Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Lisabeth Posthuma Interview - Baby & Solo


Photo Content from Lisabeth Posthuma

Lisabeth Posthuma was a high school teacher, a photographer, and most importantly, a video rental clerk before becoming a writer. She holds an English degree from one of those really expensive private liberal arts colleges that no one can afford (including her). She grew up obsessed with teen soaps, which her therapist says explains a lot, and likes to brag about that one time she attended the cast party for The OC. Orange is her favorite color because in first grade no one chose it, and she felt sorry for it. She currently lives in Michigan where the winters are too long.

      
  


Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
I love that this question recognizes the universal craving that people have for stories! It can’t be coincidental, can it? It must be in our wiring as humans to bond over our shared experiences. Stories also serve as a way to grow our empathy through learning from others what we haven’t ourselves experienced. We are communal animals, and in order to commune together, we have to find both common ground and ways to understand our differences so we can co-exist in a healthy society. In that regard, storytelling isn’t only important, it’s essential.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
The most rewarding experience is each and every time I hear from a reader who connected to the story. It never gets less exciting to learn that something in Baby & Solo—be it a line of text, a character, a pop culture reference, or the story as a whole—meant something to another person.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I can share that the next book I’m working on was inspired by a stray remark from a friend. He said, “Our family is allergic to communication.” That line resonated, and it has become the cornerstone of my next project.

Can you tell us when you started BABY & SOLO, how that came about?
I write by discovery, which is both a really fun and frustrating way to write. I start with a few central ideas—a platonic love story, a video store in the 1990s, a character haunted by a family trauma—and I start juggling. It’s through the attempt to find a rhythm that keeps all those ideas in the air in a manageable way that I learn who the characters are and what story they want to tell. I LOVE being surprised when I write, and keeping things loose at first is a great way to allow for those a-ha moments.

TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT BABY & SOLO
  • 10.) The original title was Baby & Solo, c. 1996
  • 9.) The inspiration for ROYO Video comes from the music store in Empire Records.
  • 8.) The waitress at T.G.I.Friday’s is named after my childhood best friend, Lindsay H..
  • 7.) The Godfather is the only character in the book based on an actual person.
  • 6.) At one point in the writing process, I scrapped the whole story and created a version that took place even further back in history in which Joel was drafted to Vietnam.
  • 5.) The line about Alfred Hitchcock and squirrels near the end of the book is a direct quote from my brother.
  • 4.) When writing for Joel, I imagined him as a teenaged Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Dr. Schwartz was Mark Ruffalo.
  • 3.) Before writing B&S, I was indifferent to Jon Bon Jovi and his music. Now, I’m a superfan. I not only love his music, I admire all the things I learned about him as a person.
  • 2.) I have not seen all the movies mentioned in B&S.
  • 1.) There is more swearing in this book than I have probably said out loud in my entire life. Well…almost. 😉
What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope that each person who reads Baby & Solo takes something positive away from the story—whether it be encouragement, hope, a new understanding of the past, a fresh point-of-view of the present, newfound empathy, catharsis, the sudden urge to watch the documentary The Last Blockbuster, or a passionate crush on REM’s Monster album. This book was an emotional roller coaster to write, and I predict it will feel like one for some who read it. It’s my hope that at the end, no matter how their stomach feels after all the ups and downs, they are glad they rode the ride.

What part of Joel did you enjoy writing the most?
Honestly, I enjoyed Joel’s entire arc. I was rooting for him from the beginning. As much as he frustrated me at times—he is a product of 1990s culture, with all its insensitivities and self-unawareness, after all—I enjoyed coaching him through those growing pains. It’s probably a really weird thing to say since he’s a fictional character that came from my own brain, but Joel taught me a lot, and I’m really proud of him.

Did you learn anything from writing BABY & SOLO and what was it?
I learned that there is no Normal. It was such a relief.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would insert The Godfather into The Hunger Games just to see how things played out.

