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January 30, 2016

Interview: Jeff Garvin author of Symptoms of Being Human

Title: Symptoms of Being Human
Author: Jeff Garvin
Published On: 2/2/16
Page Count: 352

Synopsis: (Found on Goodreads)
Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is . . . Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

About Jeff: (Found on his Website )
Jeff Garvin grew up in Orange County, California, the son of a banker and a magician. He started acting in high school, and enjoyed a fifteen-year career including guest-starring roles in network television series ranging from The Wonder Years to Roseanne to Caroline and the City, as well as several independent features.While studying at Chapman University, Jeff won awards for classical guitar and visual storytelling before graduating with a BFA in Film. As the front man of his rock band, 7k, Garvin released three albums and toured the United States. When the band dissolved in 2011, Jeff, who had always written short stories and lyrics, found his passion in full-length fiction.

Why YA as your genre?

The books I read as a teenager helped me cope with the discomfort of being different. They also shaped me as a creative person. I still treasure those books—The Catcher in the Rye, the Dragonlance novels, etc. I always wanted to have that power to move and inspire young readers. I guess I wrote SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN for my teenaged self. *Reaches back through time.* *Gives self a signed ARC.* *Alters timespace, creates wormhole.* Whoops. My bad.

What book would suggest to be on the lookout for besides yours?

THE SERPENT KING by Jeff Zenter will break your heart and then put it back together. SAVE ME, KURT COBAIN by Jenny Manzer is tense and moving and unpredictable. And, if you haven’t read MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES by Jasmine Warga, you’ll want to read that. Again with the heartbreak, but the good kind.

How long did you take you to get picked up by a publisher?

I was in a touring band until early 2011, when I decided to come off the road. I started writing seriously in April of that year. SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN sold in June of 2014. So I guess about three years from start to sale. It seems at once much longer and much shorter, you know? Like that last week of summer before school starts. At first, it’s like, “I have seven whole days!” And then you blink, and you’re sitting in a classroom again, thinking, “WHAT HAPPENED TO MY LIFE?!”

How did you research?

Lots and lots and lots of reading: blogs, books, articles, academic papers. One-one-on conversations. Emails. Phone calls. But there is a fine line between “research” and “procrastination.” At some point, you just have to start writing, and then go back and fix stuff once the story has revealed itself. Writing is a discovery process for me. I always try to create from a blank space rather than filling in a template. Great. Now I have “Blank Space” stuck in my head. I’ll just be over here in the corner, singing to myself.



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