Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blog Tour - LESSONS I NEVER LEARNED AT MEADOWBROOK ACADEMY and Interview with author Liz Maccie

Title: Lessons I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy
Author: Liz Maccie
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication Date:11/4/2014


"Liz Maccie's debut novel is as tough, optimistic, and beautiful as her heroine, Roberta Romano. Roberta's voice is heartfelt and funny. Her story is exceptionally moving and honest. I love this book and the hope it has for young women everywhere." —Stephen Chbosky, New York Times bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The most important lessons aren't learned in the classroom.
It’s the first day of sophomore year for Roberta Romano, but instead of the comfort of her local high school, she's been thrust into the elitist embrace of the affluent Meadowbrook Academy.
Surrounded by wealth, Roberta battles her own insecurities to prove her worth and maybe land the boy of her dreams. With the help of two unlikely allies—and an inflatable toy raft—Roberta embarks upon a journey of dark secrets and self-discovery to learn the true meaning of friendship and acceptance. 
"Roberta will charm and delight you with a voice that’s candid, hilarious, and hopeful, as she narrates her first day at a new high school, reminding us of the epic nature of each hour in our adolescent lives. Lessons I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy will make you laugh, cringe, cry, and cheer for the power of friendships that can change us in a single day." —Ava Dellaira, author of Love Letters to the Dead

"You wish your first day of prep school was this epic! Every single page of Lessons I Never Learned sparkles with heart and humor. Like a teenage Bridget Jones, Roberta Romano will make you laugh, cry, and cringe as she tries to navigate her first day at Meadowbrook Academy. She finds friends and enemies, earns detentions and serious respect, and makes memories that will last her a lifetime." —Siobhan Vivian, author of The List


Liz Maccie was born and raised in New Jersey and attended Bucknell University.  After college, she moved out to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film and television writing.  She has had two movies produced, “The Thirst” and “Black and Blue.”  She went on to work at The Disney Channel until she found a home at the breakout ABC Family show, “Make it or Break it.”  She is currently adapting the wildly popular YA book, “The List” for MTV as a television show.  “Lessons” is Liz’s debut novel.



Purchase LINLAMA:

1) Who was the inspiration for the characters in 'Lessons'? Someone you know? Someone you wish you knew?
It’s so funny because when I look at the story now as a whole, I can see multiple people wrapped up within each character.  There were definitely main sources of inspiration, like for Mervin and Annie, it was my 2 best friends from high school, Kevin and Danielle.  But Roberta is sort of a collection of all different versions of me.  She is the real me and the me I wish I could have been (as far as her chutzpah) and the me I wished I had never had been! 

2) If you could have a night out with one of your characters, who would you choose and why?
Wow, what a great question!  I actually had to give this a lot of thought.  I think I would go out with Thaddeus (Roberta’s crush in the story).  I’d love to ask him why he is the way he is.  What happened to him in his life that has made him (without giving too much away) so messed up.  I mean, of course, I have my own ideas, but I find Thaddeus to be such an interesting person.  He seems one way and then is so drastically another way.  But I do feel that his personal pain runs pretty deep and I’d love to just have a real heart to heart with him.  And maybe get him some help!

3) Who is the most influential person in your writing career?
I have been very blessed to have some truly amazing teachers and mentors.  But I’d have to say, my husband, Stephen Chbosky is the biggest influence in my writing life (and my life in general!)  I am his biggest fan and he is mine.  We wonderfully help and support and encourage each other with our writing.  We are always honest with one another, even at times when it might be hard to do so.  Writing can be a very lonely isolated profession.  It is wonderful to be sharing my life with someone who does the same exact thing.  We also share similar anxieties and neurosis so we’re constantly talking each other off ledges!  Most of all, I think he is brilliant.  I respect and admire his talent.  In my opinion, I have the most brilliant writer who is on my side.  And that’s a pretty wonderful thing. 

