One of the best things about keeping this blog has been the amazing people I’ve met from all around the world because of it. A few months ago Leah DeCesare got in touch through my contact page. It was lovely to meet her – and even more of a pleasure when I found out Leah was about to take a trip to Uganda (the country where I was born) to visit the Kampala Children’s Centre.
I’m delighted to welcome Leah today, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know her!
Where do you live, Leah? I live in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. I’m here 11 years now – but as far as “real” Rhode Islanders are concerned, I’m not yet an official Rhode Islander :)
Where is your favourite place in the world? Traveling is one of my favorite things – so I could name any number of places I’ve loved visiting, but my favorite place is a little beachside community on the Connecticut coast. Groton Long Point is where I’ve spent my summers my whole life, and it is a little piece of paradise in the Long Island Sound.
That does sound heavenly!
Being a writer is a great job. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? In desperation one summer, I accepted a job as a door-to-door encyclopaedia salesperson – I’m not kidding! I did it for exactly ONE DAY and went back to waitressing. What a painful job that was. Clearly it was before Google, but it didn’t make the job any less difficult.
That must have been a total nightmare. Well done for at least giving it a try!
What book do you wish you’d written? Oh, what an intriguing question. I’m a big reader and often close a book and marvel at the brilliance of the author and long to be able to create such worlds and to draw out such emotion in a reader. But, I have to say, every writer has something to share, to give, to say in her own voice, and so I think the book I’ve written – and the one I’m working on now – are the books I’m supposed to have written. They’ve taught me so much about the craft, the industry and about myself. I hope they not only entertain, but share slivers of the truths in life and cause readers to reflect and ponder. We read to make sense of the world around us, and I hope that in this fun, lighthearted book, I’ve still been able to do that.
I love that “we read to make sense of the world around us”. How true that is!
What’s your favourite song? I really can’t say I have a favorite song. While I love music, I tend to listen to audiobooks in the car (when the kids aren’t with me) and I prefer silence, or occasionally some wordless, calm music. I have a wacky range of music that I love – from old 80s hits and classic rock ballads, to 70s disco, sappy love songs and today’s country music (not the older twangy stuff). Lately, that question has been going around: “If you could only listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?” and I always pick Billy Joel because I’m always loved him, but also because he has a great repertoire with a wide variety of styles.
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, what would you say to them? For some reason, I always struggle with this question. I love chatting with people and getting to know others so I could envision so many fantastic visits. Today, I’m going to say Harper Lee. I wanted to meet her so much that I wrote her a letter when I was in 8th grade after my first time reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. As the world was, I was so touched and influenced by that book, I can imagine sitting on a porch, sipping sweet tea and just talking about family, our childhoods, and I might ask her a writing question or two!
I’d love to meet her. That would be a great conversation!
What’s your happiest childhood memory? I’ve been immensely blessed and had an idyllic childhood. One of my fondest memories is from when we did parent-child one-on-one times and my dad took my horseback riding. I had him all to myself and got to decide everything we did all day long. It was so special, I still appreciate the times I have each of my parents all to myself, though now I’m more apt to share their time with my children than my siblings.
Those sound like great times.
If you had to marry a fictional character, from film, television, or books, who would it be? Oh boy! Well, I’m slightly focused on Ryan Reynolds right now because I’m envisioning him as the lead male character in my work-in-progress. The movie I know him best from is a fun romantic comedy (I’m a sucker for a sweet rom com) THE PROPOSAL with Sandra Bullock. His Twitter feed gives us a tiny glimpse into his “real life” personality and he’s so witty and humorous that I think I have a little crush on him … Happily, my dear husband of almost 23 years is a good sport!
I’m now following Ryan Reynolds on Twitter :)
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you? You have to believe in and love yourself. Without self love and confidence, it’s much harder to step out into the world and make the life you want. I’m so grateful that my parents laid the groundwork and nurtured that in me and my sister and brother. It’s so important to me that that’s the message in my debut novel.
Very wise words. And finally, please tell us about your latest book, where we can find it, and where we can find your blog/website.
This book is a complete dream-come-true. FORKS, KNIVES, AND SPOONS is set in the late 80s into the early 90s which was such a fun era to return to and live in while I wrote.
I’ve carried the central idea of this book with me since 1988 when my own father sent me off to college with the advice that Amy York’s dad sends her off with: There are three types of guys: forks, knives, and spoons. That tidbit was true and when I shared this silly system with my college friends it took off, with everyone adding descriptions for new utensils and talking as if it were an understood concept, for example, “I met this complete fork last night.”
That idea sat with me but there was no STORY around it, so when I finally sat to write this book, I really had to build the characters and their arcs and let the Utensil Classification System (the UCS) become a backdrop and an organizing idea serving the characters and their growth.
My website is: leahdecesare.com and FORKS, KNIVES, AND SPOONS is available wherever books are sold (and if your local bookstore or library doesn’t carry it – please ask them to get it in!) Thank you for your support of this debut author!
Here’s the succinct description! :-)
There are three kinds of guys: forks, knives, and spoons. That is the final lesson that Amy York’s father sends her off to college with, never suspecting just how far his daughter will take it. Clinging to the Utensil Classification System as her guide, Amy tries to convince her skeptical roommate, Veronica Warren, of its usefulness as they navigate the heartbreaks and soul mates of college and beyond.
Beginning in 1988, their freshman year at Syracuse University, Amy and Veronica meet an assortment of guys —from slotted spoons and shrimp forks to butter knives and sporks—all while trying to learn if the UCS holds true. On the quest to find their perfect steak knives, they learn to believe in themselves—and not to settle in love or life.
Thank you so much for dropping in today, Leah. It’s been brilliant getting to know you. I love the concept of the UCS :) Congratulations and very best of luck with your release!
If you’ve enjoyed Leah’s interview, or have any questions or comments at all, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!