I think it’s almost time for a Leah Raeder sub-head in my blog menu. I’m written about her and her debut, UNTEACHABLE, a fair bit in the past two months. I’m not planning to stop anytime soon, so hop on board for the continuing lovefest.
Girlfriend doesn’t do pictures, so this nod to her beloved velociraptors and her gorgeous artwork will have to do. Yes, she designed the stunning cover for UNTEACHABLE, too. In her past life, she was a graphic designer.
1. What is your favorite book?
Evil question! It’s nearly impossible to pick just one, and it changes every few years. But for now it’s Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: a beautiful, nauseating, challenging, and unforgettable novel. I often read for escapism, but my favorite books are the ones that challenge me, that go beyond escapism and even realism into something that’s sort of both: immersing you in a reality you kinda hope isn’t real, but that still mesmerizes and changes you. Does that sound totally pretentious? Yeah, it does. Not sorry.
2. Which of your characters was hardest to write? Why?
No one really stands out, but early on I considered dropping Wesley. I was going to focus purely on Maise and Evan, but that felt too claustrophobic and limiting. I knew I needed Maise to have (relatively) normal relationships aside from Evan. And once I fleshed out the rest of Wesley’s family, their role in Maise’s life seemed inevitable.
3. As a child were you a tomboy or princess? Have you changed?
Tomboy, all the way. I haven’t changed at all. I still don’t own a single dress or skirt.
4. Given unlimited time, what volunteer work most appeals to you?
I hope this doesn’t sound skeezy in context of what my book is about…but I’d love to teach teenagers. Haha. I’m one of those people who’s never going to grow up—no house, kids, or other adult accessories—and I relate pretty well to teenagers, having remained one all my life. I’d teach creative writing or some kind of geeky new media thing, like graphic design. But not film.
5. Which junk food can you not live without?
All of it? Oh, you want me to pick one. Sun Chips, Garden Salsa flavor.
6. Which motivates you more? Success or Failure?
Does “fear of both” count? Success, I guess. I’ve always been the underdog, in everything, so success is the only real option. Failure is where I’m starting from.
7. Which character on Sesame Street do you like most? Why?
Hahaha. Big Bird. YOU THOUGHT I WAS GONNA SAY OSCAR THE GROUCH, BUT YOU’RE WRONG.
Why? He’s a giant fucking bird. And birds are what the dinosaurs evolved into. And you know how I feel about velociraptors, our once and future overlords.
8. What is your guilty pleasure?
Do children read this blog? …video games. Especially MMORPGs. I’m a total addict.
9. What is your favorite television show of all time?
“Of all time,” you sadist? The Simpsons. My sister and I can carry on entire conversations in nothing but Simpsons quotes.
10. What is your personal motto or philosophy?
Never give up. Never grow up. Never throw up on the hot guy sitting next to you on the rollercoaster.
Bonus: What do you want people to know about UNTEACHABLE?
For everyone who WTFs at the cover: tilt your head to the right.