Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nothing But Awesome

Beth Kephart: The Bootleg Interview

First of all, Ms. Kephart, congratulations on the release of NOTHING BUT GHOSTS, which already has received glowing reviews. You must be pretty pumped, what with your first novel coming out to such high praise.

Um. Miss Lefler. Miss Lefler? It’s me. Beth. Beth
Kephart. Over here. No. This way. This way. Yeah. Past the curtains. At the desk. That’s right. Ghosts is actually my tenth book, my third young adult novel. I mean, it might read like a first. Is that what you are suggesting?

Really? Are you sure this isn’t your first? It says right here in
my notes…

Perhaps you are borrowing another’s notes? I mean. It’s happened at the most prestigious journalistic institutions, not just with you.

Okay, well…anyway. I read NOTHING BUT GHOSTS and, I must say, I loved it. That scene with the conga dancers – when they commandeer the Sparkletts truck and use it to squish those killer bees. WOW.

I want what you’re drinking.

With all due respect, I couldn’t have just made that up.

No. Actually. You could have. I read your blog, re

Okay, so how would you sum up the story, then?

Well. It’s a story about surviving loss. About a rising
high school senior whose mother has died. What lives on? she wonders. How will she? In searching for answers, she becomes embroiled in a mystery surrounding a strange recluse at a lush garden. It’s a mystery, a romance, a daughter-father story.

Really? No killer bees? [mumbles] Then where the heck did I read
that? All right, moving on… Can you tell us about the setting of the book? I see here that you were inspired by a special location in your town of Peoria.

You probably didn’t read it. Perhaps you were watching TV? But, in any case, Peoria is a place I’ve always longed to go. Having not yet gotten there, however, I set the book in my hometown—the storied Main Line of Philadelphia—and in a world-renowned pleasure garden, known as Chanticleer. I wrote a memoir that took place in Chanticleer. I know this garden well, and am endlessly inspired by it. But let’s not talk inspiration. With you.

Seriously? You don’t live in Peoria? That research intern is so fired. All right, go on…

How much do you pay your intern? I’m in the market.

Your prose is so evocative and lush, Ms. Kephart – you have a remarkable gift for reinventing words and giving them a crisp newness. Let me ask you this: do you prefer using a hard copy of a thesaurus or do you rely more heavily on

I used up until a year or so ago. After that I just star
ted making words up and hoping nobody noticed. I try out all my invented words on my blog first. When the Blog Police don’t arrest me for synonym crimes, I figure the new word is not just novel-safe, but novel-worthy.

NOTHING BUT GHOSTS is Young Adult (“YA”) fiction. How does that work, exactly? I mean, can anyone read it? Does one need to be accompanied by a young adult?

Preferably one is accompanied by a young adult. I mean, is there any better company by which to be accompanied? I find that young adults are marvelously intelligent, often fearlessly so, and that they have a lot to teach. They make us adults better people. I take it there’s a shortage of such souls in your own neighborhood?

I understand you’ll be teaching a writing course at a local junior college this fall.

That’s correct. I’ll be teaching at my alma mater, University of Pe

Yes. I believe I’ve heard of that school.

Known primarily for its football team. Oh, and for the borderland of delicious, two-day-old soft pretzels.

So, Ms. Kephart, you have an amazing blog. What do you like most about blogging? And how do you come up with all those recipes?

Oh, gosh, I’m so glad your intern stopped by my blog. How much are you paying that intern again? Because honest to goodness. There are no reci
pes. Tessa does recipes. Tessa does recipes with pictures. Tessa is gorgeous. Is your intern a gal with a foodie predilection? I think your intern has been chilling with Tessa.

[stony silence] Are you friggin’ kidding me? No recipes? At all? Then where did this three-layer dip come from? You know what? Don’t worry about it.
Not your concern. I tell you what, though, when Tiffany the Intern gets back from getting my Gremlin detailed, she’s going to have some tall explaining to do. Anyway - back to you. I understand you are a National Book Award finalist. Can you tell us a little about that?

It’s been too long ago. I forget. I do remember, though, chairing, a few years later, the Young People’s Literature jury. I didn’t just get to read a lot of great books, wear a pretty great dress, and chill with some cool people. I met Steve Martin. He said that you’d been stalking him?

So…if I wanted to get in the pipeline for that, the
first step would be…

You want an NBA nomination? Well, you have to either start shooting hoops or write a pretty good book.

Huh. Kind of sounds like a pantload of work. Something to think about. You are passionate about dance. (I myself find the The Hustle hypnotically irresistible.) Tell us, please, what is your favorite dance and why?

Must you make me choose? All right. I’ll say it. I’ll co
nfess, since, from what I can tell by your site meter count and the number of comments you generate, no one reads your blog anyway, I love the rumba. It sinks the music into your bones.

Okay, it says in my notes that you are an accomplished photographer. I’m going to assume that’s wrong and take a wild guess that in your spare time you are…an ocarina enthusiast?

Did you just make that word up? Ocarina? Can I have it?

