5 Questions With Leila Sales Plus She Interviews Me (GIVEAWAY TOO!)

If you followed my blog last year you know that Leila Sales’ This Song Will Save Your Life was one of my FAVORITE reads of last year. So obviously her new release, Tonight The Streets Are Ours, is one of my MOST anticipated books of 2015. If you want to check out what it’s about, hop down to the bottom of the post! So obviously I’m super excited to have Leila on my blog today because I adore her AND we have a fun interview post today — I ask Leila 5 questions and SHE turns the tables on ME and asks me 5 questions. And man, she asked some doozies! I have so much more respect for authors having to answer interview questions after getting the tables turned on me!!!

So, I’ll go ahead and hit Leila with some of my most burning questions!

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1. If you wrote a blog outside of writer-y things what would it be about and what would you name it? If Teen Leila was living in 2015 and wrote a blog, what would it be about and what would you have named it?

For many years I wrote a blog called The Leila Texts: http://theleilatexts.blogspot.com. I would still be doing it if I were still getting text messages from random strangers every day! When I was in college I wrote a blog that was about my thoughts and relationships—really just a journal, except anyone with the URL could read it. I wanted so badly to be understood (a desire that I think a lot of teens and adults share), and I felt like if people read my blog, then they would understand me.

If I were a teenager today, though, I bet I would start a book blog. You guys have such a cool community. I would have definitely wanted to be part of it. Plus I’ve always wanted excuses to tell people what I think about books I’m reading.

2. Tell me about one of your best spontaneous, crazy nights that you’ve ever had!

New Years Eve this year was pretty great. My friend Emily and I went to a friend’s loft party until 4am, got breakfast at the 24-hour diner, drove to Spa Castle (it’s this giant warehouse of saunas and pools in Queens), got there right as it opened at 6am, and hung out in the spa until mid-afternoon.
Oh, and then there’s Halloween a couple years ago. Emily and I dressed up as two-thirds of the British band the Pipettes (we didn’t have a third friend who wanted in on this group costume), and we went to an house party with a killer sound system, and then a warehouse party overlooking the East River and we hung out on the roof and took a bunch of photos with a dude who was dressed as a lobster (I don’t know), and then went to my favorite indiepop dance party.

I could keep going, but suffice it to say that most of my best spontaneous and crazy nights include Emily.

3. If I was coming to NYC and wanted you to plan me a super fun night, tell me about some of your favorite places you’d take me to ensure we had a crazy fun night!

Well, last time you were here, we did karaoke, and that was fun! Though I had to quit at like 11pm because it was BEA week and I was exhausted.

If I were properly rested up, then we’d go out dancing obviously. One of my favorite parties is this Britpop night called Feeling Gloomy, in Williamsburg, so if that were happening, we’d do that for sure. I would check Nonsense NYC to see what crazy events were going on that night, and You Don’t Have to Settle to see what our dance party options were. I promise I would not let you get bored!

4. You and I both grew up without having this online life like teens do today but now as adults we are definitely immersed in it. What have you learned about fact and fiction when it comes online life or just any general observations about how we socialize or meet people now vs. before all this especially with expectations/reality of who people are online vs offline? (omg does my question make sense? I am just fascinated and read too many articles about this stuff and like hearing what people think haha)

This is a huge question, and I’m not going to do it justice here. It’s obviously something I think about a lot: both TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS and THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE show how things that happen online can have a major impact on our real-world sense of self-esteem. My new YA manuscript (which is in the EXTREMELY early stages, so I can’t say much about it) also explores that issue.

I mean, we have all had the experience of seeing posts about an ex’s new partner and thinking, “Oh my God, they are so happy together, they make such an attractive couple, what is wrong with me that I couldn’t do that?” Or looking at your facebook feed and thinking, “Today everyone I know has had some major creative or professional or relationship success, and I’ve done NOTHING.” Even though we know, rationally, that people curate their online personas, it’s still almost impossible to internalize that nobody is really as happy and confident as they appear online.

5. Related to our internet-less childhoods, what is one thing you are SO glad from your childhood/teen life are you glad that wasn’t able to be documented for the internet to see?  (As much as I would have loved the internet the way it is now as a teen omg I’m so glad my embarrassing “photo shoots” my bff and I would always put on during 8th grade were not for internet consumption haha.)

Ugh. Like, everything. One that comes to mind is when summer camp ended, I wrote letters to all these girls in my bunk telling them what they meant to me and “what I really thought about them.” In retrospect, this is horrifying. If somebody doesn’t ask you what you really think about them: don’t tell them. And if you don’t know someone very well: don’t believe that you do. I am very glad those weren’t recorded for posterity.

