{Interview} with Liz Maccie, author of Lessons I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy (with Giveaway)

Lessons I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy Blog Tour

We’re thrilled to participate in the Blog Tour for Lessons I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy by Liz Maccie. We were lucky enough to sit down and chat with Liz today, so let’s get right to what she had to say!


Thanks for stopping by Swoony Boys Podcast today, Liz. We’re excited for our readers to get to know you better! Tell us a little about the book. What sparked the idea for Lessons I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy?

Much like Roberta, my parents intervened in my train wreck of a life and sent me to a private school. I met two best friends, who were my very own Mervin and Annie. And, there just so happened to be a reservoir behind my school. I had the brilliant idea one day that the three of us should raft across it, not realizing this was of course, illegal. We all agreed to the plan. I bought an inflatable raft and we went to break into the reservoir one day after school. But we got stopped by a security guard and ran away. Needless to say, we never made it across the reservoir let alone the water’s edge. So, the book was inspired by the thought, what if we had made it to the reservoir? What would we have talked about? What secrets might we have shared? That one “lost” moment is what inspired this book.

Wow! How interesting. What kind of research did you have to do to make the story seem authentic?

I actually went back to my old high school and spent an entire day talking to students and observing life. When I started to write this book, I had been out of high school for a looooong time, so it was a wonderful research tool to immerse myself back in the environment I wanted to write about. This luxury isn’t always available to us as writers, but when the opportunity presents itself, I think it’s wonderful to just go be a fly on the wall. Take in the sights, smells, sounds, if anything it just puts you more in the universe you need to be in. It was an extremely special day that I will always remember.

That sounds awesome. How would you introduce Roberta to readers?

Just like many of us, Roberta has a lot of flaws. I would love readers to understand that we are meeting Roberta at a point in her life where she feels pretty alone and misunderstood. She has anger and sass because it is really just masking her deep level of insecurities. I’ve always thought Roberta was a “diamond in the rough.” She’s not the most refined person in the world, but once you get to know her, you realize her heart is big and she’s got a lot of love to give. She’s also someone who has been hurt a lot in her young life, so her sometimes gruff exterior is simply a wall of protection against any further pain.

Tell us about Thaddeus. We want to know all the things!

Ahhhh! The boy! I just adore him. Because he is surprising. He’s not your typical heartthrob and from the very beginning Roberta notices that there is something different about him. It’s not that he’s gorgeous or perfect, it’s more that he simply feels real to her. And Thaddeus equally notices right away that there is something different and special about Roberta. But what winds up happening is that Thaddeus has corners and turns inside him that surprises us. He’s not exactly what he seems to be. Roberta and Thaddeus find themselves in a rather intimate situation and certain secrets get revealed. But sometimes we use secrets to hide even deeper secrets and that’s what’s going on in Thaddeus’s case. I really love Thaddeus because he is so drastically not perfect. In fact, he is a pretty broken boy. But then again, so is Roberta. And sometimes it takes broken to help reveal broken.

We love that. How would you describe yourself in three words?

Great question! Let’s see three words. I’d say down-to-earth. Ha! I just realized that’s 3 words!

We think you cheated a little, but that’s okay! 😉 What advice can you give to aspiring writers?

Write the story that is dying to come out of you. There’s that old adage, “write what you know,” but I think it’s more than that. A fabulous mentor of mine once told me to, “write what’s in my blood.” What she meant by this was to find the story that makes your blood bubble with excitement. The story that keeps you up at night you can’t wait to hit that keyboard the next day. Not to say there won’t be hard or challenging days, but find the story that excites your very being and you have found a winner. And it doesn’t have to be the stories that you literally know. That’s what research is for. You don’t have to be an actual doctor to write about one, but there does have to be something in that story which makes you feel that tingle on the back of your neck when you think about it.

That’s great advice. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

The best piece of advice I received from another author was from Stephen Chbosky, who wrote The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He told me once to simply, “write truthfully.” Even though we often write through fictional characters and we tell “their” stories, everything we write has pieces of who we are imbedded within them. We write from experience as well as imagination. I know “writing truthfully” might sound rather simplistic but it is actually a deceptively hard thing to do. Even though it might be through the voice of a fictional character, to bear your true feelings about something is a very vulnerable place to be. As writers, we open a window into our souls, our personal experiences, every time we write a sentence. So have courage, fight through those uncomfortable moments, and write truthfully.

Wow, so powerful. Which character makes you swoon the most (yours or someone else’s)?

I had to give this question a lot of thought! It’s funny because when I think about the characters that most excite me, it’s always the strong female protagonist. For instance, I LOVE Katniss in, The Hunger Games because she is so smart and clever and strong and powerful. She is a true survivor. I love stories that capture a strong female voice. Katniss triumphs. She overcomes. And she survives. She’s just amazing. And I would love to be her for a day! So it’s not swooning in a romantic sense of the word, but definitely in an enraptured one.

We ♥ girls who kick ass, too, especially Katniss. Do you have any current or future projects you can tell us about?

Currently, I’ve been focusing my efforts on television and film again. I recently finished a pilot adaptation of the YA book, The List, by Siobhan Vivian for MTV. I’m also writing a comedic film and developing another pilot. And, I also have half of another YA book written entitled, Scoops, about a girl who lives on the Jersey shore and works at an ice cream parlor the summer before her senior year. There’s lots of betrayal, backstabbing, romance, and of course, ice cream. 🙂

Oh, we can’t wait for The List! And Scoops sounds like so much fun. Is there ever anything that you always wish someone would ask you, but they never do?

What a great question! You know what, I LOVE to cook. I come from a very Italian family and we have the BEST made from scratch lasagna recipe. It has been passed down in my family for generations and I’d love to pay that forward. So I guess I’d love it if someone asked me what my favorite recipe was! And, if anyone wants to know, contact me at lizmaccie.com and I’ll send it to you! 🙂

Oh, we will be asking for that recipe! Thanks again for coming by, Liz. We can’t wait to get our ::grabbyhands:: on Lessons I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy!

About Liz Maccie

Liz Maccie was born and raised in New Jersey and attended Bucknell University. After college, she moved out to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film and television writing. She has had two movies produced, “The Thirst” and “Black and Blue.” She went on to work at The Disney Channel until she found a home at the breakout ABC Family show, “Make it or Break it.” She is currently adapting the wildly popular YA book, “The List” for MTV as a television show. “Lessons” is Liz’s debut novel.

***About the Book***

{Interview} with Liz Maccie, author of Lessons I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy (with Giveaway)Lessons I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy by Liz Maccie
Published by Diversion Books on November 4, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 193
Goodreads Buy the Book

The most important lessons aren't learned in the classroom.

It’s the first day of sophomore year for Roberta Romano, but instead of the comfort of her local high school, she's been thrust into the elitist embrace of the affluent Meadowbrook Academy.

Surrounded by wealth, Roberta battles her own insecurities to prove her worth and maybe land the boy of her dreams. With the help of two unlikely allies—and an inflatable toy raft—Roberta embarks upon a journey of dark secrets and self-discovery to learn the true meaning of friendship and acceptance.


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