Oh, for cryin’ out loud. Okay, photography it is. Do you find there’s an overlap between your writing and your photography, or are they completely separate processes?

You didn’t answer me, about ocarina. Okay. I won’t steal it from you. I will, however, say, that I couldn’t write without photographs. The camera forces me to look harder, look better, look smarter. And heaven knows, I need all the help I can get.

Can you share with us some other works of yours that are currently available or on the horizon?

I love horizons, don’t you? On mine is a YA novel, due out next March, called The Heart is Not a Size, which takes a group of privileged kids on a mission trip to Juarez, Mexico (a place I visited a few years ago). Next fall, an historical novel, Da
ngerous Neighbors, is due out—this book focuses on a single day in Centennial Philadelphia. Think what you must, but I was not alive during the Centennial. At the moment I am writing a novel for adults that is wild and weird and (might I say this?) wonderful. Then there are those other nine books. But I don’t think we should go there, do you?

Lastly, I have one more question for you. I know it’s a clichĂ©, but if you were stranded on a deserted island…what color vinyl jumpsuit would you hope to
be wearing and why?

Purple. Because it would match the eye shadow in m
y travel kit.

Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Ms. Kephart. It was an honor having you here. Again, congratulations on the debut of your wonderful novel, NOTHING BUT GHOSTS. I wish you fantastic success!

Miss Lefler (I can call you Miss, still, yes?). It’s been the highest privile
ge. And I mean that. Kind of.

Ten Grande Prizes

Be one of the first ten bloggers to help spread the news about NOTHING BUT GHOSTS by posting about it and win a free hardback copy of the book, mailed straight to you at no cost by Tiffany the Intern yours truly. Just send me the link to your post at:

along with your mailing address. The senders of the first ten emails with links will receive books!


One Venti Prize

Every blogger who encourages their readers to buy a copy of this delightful novel and emails the link to me will be entered in a drawing for:

A $150 gift card!

That's right, Baby. Ka-ching.

Just email your link to me before midnight (PST), July 4, and you will be entered in the drawing for the gift card.

I hope you'll join me (and many of Beth's wonderful bloggy friends) in helping power this independent, grassroots effort to promote an exquisite book.

But don't take my word for it - here's what Ellen Trachtenberg - author of A Parent's Guide to the Best Children's Literature - had to say about NOTHING BUT G

In Nothing but Ghosts, acclaimed author Beth Kephart (Undercover and House of Dance) artfully juxtaposes themes of grief and torment with the persistence of beauty. [Protagonist] Katie must reconcile herself with the notion that “Things disappear and vanish. That’s the fact. Before you’re ready for them to go, they go, and after that all you can do is keep the idea of them bright inside yourself.”

Beth Kephart’s dazzling new novel is wise and wonderful, certain to be a revelation for young adult readers. As Katie makes a few necessary discoveries, she begins to let love in once again. In doing so, she honors an important promise, “a daughter’s promise: to live my life with my eyes wide open. To honor exuberance, and color.”

To purchase a copy of NOTHING BUT GHOSTS,
simply click on Beth's super-tight blog-tour bus below:
(Hey, there she is in the window!)

Thanks to everyone for their support
and good luck in the contest!


@eloh said...


Anonymous said...

This book sounds great!

Beth Kephart said...

Oh my word.

All right.

Where's when I need it? What are the octane versions of I-can-t-belive-you-just-did-this and thank you?


Lisa Alex Gray said...

When I publish my first book will you please do my interview? That was the funniest most entertaining interview I've read.

Ann Imig said...

Peoria??? PEORIA??

(fanning, swooning, reviving, fanning again...)

Off to check out Beth's Blog,!

Anonymous said...

Cool competition! But let me get this straight first... there are definitely no bees in the novel?

Mary K Brennan said...

What is with this? I'm leaving the first comment? I'm ususally like 300 something.There must be something wrong with your enabler.
Anyway, left you an email, and I'm promoting the new YA novel on my blog.

Gaspegirl said...

Sounds like an interesting read... I will have to check it out!

Make it a great day!

Becca said...

I love Beth's books: I posted about Nothing But Ghosts on both of my blogs:

Elizabeth Mosier said...

Brilliant! I was born in Peoria, Beth, so I'd be glad to fill you in!

Tracy Kunzler said...

This is SO funny! Best of luck with the book! BTW, can I get the recipe for that three layer dip?

Florinda said...

I thought Lenore's interview with Beth was good - and it was - but as usual, Anna, yours is something else again. Hilarious!

I bought the book through the book-sale drive last week, and it arrived on Friday. I'll try not to let it spend too much time in TBR Purgatory.

Pop and Ice said...

Has Beth put your phone number on block as a result of that interview?! But you know if you read too many blogs you get confused as to who is who and what they do and why you care....

Lynn Kellan said...

Now THAT'S a compelling book review.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Info and humour--what else do you need?

Sherrie Petersen said...

That was too funny!

