Now sometimes the novelist skims the directions and instead of answering a Half Dozen questions from the batch I send, she answers ALL OF THEM! Leavitt's mistake is our goldmine ... Here she explains that
inspiration is really "kickstarting the subconscious"
and she tells us about her previous jobs as a switchboard operator, a daily lunch-supplier to a 500 lb. woman ( two cheeseburgers, chocolate cake and a diet Coke), a fashion-copy writer and a professional namer for Macy's.
and suggests that instead of falling in love with a writer you should...
"Run! Run away!"
and gives us advice for down-hearted writers, maybe even permission ...
"This is part of the deal, this black-souled, down-hearted mood."
And now the much much much more than a 1/2 Dozen with Caroline Leavitt:
Current obsessions -- literary or otherwise.
I'm obsessed with the quantum physics idea of parallel universes. Imagine, everyone I know on another plane! I'm also obsessed with the late 1950s and early 60s, which is where my new novel--the one I'm writing--takes place.
I despise the pervasive myth of inspiration – the idea that an entire book can exist simply because of an accumulation of inspired ideas – but I don’t deny that inspiration exists. There are things that have no other explanation. Was there a singular moment of inspiration for this book?
Some writers hate to write. Other writers love being engaged in the creative process. How would you describe your relationship with the page?
What’s your advice to someone who’s fallen in love with a writer?
What's your advice to a writer who's looking for a lifelong partner? Any particularly useful traits to suggest in said partner? (Do you want to tell us a brief love story here?)
Writing Tip #17 for Aspiring Writers – or #47 or #2. Your pick.
Tell us a tale from the publishing world – something, ANYthing about that process from your perspective.
Pep talk (or bootie-kicking) for the downhearted writer. Let fly.
Criticism. It’s part of the territory. How do you handle it? Is this the way you’ve always handled it?
What kind of child were you, inside of what kind of childhood, and how did it shape you as a writer?
What’s your reading life like? Do you have any current favorites or sleepers that may have flown under our radar?
People always talk about the writers they aspired to emulate. I’d love to know the writers you most hated as you were coming up and how those tastes shaped you.
Have you learned to strike a balance between your writing life and the other aspects of your life?
What other jobs have you had -- other than writing or teaching writing? Did one of these help shape you as a writer?
I've had so many jobs! I was fired as a telephone answering service switchboard operator (There were two Dr. Foots, and I gave the wrong emergency message to the wrong doctor), I brought a 500 lb. woman her lunch every day ( two cheeseburgers, chocolate cake and a diet Coke.) I wrote fashion copy and was a professional namer for Macy's, a job I loved (Bohemian wrapsody. The Indian print skirts new possiblities....), and for a few years I wrote movie copy for Columbia House Video club. They were a nightmare. They told me any mistakes would be mine because they would know I was thinking of plot and not video! They also made a friend take down a rave NYT review of my book from her bulletin board because "it was not about videos." When I left I told them I had to leave because it was for "spiritual reasons not physical ones." Proudest moment of my life. I learned that I could work at home, teach, do freelance, and be a writer. I'll never ever get another onsite job!
If you teach the craft of writing, why do you do it -- other than cash?
Was there an extremely influential writing teacher who was impactful on your writing life?
What’s your take on touring?
Faith. Do you consider yourself religious? If so, how does that manifest in your work and/or your process?
I believe in something--I'm more spiritual than religious and my characters always talk about God or psychic phenomena or things they don't understand but know are there.
This is a vast question. Interpret it at will. What’s the future of publishing?
Visit her at her web site and her blog CarolineLeavittville
where she confesses to being a
novelist, screenwriter, writing mentor, namer, book critic, knitting addict and chocoholic.