There’s so much stuff like that: things that seemed like a good idea at the time, but they weren’t really, and if they’d been documented and archived online, they would still be haunting me today. The internet makes it very hard for people to say, “Okay, I made a mistake; let’s move on.”

And now Leila turns the tables on me!!!


1. This is a random question that I’ve always wondered: why is your Twitter username is different from your blog’s name?

AH that thing that is the bane of my internet existence. Basically, rookie mistake in branding 5 years ago. I didn’t think about it until I couldn’t change it. I started my collaborative blog The Broke and the Bookish in 2010 with like 10 other people first and created the handle for it thinking I would just tweet blog update sand not really ~talk~ with to people with it because I really had NO understanding of the blogging community. Then I started this blog a within a week of starting TB&TB. I created a new handle @pageturnerjamie for this one but didn’t use it that often. I had initially met people as @brokeandbookish and so I started chatting on there a lot like as a hybrid personal and blog account where I talked about life and books and blog updates for both blogs. So The Broke and the Bookish was the blog technically behind the name but most people associated the Twitter handle with me because it was only ever me talking on it.

I tried to maintain both Twitter accounts but never could choose which one to focus on because people really knew me from @brokeandbookish account plus I got WAY too overwhelmed trying to maintain both (if people followed both they would get dupe content, my conversations were always between 2 accounts, etc.) I didn’t want to lose people who followed the Twitter account for ME and try to switch them over to the other one especially because @brokeandbookish account wasn’t truly even a blog account at this point. So I stopped using @pageturnerjamie and just used @brokeandbookish even though it’s confusing for people and then by the time the branding confusion really bothered me it was too late…people just would never be able get used to tweeting me at a different username other than @brokeandbookish this late in the game. I had gained a good following and people ~knew~ me as @brokeandbookish on Twitter within the industry or at events and things. No literally, like “oh hey you are @brokeandbookish on Twitter!”

SOOOO basically just a bad decision I should have fixed from the beginning before I got a good following but I didn’t care about branding or consistency then so did nothing. It’s so confusing and I hate it every day. The account really just morphed into my own personal account without me even meaning to.

2. In TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS Peter purposefully keeps his blog a secret from his friends and family so he can write whatever he wants about them. What do your friends and family think about your blog? Do they read it and comment on it?

I was very secretive about my blog at first. I took a week or 2 before I told Will and my sister and they were the only ones who knew for a while. Then I slowly told more family. I completely kept it from my friends for YEARS. I felt like I could be more myself on here than with the group of friends I had at the time so I wanted to keep this space “safe” in that way. At this point a few REALLY close friends know and I’m more open about it though I don’t share my URL with most of my friends. My family doesn’t read it because if I want them to read a book I’ll just tell them. It’s funny because I am so more likely to tell new acquaintances/friends about my blog (ie a random relative of Will’s that I never see who I found that likes YA at a family gathering) than I am people I’ve known for a long time. I think it’s because after dropping those friends I feel so much more FREE and myself and that the people who are meeting me now are people I’m okay with getting to see this side of me in a way I wasn’t comfortable with my former friend group. I talk about a lot of personal things that I relate to in things I read (like friendship breakups) and so I’m careful to make sure nobody feels hurt by something I’ve written. The ones that know think it’s pretty cool but they don’t know enough about it to really have an opinion I don’t think.

Funny story: one time a girl I knew from high school found my blog through Google search accidentally. Hilarious google search combo: wedding stress induced shingles. I talked about how I got stress induced shingles right before my wedding and for whatever reason SHE was googling that and found my blog. I was like OH. MY. GOD. It wasn’t even book related.

 

3. What’s your favorite comment you’ve ever gotten?

I feel so corny and all #blessed saying this but honestly I am sooo genuinely lucky to get amazing comments on a regular basis. I get hilarious comments and heartfelt comments and supportive comments and comments that make me think differently about life or what I read. Some of my most favorite comments are the ones on my more personal book posts or things like my If We Were Having Coffee posts because people are so amazing and open up to me and just let themselves be vulnerable and that’s something I appreciate because I try to be that way to my readers.

4. Have you ever written a blog post that you later regretted?

Honestly not really. Maybe there are a few I’m like “oh that was not as a brilliant idea that I thought it was then” but hindsight is only 20/20. I mean, if I HAD to choose, I think there is ONE post that I wouldn’t say I regret but I cringe about now. It was in the first year I started blogging, if I remember correctly, and it was about blog readers vs. blog followers and I think I had a lot of good thoughts on the post for how I differentiated between the two and clearly what I thought was the BETTER thing to care about and how to go about getting those. I was still relatively new and I was a little judgey in tone about if people only care about blog followers and thus only do lots of giveaways and follower gimmick type things. It’s not that I regret the post because those were my feelings then and I stood by them personally (still do) but I think I cringe and regret that one paragraph now because I’m SO of the mind of people doing what THEY want on their blog as long as it isn’t cruel or plagiarism. Who am I to have made people feel bad if they liked doing 90% giveaways on their blog to get followers? Who am I to say it isn’t fulfilling to them? In the wise words of Amy Poehler, “Good for her, not for me”… just because that wouldn’t fulfill me doesn’t mean it’s not okay.

