the book, and I feel it’s a mess, I need to go back and say, “Well, I wrote a really great first chapter, I can’t give up now, can I?” And I don’t.
Then comes the writing. I write and rewrite, sometimes up to 30 drafts. And I show it to about 4 different readers. Then it goes to my agent, and she usually wants some rewrites. Then it goes to my editor who always wants rewrites. But I love the rewriting process. To me, that’s the real creativity.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters ?

A. I do a lot of character work. I make maps about the characters trying to figure out what’s haunting them? Where are their hidden scars they need to heal? What is it they want and how is it different from what they really need? (That’s my Rolling Stones method of writing!)

Q. What inspired your story/stories ?

A. Usually it’s a question that has been haunting me for years. How do we forgive the unforgivable was the question that sparked PICTURES OF YOU, though I was also mulling over my phobia about driving. To me, the worst thing in the world would be to kill someone in an accident, and so I began to write about it, thinking I could heal myself that way. IS IT TOMORROW asks the questions, how do we become a part of a community that doesn’t want us? I was thinking about what an outcast I was as a child because I was Jewish, asthmatic and very smart, in a community that was Christian and working class and suspicious of anyone different.

Q. When is your next book coming out? (or) What are you working on?

A. IS IT TOMORROW is coming out May 7, 2013 and CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD will be out sometime in 2014 or 2015. I sold it on the basis of a first chapter and a synopsis, so I have a lot of work to do!

Q. Have you? Or do you want to write in another genre`?ITT

A. I don’t like the word genre because I think it compartmentalizes women. I refuse to use the term women’s fiction, commercial or literary. I tend to think a good book is a good book is a good book!

Thank you so much for these great questions!
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BIO: Caroline won First Prize in Redbook Magazine’s Young Writers Contest for her short story, “Meeting Rozzy Halfway,” which grew into the novel. The recipient of a 1990 New York Foundation of the Arts Award for Fiction for Into Thin Air, she was also a National Magazine Award nominee for personal essay, and she was awarded a 2005 honorable mention, Goldenberg Prize for Fiction from the Bellevue Literary Review, for “Breathe,” a portion of Pictures of You. As a screenwriter, Caroline was a 2003 Nickelodeon Screenwriting Fellow Finalist, and is a recent first-round finalist in the Sundance Screenwriting Lab competition for her script of Is This Tomorrow.

Caroline has been a judge in both the Writers’ Voice Fiction Awards in New York City and the Midatlantic Arts Grants in Fiction. She teaches novel writing online at both Stanford University and UCLA, as well as working with writers privately. Caroline has appeared on The Today Show, Diane Rehm, German and Canadian TV, and more, and she was featured on The View From The Bay. She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, New York City’s unofficial sixth borough, with her husband, the writer Jeff Tamarkin, and their teenage son Max.
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Start your month off right!! DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS. INTERVIEWS with other best-selling AUTHORS!      A SERIES, “The Writer’s Corner”

I have had a wonderful response from other authors and will feature an interview once a month . I have invited such luminaries as: Ann Purser, Susan Elia MacNealMark Childress, Rhys Bowen, Dean Koontz, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Jeffrey Deaver, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Robert McCammon, Sue Grafton, Caroline Leavitt, Walter Mosley, Nora Roberts, and many others.

So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!  Mark Childress is our April author.  Robert McCammon is scheduled for May. Caroline Leavitt is June‘s author.  July features Rhys Bowen.  Sue Grafton is August’s author and September will feature Tasha Alexander.  Slick mystery writer, Andrew Grant will join us this winter. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  Go to the home page; On the right side you’ll see a box where you can enter your email address. Click on “join my blog”. You need to confirm in an email from ‘Writer at Play’ . Thanks!

An Interview with Caroline Leavitt (part 2)

                                    An Interview with author, Caroline Leavitt  (Part 2)

(Me and Minnie, the turtle)Caroline Leavitt, best selling authors, interviews

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

A. I always wrote seriously. I was sending things out from the time I was sixteen, and of course, they always came right back, rejected. While I was at Brandeis University, I took a writing course with a famous writer who told me flat out that I would never make it. He used to attack me in class, and though tears would stream down my face, I never left the class. I was in my late twenties, sending stories out every week (and getting them back every week with rejection letters) when I finally won the Redbook Magazine Young Writers Contest!

