Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hanging Out With Emily Listfield!!!

Hey, Hey, Hey!! What a day!! The TLN is back after a lovely weekend traipsing about the valley!

We've got Emily Listfield here with us today! Hope you're ready for a fabulous interview and sneak-peek at her latest release BEST INTENTIONS.

You deserve a little me time- so kick your feet up and get ready to add another book to your TBR Pile!

1) If you were a book, what would your blurb be?

Buy me.

2) What would be your "voice's" tagline?

"The only territory Emily Listfield knows more intimately than Manhattan's social anthropology is a woman's heart."

3) You have seven books published and all have received high praise. Any tips to pass along to a newbie writer?

Possessing a fair of moment of stubbornness, denial and blind faith are incredibly helpful to writers just starting out. Many people will roll their eyes or, out of honest concern, make sure you know that the odds are stacked against you. But you have to just keep going. When I graduated college, despite having degrees in literature and journalism, I took a job waitressing at night so I could write during the day. I wrote my first novel, IT WAS GONNA BE LIKE PARIS, and walked in off the street to an avant-garde publisher, New Directions, and handed it to the receptionist. I thought it was too different a book to send to a major publisher, I didn't have an agent or any idea how to go about it. But they were incredibly nice. They read it and told me they thought I could get a more mainstream publisher to put it out and if not, to come back to them in six months. I told this story to a man I waited on and he sent me to his agent who sold the book for me. (Too Cool!)

4) Which book was your favorite to write and why?

Well, my first book It Was Gonna Be Like Paris is dear to me because it was written with a pure love for writing. It's unbelievable when you first see something you wrote in print or in a book store window. Also, it such a young book, written when I was in my early twenties, and more raw than the later ones. It captured a very specific time in the art scene in New York. The other novel that is special to me is WAITING TO SURFACE, which is a fictionalized account of my husband's disappearance and death. It was hard to write but shaping my experience into fiction helped me to come to terms with what happened and how I felt about it.

5) How do your characters come to you? Voices that won't leave you alone or snippets of scenes?

Characters become more clear as your write. Often I sit first with a notebook and build a personal history for each character, including profession, family background, character traits. I need to know at least some of that to understand who they are. But once you've begun the book it frequently happens that the characters develop their own voices. Then you have to go back to the beginning with that new found information to make it consistent.

6) You've written articles for Redbook, Haper's Bazzar, The New York Times, Self, Parade and several more- not to mention being Editor In Chief at Fitness. How did writing for these name brand mags help your writing? Discipline? Pacing? Give us the low down!

First of all, they helped pay the rent! Magazine stories, and magazines as a whole, must have a beginning, a middle and an end much as books do, even though the format is so different. Magazine writing is a good way to get out into the world and meet people as well as observe circumstances that you wouldn't if you sat in your room writing alone all day. That can only help you when you go to build characters and create settings.

7) When you sit down to write, do you have music on? The Internet? Describe for us your typical day of writing?

I write in the morning, before I get too distracted by other things/demands/calls/to-do lists. I can't write with music on. The Internet is tough, it's the ultimate form of procrastination. I also don't have the willpower to turn my email off - I keep trying - which can make holding a train of thought hard. I like total silence. Sometimes to center myself before I start, I'll read for a little while just to bring myself into that quieter space.

8) Your latest book out is BEST INTENTIONS. How did you come up with such a griping plot?

A recurrent theme in my novels is the question, How well can you ever truly know another person, even those you love. In Best Intentions, I knew before I had all the plot points down that I wanted to explore what happens when you act in a way that you think someone wants, in other words, with Best Intentions, but you're wrong. In this case, dead wrong. It's something we all have a tendency to do at times - presume we know what someone else is thinking. But without real communication that can be disastrous. I told the story from the first person, because that way the reader is subject to the same suspicions, the same faulty conclusions, as the narrator.

Intrigued? Wanting more? Heck, I sure do! Well, don't sit there chompin' on your nails, read on, my friend, read on!


I wrap the towel tighter about my chest, shake out my shoulder-length hair, the thick dark waves not yet expanding from the heat into the total unruliness that had me wearing a ponytail most of the summer. I open the top drawer of my dresser, consider three different versions of a white v-neck top that to the naked eye look identical but which are in fact each completely necessary for varying levels of bloat. I can hear Sam and the girls clearing their plates. I glance at the door, still closed.

I don’t know why I pick up Sam's phone. I have never done anything like this before. It would be easy to say it is intuition, but we always claim that in retrospect.

With it still charging, I push “voice mail” and listen to his message.

It is a woman’s voice, she does not leave a name, she does not have to judging by intimacy lacing through her tone. “I’m going to be a little late tonight,” she says, the words slightly muffled by the whoosh of traffic in the background. “Can we make it 6:30? Same place.”

I press the button to save the message as new and sit down on the edge of the bed, a cool sweat beading along the back of my neck and trickling slowly down my spine.

WOWZA! What a clencher to end on?! I'd like to thank Emily for letting me interview her. I just love her rise to fame story! For more info on Emily Listfield and her book titles, here are the links to her beautiful WEBSITE and BLOG. If so inclined, you can "friend" Emily on FaceBook using this link!

And I'd like to THANK ALL OF YOU for heading back to TLN!! Hope your weekend was awesome!

As for me? I went to a Writer's Symposium and had a blast! I learned a heap load, too! Don't worry, you know I'll have more on that later! *heehee* In the meantime, here's Journey with a song all of us writers can relate to- DON'T STOP BELIEVING! So, hold onto your dreams and we'll see you back this Friday!!!


Carol North said...

Great interview.
Writing in first person, present tense is perhaps the most difficult of the POVs. I wrote a short story in that POV called "Life Goes On," so know how difficult it can be. congrats on the new book.

Helen Hardt said...

What an amazing writing background you have, Emily! It was great learning about you. Congratulations on your release!


Emma Lai said...

Great interview, as always, Sarah!

Amazing career, Emily!

Cari Quinn said...

Great interview, Emily and Sarah! And I'm with you, Emily...writing before I get distracted by the internet, etc. is the ticket, though I'm not able to do that nearly often enough.

Wishing you much success with your release! :)