Show # 46 - [livejournal.com profile] lillianleitzel - Anything Else and Closing

May. 18th, 2009 12:33 pm
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penpusher: hey
lillianleitzel: hello
penpusher: cool
penpusher: ok ready for the start of the finish?
lillianleitzel: yep!


penpusher: This part of the interview is titled "Anything Else" and we usually go into a discussion of something we haven't talked about so far or sort of refocus the direction of the conversation...

lillianleitzel: ok

penpusher: In a way, we did a bit of that with the discussion of The Grail.

penpusher: But that's fine, because we can talk a bit more about what you're doing there.

lillianleitzel: oh, finishing my third book, which is due July 31
lillianleitzel: and also doing some writing for them here and participating in the art collective


penpusher: So, what's the third book called?

lillianleitzel: Might be The Sea Queen, but I'm not sure. My British editor suggested it and I like it, but my US editor I dont think is convinced

penpusher: Sea Queen. Sounds a bit like a washing machine.

lillianleitzel: or a queen who is from the sea!

penpusher: There's that water theme again!

lillianleitzel: it's a retelling of The Little Mermaid, so...

penpusher: So you are becoming a modern day fairy tale teller.

lillianleitzel: With these two books, yes

penpusher: What is the motivation to go right back to a fairy tale?

lillianleitzel: You mean with this third book?

lillianleitzel: Publishers


penpusher: Well, I'm getting a sense that you don't necessarily want to be labeled as some sort of Sister Grimm.

lillianleitzel: It's fine with me, actually, I just have a lot of things I want to do. But I am very down with the fairytales, that combination of gorgeousness and devastation

penpusher: The publishers requested you do another fairy tale take?

lillianleitzel: Yes

penpusher: So give a hint about how you're spinning Andersen's story. Obviously you won't be having a singing crab.

lillianleitzel: Well, when my British publisher bought Godmother last summer, my editor asked what else I was working on. I mentioned two books I was partway through and then listed some other ideas, which included a book about a mermaid. And they bought that.

lillianleitzel: And so I worked it out, decided to go with the fairytale (partly at my agent's urging) and figured out the story.. Then sold it to my US publisher.


penpusher: So originally, it was just a story about a mermaid, that you then filtered through the classic tale?

lillianleitzel: They really just bought a book about a mermaid, I mean there was barely any idea besides that, but it seemed a good followup to Godmother

lillianleitzel: But I am telling it in third person and alternating between the mermaid's story and the princess's story. The princess being the one the prince falls in love with and marries.

lillianleitzel: The original tale is very dark and depressing. The mermaid gives up everything to be with the prince, but he does not fall in love with her


penpusher: I remember the story and how difficult it was. That original tale (as opposed to the Disney version) was very hard.

lillianleitzel: The princess is barely in the original tale, but she's the one he marries. and the one who discovers him after the mermaid saves him

lillianleitzel: My book opens with the princess witnessing this moment


penpusher: What do you think was the point of the original story? What was the moral of that tale?

lillianleitzel: I dont know, I am opposed to morals!

penpusher: You are?

lillianleitzel: Well, I dont care about the morals of stories anyway

penpusher: Well, the meaning then. What was the point?

lillianleitzel: I havent really thought about it some weird suffering Christian thing I imagine

lillianleitzel: I am much more interested in the relationship between the two women, and the weirdness of their positions


penpusher: Yes. I suppose there is the element of self-sacrifice and the classic "no good deed goes unpunished" thinking.

lillianleitzel: I guess so. It's a weird, miserable tale, but full of beauty and pain

penpusher: So this princess and this mermaid are rivals for the prince. And this rivalry is the heart of your story?

lillianleitzel: Yes, tho they are more than rivals in my story... I mean there's a huge array of complicated emotions between them But I am interested in their relationship

penpusher: I wouldn't have even thought they would have met, let alone have a relationship...

lillianleitzel: In the original story they do meet, the mermaid holds the princess's train during the wedding, etc

lillianleitzel: But there are plenty of spaces where they might have met and do, in my version


penpusher: Well, I guess a servant meets the lord of the manor as well, but it's not on equal footing.

lillianleitzel: Theyre not on equal footing

penpusher: No. That's my point, based on what you said.

lillianleitzel: I'm agreeing, they're not.

penpusher: I think most people, especially those familiar with this material from the Disney film, think that the mermaid is a kind of magical creature that is going to win out in the end.
But you're already telling us not to expect that!

