Today I am happy to have the wonderfully, amazing and talented Leila Sales on my blog as part of the This Song Will Save Your Life blog tour. TSWSYL will be available in stores everyone on 17 September but you can pre-order your copy now by clicking here. I read and reviewed this book back in August and loved it (see my review here), Elise is just such a real and genuine character and I think that she’ll touch many hearts. Now….on to the interview!
GFY: Can you tell us two truths and a lie?
I got my first white hair when I was still in high school.
I am an only child.
I submitted my first children’s book manuscript to publishers when I was 14.
GFY: What’s a book that you are a book bully for? One that you just want to force everyone you know to read?
LS: Curly Girl. It’s a book about the care and keeping of your curly hair. Whenever I see women straightening the life out of their hair, it makes me really sad. I want to give them a copy of Curly Girl so they will love their hair just the way it is. Seriously, this book changed my life.
GFY: It makes me sad when those with curly hair straighten it too, I really wanted curls when I was younger…and even made my mom take me to get a perm when I was in the eighth grade. This turned out to be one of the worst decisions I ever made as it was this horrible old lady perm!
Which line do you find more difficult to write, the first line or the last?
LS: Depends on the book, I suppose. For Past Perfect I had a very clear sense of how I wanted it to end. I used to chant the last line to myself as I biked around town; I knew it cold. For This Song Will Save Your Life, the first line came to me right away, whereas I re-wrote the final paragraph probably ONE MILLION times.
GFY: All of your characters come across as very real, be they the quirky-fun-loving Chelsea types or the more serious-loner Elise types. What’s your inspiration for getting into the teenage mindset and bringing these believable characters to life?
LS: Thanks! I’m glad they feel believable to you. I don’t know that I have a specific inspiration. I just think of them as real people, and then I ask myself, “How would this real person react if she was actually in this situation?” This is a trick I learned from doing improv comedy: if you just walk onstage with a well-formed character, it’s not nerve-wracking to try to invent on the spot how she’s going to react to unanticipated events. She’ll react like that person really would.
GFY: Can you describe This Song Will Save Your Life in five words or less?
LS: Probably not. Even the title is more than five words!
What was your inspiration for writing TSWSYL?
LS: Ever since I was 18, I’ve loved nightlife, I’ve loved going out and dancing and seeing what the night brings. And for as long as I can remember, I have loved music. Most of my books come from particular cultures or settings that I have direct experience with (e.g. all-girls schools, living history museums, etc). I wanted to do a book set in the culture of nightlife.
GFY: What was your favorite scene to write in TSWSYL? (Just give a chapter or page number if you think it will be too spoilery)
LS: Either the suicide attempt or the scene where Emily shows up at Start. (That is a sentence that means nothing if you have not read the book, but I swear it makes sense if you have.) Many scenes changed or developed in the process of writing and revising, but those were both the way I wanted them from very early on. They were obvious to me, if that makes sense.
GFY: Those are both really good and powerful scenes.
GFY: TSWSYL is more serious than your other books, did this make it easier to write or more difficult?
LS: I guess I don’t think of TSWSYL as being more serious than Mostly Good Girls or Past Perfect. I’m not saying I’m correct about that; obviously TSWSYL includes a suicide attempt, and nothing in my first two novels comes close to that. But as far as I’m concerned, all of them deal with serious issues and themes that are kind of cruxes of our lives (or at least that have been cruxes of my life so far). I love to write humor, I love to laugh, but I’m not interested in writing a book that doesn’t explore issues that I consider to be legitimately significant.
GFY: One thing that I love about reading is how nobody reads the same book.
Music plays a big role in Elise’s life, does it do the same for you? If so what are a couple of songs that hold a lot of meaning for you.
LS: Ohhhh this is a hard question. A lot of songs hold a lot of meaning for me! I’ll give you like the first five that come into my head, and then I will stop because I could literally do this for hours, and at some point I need to go eat dinner.
- “Time to Pretend,” by MGMT
- “Everyday,” by Buddy Holly
- “America,” by Simon & Garfunkel
- “Here Comes My Baby,” by the Tremeloes
- “Untitled,” by the Cure
- “Someone Great,” by LCD Soundsystem
- “Judy and the Dream of Horses,” by Belle & Sebastian
See, look what you made me do! That’s more than five!
GFY: There are some great songs on that list! If readers are unfamiliar with them clicking the link should open up a new window to the youtube video.
If Elise were to play the two truths and a lie game, what would she say?
LS: I won’t tell you that. But if anyone wants to make up their own Two Truths and a Lie for Elise after reading the book, I’d love to see them in the comments. Let’s see if I can figure out what the lies are!
Leila Sales is the author of THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE (September 17, 2013, Farrar Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers), as well as PAST PERFECT and MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS. Visit her at leilasales.com, or follow her @LeilaSalesBooks.
Now for something fun! I am able to give away a hardcover copy of This Song Will Save Your Life along with a copy of the playlist on CD to one lucky resident of US/Canada. To enter just use the rafflecopter below! And to make things a little more interesting, if the winner of the contest guesses Leila’s Two Truth and a Lie correctly I’ll toss in something fun. Just what, I am not sure yet…but could be a book, could be a gift card its anyone’s guess.
Elise Dembowski is not afraid of a little hard work. In fact, she embraces it. All her life, she’s taken on big, all-encompassing projects. When she was eight years old, she built her own dollhouse. When she was thirteen, she taught herself stop-motion animation. And when she’s fifteen, she embarks on the biggest, and most important, project of them all: becoming cool. Except she fails. Miserably. And everything falls to pieces.
Now, if possible, Elise’s social life is even worse than it was before. Until she stumbles into an underground dance club, and opens the door to a world she never knew existed. An inside-out world where, seemingly overnight, a previously uncool high school sophomore can become the hottest new DJ sensation. Elise finally has what she always wanted: acceptance, friendship, maybe even love. Until the real world threatens to steal it all away.
Stuff you might want to know:
- Leila Sales is part of the September Fierce Reads Tour with Alexandra Coutts, S.A. Bodeen and Marissa Meyer. The tour schedule is on MacTeens blog and can be viewed here.
- All Fierce Reads info can be found on their Facebook Fan Page
- Watch the This Song Will Save Your Life Book Trailer
- Listen to the TSWSYL playlist
- Follow Leila Sales on Twitter
- Become a fan of Leila Sales on Facebook
This Song Will Save Your Life Blog Tour Schedule:
Monday 9/2: Wastepaper Prose
Tuesday 9/3: Alexa Loves Books
Wednesday 9/4: Good Books and Good Wine
Thursday 9/5: Once Upon a Prologue
Friday 9/6: Cuddlebuggery
Monday 9/9: Ticket to Anywhere
Tuesday 9/10: The Book Cellar
Wednesday 9/11: Hobbitsies
Thursday 9/12: The Irish Banana Review
Friday 9/13: I Swim for Oceans