Q. How long after that were you published?

A. That contest opened up doors for me. I got an agent. I got a book deal based on the short story. I became sort of famous, and I thought it would last. But my next four publishers all went out of business. I was with two major publishers who wouldn’t take my calls or emails, and though my novels got stellar reviews, they had enough sales for me to buy groceries. When I submitted PICTURES OF YOU to my last publisher, they rejected it, saying, “I’m sorry, this just isn’t special.” They didn’t want to publish anything else of mine. I knew my career was over because who wants to publish someone who has published 8 novels and has no sales? But a friend of mine was with Algonquin and she offered to show her editor my novel. Algonquin bought it in three weeks and they did something no other publisher ever did for me: they treated me with respect. They invited me to come talk to them! They said, “We’re going to change your life.” And they did. Six months before the book even came out it was in three printings (it eventually went into 5). They got it on the New York Times bestseller list and the USA Today e-book bestseller list. It was one of the top books of 2011 from the San Francisco Chronicle, the Providence Journal, Bookmarks Magazine and Kirkus Reviews! I always tell people that I am living proof that you should never, ever, ever give up! You never know what can happen.

Q. and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like? 

A. It looks like craziness. Caroline Leavitt, interviews, best selling authorsI’m always in between stages because I live in terror of that stage when nothing is going on. So while I am in the midst of writing one book, I’m thinking of the next book, making vague inroads. It’s much better to have a new work to focus on so you don’t drive yourself too crazy when your book comes out. So the first stage is the idea. I spend about 6 months writing up a detailed synopsis. I’m like John Irving. I have to know where I am headed for, what the character change is going to be. I liken it to creating the skeleton. Once you have that, you can add on the flesh, the hair, the clothing. Once I have the synopsis done, which is usually 30 pages, I show it to three different writer friends and they tear it apart—and I want them to. It doesn’t help me not to hear the critiques. Then I go back and keep redoing it until it feels like a story. I’m big on story structure. I know some writers “follow their pen” and find structure confining, but I feel it actually awakens creativity. And since using story structure, I’ve had my first NYT bestseller and I made the finals at Sundance Screenwriting Lab, so I think it works.

Don’t miss Part 3 on June 11th as we continue to visit with this fascinating author!Caroline_queen_book_fest
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Start your month off right!! DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS. INTERVIEWS with other best-selling AUTHORS!      A SERIES, “The Writer’s Corner”

I have had a wonderful response from other authors and will feature an interview once a month . I have invited such luminaries as: Ann Purser, Susan Elia MacNealMark Childress, Rhys Bowen, Dean Koontz, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Jeffrey Deaver, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Robert McCammon, Sue Grafton, Walter Mosley, Nora Roberts, and many others.

So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!  Mark Childress is our April author.  Robert McCammon is scheduled for May. Caroline Leavitt is June‘s author.  July features Rhys Bowen.  Sue Grafton is August’s author and September will feature Tasha Alexander.  Slick mystery writer, Andrew Grant will join us this winter. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  Go to the home page; On the right side you’ll see a box where you can enter your email address. Click on “join my blog”. You need to confirm in an email from ‘Writer at Play’ . Thanks!

The Writer’s Corner…an Interview with author, Caroline Leavitt (1of3)

outdoorshot12-03    This is a wonderful and rich Interview with prolific author, Caroline Leavitt.
I had not read Caroline’s work until she granted me this interview.  I just finished “Is This Tomorrow” and can now highly recommend her as an author.  This story kept me guessing throughout.  The characters were real and well developed.  I liked them and cared about what happened to them.

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? 

A. My husband and I were really lucky to buy this 1865 three-story brick row house. We use the whole top floor for our offices (we can wave to each other across the hall.) I love my office. It has a fireplace, a couch for naps (mostly my husband takes them), my desk, of course, two big windows that look out on the city and all sorts of things that have meaning to me, including a big pair of white feathery wings I bought when I was writing pictures of you, a painting of Istanbul that my husband gave me, and various toys.

It’s a wonderful thing to have an office with a door. At the end of the day, we can leave work behind. And the commute to work is so easy! (I’ve done it in my pajamas.)

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

A. Nope. I just have to sit down at my desk and stay there. Though usually I want coffee in the morning, something I just discovered two years ago. I couldn’t believe what it did! I knew it made your more energized, but I didn’t know it boosted your mood! Now I can’t live without it, though it is starting to make me a little nervous.

