Words in Deep Blue
Cath Crowley is an award-winning author of young adult novels, including Graffiti Moon and A Little Wanting Song. She lives, writes, and teaches creative writing in Melbourne, Australia.
Jennifer E. Smith
Jennifer E. Smith is the author of seven novels for young adults, including The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. She earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and her work has been translated into thirty-three languages. She lives in New York City.
Blood Rose Rebellion
Rosalyn Eves is a professor of English living in southern Utah and is involved in the YA community there and across the country. Blood Rose Rebellion is her debut novel.
Photo Credit: Erin Summerill
The Whole Thing Together
Ann Brashares is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now, 3 Willows, The Last Summer (of You & Me), and My Name Is Memory. She lives in New York City with her family.
JEFF ZENTNER is the acclaimed author of The Serpent King. In addition to writing, he is also a singer-songwriter and guitarist who has recorded with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, and Debbie Harry. Goodbye Days is his love letter to the city of Nashville and the talented people who populate it. He lives in Nashville with his wife and son. You can follow him on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter at @jeffzentner.
The Sun Is Also a Star
“A Russian Blue cat that we named Nancy Drew.”FIRST TRIP
“From Jamaica to Disney World in Florida.”
FAVORITE FIRST SENTENCE
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell,
nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or too eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”
- The Hobbit
“Thriller era Michael Jackson.”
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Amie: "I used to babysit eleven kids at once, which was excellent practice for working with Jay."
Jay: "I used to be a milk delivery person. So I used to hang on the back of the truck and run the milk from the truck to the house. This was before Amazon. I got $15 for four hours of work."
Amie: "My fifteenth birthday and I spent most of it trying to work out if I was doing it right."
Jay: "I think I was about ten and I got blackmailed into it by the girl I kissed. And I actually gave her a shout out in Illuminae."
Amie: "There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." —The Voyager of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
Jay: “It was a pleasure to know her.” —Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Amie: The first line I wrote was from Kady’s journal: “I’m not ready to die.”
Jay: The first line I wrote actually has a swear word in it, which says a lot about me, it was the first line in Ezra’s After Action Report: “Fire does weird s$ in space.”
Amie: "My first gig was The Offspring and it was the night before a major chemistry exam and I sprained my ankle in the mosh pit. I told my chemistry teacher as a joke that I had sprained my ankle running out for more study supplies and she believed me. So, sorry Ms. McCullough, that wasn’t true."
Jay: "Metallic back in 1991 on the black album. Wow, I’m really old. We actually slept out for five days to get tickets because this was before the internet even existed so you couldn’t buy online."
Holding Up the Universe
YOUR FIRST BOOK
One of my earliest books was an autobiography I wrote (and illustrated) when I was nine, the year my parents and I moved from Maryland to Indiana. It was called My Life in Indiana: I Will Never Be Happy Again. My first published book was written a few years later—The Ice Master, a nonfiction account of a tragic Arctic expedition from 1913.
I must have been around five when I fell in love with Christopher Robin. I think it was his British accent and floppy hair, and the fact that he was very resourceful whenever Pooh and the others needed help.There was a poem in The World of Pooh about Christopher Robin catching a terrible cold, and I remember being devastated that I couldn’t be there for him.
When I was three, I had a boyfriend named Billy, and I was always trying to kiss him. I’m not sure this counts exactly, but we liked to smooch each other on the cheek. The first real kiss was Tony Carver in 5th grade. He was a total bad boy, and I was convinced I was going to marry him.
I saw Rick Springfield at Carnegie Hall in NYC. The show was sold out, but my dad bought two tickets from a scalper. Then he and my mom got in to a very polite argument over who would have to go with me. (My mom lost—she took me to the concert while my dad ate dinner at Carnegie Deli.)
My parents and I moved from North Carolina to Okinawa when I was six months old. On our way, we visited Hawaii and Guam, and while we lived there (for three years) we explored Japan. But the first trip I actually remember was the flight back to the States.
All the Bright Places is Jennifer Niven’s first book for young adult readers, but she has written four novels for adults—American Blonde, Becoming Clementine, Velva Jean Learns to Fly and Velva Jean Learns to Drive—as well as three nonfiction books—The Ice Master, Ada Blackjack, and The Aqua Net Diaries, a memoir about her high school experiences. Although she grew up in Indiana, she now lives with her fiancé and three literary cats in Los Angeles, which remains her favorite place to wander.
