Today I am excited to welcome Lindsey Leavitt, author of Sean Griswold's Head who is here to give us her (double) take on all things Sean, Payton and Bike riding for a good cause.
GC: There are so many fantastic, quirky, endearing and problem-solving elements in your novel Sean Griswold’s Head. Can you tell all of us readers where your inspirations came from?
LL: Oh boy, um… life? With this book—and this is probably the same in most realistic fiction—I really just wanted to explore the extraordinary moments in an ordinary girl’s life. The things that happen to Payton wouldn’t impact another person the same way, so this story is uniquely hers because of the type of person she is. I think sometimes teens feel their problems aren’t worth worrying about because they aren’t epic or other-worldly, and really it’s the day to day things that shape who we are. Plus, there is something about feeling and understanding those emotions of loss and love for the first time.
GC: So many young girls make a guy in their class their focus object, whether it is therapeutic, or not, but Sean is something else. What do you think makes Sean and Payton’s relationship different?
LL: First on the focus object front—I KNOW. I was a total drive-by-house, write-down-his-clothing-choices, accidentally-walk-by-gym-during-his-practice STALKER GIRL. Ahem.
Payton and Sean’s relationship starts out superficial, like lots of our relationships are. They know things about each other, but don’t KNOW each other. Then they realize they have something very small in common—they like the same TV show. And then the little link introduces them to more similarities—deeper similarities, and the connection grows. I don’t think this relationship is different, but I do think it’s real, both in friendship and romance.
GC: What kind of research did you do to prepare for your 70-mile literary sprint?
LL: My husband did the bike ride I wrote about, so that was actually pretty easy---watching him and then asking what it was like. He didn’t read the whole book until recently, but I had him read those scenes a few times. Also? I wore a lot of spandex. I’m method like that.
GC: Did you have a specific Sean’s-Head theme-song on your playlist? What music did you listen to?
LL: I don’t listen to music while I write, but I do listen to it to get into the mood. And so I listen to songs that I either listened to in high school or remind me what it was like to be that age. I love “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s, “Stuck in a Moment” U2, anything Unwritten Law, Jimmy Eat World, and… don’t make fun of me… but Chicago.
GC: Who, if anyone, did you base Sean Griswold on and how can I get one? I am a big fan of Sean Griswold and his gorgeous head.
LL: Sean’s kind of the every guy. I had a lot of guy friends in high school, and sometimes we went back and forth liking each other, but very rarely did it work out that we moved beyond friendship. So he’s a bit of a conglomerate of all of those friendships., with a spark of What If More Happened? added. And although my husband’s personality is nothing like Sean’s, I do remember that weird transition of hardly noticing him to being KEENLY aware of his every movement. And he has a very lovely head, as all love interests should. But he is mine, so—and I mean this in this nicest way possible—BACK OFF.
GC: What is the number one thing you hope readers can learn from Payton, whether they are coping with something as life changing as discovering your father has MS, or not?
LL: Everyone has a way that they initially react to life-changing things, whether that be running away or getting angry or lashing out. What’s going to define you is how you act after that reaction, how you’re going to take that awful moment—be it loss of life, trust, friendship, confidence, or hope—and try to mold yourself into a stronger person. Payton isn’t always smart in the choices she makes (there were times I wanted to hit her!), but she’s trying and growing and that’s what’s important. As her counselor says in the book, “Sometimes you have to take the scenic route even when the straight road is ahead of you.”
GC: What is next for you as a writer?
LL: Right now, I’m finishing up the last book in my tween PRINCESS FOR HIRE series and looking forward to the second book, THE ROYAL TREATMENT, coming out in May. They’ve been so much fun to write.
In the YA vein, I just sold another contemporary book that should be out in early 2013 & I’m beyond excited about it! AUTHENTICALLY VINTAGE is about a girl who forgos 21st century technology when she discovers her boyfriend cheating on her with his cyber wife. She finds a list her grandma wrote at 16, and decides to go vintage and accomplish those things for her grandma. It’s a look at the things that change with time and the things the always stay the same.
Would you like to win a finished copy of Sean Griswold's Head? It is this months 'Clean Read.' Then play my game, called Guess-the-Focus-Object!