Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Jeff Garvin.
Jeff is an author, musician, and podcaster and his debut novel, Symptoms of Being Human has received a ton of accolades. It is an ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection, Lambda Literary Award Finalist, and has garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly.
Before becoming a novelist, Jeff acted on TV and toured as the lead singer of a rock band. He has a BFA in Film from Chapman University and lives in Southern California.
Now, I have been looking forward to this episode since last July, when Jeff and I met at a ThrillerFest cocktail party. We connected right away and when Jeff told me about his new novel The Lightness of Hands I knew I just had to have him on the show. This book grapples with some heavy topics, but one in particular that really hits home for me: mental health.
I am so thrilled to be recording this interview (finally! After 8 months!) and to introduce Jeff and his moving (sometimes gut-wrenching) YA novels to my word nerd listeners.
In this episode Jeff and I discuss:
- How real life experiences inspired Lightness of Hands
- Living with Bipolar II
- Breaking the stigma around mental illness
- Starting a book with a question you can’t answer
- Writing a character that is hyper-attuned to her inner life
- The power of mindfulness meditation
- The hero’s journey, applied to writing and life
Plus, his #1 tip for writers.
About Jeff Garvin
Jeff Garvin is an author, musician, and podcaster. His debut novel, Symptoms of Being Human, is an ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection, a Lambda Literary Award Finalist, and garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly. Before becoming a novelist, Jeff acted on TV and toured as the lead singer of a rock band. He has a BFA in Film from Chapman University and lives in Southern California. Check out his podcast, The Hero’s Journey, and connect with him on his website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The Lightness of Hands
Sixteen-year-old Ellie Dante is desperate for something in her life to finally go right. Her father was a famous stage magician until he attempted an epic illusion on live TV—and failed. Now Ellie lives with her dad in a beat-up RV, attending high school online and performing with him at birthday parties and bars across the Midwest to make ends meet.
But when the gigs dry up, their insurance lapses, leaving Dad’s heart condition unchecked and forcing Ellie to battle her bipolar II disorder without medication.
Then Ellie receives a call from a famous magic duo, who offer fifteen thousand dollars and a shot at redemption: they want The Uncanny Dante to perform the illusion that wrecked his career—on their live TV special, which shoots in Los Angeles in ten days.
Ellie knows her dad will refuse-but she takes the deal anyway, then lies to persuade him to head west. With the help of her online-only best friend and an unusual guy she pairs up with along the way, Ellie makes a plan to stage his comeback. But when her lie is exposed, she’ll have to confront her illness and her choices head-on to save her father—and herself.
If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!
Link to Episode 301
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