Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Interview with Frances Lefkowitz and book giveaway


**Giveaway is now closed**

Frances Lefkowitz was born and raised in California and then spent her young adulthood in New England after attending Brown University on a scholarship. She is currently the Good Housekeeping book reviewer and a freelance writer and editor. She also teaches at the Sun Magazine’s writing workshops and the Writer in West Marin program. Her hobbies are surfing and speaking Spanish, and she likes to spend time in Central America where she can do both.

If you like what you've read today, become a fan on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and check out her blog.

Thanks to Crystal Patriarche and Lisa Steinke at BookSparks PR, we had the opportunity to ask Frances some questions. We enjoyed reading her answers, which reflect the personality and witty sense of humor that we became familiar with in her book.

Crystal is also giving away one copy of Frances' autobiography, "To Have Not," (reviewed here) to a lucky reader in the US or Canada.

MA: Did you have any concerns over what your family might think as you were writing "To Have Not?"
FL: In the ten years it took me to write the book, I never once worried about how it might affect my family. I wasn't callous; I was just preoccupied with crafting a captivating, accurate story, making sure the language and the images and the pacing and the structure were all juuust right. Plus, I don't think I ever really believed that it would get published. But then came a book deal, and all of a sudden this manuscript was going public. That's when I started worrying about how I had portrayed my family, as well as my friends, ex-friends, boyfriends, and ex-boyfriends. Had I done everyone justice? So I read through the manuscript with that question in mind, making edits and adjustments whenever I caught myself manipulating anyone for the sake of the story. It's a tough balance, between telling the truth as I experienced it, and protecting the feelings of the people I love. But we're all still talking to each other, so I think I did OK.

MP: Do you ever suffer from writers block? If so, how do you remedy it?
FL: Walking is a great way to figure things out, come up with ideas, and solve problems--in my stories and in my life. Something about the rhythm of the footsteps, the swinging of the arms, the pumping of the blood, and the outdoor scenery all help to trigger new thoughts, and help old, forgotten ones float to the surface. I also think really well while driving, and keep a notepad and pen in the passenger seat for jotting down ideas. So motion seems to be the way for me to undo writer's block.


MA: Who do you admire the most and why?
FL: There's so many writers to admire: Jamaica Kincaid for her fierceness; Alice Munro for revealing difficult truths about who we are; Ernest Hemingway for his economical prose; and Eileen Myles for her irreverence.


MA: Some authors have had their personal stories made into movies. Would you consider doing this? If so, who would play you in a movie version of "To Have Not?"
FL: I'd definitely say yes to a movie deal. I think the actress who played Darla in the original Little Rascals would be perfect for me.


MA: Who is your favorite chick lit author or what are some of your favorite chick lit novels?
FL: I really enjoyed The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes. It's got a great cast of characters, including a dying psychic, a cooking-show star, and a foul-mouthed female cab driver. They all live in the same apartment building in Dublin, and we gradually learn how their lives intertwine in unexpected ways. I appreciated the way Keyes incorporated dark and light themes, so the book is great fun but also very resonant.
(Side note: We both loved this novel, as well!)


MA: How did you make the switch from anthropology and archaeology to catering, music and writing?
FL: Jeez, when you put it that way, I appear to be either a modern-day Renaissance woman or a victim of severe attention deficit disorder. Actually, I've been a writer all along, but was always trying out new and interesting ways to make a living. Finally I realized I could make my living from my writing.


MP: What was the best part of going across the country to Brown University on a scholarship (aside from free tuition!)?
FL: Snow! It was such a novelty to me, and everything about it enthralled me--including shoveling it. I was a big hit with the housemates once we moved off campus, because I always volunteered to shovel out the driveway.


MP: Your family moved often, 9 times in 17 years to be exact (you have me beat by one!), what was the most challenging part about starting over so often? The most rewarding part?
FL: Except for one, all our moves were within the same city, San Francisco. So it wasn't really like starting over each time; I often went to the same school and kept the same friends. But the frequent moving from one apartment to the next created a kind of inner instability, where I never felt like I could fully relax into a place and trust it to be mine. It's a feeling that has stayed with me into adulthood. On the upside, I can tell you the best places to find free cardboard packing boxes (hint: try grocery stores at ten in the morning, before they've broken down the boxes into flats).


MP: I read on your website that you love to travel to Central America. What brought you there for the first time?
FL: I took a bus by myself from my home in San Francisco to Baja, Mexico, when I was 18 years old. I went for the warm-water beaches,and the language: I am nearly fluent in Spanish, and love speaking it. These two things still bring me to Latin America--especially now that I surf.


MP: What is one place in the world that you haven't been to that you would love to visit? Why?
FL: Ecuador. See above, re: warm water, surfing, and speaking Spanish.

Special thanks to Frances for answering our questions and to Crystal and Lisa at BookSparks PR for arranging the interview and giveaway.


How to win "To Have Not":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page if you can receive messages there.)

