Name: Levi Montgomery
Location: The Pacific Northwest region of the United States
Why I write: It’s like breathing. If I don’t, it starts to hurt.
When I’m asked why I write, I usually give the short answer. “To get the stories out of my head.” The longer, and truer, answer is that I write for you. I write to make you cry, to make you laugh, to make you leap on the table and dance, or sit in the corner and hug yourself. I write to reach inside you and fix something you didn’t know was broken, to cut you so deeply you’ll never stop bleeding.
If I do any of these things, I’ve done my job. If I do all of them, I’ve done my job well.
You can also find me…
on Facebook I am no longer on Facebook. I became too concerned about security.
or by email at email@example.com.
You’ll also find my grubby footprints in various places around the web, as I have been active in so-called “writers’ communities” for some time, as well as commenting on people’s blogs and so forth. Some of these other places, as well as MySpace, will be added to this list over time, as technical issues are worked out.
Some questions I’ve been asked by various people:
Q: The topic of much of your writing seems to be how love comes to be. Why are you compelled to explore love?
A: I don’t think I’m compelled to explore love so much as to explore who we really are, and I think who we really are only comes out under stress. For most of us, discovering sexuality, discovering love, discovering this odd idea of spending our life with someone else, all come at us in a sudden stressful rush, somewhere in that blink between adolescence and adulthood. I think that’s why the coming-of-age story has been so enduring, and so endearing, over the centuries.
Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: The interesting question isn’t where writers get their ideas, it’s “What do non-writers do with theirs?” How do you deal with the logjam, if you don’t write? How do you get the voices out of your head? What? Really? No voices at all? Strange.
Q: No, really, where do you get your ideas?
A: Ok, ok, you win. I have a leprechaun in a cage in the back of my office. In return for old peanut shells and all the salt he can eat, he rants. I write it down.
Q: Much better. Ok, but why do you write what you do? What is that, YA meets literary meets hunh?
A: Stephen King, On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft (2000):
“If you disapprove [of what he writes], I can only shrug my shoulders. It’s what I have.”
And at least, he can tell you what it is that he’s writing. Of course, he also said something along the lines of:
“But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud.”
Q: What about themes? Are there themes in your writing that you can tell us about?
A: Themes? Yeah, sure. Go read it and tell me what they are. Ok, no, here’s a theme: I honestly believe that a lot of so-called “young adult” fiction today is written from the assumption that every teenager on Earth is sexually active, that the decision came easily for them, and that the only ones who aren’t are some kind of psychotic repressed whack jobs. While I don’t necessarily agree that what I write is YA, I certainly do see that a lot of it is likely to be assessed that way, and I’ve consciously decided to write from a different point of view, one which I happen to hold. Sex is powerful stuff. Sex can make you or break you. It can ruin your life quicker and more insidiously than any drug you might ever find. I believe it is not only normal, but it is right that teenagers should struggle with this area of their lives, should put vast thought and care into it, and should make the right choices. I believe the right choices are to remain celibate until you are in love and committed for life, and to then practice sex as lustfully as possible for the rest of your life, within that relationship. There, I said it. So sue me because I’m not PC (you ain’t heard nothing yet).
(See also: "Theme and its Dire Effects," Thomas McCormack, 1988)
Q: Why don’t you think you write YA?
A: Because I’m not going to try to predict what matters of subject area are or are not going to be ok, over what time frames, in which towns and schools, and what they want in their YA sections at their libraries. For the record, if I ever hear of any group of parents claiming some book of mine isn’t suitable for the YA section, I’m on their side. It’s their library. Why do we call it “young adult,” if it’s not supposed to be different than general fiction?
Q: It’s been said that you don’t think The Bumbler’s Apprentice is fantasy. Why or why not?
A: It’s not fantasy. Why not will be, as Heinlein used to say, “left as an exercise for the reader.” When you figure it out, email me, and I’ll let you know if you’re right.
Q: Will you read my manuscript?
Q: No, really. Will you read my manuscript?
A: No, really. No. Well, yes — for a dollar a word, I’ll read it and edit it. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Q: Where did you get your header images?
A: I took them. They’re for sale, as digital downloads. Yes, I know you can right-click on them and save them to your computer. Go ahead. You won’t like it.