I posted about Beth's book on my blog, but you don't have to send me a book, since I already bought it, read it and loved it :) Please DO enter me for the Amazon card, though. Can't turn that down!

BTW, can I have a ride on the bus? :)

Vivian Mahoney said...

Man. I love, love, love this post. Nothing But Ghosts AND Beth Kephart are made of awesome. I bought my copy yesterday and can't wait until I finally get to meet Beth and get her autograph!!

You totally rock, Anna.

Melissa said...

Once again, Ms. Lefler, you've made it into my Best of the Week post with this one. (You keep this up, you'll be writing my blog. :) This was hilarious and a true day-brightener ... thanks! I blogged about NBG a few days ago .... not sure if that counts, but I will add it as a link regardless. (No need to enter me for the book part of the contest - already have a copy of the book. The Amazon GC, however ... that you can enter me for. :) Great post!

Laurie Schneider said...

So... How do we get Beth on the bus out here to Idaho? Electric kool-aid? Or will Beth's electric prose (and poetry) do the trick?

Pseudo said...

An English teacher on summer break. I can't pass up a chance to read a new book. I'll put up a post, but have to run daughter's birthday post first.

I'm planning to read it even if I don't win though ; -)

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Anonymous said...

I thought interns didn't get paid?

Oh, that's the joke. My bad.

I LOVE killer bees!

ooo,ooo, I LOVE too!

BTW, what's another word for Thesaurus?

I LOVE purple eye shadow!

You know, YA books are all the rage with mommies these days. I know things. I'm hip yo.

Did you get 10 emails yet?

Trade you a free book for a slightly used mustache on a stick...

Anonymous said...

Okay dude. I just put a post up big pimpin this book.

Now show a desperate house wife some love and kick down a free book and some Amazon cash K?

Barefoot Studios Ok, LLC said...

Hello...found you over at the SITS blog and came by to say hello! I love to read so I'll be back after tomorrow to post on my's 1am and I should have been in bed hours ago!!

FranticMommy said...

Great interview! Ya know...I think I will purchase this book! Thanks Beth and Anna!

Vodka Mom said...

wow. That looks great- and I LOVE the interview.

I adore the grassroots effort, and will certainly link up to you!!!

Tessa said...

See that bizzare looking kinda hippie-bug-thing with orange and pink stripes and its three dark hairs and 7 grey ones tied up with piece of potato peel on the cab window of that bus?

That's TessaTheCook, faded starlet and Number One Fan of Beth Kephart and her Nothing But Awesome books. All TEN of them. TEN <----- you see that, Ms Lefler?

Anna, an intervfew straight from that billowy heaven of humour! Sheer, unadulterated perfection. I'm still hiccupping with mirth-filled delight! Seriously, a bravado performance from both lovely ladies. Huge applause!

Lacie @ Creative Attempts said...

I am always excited to get a good book recommendation.

LisaLisa said...

Dropping by from SITStas....the book sounds great. Wishing you a wonderful day!

Juanita said...

You are without a doubt 100% certifiable NUTS, and I LOVE IT!

Okay, I read your review so PLEASE come read my product review!! No obligation to buy anything, just some easy reading!!!!!!!!!

$150, huh? WOW - you know how to draw a crowd!


Yu make this book sound awesome! And great way to present it. Love it!

Jeanne Estridge said...

Sounds like an interesting book!

(and like maybe you're still doing 'shrooms sometimes....)

Fragrant Liar said...

Have you been invading my medicine cabinet? Cuz I didn't say anything about sharing. All sixty of those little doohickeys are mine! Mine, I tell you!

And that book sounds lovely, even without the bees. I'll check it out.

Anonymous said...

Best PR interview ever. Love it.

BTW - my husband was just telling me about the Ocarina app for the iPhone, which "lets people play haunting, flute-like songs by blowing into the iPhone microphone and hitting the virtual buttons." It's virtually haunting, I guess.

Great stuff!

HermanTurnip said...

+1 for using the word "predilection".

Again, and as always, I must thank you for a brilliant post! And this time, I mean it. Kind of ;-)

Sarah said...

Loved the interview - popping in from SITS! Have a great day

Alicia said...

lol! that was great! stopped by from SITS to say hi! but wait, bees or no bees?

Dawn Parsons Smith said...

I'm definitely coming to you for your fabulous interviewing talents when I publish my 543 books rolling around in my rock!

Will definitely be picking up the book!

Anonymous said...

Oh, hell to the yeah! I got my book already bitches!

The ocarina may live to see another day.

Now where's my Amazon card? I mean...Thank you!!!!!

Sue Wilkey said...

You changed your banner!!! If I'm not mistaken, that is the Gremlin? One of the two most awesome cars ever, the other being The Pacer?

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

Happy 4th to you and yours, Anna! Stay cool and hydrated!

Liggybee said...

Aww..that is a brilliant interview!

MuseSwings said...

It's a well known fact that people in PA eat more pretzels than any other state. Or all state combined. or the continental US. one or the other. Great interview - you really know how to impress an author. If I ever finish my book I'll give you or your intern a holler