Monday, July 9, 2012

Interview with author Joanne Levy

Today debut author joins us on her Book Birthday to discuss her MG novel, Small Medium at Large!

GC: So, the title, we must start by asking about the title. Was Small Medium at Large always your working title, or did it come with the contract? 

JL: SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE is the title that I woke up with one day and recognized as being pretty awesome (Yay subconscious!). I was working on another project at the time, so I tucked it away. But it nagged at me for about a year, so finally I figured it was time and I sat down and wrote the book. My publisher never questioned the title and I think they saw it as being pretty awesome, too. A lot of people comment on the title, so I think I was smart to follow it and write a book.

GC: Did you set out to write a middle grade novel and grew the idea from that, or did the idea come first and eventually evolve into a marketable MG? 

JL: The title pretty much dictated the subject matter, but funny story - the book was actually first written and shopped to publishers as a YA. A very wise editor thought my voice for this book would work better as a MG, so I actually rewrote the whole book for a younger audience. Some of the elements stayed, like the main character being hit by lightning at her mom’s wedding, and her grandmother coming back from the great beyond to get Lilah’s help with some unfinished business, but the YA version was fairly dark, so most of it got pitched. I’d never written MG before tackling the rewrite, but I guess I did okay, since the book did sell!

GC: If you were going to a psychic reading, what would you want your Medium to see inside her crystal ball? Personally I'd love to have my mini-medium tell me that from this day forth every brownie I eat will be calorie-free! 

JL: I like your mini-medium and wish for calorie-free brownies, too! As for me, well, I’d really love to keep writing and be able to someday do it full time, so yeah, if my mini-medium could get on that, I’d appreciate it.

GC: Be our crystal ball! What is something about the publishing process that hopeful authors should know?

JL: Well, they say there is no crystal ball in publishing and no one really knows what will be big or where the trends will go, but great stories are always in demand. Paranormal is still really big, but I see a lot of people hungry for contemporaries, too. I guess just stick to writing what you would want to read and tell the most honest story you can. One thing I never realized when I first started writing with the hope of being published, is how long everything takes in publishing, so be prepared to wait. A lot. No, really—you’re going to wait for just about every part of the process. I’ve never gotten used to that.

GC: What is next for you as an author? 

JL: I’m planning my book launch right now, but otherwise a lot of stuff is up in the air for me. I’m working on a funny YA, but I think there will be more MG on the horizon, since I’d like to give the readers of SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE more funny and light stories.

GC: Thank you so much, Joanne! 

JL: And thank you!

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