Title: Truth and Other Lies
Author: Foxglove Lee
Publisher: Evernight Teen
BLURB supplied by Mark My Words Publicity
Have you ever wanted to get noticed? Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you worked or how hard you tried, nobody in the entire world cared what you did? Well, what if someone famous—and we’re talking Oprah-famous, here—noticed you for the one thing you wish you could hide? For your one big secret…
That’s exactly what happens to 18-year-old Kenneth McIntyre when television guru Prahna Mehta hails his self-published novel as the next bestseller. Little do his new fans know Truth and Other Lies wasn’t written by Kenny at all… and it isn’t fiction. Kenny’s been keeping secrets for years. Sometimes he feels like he’s lying to everybody he loves.
When Kenny gets swept into stardom, how will he hide the secrets he’s kept for years? And, if his lies are exposed, will anyone stay by his side?
Nobody cried more than Kenny’s mom. Not even Kenny.
He started to understand that saying, “he was beside himself,” because that’s exactly how he felt. At Millie’s funeral, he kept glancing at the empty seat beside him—one of five they’d reserved in the front row for Millie’s family—because he felt like the real Kenny was sitting in the next chair, and his body was just an empty shell.
Millie was right, all those times she’d said her parents wouldn’t come to her funeral. She’d told Kenny and his mom, “You don’t understand, guys. I’m already dead to them. Why would they go to my funeral when I died three years ago? I died when I came out.”
Kenny didn’t believe that, of course. When he and his mom made the funeral arrangements, they even asked to have some of the readings done in Chinese. If her parents did come—and Kenny really and truly believed they would—they’d certainly appreciate the scripture in their mother tongue. They were very religious people, from what Millie said.
He stared at the grey chair beside him while the funeral people played one of Millie’s favorite songs. Any other day, he’d have been fuming that her family hadn’t shown up. But today? Today he didn’t have enough energy to feel anger. He didn’t have enough energy to feel anything, not even sadness. It was like a total absence of emotion. He was an empty shell.
The funeral went by in a haze. As they drove to the cemetery, all he could think about was the look of serenity on Millie’s face as she lay in that coffin. That gleaming white coffin, like Liberace’s piano. She would have laughed at it. She would have thrown her head back, cackled, and said, “You’re gonna bury me in that?”
Kenny could still hear her laughter.
When his mother pulled into the cemetery parking lot, he pressed his head against the cool glass and cried. More than cried. Sobbed. He felt like his heart had been ripped out of his chest. It was an actual, physical pain, and it hurt so badly he worried that, when he opened his jacket, his crisp white shirt would be stained in blood. He almost wished it was. He wished his wounds could be obvious to the world. He wanted everybody to understand. Nobody did.
Except his mom. She squeezed his hand so hard she jammed his knuckles together. That was a good pain, a useful pain. He couldn’t bring himself to look at her, but he gripped her hand, trying to show some support. Because she was hurting too.
“Come on, buddy.” Mom snapped a tissue from the box and blotted her face, wiped her nose. “Let’s get out to the gravesite.”
Millie would have thought all this grief was hilarious.
Plenty of people from school had come to the service. Far fewer had come out for the burial. Kenny’s mom had paid for everything—the funeral, the coffin, the plot—and it didn’t come cheap. In all, she’d spent nearly ten grand, most of it on credit. But Millie was worth the expense. She was the daughter Mom never had.
Kenny felt old before his time, having to deal with all this death stuff. But there he went, thinking about himself again. If Millie were there, she’d tell him to be happy. “Be happy you’re still alive. Be happy the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. Be happy spring is in the air.”
Well the sun wasn’t shining and the birds weren’t chirping, not for Kenny. And spring? Spring was just a pile of mud. Slick mud and stinking dog crap under a mound of melting snow.
That’s all Kenny could think of during the burial: how Millie was going underground, under all the mud and crap and snow. She’d never feel the sunlight on her skin. She’d never hear the birds. She’d died in the springtime of her life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Foxglove Lee is a former aspiring Broadway Baby who now writes queer fiction for young adults. She tries not to be too theatrical, but her characters often take over. Like Noah from her OmniLit Bestseller "The Secret to a Perfect Latke" who comes out in the most unforgettable way imaginable. Or Stefani from "Token Lesbians" in the "Year's End" horror anthology (Untreed Reads), whose defiance incurs the wrath of the subway system. Or Mila and Laura, who make each other laugh a bit in "I Hate Love" and a lot in "Happy Birthday, Klutzface!" And who can forget her debut novel "Tiffany and Tiger's Eye"? It's set in the 80s and features an evil doll!
