David Levithan, the author behind Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, recently visited the KQED studios to record an episode of The Writers' Block, which will be released next week (listen to David's reading here). Until then, get to know him a little better with this Q+A, in which he talks about his love for My So-Called Life and his longstanding Valentine's Day tradition.
Your debut novel, Boy Meets Boy, started as a story you wrote forfriends for Valentine's Day, a tradition you've upheld for over twentyyears. What made you start doing that? Is that how your latest novel A Lover's Dictionary came about as well?
David Levithan: I started writing a Valentine's Day story for my friends my junior year of high school. I was profoundly bored in my physics class, and decided to find all the romantic puns I could find in my textbook. Opposites attracting, magnetism, and so forth. I turned it into a story, and then decided it would be very anti-Hallmark of me to give it to my friends for V-Day. The next year, my friends demanded another story. And thus, a tradition was born. The Lover's Dictionary started as story number twenty-one. (Or maybe it was twenty.)
What was your most memorable Valentine's Day?
DL: Amusingly, I can't remember a single distinctive Valentine's Day. I think I'm always so relieved I've met my deadline for the story that the rest is something of an after-thought. The only time I was ever dating someone on Valentine's Day was the year that I decided (before I met him) to throw an anti-Valentine's Day party for all my fellow single friends. Of course. That night he gave me a stuffed Coca-Cola polar bear. We broke up soon thereafter.
You've described yourself as "evangelical in your musical beliefs." What artist or album has most recently worked you into a fervor?
DL: I'm very glad I didn't have to make such a choice, but if I could have only spent last year listening to Robyn, I probably would've been okay. Although I'm grateful for The National and Jonsi as well.
What was your first concert?
DL: I grew up in suburbia in the 1980s. So the answer is...Billy Joel! (All cred I gained from Robyn, The National, and Jonsi slowly drains into soil...)
Look for David Levithan's episode of The Writers' Block next Monday, February 14, 2011 at kqed.org/writersblock. And be sure not to miss each episode as it becomes available by subscribing to The Writers' Block podcast!