Girl In Pieces
Girl in Pieces is Kathleen Glasgow's debut novel. She lives and writes in Tucson, Arizona. To learn more about Kathleen and her writing, you can visit her website, kathleenglasgowbooks.com, and follow her on Twitter @kathglasgow.
The Fever Code
My first kiss? This was probably in middle school. There was this girl who had red hair, and I thoughtshe was pretty hot. And I kissed her on Halloween night and pretty much never talked to her again.
My first concert—this is really embarrassing—but it was Def Leppard in Atlanta, Georgia. And I thought I was just the coolest thing that had ever happened, going to this concert with some older guys in my neighborhood. And it was pretty awesome. Def Leppard.
One of my favorite books is A Wrinkle in Time. And, of course, I read that when I was really little. And I spent years and years and years saying it was my favorite book of all time. I also constantly saw “It was a dark and stormy night” as almost a joke. And then, recently, I rediscovered that book and reread it, and was shocked to see that “It was a dark and stormy night” is actually the first sentence of this book that I loved as a kid. And I felt very dumb that I had forgotten that.
FIRST TIME ON SET
First time on set is something that will always stick in my mind as the highlight of my life—you know, apart from moms and wives and babies and all that kind of stuff. Being such a big movie buff, being on any movie set would have been spectacular, but the fact that it was based on my book just made it surreal and amazing and awesome. I always think about it, and I could probably never match that first time there. But it was incredible.
FIRST FAVORITE CARTOON
When I was a kid, I absolutely loved getting up on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons. I know this is a completely foreign concept to people now because you just use Netflix, but when I was a kid (you’re making me sound like an old man), on Saturday mornings all the channels showed cartoons. And I loved everything from Bugs Bunny to Popeye to Woody Woodpecker, Flintstones, all those old cartoons—I loved those. But now I am absolutely obsessed with some of these new cartoons. I love watching SpongeBob with my kids. I love watching South Park not with my kids. And Family Guy. All these shows are just hilarious, so I don’t know if I have a favorite.
James Dashner is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series: The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order, as well as The Eye of Minds and The Rule of Thoughts, the first two novels in the Mortality Doctrine series. Dashner was born and raised in Georgia, but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains.
And I Darken
"Babysitting. The best was when I would show up to a filthy house and they would want me to cook, clean, and put all six of their kids to bed, and paid me $2 an hour."
"Was super romantic. He was about to leave on family vacation so he came over to my house, I opened the door, he kissed me on the doorstep, and then he left for the next two weeks. It’s not gonna be a scene in one of my books. But an even cuter first kiss is this: I was my husband’s first kiss. I know! It’s the cutest!"
He was so dreamy. He was brave. He was courageous. He really, like, fought for the little people. Gorgeous brown hair. Fur, actually. His name was Martin. He was a warrior. And he was a mouse in the Redwall series. Didn’t work out between us."
"It happened when we moved into a house and there was a big dirt pile in the backyard and I used to climb up it and imagine things. I was climbing mountains; I was fighting dragons. All those wonderful things. One day I tripped and gashed open my leg, so my imagination literally leaves me scarred."
Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy, Mind Games, and many more novels for teens.
Beware That Girl
"I was eleven years old. I worked in tobacco farms priming and tying the tobacco onto the sticks every summer for many, many years. You’ll have to remember that when my next book comes out because that is a part of the next book—tobacco country,tobacco farms. It was hard, dirty, filthy work, but it was fabulous. You were outside. There were dangerous things going on all around you when you’re eleven and twelve and thirteen, and I wouldn’t have taken that away from me no matter what."
FAVORITE FIRST SENTENCE
"'Where’s Papa going with that axe?' E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. None better."
"I didn’t have any as a child because I came from a poor, immigrant family with a single mother. We kept moving from two room flats to furnished places. So it wasn’t until I was an adult and had a family of my own. I did a great deal of research about the type of dog I wanted and I came to the conclusion that we should have a bichon frise. They were awfully cute, but I had read on sites and book after book that they are extremely intelligent dogs, very bright, very capable. I’m clearly a bit of a snob, so we got one and the dog was fantastic. Her name was Poppy, but she was dumber than a bag of hair. This was not an intelligent dog,but she was the sweetest thing in the world and we had her for fifteen years."