·5. One of the big issues in TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS is how we curate and manage our online appearances (sometimes to make ourselves look cooler/prettier/happier than we are in real life). Would you say that your persona on your blog is any different from your persona in the real world?

I think my persona on my blog is SO very much me. Sometimes I think I’m even more transparent and open about things on my blog than I am sometimes ~in real life ~outside of my husband and my closest people. I mean, sure, do I curate in that I choose what might be TOO MUCH sharing and too personal? Absolutely. I think there are sensitive issues or specific details that don’t need to be shared but I think my blog is a pretty good reflection of me in general — and I feel like most people think that when they meet me? Or at least that’s what I hear. WHO KNOWS. I’m not afraid to share when I’m not doing okay. Or act like things are perfect in my personal life or even as a blogger and I’m okay with being openly self aware about those things.

I think the BIGGEST break in my persona online and IRL though has to be the fact that I don’t have a lot of curse words on my blog and IRL the f bomb is my favorite word it seems. People are always very surprised about that and shocked what comes out of my mouth when they meet me after reading my blog and social media. The reason I don’t curse much on the blog (I mean, I DO, but not a ton) is because for so long it’s been on my resume (I did social media/internet marketing before I got laid off) and I was looking for jobs so I figured I would filter that out for professional sake. Also, I also wanted my blog to be ~safe for work~  so I tried not to be excessive about it.

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY

Now one lucky winner is going to win a copy of Tonight The Streets Are Ours!!

Tonight The STreets are OUrs book

-US/CANADA only.
-You must be 13 years or older to enter.
-If you win you will be contacted via email and you will have 72 hours to claim your prize. Your prize will be provided by and shipped by Macmillan.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

About The Book & Author

Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she’s tired of being loyal to people who don’t appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom.

Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called “Tonight the Streets Are Ours,” the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.

During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.

Add Tonight The Streets Are Ours on Goodreads

Join in on social media with #tonightthestreetsareours.

Visit Leila’s website and follow her on Twitter!

Something Really Cool Leila Is Doing

Leila is doing something really cool and unique for the release of this book:

On Saturday, September 19, starting at sundown and going as late as you want, do something fun, make a record of it, and share it with the world. Using the hashtag #TonightTheStreetsAreOurs, instagram, tweet, facebook, or tumbl whatever happens in your night. If you’re going to a party, aimlessly driving around with friends, or watching a movie alone in your PJs, we want to hear about it.

Here’s why: We’re celebrating the launch of Leila Sales’s novel TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS, the story of a 17-year-old girl who goes on an epic all-night road trip to NYC with her best friend in pursuit of her favorite blogger. It’s the sort of night where anything can happen, and almost everything does.

Now it’s your turn. Whatever you’re doing with your night, wherever you live, however old you are: you’re invited. Leila will be livestreaming her own nighttime adventures so you can join her remotely HERE. Or just do your own thing and post it online. We are all in this together. #TonightTheStreetsAreOurs.

It’s going to be such a fun event in general PLUS even more chances to win a book. If you comment on their page  with a story about some amazing night when the streets were yours, one lucky commenter will have a chance to win a signed copy as well as three other people who participate in the event on September 19.

Together, we will own this night.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. Chelsea Smith says:

    This was such a cool post. I loved that you both were able to ask each other questions. It was so nice to learn more about BOTH of you. Have you done this format before?

    • Chelsea Smith says:

      Also, it was really fun to read more about Leila. I liked learning about her spontaneous, crazy nights and what she would plan for a super fun night in NYC. Really cool! I also enjoyed how secret you were with your blog and what you regret. Thank you for an awesome post, Jamie!

    • I have not done this format before! It was Leila’s idea and I LOVE it!

  2. I’ve always wondered what Internet people are like IRL, and I like how you shared a little bit more about yourself and your online self VS your real life self. It’s always interesting to compare/contrast.

  3. This interview was so cool! I liked that she asked you questions too!

    A) One thing I learned from this interview? That you swear a lot in real life haha. I don’t swear at all (unless I’m really mad and then it’s just usually sh*t).

    B) Hmm, I’d love to meet you or Alexa (Alexa Loves Books)! There’s a few others that I’d love to meet also, though.

  4. Loved this interview because she asked you questions too! I haven’t read any of Leila’s books yet (This Song has been on my TBR for EVER) but I’m so looking forward to Tonight the Streets are Ours! What a unique and cool event for the 19th as well…that’s definitely so unlike any other book release events that have been done!