1. Please tell us: Have you made a big career shift? If so, how did it work out for you?
2. Please tell us: Who would play you in a movie about your life?
3. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
4. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
5. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends Sunday, January 23rd at midnight EST.

38 comments:

Kim said...

My big career shift: going from a project manager to a stay at home mom of two children, both with special needs. How has it worked out? Great so far (altho I DO miss working outside of the home). I feel fortunate that I AM able to stay at home with my children!

walker03@telus.net

Kim said...

Who would play me: I'd like to say Julia Roberts as I LOVE LOVE LOVE her! (plus I'm a red-head too! lol)

walker03@telus.net

Kim said...

I'm a follower/fan on Facebook

walker03@telus.net

Kim said...

I've posted this contest on my FB profile page AND I've emailed it to all 290 of my FB friends.

walker03@telus.net

Kim said...

I'm already a member of Chick Lit Central on FB!

walker03@telus.net

Carol N Wong said...

I am retired now but in the past, I switched from being a directory assitant operator to working in the federal government. I had several job titles there. Yes, it was a good switch the other job was driving me up a wall.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Carol N Wong said...

Candace Bergen would be good. Her birthday is one day different from mine and I like her.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Carol N Wong said...

I follow this blog with Google Friend Connect.

CarolNWng(at)aol(dot)com

Carol N Wong said...

I follow this blog o Facebook.


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Carol N Wong said...

My Twitter name is Carolee888

I tweeted: http://chicklitcentraltheblog.blogspot.com/ Giveaway of 'To Have Not'

CarolWong(at)aol(dot)com

Ruthie said...

I am a recently retired kindergarten teacher & am still adjusting to not having a fully planned day but also started traveling with my hubby. I guess the upside is I have alot more time to read thus the entry... :)

Ruthie said...

My movie star would have to be Helen Mirren...not quite that age yet but hopeful to look that good!

Ruthie said...

FB follower

Cheryl said...

My big career shift- actually, there are multiple: My degrees are in Fine Arts (Painting, Drawing, etc) and Anthropology and with that if you don't hope to teach and aren't independently weathly, you are in a spot. I working in fine art framing and bartending in my early 20's, hotel management for 10yrs (oh, the stories I could tell) and now work in HR/Recruiting while continuing to paint and draw and assemble works as I go along. Looking forward to reading "To Have Not"- thanks!

Amy Saunders Lawer said...

My big career change was from a paramedic to a tax preparer!! I was injured (my back) and could no longer help people medically. As a tax preparer, I help them in a different way.

I think Julia Roberts would play me in the movie version of my life...since she's pretty versatile, and could be believable as a Navy Corpsman, and a mom of 4!!

I'm a follower/fan on facebook

msamy323ATyahooDOTcom

I've posted this on Facebook, and messaged it to 186 of my friends, as well as e-mailed it to 87 friends not on Facebook.

I'm a member of ChickLitCentral

Kat said...

Very intriguing story. And yes, Alice Munro is superb.

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kat said...

I really haven't made a big career change... I don't even really have a career right now. I had gone to school for psychology, but then decided that social work was suited more for me... still working on that degree. :)

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kat said...

Hmmm... who would play me? I have no idea... Maybe Neve Campbell.

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kat said...

I am already a follower of this blog.

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kat said...

I am already a member of CLC.

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kat said...

Posted on FB.

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Linda Kish said...

The only career shifts I made were withing nursing...supervisor, office nurse, UR nurse. But bedside nursing was always home.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I haven't made a big shift unless you count finally being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I would love for Sandra Bullock to play me in a movie.

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I follow the blog via facebook

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I follow the blog via twitter

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I follow the blog via GFC

Tiffany said...

My big career shift was going from working full time to being a stay at home mom. I absolutely love it!

jaidahsmommyATcomcastDOTnet

Tiffany said...

I think maybe Drew Barrymore would have to play me in a movie about my life. Overall she is nice and caring, but she has a level of craziness to her too. Just like me lol.

jaidahsmommyATcomcastDOTnet

Tiffany said...

I follow via GFC! (Tiffany Drew)

jaidahsmommyATcomcastDOTnet

Tiffany said...

I follow on Facebook :)

jaidahsmommyATcomcastDOTnet

Bri said...

This May I will be graduating college with a degree in Elementary Education with a Language Arts concentration. I am hoping my next big career shift will come shortly after when I *fingers crossed* get hired at a local elementary school.

brianne(dot)libby(at)maine(dot)edu

Bri said...

I would love Cameron Diaz to play me in a movie! She is one of my favorite actresses :)

brianne(dot)libby(at)maine(dot)edu

Bri said...

I am a GFC follower!

brianne(dot)libby(at)maine(dot)edu

Bri said...

I am also already a member of Chick Lit Central on facebook!

brianne(dot)libby(at)maine(dot)edu

Heather said...

I am a follower!
ra6352 (at) gmail (Dot) com

Heather said...

I am a member of Chick Lit Central!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I shared on facebook!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com