"I was jumping around the house. Jumping, leaping from furniture—the couch to the sofa to a chair. I don’t know, I thought I was Wonder Woman. I fell and smashed my face on a flower pot. And shortly thereafter I fell on something else and cut myself on my chin. The scar’s still there and I cut myself open. I’ve apparently done a lot of face-plants."
"That didn’t happen until I was seventeen years old. The love of my life dumped me and apparently I was handling it so poorly that my poor little immigrant mom was really worried about me. So she saved and saved. She worked nights and during the days and on weekends.Some very venerable Canadian friend of hers told her, “Well, you must take her away. Get her head and heart out of where she is and that’ll snap her out of it”(out of my broken heart). So Mama took me to the Bahamas. We went on our first plane trip together, and we dressed. We really dressed for this. You’d think we were two dignitaries going off somewhere. We went to the Emerald Beach Hotel in the Bahamas, and I thought I was a princess. Now, mind you, we burnt ourselves to a crisp having no idea how hot the sun was or any of that. We spent the first few days eating for free because we’d mistakenly gone to the wrong section of where we were supposed to eat. We were eating with a bunch of actuaries who had prepaid for everything. But that was fine and none of the staff minded. It was a magical, extraordinary trip and set me on my path of being a world explorer and adventurer."
Teresa Toten won the Schneider Family Book Award and Canada's Governor General's Literary Award for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B. She is also the author of the acclaimed Blondes series, as well as The Game, The Onlyhouse, and, with Eric Walters, The Taming. Teresa Toten lives in Toronto.
Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
A Totally Awkward Love Story
Lucy: Natural History Museum café. 1998. Kid’s counselor it was. Purple shirt. Dinosaur cap. Got fired. Got sacked, actually. If you want to know more about that, email me to hear my side of it.
Tom: Mine wasn’t very exciting. Little pub in West London, where we come from. Packhorse & Talbot. Stop in. If you ever come to London stop by.
Lucy: I think his name was Daniel. I only met him the once for about one and a half minutes at a teen disco in Morcambe.
Tom: Mine was a girl called Vicky. Both me and my friend Chris fancied her and I kissed her. It was mildly awkward actually.
Tom: This is quite a sweet/awkward answer because I think the answer for both of us would probably be each other.
Lucy: Stroke. Leonardo DiCaprio.
Tom: For me as well. No, if you’re saying Leonardo DiCaprio, mine was probably Alicia Silverstone from Clueless.
Lucy: But love love. Probably each other.
Tom: Yeah, we wrote A Totally Awkward Love Story. Basically, we used to date when we were like sixteen to like eighteen or nineteen and so it’s about that period in our lives when we were going out. It all turned out all right. We got a book out of it. That’s all you can ask for out of your first love, isn’t it?
Lucy: I went to see Blur and I’m gonna say, I’m gonna put it at 1995, which, actually, if you’re familiar, was peak Blur. It was at Wembley. I went with my friends and I don’t really remember anything about it except that to get in the car park and out of the car park, it was . . . and I just remember my dad being really angry about it.
Tom: My first concert was a group, a probably now forgotten group called The Presidents of the United States of America. They used to have something that goes, “She’s lump, she’s lump, she’s in my head.” Lump, yeah. Google it. YouTube it. They used to have another song called “moving to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches.” I was like twelve and my dad took me and my friend and it was really embarrassing because my dad was with us.
Tom: When I was about ten and me and my brother went camping and the tent had one of those lamps, a quite heavy camping lamps. We were having a fight in the tent and he smashed the thing and the lamp came down and whacked my eye, it cut my eye. It could have blinded me, guys, but it was a lucky escape and I’ve lived to tell the tale.
Lucy: I had an appendicitis when I was fourteen and that’s the end of that story.
Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison met at the end of high school and quickly became sweethearts. Though they broke up in college, they remain best friends. Lucy runs the online teen magazine Whatever After and teaches in girls’ schools across London, specializing in building confidence and creativity. Tom is a journalist and has written for Time Out, Vice, ESPN, Glamour, and many other publications. A Totally Awkward Love Story was partially inspired by their own high school relationship, with Tom writing Sam’s chapters and Lucy writing Hannah’s. This is their first novel.
