Archive for April, 2009

City of Big Shoulders, Here We Come!

April 28th, 2009 by admin | 3 Comments | Filed in Appearances

The fun doesn’t stop when it comes to talking about Pure! This weekend I had the distinct pleasure of speaking to the state winners in this year’s Letters About Literature contest (thanks, Georgia Center for the Book!) about reading and writing, and on Thursday I’ll be speaking to all the fantastic 8th graders at Renfroe Middle School in Decatur!

But the BIG exciting news is that next week I’m going to finally get to see Chicago for the first time! I’ve lived in San Francisco and New York, and even spent some time in Austin, but somehow Chicago’s eluded me, even though my mom’s from there.  I am excited about this vacation on it’s own, but am extra thrilled I’ll get to do an appearance at Anderson’s Book Shop in Downer’s Grove on Wednesday, May 6th! I’ll be at the store (5112 Main St.) at 6:30 speaking about and reading from Pure, and of course signing!

We’ve got a lot planned for the trip (Terra Foundation for American Art–duh; the Art Institute [yes we will go see the miniatures in the basement]; and the Vosges chocolates HQ, to name a few), but I am a really big foodie and am not quite sure where exactly to eat. So! If you have suggestions of restaurants in Chicago proper (breakfast, lunch, dinner–whatev!), leave me a comment and tell me about it!  If I pick your place, and like it, I’ll send you a Chicago souvenir when I get back!

Laurie Halse Anderson Meet Greet!

April 22nd, 2009 by admin | 2 Comments | Filed in Talking with Other Authors

Back in March, before there was all this wonderful hullaballoo about my book, there was a lot of even bigger hullaballoo about another book: Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson. (And it is still on the New York Times Best Seller List this morning, so there is still hullaballoo going on.)

I have been a fan of Laurie’s ever since I first read Speak. I have admired and enjoyed all her other books (most especially Chains), but honestly I wasn’t sure she could (or even needed to) top the powerful wow-factor that Speak had.  Let me tell you though–when I read Wintergirls, I was so captivated, my breath caught. Not only is this the most compelling, scarily-accurate, hauntingly real narrative on anorexia that I’ve ever seen, but on top of that Laurie’s writing is breathtakingly masterful.

Little Shop of Stories was lucky enough to host (in partnership with the Georgia Center for the Book) Laurie during her Wintergirls tour last month. Being the kind and generous soul she is, she took some time to talk to me about both our new novels.

TEM:  When we met in September last year, you told me you grew up as a minister’s kid. Can you talk a little about that?

LHA: My dad was a very gifted preacher. When I was little it was wonderful–I knew that Jesus wasn’t really my dad’s brother or anything, but I did think he might be, you know, his second cousin or something.  But my mother on the other hand had no religion at all. (She married him because he was hot, and tall.) So I had this real love and passion for Jesus, but sort of ignored everything else outside of that.

In first grade we moved because my father got a job at Syracuse University, which was a very different environment than what I’d grown up with. What was weird was that on Sunday mornings dad would be at the University chapel, and I had to go to a different church for Sunday school. I remember on those mornings my mother would be in her bathrobe, cigarette hanging out of the side of her mouth, yelling at me to buckle my shoes and get in the car so she could drop me off at church.

Later, however, my dad had a real falling out with the church. So now I still love Jesus a lot, but I don’t really find that in church myself.

TEM: What do you think of when you hear the word “pure?”

LHA: You know what just jumped in my head? “Happiness.”

TEM:  Tell me a little bit about your high school best friend.

LHA: My high school best friend was a girl who was on the swim team and the track team with me. In a lot of ways we were really different, but in the things that really counted, we were really patient with each other.

TEM: Both Speak, and now Wintergirls, are written from the perspectives of girls with really extreme perspectives. What is that like, looking out of the eyes of girls who are so intense?

LHA:  What drives both those girls, and me, is the depth of their woundedness and their interior makeup. That’s why I find them appealing. It’s the only position I really know how to take.

TEM: Can you talk about a time when you recognized you were different from your peers in high school?

LHA: You know, it’s funny because there’s no one anecdote that I can tell you. Being different was every minute of every day for me. You remember that I was an exchange student in Denmark, right? And so during the first couple of months I didn’t speak the language at all. I had no idea what anyone was saying to me. But eventually I did learn some; I got to the point where I could kinda get what people were saying and I could kinda say stuff back. But I would also sometimes say some really dumb and stupid things, and would make people laugh. So that feeling of understanding a little bit? Where you can kinda figure out what’s going on but you don’t quite have the language down? That was high school for me. Eventually you learn more and you get past it, but that’s what it was like.

TEM:  What’s something you did or didn’t do in high school that you regret?

LHA:  I regret not going for the basketball team. I think I would’ve had a lot of fun.

TEM:  What’s a promise you’ve made that’s been easy to keep, and what’s a harder one?

LHA:  Well, an easy promise is to love and cherish my husband. A hard one is to take time to just read for fun.

TEM:  Since Wintergirls is about not eating, what are some of your favorite things to eat?

LHA:  Popcorn. I looooooove popcorn. Stovetop is preferable but I won’t say no to microwave. My husband is a really good cook so I do eat well. But some of my favorites are really boring things: bran muffins, oatmeal.

TEM:  So, what is your hope for Wintergirls?

LHA:  That it lasts.

And I am quite sure that it will!

Thanks so much, Laurie, for taking the time to have this conversation with me. Thanks too for your delightful spirit and generous friendship. More than that, thank you for this extremely important and incredibly written book!

So Many Great Things This Weekend

April 16th, 2009 by admin | 1 Comment | Filed in Pure

Just wanted to post a quick notice about two great events this weekend!

The first is my official launch party for Pure on Friday night at 7:30 at Little Shop of Stories (133 East Court Square, Decatur GA 30030 404-373-6300). We will have cupcakes and champagne and shirley temples and live music and of course I’ll be reading and signing too. I’m very excited about this one (three of my very best friends are attending from out of town) so hope you can come out!

The next day (Saturday the 18th), I’ll also be speaking and signing at Eagle Eye Bookshop (2076 N. Decatur Rd., Decatur GA 30030 404-486-0307) from 1-2:30 as part of their Southern Authors day.

It’s so great to be able to appear at both these important independent bookstores. I’m looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible there. Thanks so much for joining in all the excitement that’s been going on in the last week!