Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Caroline Leavitt

Caroline Leavitt is the New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You, which sold to six countries, went into five printings, and was a San Francisco Chronicle Lit Pick, a Costco "Pennie's Pick" and a NAIBA bestseller. Pictures of You is also a USA Today ebook bestseller and is on the Best Books of 2011 List from the San Francisco Chronicle, Providence Journal, Kirkus Reviews and Bookmarks Magazine. It's also one of Kirkus Reviews Top 5 books of 2011 about the Family and love.

The recently released Is This Tomorrow is Leavitt's tenth and latest novel.

From her Q & A at Zola Books:

What was your research like for [Is This Tomorrow]? Did you study cold cases of missing children?

I was very quickly overwhelmed by the research. It took me four days just to try to track down what cops in the 1950s used instead of yellow crime tape. (Answer: wood horses and rope!) I hired two exceptional high school students as assistants, and a professional researcher, too. But my favorite thing was to get on Facebook and Twitter and ask for real life stories and real people. I found a guy who was one of the first male nurses in the sixties, and he told me how doctors always smoked and how patients were encouraged to smoke in their rooms because it “would relax them.” I found a master pie baker who told me that if you put your hands in the freezer for a while, you can make a great crust. Cold hands are what you want!

Because my character Ava becomes a pie baker, I did a lot of research around food in the fifties. I found a lot of vintage cookbooks and most of them always had items called “Meals Men Like!” Men could grill meat or toss the salad, but that was it. Lots of the food was sort of disgusting, like overnight salad, where you douse iceberg lettuce with a cup of oil and a cup of mayonnaise overnight and then serve it the next day. And I can’t forget the meat loaf train, which had carrot wheels, and split-in-half peas for the heads of the passengers.

I also learned a lot about Communist paranoia. You couldn’t serve Russian dressing because it’s subversive. Pamphlets told you you could simply wipe the radiation off your feet before you came into a house! Kids believed they could “duck and cover” under their desks and no bomb could hurt them.

And, of course, the role of...[read on]
Visit Caroline Leavitt's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Pictures of You.

My Book, the Movie: Pictures of You.

Writers Read: Caroline Leavitt (January 2011).

Writers Read: Caroline Leavitt.

The Page 69 Test: Is This Tomorrow.

My Book, The Movie: Is This Tomorrow.

--Marshal Zeringue