Leah Konen is a writer living in San Francisco. She is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and creative writing. Her work has been published in Elle Decor, Good Housekeeping's Quick & Simple, Parenting, The Fiscal Times, and several regional newspapers and magazines. The After Girls is her first novel. Visit her at www.leahkonen.com.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
My next project is going to look very closely at a girl who wants desperately to be a star both in her school and town. But as she gets closer and closer to the most popular guy in high school (one from the most well-to-do family in her Southern town), she’s going to realize that labels, status, and the groups we divide ourselves into are not as important as she once thought.
I’m not sure yet if it will be part of a series. I’m going to see how far the story takes me!
What genre would you place your books into?
My books are definitely YA contemporary (i.e. there are no vampires or dystopian settings—sorry!), but THE AFTER GIRLS does have a hint of what could be interpreted as supernatural. I love books that toe the line between strict reality and supernatural, and I think that’s why I had so much fun writing THE AFTER GIRLS.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
Definitely friends! I love to hear their thoughts and advice. I think having people read your books is amazing—they discover all kinds of things you didn’t even realize were in there, both good and bad.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
I wouldn’t, because I respect the role of the reviewer, just as (I hope) reviewers remember that writers, at the end of the day, are just people, too. I think reading reviews (positive and negative) of your own book is great. It helps me discover what’s really working in my fiction and what I can do better. As a I writer, I’m always looking to become better.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
It changes for every book! My first book started with an idea, then the title came after a lot of back-and-forth (and a few not-so-good ideas on my part). For THE AFTER GIRLS, the title came before anything else. I loved it, and I really developed the story from there. For the book I’m working on now, the whole idea came almost in a flash, and the title was secondary.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller?
Hmm… if you figure this one out, please let me know! I don’t think there is a formula, but I think it has to be something that readers are going to talk about and share with their friends. Whether that’s an addictive plot, a character that’s captivating, a premise that is mind-blowing, etc., I think with most best-sellers, there is something that is truly special there.
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
All the time! My only cure is to just keep writing. It’s like exercise. I don’t like doing it. But I do like having done it.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
I think they do and they don’t. When the author is too involved, I think sometimes they can come off as choppy or overly dedicated to the plot of a book. I think they work best when they are thought of as a separate work of art than than the book, itself. Lord of the Rings and The Hunger Games were particularly done well.