Hi guys! Welcome to my stop on the 2016 Debut Authors Bash! On my stop, I’m lucky to have an awesome interview with the amazingly talented Meg Leder, author of The Museum of Heartbreak (which releases today, actually)!
About Meg Leder:
Interview with Meg Leder!
Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where did you grow up? What did you like to do when you were a child?
I have always been a book worm. I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and both my parents are huge readers. My mom used to be a teacher, a children’s librarian, and a bookseller, and my Dad reads just about anything he can get his hands on. So I’ve always been surrounded by books and people who love them. As a kid, one of my favorite activities was staying up late and reading—whether it was the Anne of Green Gables series, or books by Robin McKinley or Robert Cormier.
What helps you write?
I do my best writing in coffee shops. I like the quiet hum of activity around me—it’s the perfect white noise—and I like the ritual of arriving and ordering a hot chocolate or grilled cheese. Getting settled is my mental cue that it’s time to start writing.
How do you avoid distractions while writing?
I have a nine to five job as a book editor during the week, so I have to make the most of the writing time I can carve out. The pressure of having limited time to write actually helps me to stay focused. That being said, I’m also a fan of letting my mind wander a bit while writing. I like to see what people in the coffee shop are doing or what’s happening outside the windows. I think some daydreaming actually helps me get more into the writing groove.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
I love it when the writing surprises me—when I get so far into a scene that a new path emerges—one I hadn’t planned out, but that feels really natural and perfect for the book. I feel those moments only emerge after a lot of hard work and being immersed in the writing. They’re like a gift from your subconscious!
What inspired you to write “The Museum of Heartbreak”?
Right around the time a lot of my good friends were having kids, I went through a breakup that left me reeling. And then I had to have my cat put to sleep. That was a really hard year—I was just deeply, deeply sad. I had always imagined myself finding a great guy, getting married, and having kids of my own. And life wasn’t proceeding according to plan. With MoH, I wanted to write about the heartbreak of losing people, but also the heartbreak of letting go of the things you had always dreamed of for yourself. And I wanted to write about how it’s not all terrible—that new things emerge on the other side of all the heartbreak—new friends, new relationships, new dreams for yourself.
Can you tell us a little about the book?
My elevator pitch is that it’s about a young woman, Penelope, who goes through her first heartbreak, and ends up creating a museum to win back everything she’s lost. And there are dinosaurs! On a more detailed level, it’s about what happens when Penelope starts dating the new guy at school—Keats—while navigating her changing relationships with her two best friends, Eph and Audrey. She has to learn to manage the heartbreak of change and of growing up, and to figure out what remains after the dust settles.
Were there any plot twists while writing your book?
In a very, very early draft, her childhood friend Eph was an ancillary character. And he had red hair! But one day when I was writing, I imagined him looking different—taller, brown hair, three freckles across his nose—and all of a sudden, I knew he was going to play a much bigger role in Pen’s life, that he was more than just a supporting character. And through time, he became the other main character—the book is really his and Pen’s story.
Which character was your favorite and why?
I love Pen. I feel so protective of her—she makes a lot of terrible decisions and can be really selfish, but she has also a big heart for the people she loves. She’s terrified of letting go of the things she’s held onto her whole life, and it takes her a while to learn how to do that with grace, to find the goodness on the other side. I want good things for her—I want to tell her everything’s going to be okay!
What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
I love wandering New York City—it’s spring now, so all the trees are blooming, and people are outside. It’s the perfect time to explore all the weird nooks and alleys in the city, and to find the newest street art. I also love, love, love seeing movies. And reading of course!
What are some of your favorite books?
My favorite question! Growing up, my favorite books were Anne of Green Gables, Harriet the Spy, The Hero and the Crown, and The Blue Sword. All of those are still my favorites, but now I can also add A Prayer for Owen Meany, 100 Years of Solitude, The Feast of Love, First Light, Eleanor and Park, and Pride and Prejudice. I love anything Deb Caletti writes—Essential Maps for the Lost just knocked me off my feet. And I recently got to read an advance copy of Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow—that one’s going to stay with me for a long time—beautiful.
About The Museum of Heartbreak
The Museum of Heartbreak
Author: Meg Leder
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover, ebook
Synopsis: In this ode to all the things we gain and lose and gain again, seventeen-year-old Penelope Marx curates her own mini-museum to deal with all the heartbreaks of love, friendship, and growing up.
Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak.
Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.
Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.
But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken…
1 Autographed Copy of The Museum of Heartbreak!
Thanks for checking out my stop on the 2016 Debut Authors Bash! I personally loved The Museum of Heartbreak, so I definitely recommend you add this one to your summer TBR pile!