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood.
This isn’t a one-time event, but one of my favorite parts of my childhood was how my grandmother encouraged me to read. I enjoyed reading as a kid, but I didn’t really have a lot of friends who shared this interest, so it was hard to find others to talk to about books with the same passion as I had for the stories I read. So, my grandma spent her evenings at her kitchen table reading all of the books in the The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins series, and then when I’d visit her, we’d have book club chats about life in Stoneybrook and whatever mischief Jessica Wakefield was getting into. She read dozens and dozens of these books just to connect with me. Looking back, I recognize this as a tremendous act of love.

TEN RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME
  • 10.) I have bungee jumped.
  • 9.) I am ambidextrous.
  • 8.) My favorite color is orange.
  • 7.) I attended the cast party for season one of the television show The O.C.
  • 6.) I am the survivor of an ameloblastoma, and part of my hipbone was harvested to replace a section of my jaw that had to be removed.
  • 5.) I really enjoy dubbelzout dropes, a Dutch salty black licorice candy that is wholly unpopular with the masses.
  • 4.) In direct light, I have heterochromatic eyes.
  • 3.) One of my heroes is Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.
  • 2.) I have one tattoo; it’s of an ampersand.
  • 1.) I once met Mike Birbiglia. He seemed cool.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
I highly recommend volunteering with the refugee population in your local community. My experiences working with families displaced by political conflicts challenged and reshaped many of my perspectives, and spending time with these people has made my life so much richer. In general, intentionally positioning yourself to be proximate to people who identify differently than you in any way—country of origin, race, religion, creed, sexual orientation/gender identity—is an invaluable opportunity that I believe everyone should seek out.

Best date you've ever had?
I once went on a date to an old Hollywood themed murder-mystery dinner where I was tricked into improv performing in the show as a ditzy gold-digger named Sarah Dippity. Good times.

What was the first job you had?
I was a sandwich artist at Subway. My second job was at a video store, and I liked that one way more.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I finally listened to three out of four dentists’ recommendations and made the switch from the leading brand to Crest, and I’ll never go back to generic toothpaste again.

What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh?
Until way too recently, my mother thought that The Hunger Games was another name for Game of Thrones, which explained a lot of really confusing conversations we’d had.

First Heartbreak?
Assuming that heartbreak isn’t reduced to only those of romantic nature, my first was in second grade when my best friend moved away. We were the kind of kid besties who spend every single day together—playing in the woods, creating art projects, riding bikes—and then one day she left to live in another state. I was eight, and this kind of loss was new to me. I still remember her mom bringing her to my classroom to say goodbye. I ached for her to come back; I felt like part of me had gone missing, and it would be along time after until I would make another close friend.

UPDATE: We reconnected via the internet and are still good friends! Happy ending!

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
There’s joy in every journey, so I choose true love.


Joel’s new job at the video store is just what the therapist ordered. But what happens if the first true friend he’s made in years finds out about What Was Wrong With Him?

Seventeen-year-old Joel Teague has a new prescription from his therapist—a part-time job—the first step toward the elusive Normal life he’s been so desperate to live ever since The Bad Thing happened. Lucky for Joel, ROYO Video is hiring. It’s the perfect fresh start—Joel even gets a new name. Dubbed “Solo” after his favorite Star Wars character, Joel works his way up the not-so-corporate ladder without anyone suspecting What Was Wrong With Him. That is, until he befriends Nicole “Baby” Palmer, a smart-mouthed coworker with a chip on her shoulder about . . . well, everything, and the two quickly develop the kind of friendship movie montages are made of. However, when Joel’s past inevitably catches up with him, he’s forced to choose between preserving his new blank slate persona and coming clean—and either way, he risks losing the first real friend he’s ever had. Set in a pop-culture-rich 1990s, this remarkable story tackles challenging and timely themes with huge doses of wit, power, and heart.

You can purchase Baby & Solo at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LISABETH POSTHUMA for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Baby & Solo by Lisabeth Posthuma.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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4 comments:

  1. not sure... it would be wonderful to have lived in a vaccinated world free of plastic and other forms of pollution

    ReplyDelete
  2. 1950's. It seems like it was a great time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the idea of medieval times until you think of the realities of everyday life. Ugh! Since I have the power of foresight, going back does not appeal.

    ReplyDelete