lillianleitzel: Well that's the original tale, the mermaid doesnt get anything and dies in the end

lillianleitzel: I of course will have a twist, so not the same ending!


penpusher: Mermaids aren't actually human though, so this is another tale where some fantastic creature falls in love with some dopey homo sapien.

lillianleitzel: Well he isn't dopey, but yes, and the human world generally Thats at the heart of the little mermaid story

lillianleitzel: Tho in mine, the princess is just as dazzled by the mermaid and her world


penpusher: Well, he's dopey as all humans are.

lillianleitzel: In my version, he is pretty cool!

lillianleitzel: And she glimmers and glitters but is pretty on par with the princess, who is also pretty sparkly and cool


penpusher: I'd hate for the mermaid to sacrifice all for a dolt!

lillianleitzel: ha

penpusher: What are their names?

lillianleitzel: lenia and margrethe

lillianleitzel: it's set in medieval scandinavia


penpusher: Aha. I'm sure Andersen would approve.

penpusher: So, when will the book come out?

lillianleitzel: Next summer

penpusher: Wow. Very quick. Let's hope it makes a big splash!

lillianleitzel: Ha, thank you! Yes, well that's why I'm up here, to get that book done

penpusher: What other writing are you doing on your retreat to Upstate NY?

lillianleitzel: I'm just going to do a little writing for the Grail.. like work on their website, stuff like that

lillianleitzel: No time for any other fiction, but I hope to be on to the fourth book by this fall, which Im spending in Berlin


penpusher: Oh I see. Is that something worth checking out?

lillianleitzel: I love it here, I think the Grail is cool, so yes

lillianleitzel: I'm just going to help revamp it a bit


penpusher: Oh, I meant the writing for the website.

lillianleitzel: I mean the website is worth checking out because it's for this place thats so cool But hopefully I will improve it a bit

penpusher: It does seem like a wonderful place to at least visit. How many artists are currently there?

lillianleitzel: Just 5 women live here, and 6 including me. But many people come in and out and are associated with it It's not all artists, they do all kinds of things

penpusher: I guess someone has to tend to the land, and the various other things to make the place run

lillianleitzel: yep massie and marcy, who I'm staying with, do tons of gardening and work on the land etc'

penpusher: And do people ever drop by and visit?

lillianleitzel: Not really, I mean unless you'd called first! Or came for an event, like the collective's art opening on June 27

penpusher: Is there a specific gallery or theater space that holds regular events? I guess I should look more carefully through the website!

lillianleitzel: No, for this art show we'll have art all over the grounds... (45 acres here, tho the art will not be spread out that much!) and we spent this weekend cleaning out and whitewashing this amazing old garden shed that will serve as an indoor gallery

lillianleitzel: which is why im exhausted over 4 hours whitewashing today


penpusher: That's fantastic. 45 acres! That would be a lot of leaf raking as well.

lillianleitzel: Well a lot of it is woods They do a lot of amazing stuff here

penpusher: Are you participating in the show?

lillianleitzel: Yes The sculpture I told you about

penpusher: I thought you might be performing some of your writing.

lillianleitzel: I'm not sure, I might be, but the main thing is the sculpture I collaborated on

penpusher: It sounds great. How long is the event, just that one day, or is it ongoing?

lillianleitzel: The opening will have bands and be a big party and that is one day. The show will be up for a couple of months tho

penpusher: Fine. Saturday June 27th. A good way to start the summer.

penpusher: Is there something you wanted to discuss that we haven't talked about yet, some point you wanted to make or issue you wanted to raise?

lillianleitzel: Hmmm I guess not!

penpusher: Then this is the place to end our conversation. Please remember if you have any questions for Carolyn or comments about this interview, you may respond in the "Viewer Comments" section that immediately follows. And, if you have any questions for me, suggestions for future guests, or need to reach me for any reason, you can drop me an email. I'm at ljpenpusher at gmail dot com.

penpusher: Thank you for reading along. We'll talk again, soon.


lillianleitzel: We talked for like 4 hours!
lillianleitzel: ha
penpusher: That's par for the course.
penpusher: So thanks for doing this! I hope you found it fun
lillianleitzel: Yes, thank you!
penpusher: and keep an eye on the "viewer comments" if you'd like, we'll see if anyone has any questions for you.
lillianleitzel: ok
penpusher: thanks again, Carolyn!
lillianleitzel: You too! Mwah!




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