March 22, 2009
Interview with Deborah Lytton
Deborah Lytton's first novel just came out on March 19. JANE IN BLOOM is, pretty obviously, a coming-of-age story. It's also the first of the Class of 2k9 I'm featuring, but be aware there are many more in that group to come. So let's celebrate Deborah's success in getting published!
1. Your first book, JANE IN BLOOM, comes out this month. I watched Oscar interviews last night, so I have to steal one of their questions: what is your ratio of excited to terrified? Any other emotions in the mix?
More excited than terrified, I think. I can’t wait to take my little girls to the bookstore and show them my book on the shelf. And I have to admit, there is still a part of me that doesn’t quite believe this is happening. I’ve held the advance copy in my hands, so I know it’s real, but still…
2. Why do you think people will enjoy your novel?
I think a really good read is one that takes you on an emotional journey and leaves you satisfied at the end that the character you have traveled with has ended up in the right place. In this book, I take the reader through so many emotions, and I believe at the end, that Jane is right where she needs to be.
3. In your book, Jane's older sister dies of an eating disorder. What interested you about eating disorders? What kind of research did you do?
I focused on eating disorders because they are so prevalent in our society and the girls (and boys) afflicted are getting younger and younger. I wanted to address this subject for a middle grade audience. I researched the subject by reading first-hand accounts, books on eating disorders and consulted a pediatrician and pediatric nurse practitioner. But as the book is for a younger audience, I kept specific details to a minimum.
4. When did you begin to blossom? Were you an early bloomer or a wallflower?
I truly don’t think I blossomed until I became a mother. That’s when I finally came into my own. I think I was both an early bloomer and a wallflower. As a working child actress, I was mature because I was working on film sets with mostly adults and was expected to know my lines and hit my marks. But at the same time, I was shy with peers. So there is a part of me that is definitely a wallflower.
5. On your 2k9 page there's a recipe for Ethel's famous mac n' cheese. Your recipe calls for breadcrumbs, mustard, and paprika, which surprised me a little. Is the dish a little spicy? What are some of your favorite dishes?
This recipe is actually a variation on my dad’s “famous” mac n’ cheese. He’s been making it for years. It sounds spicier than it tastes—it’s really kid-friendly. I’m big on comfort foods. But my favorite dishes usually involve chocolate. And I love to bake cookies, cakes, cupcakes. If there’s sugar in it, I’m happy.
6. I like the JANE IN BLOOM cover. It's a bright color and the title treatment is easy to read. What did you think when you first saw it?
I’m glad you like it. I like it, too. Jeanine Henderson is the designer. When I first saw it, I was thrilled. I thought the cover completely captured the heart of the story, in color and in theme. It’s really perfect.
7. Do you plan to become a full-time author? What things do you like to do besides write?
My goal is to become a full-time author. It’s a dream come true to be on that path.
I love spending time with my daughters more than anything—we’re usually dancing and singing. My favorite hobby is photography. I’ve been shooting pictures since I was a little girl, and I really enjoy seeing the world through a camera lens. I also love reading and watching movies.
8. What is the most important thing you learned in school? Outside of school?
That is a hard question to answer because there are so many valuable things I learned in school. But the first thing that comes to mind is an incredible English teacher I had in middle school who taught me how to punctuate sentences with rules I use to this day. She was also the first teacher to introduce me to real literature. The most important thing I learned outside of school I learned on film sets—and this was the ability to be creative within a schedule, to deliver a performance. This translates to writing, as writers have so many deadlines to meet, and we have to deliver.
9. How do people react when you tell them you have a book coming out?
People are really excited to hear about the book. They want to know where they can buy it and what it’s about. They are really supportive.
10. With all the flower metaphors in your blurb and the rose on the cover, do you have a favorite kind of flower? Why?
I love daisies. When you look at a daisy, it smiles back at you. What could be better than that?
So what about ya'll? Are you wallflowers or bloomed? I think I'm a bloomed, but with a wallflower sort of personality.
And one very lucky person will get a signed copy, hot off the presses, of JANE IN BLOOM. You know the drill: follow the rules.