Q. What is your mode of writing? (long hand? Pencil? Computer? Etc.)

A. I’m a Mac girl, all the way. Sometimes, I will take printouts with me and scribble on them if I am going someplace on the subway, but because my handwriting is so atrocious, I don’t usually do that.

Q. Do you have a set time each day to write or do you write only when you are feeling creative?

A. I am at my desk every morning by nine or ten and I don’t stop writing for four hours or longer. I never wait until I am feeling creative because some days, many days, you simply don’t feel that! I feel like so much of writing has to do with the subconscious and by sitting down and writing every day, you are priming the pump, so to speak!Caroline_at_Clinton_Bookstore

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing and for how long?

A. When the writing is going well, I do. Usually for four hours. Those are the moments you live for. I love being “in the zone” when you aren’t aware of anything else. There is a joke in my family that someone could shout out “FIRE!” and I wouldn’t hear it because I would be so lost in this other world. Of course, that also happens to me when I am reading.
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minnieandmeBio: I’m the author of Girls In Trouble, Coming Back To Me, Living Other Lives, Into Thin Air, Family, Jealousies, Lifelines and Meeting Rozzy Halfway. Various titles were optioned for film, translated into different languages, and condensed in magazines. Her ninth novel, Pictures of You, was A New York Times bestseller, it was also a Costco “Pennie’s Pick,” A San Francisco Chronicle Editor’s Choice “Lit Pick,” and was one of the top 20 books published so far in 2011, as named by BookPage. Pictures of You was also on the Best Books of 2011 lists from The San Francisco Chronicle, The Providence Journal, Bookmarks Magazine and Kirkus Reviews. Her new novel, Is This Tomorrow, will be published May 2013 by Algonquin Books. Cruel Beautiful World will be out sometime in 2014-2015.  Her essays, stories, book reviews and articles have appeared in the New York Times (Modern Love), Salon, Psychology Today, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, People, Real Simple, New York Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Parenting, The Chicago Tribune, Parents, Redbook, The Washing ton Post, The Boston Globe and numerous anthologies.
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Don’t miss Parts 2 & 3  of this interview on June 7 and 11th.
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Start your month off right!! DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS. INTERVIEWS with other best-selling AUTHORS!      A SERIES, “The Writer’s Corner”

I have had a wonderful response from other authors and will feature an interview once a month . I have invited such luminaries as: Ann Purser, Susan Elia MacNealMark Childress, Rhys Bowen, Dean Koontz, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Jeffrey Deaver, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Robert McCammon, Sue Grafton, Walter Mosley, Nora Roberts, and many others.

So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!  Mark Childress is our April author.  Robert McCammon is scheduled for May. Caroline Leavitt is June‘s author.  July features Rhys Bowen.  Sue Grafton is August’s author and September will feature Tasha Alexander.  Slick mystery writer, Andrew Grant will join us this winter. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  Go to the home page; On the right side you’ll see a box where you can enter your email address. Click on “join my blog”. You need to confirm in an email from ‘Writer at Play’ . Thanks!

Don’t Miss an Interview with best selling author, Caroline Leavitt

Caroline Leavitt, best selling authors, interviews       My next Interview is with Caroline Leavitt, Tuesday, June 4th, 6th  and the final segment on June 11th.

 

 “While I was at Brandeis University, I took a writing course with a famous writer who told me flat out that I would never make it. He used to attack me in class, and though tears would stream down my face….”

To read the entire interview, join us on June 4th.

 

Caroline Leavitt, interviews, best selling authors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS. INTERVIEWS with other best-selling AUTHORS!      A SERIES, “The Writer’s Corner”

I have had a wonderful response from other authors and will feature an interview once a month . I have invited such luminaries as: Ann Purser, Susan Elia MacNealMark Childress, Rhys Bowen, Dean Koontz, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Jeffrey Deaver, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Robert McCammon, Sue Grafton, Walter Mosley, Nora Roberts, and many others.

So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!  Mark Childress was our April author.  Robert McCammon is scheduled for May. Caroline Leavitt is June‘s author.  July features Rhys Bowen.  Sue Grafton is August’s author and September will feature Tasha Alexander.  Slick mystery writer, Andrew Grant will join us this winter. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  Go to the home page; On the right side you’ll see a box where you can enter your email address. Click on “join my blog”. You need to confirm in an email from ‘Writer at Play’ . Thanks!