Foxglove: I’ve lived in Toronto all my life and the best thing about this place is its diversity. Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world, or so I hear. It’s not perfect (as anyone who’s seen our mayor on late night talk shows can attest), but it’s safer and more welcoming to LGBTQ people like myself than a lot of places. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Foxglove: Everything. My mother still has crayon drawings of me as a doctor and a firefighter (not at the same time, but that would be something). As a teen, I desperately wanted to become a stage actor. I never wanted to be famous, I just loved the theatre and I was pretty good but, man, it takes a lot of mental fortitude to do that for a living. I still have friends in the theatre world and… yeah, I miss it sometimes, but I see how hard they scrounge for work. It’s not easy.
Tell us about your latest book.
Foxglove: I always said I’d never write a book about a writer, but I did and it’s “Truth and Other Lies,” published by Evernight Teen. “Truth and Other Lies” is very little about truth and very much about lies. The main character, 18-year-old Kenny, is lying to pretty much everyone about pretty much everything. He self-published a manuscript that didn’t technically belong to him and—OOPS!—it somehow miraculously became an overnight bestseller. Meanwhile, he’s fallen in love with a guy and a girl who—OOPS again!—happen to be dating each other. What a mess.
Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
Foxglove: I’ve got a few ideas burbling around in my head, but at the moment I’m concentrating on promoting the novels that are currently available. I have a bad habit of opening a document, outlining an entire new book, and then closing the document and never looking at it again. Poor books, so lost and ignored by their author…
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Foxglove: Getting started. I’m very hard on myself and I second-guess myself a lot, so just getting to the point where I open that outline back up and start filling in the blanks takes a big push. Marketing is difficult too, for me, because I have to get past that Canadian thing of feeling like I’m going to bother people by telling them I wrote this book and maybe they should consider reading it.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Foxglove: LISTEN. To editors, in particular, but listen to everyone who has more experience than you do. Even if they’re not right and you misstep, at least you’ll learn from the experience, right? I find I always have an initial “wall” that goes up when I hear advice I don’t want to take. In my mind, I go over all the reasons I’m right and they’re wrong, but by the end of that mental conversation I always realize that, nope, I’m wrong and they’re right. That happens to me all the time.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Foxglove: Writing is the easy part (most days). And ideas come easy. They fall out of the air, and out of life, out of half-heard conversations. It’s just a matter of sitting myself down and doing the work.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Foxglove: My favourite author is usually the one I’m reading when you ask me that question. Just yesterday I started reading Stephen Fry’s first book and I love his voice. The tone is very HIM. Very witty, very Britty, and exceedingly, unapologetically gay. Love it. It’s so refreshing to read a queer book that isn’t mired in tragedy and angst.
What books have most influenced your life?
Foxglove: I loved Judy Blume books when I was in middle school. They were so honest. I appreciated that, as a young reader. A Wrinkle in Time was a favourite, too, because I was interested in physics and I could relate to that sense of having to save my family. Mmm…now I want to go back and read all those books again.
How did you deal with rejection letters?
Foxglove: Coming from a theatre background, I find rejection letters much easier to deal with than lousy auditions. When I get a rejection letter, I feel like my WORK has been rejected. Okay. I can deal with that. In theatre, when you don’t get a part you always feel like YOU’ve been rejected. When I was fourteen, a casting director called me “bitchy” (OMG can you believe she said that to a 14-year-old?)! Nothing like has ever happened to me in the book world, so I can’t complain.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Foxglove: Books. Even if you never take a writing class in your life, read every day. I think a writer gleans more from reading quality fiction than from classroom time. Mind you, I say that as a person with a degree, so I must have thought education was important at some point in my life.
Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
Foxglove: My first novel, “Tiffany and Tiger’s Eye,” was a horror story about an evil doll, but even that wasn’t particularly gory, in my mind. I’m not sure if readers found it so. As for erotic content, I wouldn’t say my books include any. They are safe for a young adult audience. “Truth and Other Lies” alludes to sexual activity, but it happens off-screen. The most the reader sees is a bit of kissing. I think, in “Truth and Other Lies,” the fight scenes take the place of sex, in a way.
Don’t forget to give us links to your website etc.
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/!
TRUTHand other lies
by Foxglove Lee
An Evernight Teen ~ Alternative Young Adult
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?
Evernight Teen – http://www.evernightteen.com/truth-and-other-lies-by-foxglove-lee/
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Truth-Other-Lies-Foxglove-Lee-ebook/dp/B00LICLQBG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404705323&sr=8-1&keywords=Truth+or+other+lies
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.
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!
Giveaway:$10 Evernight Teen Gift Certificate
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