This weekend, at the Los Angeles Central Branch Library, teen librarian and soon to be published author, Mary McCoy is hosting a ton of fantastic YA authors for the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest, which I wrote about yesterday. You can find out more information about the event here.
One of the authors that will be attending the event is Francesca Lia Block, a veteran author of more than a dozen books. She writes mostly in the YA genre, and writings reimaginings of fairy tales, and infuses fairy tales into her novels.
Her most recent novel, Love in the Time of Global Warming, tells the story of Pen, and her journey across post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, searching for her family, and a trusty copy of Homer’s The Odyssey in her back pocket to guide her.
Check out this awesome interview I was able to do with her . I can’t wait to meet her on Saturday!
Sara: Which book was easier to write: your first ever book, or the second one?
Francesca: The first one! WEETZIE BAT pretty much wrote itself. WITCH BABY was a challenge and I had a lot of help from my editor at the time, Charlotte Zolotow. I had also written THE HANGED MAN before WITCH BABY but it wasn’t published until afterwards. That flowed pretty easily and is one of my favorites so I guess technically my second book was easier than my third.
Sara: You’ve written so many books, how do you keep yourself writing fresh and where do you get your inspiration from?
Francesca: I look to my daily life and the lives of my friends. Human existence is full of love and pain so there is never really a shortage of inspiration if you stay open to it.
Sara: Was being an author something you always wanted to do or did you have other career aspirations?
Francesca: I always wanted to be a writer. At first, it was poetry. I also wanted to be a fashion designer or a modern dancer and am interested in psychotherapy, anthropology and art history.
Sara: What advice do you give to aspiring writers? What’s the best advice YOU’VE been given?
Francesca: Read. Write. Find a mentor. Never give up. Dig deep. Express your truth from your heart and because you have to do so.
Once I called my dad from my dorm room at UC Berkeley. I was crying because my writing teacher didn’t like something I’d written. My dad practically shouted at me, “You’re a writer!” This stuck with me always. I think if you are compelled to write, you are a writer. You just need the tools to do so. What my dad said wasn’t advice but I try to remind my students (at UCLA Extension, Antioch University Los Angeles and in my private email@example.com) that if you feel that complusion to write you must honor it.
Sara: What are some of your favorite things to do outside of writing?
Francesca: Yoga, movies, reading, running, walking, listening to music, taking photographs, looking at fashion, eating at vegan restaurants.
Sara: What are some of your favorite books or authors to read?
Francesca: Anais Nin, Emily Dickinson, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, JD Salinger, Harper Lee, Colette, among many others.
Sara: What made you want to spin fairy tales, and use fairy tale feels, into your novels?
Francesca: I have always loved dark fairy tales and myths. They inspire me and make me feel less alone in the world because the truths they tell are still so relevant. I like to mix these ancient tales with things that re happening in my own life.
Sara: What has been one of the best parts of being an author?
Francesca: Meeting my readers!
Sara: Who is your fictional crush?
Francesca: Atticus [Finch] from To Kill a Mockingbird
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I hope you all enjoyed this interview with Francesca Lia Block, and are able to catch her at the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest this coming weekend! Check her out at the Classically Inspired panel with other awesome authors like Josephine Angelini, Gretchen McNeil and Cornelia Funke!
See you all there and Happy Reading!