David Levithan is the author of multiple YA books including Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Boy Meets Boy, Are We There Yet? and his latest release, Love Is The Higher Law. Love Is The Higher Law was released on August 25 and if you haven’t already picked up a copy you will have a chance to win one right here!
KBB: What gave you the idea to write Love Is The Higher Law? Other than 9/11, obviously!
DL: Well, it really was 9/11, and, over time, the idea that our memory of what it was like to be in New York at that time would fade away. I had thought there would be hundreds of authors writing about that time, but it ends up that, for whatever reason, not many did. And I knew if I wanted to do it myself, I should do it while everything was still fresh in my mind.
KBB: Did your own memories come into play while writing Love Is The Higher Law and if so did it make it harder to write the book?
DL: Absolutely – the whole book is really based on my own experiences, divvied up to three different characters. I was lucky because on 9/11 itself and in the days and weeks and months and years after, I wrote a few things for my friends, trying to make sense of what had happened and what was going on. So when I decided to go back to that time, I actually could rely on firsthand accounts, not just my own memory of what happened.
I know this sounds depressing, but it wasn’t. Because so much of the book is about how people in New York came together after the tragedy of what happened – that so many people were their better selves, and there was a true camaraderie with strangers that lingers to this day. Although it is an imperfect analogy, it reminded me in a way of how my grandfather would talk about his time in World War II – it was a horrifying, scary time, but it also was so intense and so meaningful that even half a century later, the stories remained watermarked on his life.
KBB: Are any of the characters in the books based on people you know or even just share characteristics with people that you know?
DL: It’s way too easy an answer – and not really done consciously – but all three main characters are more me than anyone else. And all three share some of my reaction to what happened on 9/11. Peter is the music obsessive who loses music for a little while. Claire is all about the internal struggle to figure things out without drowning in depression. And Jasper is the sarcastic bitch who tries to feel he can use quips to stay in control of something that’s completely uncontrollable. I felt all those things, and more.
KBB: Is there one character in the book that you feel you relate to more? Or if not, is there a favorite character for you?
DL: I really can relate to them all, easily. Which is not something I think I can say for any of my other books.
KBB: Was there any one person who really helped you during the writing process of Love Is The Higher Law?
DL: I have a raft of supportive friends and family, who are remarkable about hearing me out when I’m in the midst of writing, but don’t mind that I don’t really show anything until I’m done. But the person who probably helped the most is my editor Nancy. It’s strange, because we met in early 2002, so we didn’t know each other on 9/11, but entered each other’s lives shortly thereafter. I knew she’d understand what I was trying to do, and felt I could trust her judgment, because the subject meant as much to her as it did to me. We share a very similar sensibility, and I rely upon that.
KBB: Thanks so much, David! I loved Love Is The Higher Law and I can’t wait for more books from you. If you missed any of David’s previous stops on his tour here are the links!
Random Buzzers (David Levithan will be appearing here for the next two weeks!)
Book Divas Blog
Oh and don’t forget to check back later today for my review and giveaway of Love Is The Higher Law!