4) What is your favorite line from ‘Lessons’?
Great question.  I guess, if I had to pick, I’d say my favorite line in the book is one of Roberta’s lines, “There’s a lot of pain in the world.  And I’m not the only one who feels it.”  There was something about this line, when I wrote it, that instantly made ME feel not so alone in my personal journey.  Sometimes life can hurt so much and we feel like we must be the only person in the entire world who can feel so much pain.  But when I opened my heart to realize there is a lot of human experience and that ALL of us feel indescribable levels of pain at some point in our lives, it helped me to reach out.  To ask for help.  To get the help I needed.  Simply put, we are all trying to get by and do the best we can.  The moment you realize you’re not alone in your struggle, even if the struggle is specific to you, I truly believe we begin to heal.  I know I did.

5) What is the strangest or most embarrassing thing you have ever typed into your internet search bar?
A few years ago I was writing a police procedural for television.  And I was doing a ton of research on how people drown.  So I remember typing in things like, “How to drown someone?” or “How to get away with drowning someone?”  That kind of stuff.  I was sure to erase all of that stuff so nobody thought I was trying to kill them!

6) What are your ‘must have’, ‘must do’ weird quirks when you are writing?
What a great question!  Okay, there is always some form of caffeine, usually coffee because I do my best writing early in the morning.  So there is nothing more rewarding than having that hot cup of delicious coffee to wake up to and start to write (I’m drinking one right now!).  I’d also have to say, and I know this is probably so weird, but I get into phases of needing to wear the same hoodie sweatshirt to write a particular project.  There’s something about this that makes me feel like I’m constantly enveloped in a warm hug.  Like with “Lessons…” I had this fabulous worn red hoodie sweatshirt that I wore every time I wrote.  I guess it almost becomes a sort of uniform!  And, I also tend to write each project in different locations.  Somehow that location becomes specific to the story I am writing.  Like “Lessons…” I wrote on the absolute smallest desk in my then studio apartment.  The pilot I just finished was everyday at Starbucks.  When I was writing on the ABC Family show, “Make it or Break it,” I wrote all my scripts at this juice cafĂ© down the road.  It’s funny how certain places have certain energy that seems to compliment the story I am writing. 

7) Can you remember the first book you ever bought with your own money?
Yes!  It was “Ramona Quimby, Age 8,” by Beverly Cleary.  I was obsessed!  I bought it at my school’s book fair and I think I must have read that book 5,000 times.  I still have it at my parent’s house packed away.  Now, I want to go and get it! 

8) What book(s) or author(s) have influenced your life or writing the most?
Early on in my life, I’d have to say Wally Lamb.  There is something about his writing which just cuts to the bone.  It is so real and often chilling.  His books felt very cathartic to me.  They helped me make some sense of situations that were happening in my own life at the time and I was able to gain some insight.  From college on, my absolute favorite book became, “Perks of Being a Wallflower.”  I carried that book around like a bible.  And it was really “Perks” that inspired me to write a YA novel.

9) What are the last books you’ve bought?
To be totally honest, most of the books I buy now have Elmo or Mickey Mouse as the main protagonist since have a 2 year old daughter!  There is a series about a pigeon who wants to do crazy things like drive a bus and stay up late having a hot dog party by Mo Williams, which are truly fantastic and so fun to read!  But.  For me personally, the most recent book I purchased was “Gone Girl.”  And what little time I get to read each night, this book has been so decadent and delicious!

10) Do you arrange the books in any particular order on your bookshelves?
Yes, definitely!  In my personal collection, I have all the books that have inspired me or influenced me (for various reasons) through the years.  For instance, I am looking at it right now and on my top shelf is, “Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “Speak,” “The List,” “The Lovely Bones,”  “A Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing,” “She Comes Undone,” “I know This Much is True,” “Brutal Youth,” “Looking for Alaska,” “The Help,” and “Room.”  

Bonus: Tell us what you are working on next.
Currently, I’ve been focusing my efforts on television and film again.  I recently finished a pilot adaptation of the YA book, “The List,” by Siobhan Vivian for MTV.   I’m also writing a comedic film and developing another pilot.  And, I also have half of another YA book written entitled, “Scoops,” about a girl who lives on the Jersey shore and works at an ice cream parlor the summer before her senior year. There’s lots of betrayal, backstabbing, romance, and of course, ice cream. J   

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