The Darkest Corners
“My first trip was to Disney World—like lots of other little kids—except my genius of dad decided that we would drive down to Disney World from New York. So, from New York to Florida because I was three and he didn’t think a three-year-old could handle a plane ride all the way to Florida. Well, it turns out something else that three-year-olds can’t handle are forty-eight-hour car rides without stopping all the way to Florida. So by the time I got to Disney World, I was so stressed out and cranky I completely forgot about my dream to meet Cinderella. When the time finally came for me to meet Cinderella at Disney World, I hid behind my mom’s legs and I cried like just saw somebody getting murdered because I was just so stressed out and pissed off from being in a car for forty-eight hours that I couldn’t even handle Cinderella.”
FIRST BOOK EVER READ
“The first book I ever read is called Charlie the Caterpillar. I used to bring this book with me everywhere and read itconstantly. It’s by Dom De Luise, illustrated by Christopher Santoro, and it’s kind of like The Ugly Duckling, except it’s an ugly little caterpillar named Charlie and he wants to play with all these animals. He wants to play tennis with all these rabbits who are like, “No! Get out of here, you’re ugly!” And then he tries to play golf with these mice who are like, “No! Get out of here. We don’t play with ugly caterpillars.” And then at the end Charlie the Caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly and all of a sudden all the other animals want to be his best friend and they’re like, “Oh! You can play golf with us. You can play tennis with us.” And he’s like, “No, I gotta get outta here!” and he meets this little caterpillar named Katie, who is an ugly little caterpillar like he was, and she’s crying because all the other animals were jerks to her, too. They become best friends and then she becomes a beautiful butterfly, too, and then everybody lives happily ever after.”
FAVORITE FIRST LINE
“’The first time, you can’t believe how much it hurts.’ Get your head out of the gutter—that is referring to a shot. That is from the book The Fever by Megan Abbott, which is my favorite book ever. It’s about a bunch of girls in a school in upstate New York who start having these hysterical symptoms. They’re twitching and there’s a question of “Is it paranormal? Did they get it from their flu shots?” It’s really crazy, and it’s a dark, twisted psychological thriller about girls. Sound a little familiar?”
“The first book I ever wrote—and this is a complete, full book—was in third grade and I wrote the worst Nancy Drew rip-off ever. But instead of Nancy Drew the detective’s name was Kara (sound familiar?) and she investigated some creepy thing that had happened in her school in the janitor’s closed. There was a dead body in the janitor’s closet. So that’s pretty dark for a third grader, but I was always kind of a little bit of a disturbed child. Anyway, I wrote and illustrated it in construction paper and crayons, so that was the first book I ever wrote.”
“My first concert was Hanson at Jones Beach in New York and I have no shame about that. I still love Hanson with all my heart and I would marry any one of them if they asked me.”
Kara Thomas has written for everything from her high school newspaper to Warner Bros. Television. She is a true-crime addict who lives on Long Island with her husband and rescue cat. To learn more about Kara and her books, visit her at kara-thomas.com and follow @karatwrites on Twitter.
Tell Me Three Things
When I was a kid, we had a bird whose name was Foof. He was a miserable, miserable creature, as I guess a bird that lives in a cage in a kid’s bedroom should be. Anyhow, my brother decided one day that maybe we could make Foof happy if we fed him more food. And so he left out a lot of food for Foof and, true story, poor Foof ate so much that he exploded. It was sad.
Bon Jovi, New Jersey, in New Jersey. It must’ve been 1988 or 1989. I was eleven years old and Iwore a denim jacket that had buttons all over it. I have never been cool, I will never be cool, but I have a feeling, that night, when “I’ll Be There for You” came on and I knew every lyric, in my awesome jean jacket, I think for just a minute, I approached—I came close to—coolness.
DREAM FIRST EDITION
I don’t have very many memories of childhood, but I do remember once sitting on my mom’s lap and the two of us reading The Secret Garden together. I lost my mom when I was fourteen, so it is one of those books that is particularly precious to me—we read an excerpt at my wedding. I collect editions, so I would really kill to have a first edition of The Secret Garden.
I’m sure my husband wants me to say him, but the truth is that when I was four years old I fell madly in love with a stuffed polar bear named Snowy. I slept with Snowy my entire childhood and into my adulthood, until I moved in with my husband. But not to fear, Snowy is still a part of my life—I have passed him on to my children.
