October 20, 2006

3 Questions: E. Lockhart

Sick. Sickettysicksicksick. Whatever plague the children brought back from the magic kingdom has felled us ALL --- even Scott has taken TWO sick days, and this is a guy who never misses work. EVER. In fact once he even went to work while he was ON FIRE and another time he went dragging a herd of RABID BADGERS that had sunk their diseased fangs into his leg and refused to drop off. So. You know it is bad.

While I lie sweating and muttering on my bed of woe, I’m going to ask E.Lockhart to talk, okay?

She has three questioned before, talking about her YA book called The Boyfriend List. I read the book and came away thinking E. is so talented she is practically GLOSSY with it. It’s a DERN good book. At the time I wrote a Boyfriend List of my own over at HER blog --- If you didn’t get a chance to read it you can find it still up here. Warning: It’s VERY true confessions.

The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them
is the sequel to The Boyfriend List, which is just out in paperback. The Boy Book is about Ruby, who in the first book plummeted from social butterfly to leper, rebuilding her life junior year of high school -- with the help of a guide to understanding the male sex that she wrote with her ex-friends.
Publisher’s weekly, in a STARRED review, says, "Each chapter begins with an excerpt from 'The Boy Book' which is hilarious...The book not only covers topics teens obsess over, but it helps illustrate the connection Ruby had with her friends, especially Kim, and what a loss she has suffered. Ruby's overanalytical, fast-paced and authentic narration will win over new devotees, while her loyal fans will no doubt hope for more."

And heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s E!

JJ: What do you think of your cover and how does it compare to the cover you imagined when you were writing the book?

EL: I am madly in love with this cover.

The Boyfriend List had a frog on it, and my standalone book Fly on the Wall had a fly on the cover. So it was only natural to think, as I wrote the book, that the design for The Boy Book would have some kind of animal.

There are Humboldt penguins in the book. My main character, Roo, has this job giving the penguin lecture at the local zoo, but she's in the middle of giving the speech and she sees her ex-boyfriend cheating on his new girlfriend right there in the dark of the penguin house! and ---- drama ensues, I'll tell you that.

So I suggested a penguin, and then the designer (Angela Carlino) gave me this cutie patootie toy penguin tipped over to one side, which made it surprising and inviting and a little ludicrous -- which is what I hope The Boy Book is, too.


JJ: A lot of writers read this blog----how did you
 come to realize you wanted to pursue writing as a career instead of a personal passion or a hobby?

EL: I went to grad school for English literature. And I wrote two books while procrastinating my dissertation.

Two books! That's not including all the ideas I wrote that never got published.
I was looking at graduation, which for me (I was not a star academic) meant a job at a low-level college in some state far away from all my family and friends, with tenure-track requirements pushing me to publish articles on subjects I wasn't really interested in -- I was looking at graduation and I felt this sense of doom. I could not live that life. I would not.
I wrote fiction to save myself from it.

JJ: Tell us about how crappy your high school boyfriends must have been.

EL: They were wonderful and crappy. I do still think about them. My college boyfriends, too. They were like these experiments in human connnection I did -- some of which scarred me deeply, others of which taught me neat tricks, others of which pushed me in some new life direction. When you are young, a new boyfriend (or girlfriend) can be like a new life -- an experimental identity. And the relationship can also go awry so easily and horribly, because everyone involved is inexperienced and only just figuring out how to behav. I had a very roller-coaster emotional life until I was like 27.

I had one boyfriend who really did give me a half a carnation on flower day, the way Ruby's boyfriend did in The Boyfriend List. I had another boyfriend who gave me an USED office phone -- like the kind with several lines and a hold button -- made of wood veneer as a valentine's gift. And it was not even wrapped. It was something from the junk room where he worked. I also had boyfriends who wrote me mad love notes that I still can't believe anyone wrote to me. Poetry.
I got my heart broken a lot. It has been great for writing books.

Thanks for having me to your blog, Joshilyn!

Posted by joshilyn at October 20, 2006 8:26 AM

So I high-tailed it over to read your boyfriend list. . .and dudette, YOU are weird.

But I like ya.

The strangest crush I've ever had was on an elderly man at church. . .if he hadn't been 70 some odd when I was only 23, well, Katie-bar-the-door 'cause I'd have chased him 'til he dropped. Of course--with the actual age difference and his heart condition, it wouldn't have taken much to drop him--but he was like Jimmy Stewart (ANOTHER strange crush)--and a younger him would have been devine. I never did, however, imagine the whole kissing thing--I couldn't get past the hearing aid. :)

Posted by: rwl10802 at October 20, 2006 10:17 AM

If I knew nothing about this book or the author or her past books, I'd pick it up for that penguin alone. Love the penguin.

Posted by: Amy at October 20, 2006 11:14 AM

Ha! Don't we all have crazy secret crushes? My husband thinks that two of my very secret crushes are insanely bizarre - Gerald McRaney (though more from Simon & Simon and Designing Women, less from Major Dad), and (brace yourselves) Bela Lugosi. I don't know what it is, but I find the man foxy. Dracula? Sure, go ahead and bite my neck...

Posted by: JenA at October 20, 2006 12:43 PM

Okay, well I still think my college boyfriend gifting me with an empty paper bag from the Hard Rock Cafe, the bag formerly housing the shirt that he bought for HIMSELF, wins any contest re: crappy ex-boyfriend presents.

Sorry you are felled by the Disney Crud. We're going there in December so I shall add hazmat suits to the pre-trip shopping list, just in case.

Posted by: Badger at October 20, 2006 2:21 PM

Slow and steady wins the race. Beatrice.

Posted by: Beatrice at October 27, 2006 4:14 PM

Slow and steady wins the race. Beatrice.

Posted by: Beatrice at October 27, 2006 4:14 PM