[Although the intention was to begin with The Divinng Wand’s first post in mid-June 2009, NYT Bestselling Author Caroline Leavitt’s Cruel Beautiful World is currently in the spotlight and it feels appropriate to begin with her. In late 2010, Caroline contacted me requesting that her new novel, Pictures of You, be considered for TDW. Although not a debut author, Caroline was difficult to resist as was/is the book. Originally posted on January 19, 2011, the following holds true.]
This month, the ever popular and prolific Caroline Leavtitt (Girls in Trouble, Coming Back to Me, the rest in Bibliography) returns with her 9th novel, Pictures of You, which — by all accounts — is another hit! Actually scheduled to be released on January 25th, the book went into its third printing, based on Pre-order sales, and can be purchased now….anywhere!
Consider the novel’s intriguingly mysterious set-up and cast of characters:
A mysterious car crash on a deserted, foggy road brings three people together in a collision of their own:
A photographer fleeing her philandering husband and consumed with guilt.
An asthmatic boy with a terrible secret.
A husband who realizes that he never really knew his wife.
And there is the praise from both literary and popular reviewers:
“A touching story of loss and discovery. Leavitt explores the depths of grief and the sticky spots sorrow pushes people into, and …her near bottomless reserve of compassion for her imperfect characters will endear them to readers.” Publisher’s Weekly
“Caroline Leavitt plumbs the depths of grief and forgiveness in the lovely Pictures of You.” Vanity Fair, Hot Type
“Suspenseful…gripping. Leavitt is superb at revealing the secrecy inside many marriages and the way children grieve; several moving scenes involve Sam, who has come to imagine Isabelle as a crash scene “angel” who will take him to his mother. Most impressive is how Leavitt deals head-on with well-meaning people who come to realize, too late, that even an imperfect life is irreplaceable.” Jane Ciabattari, O, the Oprah Magazine
Now that we know a bit about the novel, let’s meet the author through her “official” bio:
Caroline Leavitt is the award-winning author of eight previous novels. Her essays and stories have been included in New York magazine, Psychology Today, More, Parenting, Redbook, and Salon. She’s a columnist for the Boston Globe, a book reviewer for People, and a writing instructor at UCLA online. Caroline Leavitt lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, New York City’s unofficial sixth borough, with her husband, the writer Jeff Tamarkin, and their teenage son Max.
Creative, productive, and successful, let’s discover more about Caroline by what she reveals in the following Q&A:
Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: Chaotic, happy, obsessed, compulsive, silly, adventurous, love, family
Q: What is your motto or maxim?
A: Anything is possible, and that includes eating vast quantities of chocolate without getting sick.
Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: Ah, I’m with Freud on this one–I think you need people you love and work you love.
Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: Unfriendly alien invasion. Hey, it could happen.
Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: In Rome, in a cafe, eating pasta with my husband and son.
Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: Cleopatra! She wielded great power and she had great love in her life.
Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: It’s a group actually, stem cell researchers. I feel they hold the key to conquering so many terrible diseases.
Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: I’m guilty of “you know” peppered in my sentences. I also am horrified that I do use “like” a whole lot, too.
Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: I wish I could drive. I’m completely phobic and I can’t. I’d also love to be able to sing, something I used to be able to do!
Q; What is your greatest achievement?
A: My son–14, smart, funny, creative and kind. But I can’t take all the credit. I have to share it with Jeff, my husband.
Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: I’m obsessive-compulsive and I over worry about everything, making myself and those around me crazy.
Q; What’s your best quality?
A: I’m really kind and generous (I help a lot of writers!) and I’m funny, which makes the hard times easier.
Q: What do you regret most?
A: Not being bolder when I was younger–I was so shy back then and missed so many opportunities for mischief because of it!
Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: I’d like to be the ruler of the universe, but just for one day. Just so I could straighten things out a bit, tie up loose ends, and make sure peace, love and understanding was all over the Earth. And oh yes, I want everyone to read. A lot.
Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: My big wild mop of long curly hair and my pale, pale skin. I also have this raspy voice that is pretty distinctive.
Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Jay Gatsby in the Great Gatsby–a romantic if there ever was one.
Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Hannibal Lector!
Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: I think you can argue that dancers are athletes. I’d love to meet Baryshnikov and I’d ask him to take a look at my plie and tell me what I’m doing wrong.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A:People who throw their cigarette butts on the sidewalk. They aren’t biodegradable, folks!
Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Reading or going to see films (I’m a movieholic.)
Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: I’d love to be a ballet dancer. I studied when I was in my twenties and was the worst dancer on the planet.
Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Kindness, funnybone in good working order, ability to love.
Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Pasta! I eat it for breakfast sometimes, which grosses out my husband.
Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: There is a Light That Never Goes out by the Smiths
Don’t Dream it’s Over by Crowded House
For the Roses by Elvis Costello
I Will by the Beatles
Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Room by Emma Donughue
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
Mrs. Bridge by Evan Connell