What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
I’m Foxglove Lee and I’ve lived in Toronto all my life. The most I’ve done is move halfway across the city, and every time I invite my mother to visit she tells me I’m waaaay tooo faaar awaaay. She couldn’t possibly drive that distance. Doesn’t stop me from visiting her. LOL—I guess it’s closer by bus.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I was really resistant to the idea of becoming a writer. My experience is probably the opposite of every other author’s. I wrote a lot of books as a child, but stopped in my teens, when I got sucked into the theatre world. If you’d asked me 15-20 years ago what I wanted to do with my life, I’d have told you I would be on Broadway. Not even Broadway, actually. Toronto has a thriving theatre scene and I always wanted to stay close to home and perform on stage here. Well, that didn’t work out so well, so I returned to what I loved doing as a child: writing stories. It’s a lovely life. Everybody always told me I’d become a writer. Not sure why I didn’t believe them.
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
I did work in theatre while I was writing my first novel (Tiffany and Tiger’s Eye) and the short stories that were published prior to that. By the time I wrote “Truth and Other Lies” I’d committed to writing as my full-time occupation.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Let’s see… “Truth and Other Lies” in 20 words? Kenny publishes a book he didn’t write, falls in love with June and her boyfriend. Will they discover his secret?
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I consider myself a hybrid author, so I have a few publishers I work with and I also self-publish. “Truth and Other Lies” is published by Evernight Teen and, oh my goodness gracious, they are wonderful to work with. It’s been a real pleasure.
Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
I don’t think so. Once I hit send, I stop thinking about it.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It really depends on the book and on whether I’m working on multiple manuscripts at the same time (which I usually am). My first novel took two years to write, whereas I wrote “Truth and Other Lies” in a week and a half. I wrote the first one at a leisurely/tortured pace. With “Truth and Other Lies” I lived and breathed the book. All I did was write during that week and a half. Nothing else. Barely slept. The book poured out of me. My fingers could barely keep up.
Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
I actually really liked the frenzied writing pace of “Truth and Other Lies.” With Tiffany and Tiger’s Eye, the manuscript was always hovering over me, going, “HAha! You’re not finished with me yet and it’s been over a year!” I fought with that one a bit. I love both these books, but they came together in very different ways.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I consider myself a YA author and I consider “Truth and Other Lies” a Young Adult book even though the characters are 18 and over, so I guess it could be considered New Adult? I don’t know. I figure if there’s no explicit content it’s still Young Adult even if the characters are in their sixties LOL. I do have ideas that combine boomer characters with twenty-somethings. We’ll see if that comes to fruition.
What genre would you place your books into?
LGBTQ Young Adult Fiction.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
Initially it was because when I was in middle school, I was a voracious reader but I never found precisely the sort of book that would have resonated deeply with me. I identify as queer now, but 20 years ago “queer” was still a derogatory term. I was in Grade 7 the first time a classmate called me a lesbian. I guess I wasn’t obliging enough, I don’t know. I never had or wanted boyfriends at that age, though kids “dated” even in Grades 5 and 6. Anyway, I just wanted to read a book geared toward someone my age with a character who wasn’t straight. So, as an adult, I wrote the book I wished I’d had back then.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
No way, I’m too much of a wimp. I’ll only read a review if someone emails me and says, “Oh my god I loved your book so much it was the best book I’ve ever read in my entire life and here’s my review.” Which has actually happened, believe it or not.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Yikes. No. I probably wouldn’t have read it anyway (because, as I mentioned, I’m a wimp), but there are plenty of books I don’t like. We all have different tastes. Not everybody likes everything, and not everyone will enjoy my writing. That’s fine. It’s there for those who need to read it, the way I needed it and couldn’t find it when I was younger.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
The cover for “Truth and Other Lies” was done by Sour Cherry Designs. Big thank you to them for their awesome creation. I wish I could remember how I came up with the title, because it’s inspired. It relates to the book in that Kenny passes off many lies as truths. Also, the book he publishes as his own work (even though it’s not), which becomes an instant bestseller, is also called “Truth and Other Lies.”
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I do plot my books before I begin, but once the characters become the incarnate beings they always do, they take over and all bets are off. I can never stick to my outline.
What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
I enjoy knitting and I love to hike.
Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
Myself, I like paperbacks or hardcover. I don’t own an e-reader and when I read on a computer screen I feel like I’m doing work.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I just started Stephen Fry’s first novel, The Liar, (no relation to “Truth and Other Lies” LOL) in paperback. Love the tone. So much queer fiction is angst-ridden, but he does a great job of representing the joy and elation and heartfelt love in a queer teen’s life. (I’m only on page 40, so no spoilers!)
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I hope not. I like flipping pages.
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I tried to read “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” to impress a girl I had a crush on, but I didn’t understand anything and I felt like a total idiot and then she started dating some dude, so that was an all-round fail.
Be sure to visit me Online at my Blog, http://foxglovelee.blogspot.ca/. You can G+ me in the sidebar, and you totally should! Also follow me on Twitter @FoxgloveLee. Say hi and I’ll be sure to follow you back. Sometimes I get lonely. And I set up my Pinterest account when my first book came out so it’s http://www.pinterest.com/tiffanytigereye/. If you called me Tiffany Tigereye I’ll probably even answer to it, LOL. And, of course, check out the new book at http://www.evernightteen.com/truth-and-other-lies-by-foxglove-lee/!
$10 Evernight Teen Gift Certificate