My very first job was as a clown’s assistant at a child’s birthday party, and I thought it would be the perfect job. I love kids, I love parties—you know, win-win. But it ended up being a complete disaster because after the party, which actually turned out to be pretty fun, the clown took me to his car and whipped out a pack of Marlboros and started smoking.
1. Julie Buxbaum is the author of the critically acclaimed The Opposite of Love and After You, and her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Tell Me Three Things is her first novel for young adults.
2. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young children, and an immortal goldfish.
3. Julie once received an anonymous email, which inspired Jessie's story.
"My first job was actually working at a tie cart in the mall. This was during the holidays—they would put up these carts that sold various things, perfume or whatever, and I was selling neckties. I had just gotten back from a mission for the LDS church, where I wore a lot of ties, so I figured I knew some things about neckties. So I sat at this thing in the mall of the holiday season. I actually had to watch Jingle All the Way with Arnold Schwarzenegger eighty times because it was on every day at the Suncoast Motion Picture Company. I couldn’t even hear it, but I had to watch it eighty times. And I sold neckties. It was an okay job. But the best part was that I had space between people coming up and wanting to buy ties where I could do whatever I wanted, and in my case, I wrote a novel . . . which leads me to my second first."
"My first novel was written while I was sitting at this tie cart, trying to ignore Arnold Schwarzenegger on the TV right across from me. In between moments when people would come and want to buy ties, I sat and wrote a book. I havethese big notepads, they’re actually drawing pads, and I scribbled on them in reallytiny handwriting, just pages and pages and pages and pages of them with cross-outsand lines going in different directions. It was really quite spectacular andcompletely illegible. About eight months later I typed it out. It was called White Sand. It was an epic fantasy novel and the first book I ever finished."
FIRST BOOK READ
"It’s really hard for me to trace back to the first book I read. I do remember reading The Hobbit when I was younger. I really liked it. But I kind of bounced off Lord of the Rings. I had this weird experience where I didn’t really understand there was a genre called fantasy. I figured I’d liked this Hobbit thing, so I should read Lord of the Rings. I didn’t get that one was for teens and one was for adults. I don’t know if you’ve tried to read Lord of the Rings, I’m sure you guys are better readers than I am, or was at that point, but it was so hard. So it was years before I dove back into fantasy. The book I credit with actually making me into a reader and a writer is Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. It’s this gorgeous story about the last living dragon slayer. He’s a pig farmer, living out in the boonies, and the people from the capital come and get him because a dragon is terrorizing them. But he’s middle-aged now, so he has to go slay a dragon as a middle-aged man, which is very different from slaying a dragon in your twenties."
"My first concert—I wish this was a little less embarrassing, because I’ve since attended lots of great concerts by excellent musicians, many of whom you would know and respect—but technically my first concert was one my parents took me to when I was seven or eight, and it was the Beach Boys. This is what happens when your parents grow up in the ’60s and ’70s, I guess you go to Beach Boys concerts. I actually remember really rocking out as a little kid to the Beach Boys. It was pretty awesome."
"My first real trip—my first real trip by myself—was flying from Nebraska, where I live, to Utah to visit my uncle and his family. I did this when I was eleven. Now the great story here is that before I left, my father handed me $200 and said, “Use this to pay for your food while you’re living with your uncle. Make sure you take care of yourself and you’re not a burden on them.” So I fly out and of course my uncle is like, “No, I'm not going to let you pay for food.” Every time I went to something, I tried to pay for it with the $200 my father had given me, and at the end of the trip I still had all $200. So I went to my uncle and said, “Um, you have to let me pay for something ’cause otherwise my dad is just going to take this money back.” My uncle said, “Well, let’s go to the store!” So he took me to the mall, we went to KB Toys, and I bought an original Nintendo Entertainment System, an actual gray box Nintendo. Two hundred bucks. I brought it home, and my dad said, “Did you pay for things?” I said, “Well, I bought this!” And that was the first video game system that I paid for myself!"
Brandon Sanderson is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Steelheartand Firefight, the first two books in the Reckoners series, and the internationally bestselling books in the Stormlight Archive and the Mistborn trilogy. He was also chosen to complete Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series. His books have been published in more than twenty-five languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. He lives and writes in Utah. To learn more about Brandon and his books, visit him at brandonsanderson.com and follow @BrandSanderson on Twitter.
