book release

<3 <3 The Romantics is out TODAY!! <3 <3

theromanticsfinal RUN, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore, because The Romantics is officially out today, y'all!

I'm so thrilled that a book so near and dear to my heart is finally in the world. And it's set in Chapel Hill, no less!

Today is the perfect day to share the last love personality type, The Romantic!

love-personality-type-romantic

According to Love, the Romantic is:

One who believes in Love in its finest form and impresses those feelings onto his or her various relationships. May result in scaring off partners, falling for the wrong person, and desperately trying to turn life into a movie with glamorous Old Hollywood actors. May also result in some of the best, most inspiring, and deepest relationships around.

Romantics in the book:

Gael, our main character <3 <3

 

There are too many Romantics in pop culture to count, so I'll detail them in a separate post.

Anyway, thank you all for all your support. I'm over the moon right now!

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P.S. If you're in NYC, join me to celebrate the launch and get your signed copy on Thursday at McNally Jackson in SoHo!

Happy reading!

Leah

 

 

Is technology making us bad readers?

girl-reading-iphoneI have always been an avid reader. It’s a big part of why I am a writer. As Toni Morrison says, “If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” That said, in the month or so leading up to The After Girls book release—as well as the couple of weeks since—I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump. It’s not that I’m not reading. I’m blowing through Game of Thrones on audio books during my commute (hence my love for Arya Stark), and I’ve got Helter Skelter, the true story behind the Manson murders, on my Kindle, but I just haven’t been able to devour books like I used to. Case in point: my Goodreads book-tracker is constantly reminding me how far behind I am on my goal of reading 40 books this year, and Amazon sent me an email this weekend asking me to rate Helter Skelter (I’m not even halfway done! Usually, by the time I receive the rating email I’ve moved onto lots more books).

I think the most egregious thing is that Feed and How I Live Now are overdue to the library, and I’ve already renewed them once—and I haven’t finished either.

I could just be in a reading slump, but I can’t help but thinking that The All-Consuming Internet is to blame.

Here are the social networks I have a presence on as an author:

Facebook Twitter Goodreads Tumblr Wordpress Amazon Author Program Figment Pinterest

Here are the ones I have an active presence on as a human (I use these to share things other than writing):

Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest

As you can see, my social footprint essentially doubles when it comes to writing. And it’s great. I love blogging, connecting with readers and other writers, and finding inspiration from the millions people out there who love books as much as I do. But keeping up with so many networks takes time. Time that not so long ago I would have spent, say, reading an actual book.

The truth is, sometimes after a long day, it feels easier to just jump on all these networks and check out what’s new than to pick up a book. A book takes you away from the outside world. It requires your attention. And it doesn’t allow for multi-tasking. That’s what’s so wonderful about it—and what sometimes makes us averse to it. It requires commitment.

There are so many ways that technology has encouraged reading and literacy (hello, Goodreads!), but I’m going to make a point to set aside more time for actual reading and writing and less time for writing/tweeting/checking reviews/posting about reading and writing. We’ll see how it goes.

Oh and yes, I completely realize and appreciate the irony of talking about this through a blog post.

Happy reading, everyone!

The After Girls is officially out! A little on how it all began

the-after-girls So The After Girls is out today. I could talk about how nervous I am, but I already did that to excess yesterday. So I thought I'd share a little on how I got from an idea to a book that's out in the world and that I really hope you all love.

Around three years ago, I had an idea for a title--The After Girls--it came to me out of the blue, and I loved it. I immediately saw it as about friends, and I started to think about what would take a group of friends from before to after in an instant. The answer was suicide. And the story began to unfold from there.

I didn't start working on it in earnest then. I was finishing up another project, and I still wasn't sure how it would all pan out. Instead, I tried (rather unsuccessfully) to write an outline and started talking about the idea with any friends who would listen (a big thanks to my NY friends for listening to my ever-changing plotlines). I took a writing class in New York and shared my idea with my classmates and soon-to-be friends. I still wasn't sure where exactly the story was going.

I wanted to set it in the mountains of North Carolina, because, honestly, what setting is more fun or creepy than that? I had only been to the mountains a few times there, but I had it all laid out in my head. And the summer after I got the idea, I visited my sister in Boone, NC (in the picture above), and everything was exactly as I had imagined--only better. It was the perfect setting, the one that would become the fictional Falling Rock, NC.

I began to write, following Ella and Sydney, two best friends as they mourned and  tried to understand their friend, Astrid's, suicide. I probably knocked out about a hundred pages. Slowly but surely I was making progress.

It was around this time that I got a call at 4 a.m., learning that a friend from college had passed away. She'd had cancer for two years, and it was very progressed, but none of that matters. When someone dies at 26, someone who is strong and beautiful and full of life, it's a shock. It's horrible.

My roommate at the time and I flew down to North Carolina to attend the funeral with the rest of our college friends. We spent the weekend crying and laughing and getting sunburned or tipsy on the beach. Our friend would have wanted it that way. She was one of the most happy and fun-loving people I've ever met in life.

It was also that Spring that I met and fell in love with my boyfriend. And it was only about a month before I would leave my job and travel to California and decide that I wanted to make the move to the West Coast.

There were a lot of changes in my life, but more than anything, highs and lows, grief and joy were more real to me than they'd ever been before. The story I had thought up a year before became more than just a story. I'd seen how much friends mean to each other, especially during times of loss. I'd seen how sometimes the most wonderful and inspiring person in the world dies way before they should. I'd seen the hole that they leave when they go, all the people they affect, all the people that miss them and remember them and still think of them all the time.

These are the things I was thinking about while I was writing it. And that's what I want to share with all of you.

As always, thanks for the support.

Leah