Tuesday, July 30, 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.

About Is This Tomorrow, Leavitt's tenth and latest novel:

What does it mean to be an outsider in a community? How do we keep the ones we love safe? in 1950s suburbia, everything is meant to be perfect, even as paranoia about Communism and nuclear bombs winds its way through the supposed paradise. But when divorced, sensual-without-meaning-to-be, Jewish single mother Ava rents a house with her 12-year-old son, Lewis, she struggles to fit in and find her place in the neighborhood. Lewis finds solace with the only other two fatherless kids on the block, his best friends Jimmy and Rose, but when Jimmy vanishes one day, Ava comes under suspicion, and Rose and Lewis are later forced to confront truths they've long suppressed. A novel about people trying desperately to uncover secrets about the past--and about themselves.
From Leavitt's Q & A at Like An Open Book:
What inspired you to write about a divorced woman in the 1950s? There is clearly some inherent conflict in that role, especially at that time. It couldn’t have been an easy situation for such women.

I grew up in a Waltham [Boston] suburb in the early 60s, part of the only Jewish family on a Christian block, and the only family more outcast than mine was headed up by a divorced woman. We kids were told not to go to her house because it was dirty, to stay away because she had all sorts of men, and not to talk to her. I disobeyed all the time. She painted my fingernails passion pink, gave me advice and cookies and showed me how to use eyeliner, and her daughter was my best friend. But when my friend was 12, she announced that the wealthy Jewish dentist she babysat for was going to adopt her, and I told her she was nuts. You couldn’t be adopted out of your family! But she was, and she left, and then two weeks later, her mother left, too. I kept asking everyone, “How could this happen?” I couldn’t get my mind around it. And the only answer I got was, “She was divorced. That’s how it happened.” I couldn’t get that out of my mind.

Did your original conception of the story include Jimmy’s disappearance, or was it focused on Ava’s transition to independence and Lewis’s coming of age? That alone would have made for a compelling read.

What a great question! No one has ever asked me that before, but what you said is actually true. Originally, it was just a story of being an outsider in a suburb. I was going to have a friend of Lewis’ move, but ...[read on]
Visit Caroline Leavitt's website and blog.

Writers Read: Caroline Leavitt.

The Page 69 Test: Is This Tomorrow.

My Book, The Movie: Is This Tomorrow.

--Marshal Zeringue