Anna and the Swallow Man
The first book I ever read was The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, but I was way too young to read it. I was, like, six years old or something. My older brother had a copy of it from the Ann Arbor Public Library, with a really cool tiger on the cover. I was excited about the tiger, so I picked it up and only found out that I shouldn’t have been reading things by Victorianists until, perhaps, much later in life.
My first kiss happened the summer after freshman year of high school. It was in the sadly defund Borders bookstore, flagship location in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While riding in the elevator, my girlfriend at the time jumped me. I was terrified, but it was in a bookstore, so it all worked out.
FAVORITE LINE FROM A PLAY:
One of the best ones, for sure, comes from Into the Woods. At the end of Little Red Riding Hood’s song: “Isn’t it nice to know a lot! And a little bit . . . not.”
My first word was actually a phrase. It was “glasses and hat,” which seems, you know, kind of extensive, but then, if you’ve read my writing, I can get kind of extensive. The good news, though, is that for many years now I’ve generally worn glasses, and I regularly wear a hat, so I was on top of things back then.
FAVORITE DISNEY SONG:
Far and away, the best Disney song is “When You Wish upon a Star” from Pinocchio. “When you wish upon a star makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you.” It’s sooooo good.
Gavriel Savit holds a BFA in musical theater from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he grew up. As an actor and singer, Gavriel has performed on three continents, from New York to Brussels to Tokyo. He lives in Brooklyn. Anna and the Swallow Man is his first novel.
“Last day of seventh grade, wedged between two pinball machines at a put-put golfing game. His name was Peter Soleys. Had a crush on him for a while. Never saw him again.”
“The first question a reader ever asked me was the day that Fallen was published. I had just given my very first reading about a huge fight that Daniel and Lucinda have, and I had a young girl—I think she was eleven years old—come up to me and ask me whether I believed that there was love as pure and as powerful and as real as Luce and Daniel’s. And it hit me then how much this story was going to affect me.”
“My first apartment was a craphole on 49th Street and 2nd Avenue. The only reason I could afford it was because my roommate’s dad was the landlord. And we still had rats.”
“The biggest lie I remember getting busted for: I told my mom I was spending the night at my best friend’s house. I spent it somewhere very, very bad.”
“A 1992 turquoise blue Mustang. It had been in an accident before I got it, so it had a fender that said it was a Mustang GT, but it wasn’t a Mustang GT. But the boys who were dumb in high school were very impressed to see that on the fender even though it didn’t have the proper exhaust pipe that a Mustang GT would have had. Those boys were idiots.”
“My first job was in my high school library, I know, really radically different from what I do now. And my first real adult job was actually at Scholastic in the editorial department, which is where I still am over 20 years later.”FIRST BOOK
“My first book was an adventure for middle graders called In the Eye of the Tornado. That doesn’t really apply very much to my YA writing. My first YA book though was Boy Meets Boy.”
“My first concert like most people in my generation who grew up in the greater New York City area was Billy Joel. My second concert was Billy Joel… my third was… Billy Joel. But my fourth was Peter Gabriel.”
“My favorite first line is “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.” which is the first line from MT Anderson’s Feed, which also happens to be one of my favorite books of all time.”
“My first pet only lasted a day, but my second pet was a goldfish that lasted much longer. It lasted five years; his name was Michael. And only later in life did certain adult friends of mine say, “Are you sure it was the same goldfish?” in a sort of Jenny Holms The Fourteenth Goldfish sort of way. But I confronted my mother, and said “Did you switch my goldfish?” and she assured me she had not. And I believe her because her exact words were: “Oh my god, that thing would never die.”
David Levithan is a children’s book editor in New York City and the author of several books for young adults, including Lambda Literary Award winner Two Boys Kissing; Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (co-authored with Rachel Cohn); Will Grayson, Will Grayson (co-authored with John Green); and Every You, Every Me (with photographs from Jonathan Farmer). He lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.
We Were Liars
“It was Pippi Longstocking fan fiction. I was in third grade.”
“It was pretty late, age-wise, and the boy was wearing a toga made from the American flag.”
“I saw Madonna on the 'Who's That Girl' tour."
“I worked in a Birkenstock store in Seattle. I saw a lot of smelly feet. I gave Ruby Oliver that same job in The Treasure Map of Boys.”
“I have thirteen stitches in the bottom of my foot. I got them wading in a creek in the Boston Arboretum. I was only five and after that, I was scared of arboretums, generally.”