David Levithan on his dreams for a Dash and Lily movie
"You just have to live inside the story alongside your characters. And I never get tired of that."
For years, David Levithan’s books have been a staple upon the bookshelves of YA readers and with three of his novels having hit the big screen (Every Day being the most recent, with its early 2018 release), his stories have touched the hearts of millions across the globe and that’s not about to stop any time soon.
We got the chance to chat with David Levithan about his hopes for future movie adaptations of his books, upcoming projects and his true feelings about Christmas.
Three of your books have been adapted for film, with Every Day releasing earlier this year, is this something you’d like to see in Dash and Lily’s future?
Absolutely! And hopefully, they’ll film in New York, so Rachel and I can crash the set like we did for ‘Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ and ‘Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List’.
If Dash and Lily’s story was to be adapted for screen, who would be your dream casting for the pair?
I’m sure every YA author in the world now wants her to star in their movie, but I thought Elsie Fisher was amazing in Eighth Grade and think she’d be a perfect Lily. And, honestly, Jake Ryan from that movie, who was like a young Dustin Hoffman incarnate, would be a fun Dash.
You’ve co-written quite a few of your books now, is co-writing something you’d like to do more of in the future?
Very much so. Both with Rachel and with others.
How does the experience of co-writing a book differ from writing it individually? Did you find the process easier or harder?
It is SO MUCH MORE FUN. Which I guess is my way of saying easier. Because my co-authors and I never plot things ahead of time, it’s quite a ride – but because you’re going chapter by chapter, you can’t let yourself stress about the bigger picture. You just have to live inside the story alongside your characters. And I never get tired of that.
You’ve written a number of books set during or surrounding the festive season, what do you think makes setting a story during the holidays so appealing to you?
The amusing thing is that, as a Hanukkah celebrant, the whole Christmas thing has always felt a bit oppressive to me – so my mindset was very much like Dash’s at the start of the first book. But, dare I say it, having people make Dash and Lily a part of their holiday traditions has softened me a little bit. I still hate the crass, commercial, spiritless part of the season. But there’s something immensely appealing to the personal part of it, how people use the holidays as a way to connect to the people they love and (if it works its true magic) to the larger world. That fits, thematically, with everything I’ve written, holiday season or no.
There’s no one right way to write a book, and the key is to do it your own way and not try to be the kind of writer you’re not.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received and would like to pass on to aspiring authors?
One of the quotes I keep by my desk is an offhand thing one of my college friends said to me – “You couldn’t ask Mark Twain to write like Jane Austen.” In other words, there’s no one right way to write a book, and the key is to do it your own way and not try to be the kind of writer you’re not.
If you could give one of your characters a Christmas gift this year, who would it be and what would you give them?
It would be nice if I could find A from Every Day and Someday a body. But there’s never one just lying around….
Are you currently working on anything new and if so, can you give us a hint as to what that might be?
I’m finishing up a collection of short stories – I’m jokingly calling it my Greatest Hits collection since it has stories featuring characters from a lot of my books. That should be out for Valentine’s Day in 2020.
Do you have any writing based resolutions for 2019?
To finish the three books I’m contracted to write.
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