Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Letting Go of Gravity Blog Tour: Interview with Meg Leder

Thank you to Rock Star Book Tour for this wonderful opportunity to interview Meg Leder, author of Letting Go of Gravity! I am a big fan of Meg Leder's debut novel, The Museum of Heartbreak and I absolutely enjoyed Letting Go of Gravity. Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the blog post and check out the other tour stops! Also, you can check out my review for the novel here.


Title: Letting Go of Gravity
Author: Meg Leder
Pub. Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 432
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, iBooks, TBD

Synopsis:

Twins Parker and Charlie are polar opposites.
Where Charlie is fearless, Parker is careful.
Charlie is confident while Parker aims to please.
Charlie is outgoing and outspoken; Parker is introverted and reserved.
And of course, there’s the one other major difference: Charlie got leukemia. Parker didn’t.

But now that Charlie is officially in remission, life couldn’t be going better for Parker. She’s landed a prestigious summer internship at the hospital and is headed to Harvard in the fall to study pediatric oncology—which is why the anxiety she’s felt since her Harvard acceptance is so unsettling. And it doesn’t help that her relationship with Charlie has been on the rocks since his diagnosis.

Enter Finn, a boy who’s been leaving strange graffiti messages all over town. Parker can’t stop thinking about those messages, or about Finn, who makes her feel free for the first time: free to doubt, free to make mistakes, and free to confront the truth that Parker has been hiding from for a long time.

That she keeps trying to save Charlie, when the person who really needs saving is herself.


ACCLAIMED PRAISE

A gorgeous, sad, funny, and wise book about letting go and finding your place in the world. Meg Leder has written a story about a brother and sister that will break your heart and have you whispering 'I got you' long after you've closed the book. –Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces

“For readers who love and appreciate a good coming-of-age story, a realistic romance, and a novel where every character gets to be a hero.” –Kirkus

“A poignant and carefully crafted story…. A compelling coming-of-age novel sure to appeal to those who love realistic fiction.” –School Library Journal

“Effectively shows how illness affects families and how a person can get stuck acting out a persona and end up knowing very little about herself.” –Publishers Weekly

INTERVIEW WITH MEG LEDER

1. Letting Go of Gravity contains a lot of relatable issues that many teens go through such as anxiety, supporting a seriously ill loved one and even living to society's expectations to do well in life. It's also a heartfelt and emotional novel. How long did it take from conception to final draft to complete the novel? Did it take many drafts to hone in on each character's story and issues they face every day?

Meg: I worked on Letting Go of Gravity for four years, the last three of those in earnest. I have a full-time job as an adult nonfiction editor at Penguin Books, so I don’t write as quickly as I’d like. But I spend every Saturday and Sunday writing for 5-7 hours a day, and use the week to think about my characters, what they’ve done and what they’re going to do next. I don’t remember what exactly sparked the idea for this book—it’s a very personal project, so maybe the spark for it has always been in me! But once I knew I wanted to explore anxiety and expectations and how those play out in families, things started to take shape pretty quickly.

I did a lot of revising on my own before my editors saw the manuscript, and then once they came on board, we did a lot more! I worked with a fantastic team of three editors at Simon Pulse, and they each brought something really magnificent to the table. They pushed me and this manuscript beyond what I knew I was capable of, and as a result, I think the characters really breathe on the page. In particular, Charlie’s arc grew a lot from where I first started—they really encouraged me to go deeper with his character.


2. Your characters are very memorable. Who is your favorite character to write about in Letting Go of Gravity and why? Which character was the most difficult to write about?

Meg: I love all these characters so much, this is harder to answer than I expected! But I really loved writing Parker the most because she’s so much like me, but also because she’s eventually braver than me. She figures out who she is at a much younger age than I ever did, and even though it’s not an easy process, I’m kind of in awe of her for that.

The hardest character for me to write was Charlie. I love Charlie, but when I started this book, I didn’t always like Charlie. In early drafts, he came off as really angry and unlikeable, and I feel so protective about Parker, it was making me mad! But I didn’t want him to be a villain, and for me, the key to opening him up was digging into why he was angry. Once I started exploring that (and introduced him to Ruby, who is able to bring out a better side of Charlie), I started to discover the really wonderful parts of him.

3. When Parker rekindles her friendship with Finn, she ends up discovering her true passion and does some soul searching. When did you find your passion for writing? Also, what are some of your other interests?

Meg: I’ve always been a huge reader, and I’ve spent the last twenty years working in publishing, so I like to think that it all eventually just rubbed off on me! But it wasn’t until I was having lunch with my agent (who was repping me for some nonfiction projects) and he suggested I might have a voice for young adult that I began to consider what it might mean to write a novel. That was about ten years ago, and since then I’ve been hooked. It’s not easy, but I like creating something on the page and seeing where it takes me—I get a lot of joy out of that.

As for other interests, it will not surprise anyone who’s read Letting Go of Gravity to know I’m also a big fan of both pottery and street art. I’ve taken pottery classes on and off throughout the years, and I love the feeling of throwing clay on the wheel, and then pushing that into a finished shape. As for street art, one of my favorite ways to spend time is to wander a city and to discover its street art. Right now, I’m really into Invader, a French artist who posts video game images in tiles all over cities. There’s even an app you can use to record where you find them, sort of like a scavenger hunt.

4. Are you a plotter or panster?

Meg: I fit somewhere in-between. I always compare my writing process to a road trip. I know where I’m starting and I know roughly where I want to go, but I haven’t planned the route just yet. I like to head off and leave room to take side roads and to recalibrate my destination as I go!

5. So far you've written contemporary YA novels. Can you give readers some hints about your current work in progress?

Meg: I’m working on a few different things right now, and I’m not sure if either will bloom into a novel—it’s still too early too tell, I think! One is contemporary YA, one is trying something a little new. It’s like planting seeds—I hope one or both of them takes!

6. What are some of your favorite YA books that you would recommend?

Meg: Oh man, I could go on and on for this one! Some of my absolute favorites in the past few years: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi, The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood, all of the Charlotte Holmes novels by Brittany Cavallaro, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, anything by VE Schwab (Darker Shade of Magic is so fantastic), the Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir… again, there’s so much stuff I love! I’m a sucker for any book with a romance, and I have a soft spot for fantasy. And I cannot wait to read Janet McNally’s The Looking Glass and Deb Caletti’s A Heart in a Body in the World, because I have heard such amazing things about both books already, and of course, am practically counting down the days for Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas.
Thank you Meg Leder for this splendid interview! 

ABOUT MEG LEDER

Meg Leder is the author of Letting Go of Gravity and The Museum of Heartbreak, and the coauthor of books including The Happy Book and The Book of Me. A former bookseller and teacher, she currently works as a book editor in New York City. She spends her free time reading, looking for street art, and people watching. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Tim Riggins.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY

3 winners will win a finished copy of LETTING GO OF GRAVITY, US Only. Nicole's Novel Reads is not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail. Good Luck!



Tour Schedule:

Week One:
7/23/2018- A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt
7/24/2018- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
7/25/2018- The Pages In-BetweenReview
7/26/2018- 100 Pages A DayReview
7/27/2018- Never Too Many To ReadReview

Week Two:

7/30/2018- Book Princess ReviewsReview
7/31/2018- Nicole's Novel ReadsInterview
8/1/2018- The Reading Corner for AllReview
8/2/2018- Do You Dog-ear?Review
8/3/2018- BookHounds YAInterview


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