I am so pleased to feature an interview with Lindsey Leavitt, author of the “Princess For Hire” series and YA contemporary “Sean Griswold’s Head.”

Lindsey will be at The King’s English this Saturday May 21st at 4pm, signing and reading from her two new books “The Royal Treatment” and “Sean Griswold’s Head.” Come and join! The King’s English itself is a magical treat. That place makes me want to blow my grocery budget on books. (Luckily I have self-control. Last time I was there I only blew a little of the grocery budget.)

This interview mostly pertains to Lindsey Leavitt’s “Princess for Hire” series.


Photo by Jennie Slade

You said you were a bit of a tomboy growing up, not quite the girly-girl. What inspired you to write a book about being a substitute princess, complete with bubble transportation?

Even though I grew up a tomboy, I still had a fascination with beauty queens, old Hollywood, and royal history. So when I was at a writers conference a few years back and an editor joked that her perfect book would involve princess dinosaur vampires (or some other assortment of high concept trends). I thought… well, I can’t write that book, unless I wrote the anti-princess book. From there, I began taking notes for a picture book about a little girl who tries out to be a princess for a bunch of countries but never measured up. I shared the idea with a friend, and she said it sounded more like a tween novel. That one comment brought me back to thirteen-year-old me. Wouldn’t it have been cool if I could still be myself and do all the things I liked doing back then, but every once and awhile pretend to be someone else, someone popular and crazy rich? Someone like Audrey Hepburn, who EVEN PLAYED A PRINCESS in the movie Roman Holiday, about a princess who takes the day off. And viola, my main character, Desi became a substitute for princesses.

Do you have strong memories of junior high? Are there things from that period in your life that influence your writing?

Strong memories? That’s a nice way to put it. Junior High was angstsville for me. I was awkward and unsure and, well, thirteen. So yes. My character’s are very much influenced by my own personal experiences. To help me connect with my main character, I read through old journals and looked in old scrapbooks and really tried to tap into those universal emotions of alienation and longing. Sure, I added princesses and a magical institution, but those feelings still stayed the same.

I love the themes of identity and putting yourself in another person’s shoes. Why do you think Desi can solve other people’s problems so easily, but when it comes to her own life, she flounders?

Even though she’s acting as someone else, it is still acting in a way. It’s not Desi’s reality. I mean, I always gave my girlfriends sage boy tips, but couldn’t even talk to my own crush. Listening to yourself, to your own advice, takes courage and Desi finds that courage through walking in other girl’s shoes. Er, heels.

You have another “Princess for Hire” book coming in June of 2012. Can you give us any hints as to where you’ll take that one? Any plans to do more after that?

I can’t say much, except that Desi has some big decisions to make in this next book, both at home and at work. And although her journey ends with the third book, I’d be open to writing another story with either the characters or the Facade agency.

Any other projects in the works?

Absolutely. I write contemporary young adult fiction as well, and I’m following up the recently released SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD (Bloomsbury, March 2011) with AUTHENTICALLY VINTAGE (Bloomsbury, 2013), about a girl who deals with her boyfriend’s online cheating by “going vintage”–quitting 21st century technology and accomplishing the goals her grandma once set at age 16.

Thanks to Lindsey for allowing me to post this interview!

Learn more about Lindsey Leavitt and her books at lindseyleavitt.com


  1. Great interview, Lindsey and Liesl! Is the Princess for Hire series more MG-oriented, then? For some reason, I thought it was YA…

    (But come on, Liesl, you’re killin’ me here;) )

    • Liesl

    • May 17, 2011

    • 4:51 pm

    Lol! It’s coming I swear!!!

    Krista, I call it a “tween” novel, kind of riding that line between upper MG/lower YA.

    • ali

    • May 17, 2011

    • 6:25 pm

    First, Lindsey is beautiful! And this was perhaps the best author interview I’ve ever read ~ great job Liesl!

    I’ve never exactly been into the princess books (I have boys) but I loved the premise of Lindsey’s book AUTHENTICALLY VINTAGE. I’m definitely going to have to keep my eye on her!

    Thanks Liesl and Lindsey!

  2. Lindsey’s work sounds really interesting! I especially liked the part about how she said that she looked through old journals as a way to connect with her main character. I still have stacks of old journals from grade school and high school, because I can’t quite bring myself to throw them out.

  3. What a clever idea! I love hearing how writer’s come up with story ideas. Best of luck to you!

    • Anita

    • May 18, 2011

    • 4:24 am

    What a great interview! I’ve heard about the Authentically Vintage book and am DYING to read it. 😉 Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong era because I love Victorian things. This is just my kind of book.

    BTW, Liesl, I’m giving you an award tomorrow on my blog, so please drop by if you have time! 🙂

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