    Is it weird to say that if I were going to meet a blogger I would hope it was you? I’ve been reading your blog for YEARS….like, at least three or four…..way before I ever became a blogger, just to get your recommendations! When I was standing in B&N deciding whether or not to buy something, I used to always check both yours and one other blog to check for a review before I would buy it. So, thanks for influencing my reading decisions for the past couple years! You’ve done a great job 🙂

    • Awww <3 This just made my day. I've been feeling kind of ~down~ when it comes to blogging so thank you for sharing that with me! I would LOVE meeting you and talking books!

  5. I really liked the setup of this post! Very creative. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  6. I like her comments about peoples views on social media vs what they really are like in real life. People post great pictures online but what they are like in reality are sometimes not the same thing.

    • Oh for sure! It’s funny because my sister is SO the person who will post this great picture of her and her husband or her and her kids but I know like they just had a huge blowup fight right before that bc she called me. And I mean like, it’s hard because there are some things that ARE private but it’s like where is the line between just guarding your private moments vs. not being authentic. GAH this topic. I could talk about it forever. haha.

  7. Great post! I’m so excited to read this book!

  8. I read This Song Will Save Your Life earlier this year and absolutely loved it, so I’m very excited to read this one. Based on your interaction, Leila seems very down to earth and REAL, which I appreciate in people that are very popular and successful. Very fun interview!

  9. Sounds like an interesting book!
    I’m glad to hear that you didn’t openly share your blog link with friends and family right away because I’m still uncomfortable with that tbh and I feel like most people don’t get it. I just know most of my family members would think it’s a waste of time and dangerous to put info online, and I just don’t want to have to defend it 5ever.

    • YES. Like it was one of those things that it was MY happy place and I was feeling more comfortable sharing things with people online than I was a vast majority IRL. I felt like it was when I finally became unapologetically myself. Like I NEEDED this space to come into my own and I did. And now I feel like I can be the realest version of myself both places instead of just in the comfort of my blog. Take your time with telling people! Really think it out!

  10. HAHA it’s so cute to hear about Leila’s first ever blog about texting. Though, I have to admit that the best part was when she actually turned the table on YOU. I’ve always wanted to know the reason behind the whole different twitter handle and blog name thing, but never got the courage to ask HEHE. Anyway, I am so looking forward to this book! 🙂

    Thanks for the pretty amazing and insightful interview.

  11. I’d love to finally meet Andi ABC’s.

  12. This is definitely one of my favorite blog tours to follow (and because I’m super duper lucky to be on as well). I already felt like I “knew” you a bit from Twitter/years of blog reading but it’s fun to hear a little more about your “behind the scenes” process as it were.

    I think a big part of why I loved this book is because I do have the blogger connection as it were. It’s such an interesting story in terms of “fact” vs “truth” and the way perception can change everything!

    • It’s been such a great blog tour! And I agree…sometimes you KNOW people but getting asked different questions adds more tidbits in there you didn’t know at all!

  13. Andye from Reading Teen.

  14. I’m reading about Leila’s crazy and spontaneous night and thinking: I WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH HER. Sounds like she’s a blast to hang out with. I really liked her answer to your social media question. It’s something I think about a bit, how we kinda create personas for ourselves that don’t always reflect real life (though with blogging, I generally find that most people are so open about their lives and who they are, but there are others who don’t always feel genuine). It’s been super positive for me, though, because I’ve found true friends through social media and blogging, and I’ve found a space that makes me feel at home. But yeah, technology has also just changed so much about how we socialize and meet other people now, and it’s not always positive.

    OMG I’ve always wondered about your Twitter handle too! Haha. I’ve always associated you with that on social media, but I’ve never had a problem with also knowing you had this blog that was just yours. No confusion there. 😀 Your answer to question #2 is so much on point with why I don’t talk about my blog with people IRL. I feel so much closer to people on here and more safe to be able to talk about things I don’t normally like to talk about. I’m not a very open person, and it takes awhile for people to get to know me (which is also why it took me so long to make friends in the community), but for some reason it’s always been easier to share on the blog or Twitter. I used to think it was because I still had that anonymity with people not knowing me personally, but that’s changed after BEA and becoming close friends with other bloggers. I want to try talking about it more, but it’s weird. I just don’t think people would get why this is so important and special to me. Oh, and this relates to question #5 as well a lot. That is hilarious that you curse IRL a lot but don’t on here. I’m the total opposite. I’ll drop those f-bombs a lot in reviews and other posts, but near friends and family? I AM A SAINT.

    This was SO MUCH fun to read!! Always love getting to know authors more, AND bloggers. 😀