David Leviathan is an American young-adult fiction author whose works include Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Boy Meets Boy. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a young-adult imprint of Scholastic Press focusing on new voices and new authors.
Howl: When did you know you wanted to become an author?
Levithan: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. But I mostly wrote for myself or my friends — it wasn’t until I had been writing for a while that I actually thought about writing a novel for people outside of my friends to read. In a way, that made it easier — I didn’t feel any pressure to publish, only to grow as a writer.
Howl: How do you get through your critics’ harsh words about a new book?
Levithan: I read the good reviews to balance them out. Or if that doesn’t work, I find some really bad reviews of some of my favorite books, and suddenly I’m in very good company.
Howl: What are your biggest expectations for a new book?
Levithan: It depends on the book. But mostly, I just want it to be as good as (if not better than!) the books of mine that have come before it.
Howl: If you hadn’t become an author, what would you have done?
Levithan: Well, I’m an editor too, and I really love being an editor. So I would have just stuck with that. But if I’d never gone into writing or publishing, I probably would have been a fifth-grade teacher.
Howl: What advice do you have for budding writers?
Levithan: Don’t worry about being published — just write to tell the story the best you can. And don’t expect to be good out of the gate — you have to work at it a while to get really good. Don’t be afraid to fail — sometimes the things that go the most wrong lead you to the things that are the most right.
Howl: What are some of the biggest rewards and challenges of being a writer?
Levithan: It’s remarkable when something you’ve written is meaningful to someone else. And it’s VERY HARD to write a novel. Just taking all that time and figuring out the best way to tell the story.
Howl: How would you describe your writing and editing process?
Levithan: I would describe it as impulsive. I have never outlined, even when I thought it would be good to outline. I always write the story in order to figure out what it is. This doesn’t work for many writers, but it works for me.