Leah Konen is a writer living in San Francisco. She is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and creative writing. Her work has been published in Elle Decor, Good Housekeeping’s Quick & Simple, Parenting, The Fiscal Times, and several regional newspapers and magazines. The After Girls is her first novel.
I am very excited to interview Leah and to read her book The After Girls!
1. What do you like to read? Does it influence your writing?
Though it doesn’t have much to do with the themes of THE AFTER GIRLS, I learned pretty much everything I know about writing from obsessively reading Jane Austen. I’d like to think that, even indirectly; her work has had a big influence on me.
2. Did you have an experience like the girls in The After Girls? Which girl do you most identify with?
Not exactly. But about halfway through writing THE AFTER GIRLS, a friend of mine passed away at a young age from cancer. Friendship and grief became incredibly real to me, and it definitely affected how I wrote THE AFTER GIRLS.
As far as characters, all my friends and family tell me that I am Ella. I don’t quite know how to feel about this, because Sydney is definitely my favorite. She plays in a cool folk band, she dies her hair, she doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her—she’s so cool!
3. What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing?
I feel like I’m always writing! But when I’m not, I’d say my second-favorite thing is reading. Then biking around San Francisco, going on cool trips through California, playing with puppies. The usual.
4. Do you plan on doing a tour for this book? Which city would you be most excited to visit?
I did get a chance to go to New York to do some events there around Book Expo America. But if I were going to design my own book tour, I’d say the next city I’d love to visit would be Austin.
5. What are you working on now?
I am so excited about the book I’m working on now–I can’t reveal too much, but it’s also set in the South, and it focuses much more on romance than on friendship.
6. I used to live in Durham, NC and spent time hanging out at UNC – do you miss it?
I can’t even express how much NC impacted me. Though I’ve lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn and now San Francisco, I still set my stories in the South. I definitely miss parts of it (sweet tea and barbecue, for one), and I made some amazing friendships during my time there.
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