Eric: Most of my books begin in my mind with a premise, or maybe better: a question. In the case of Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto, it goes back to something a close friend of mine asked me when I was a senior in high school. The question was: “What would you do if you found out your father was cheating on your mother?” Of course, the easy answer burst out of my mouth in seconds: “I’d blackmail him,” I said. “I’d get a new CD player, a new car, gas money, whatever I wanted.” But that question sat with me for years, because the situation is more complicated than that. By not saying anything, you allow your father to get away with something terrible, something that could possibly devastate your whole family. But by snitching, you risk pulling the trigger that could destroy your parents’ marriage. It’s a huge burden for a teen to carry and ever since the plot of Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto became public, I’ve discovered it’s not all that uncommon of a burden. Teens are sharper than most parents give them credit for!
Me: I'm finding that very true. Our teens carry a lot burdens, some they're not prepared to carry yet. I love you premise and how it came to be a book.
Writing books, like everything we do has its ups and downs. What has been your biggest high/low in this journey to publication?
Eric: The biggest high was the first time I saw my book in an actual store. It's one thing to see an ARC or your first hardcover... Don't get me wrong, those are great times. But there is something super-special about seeing it in a library or a bookstore. I think that is because someone out there (a librarian or store buyer) decided your writing seemed good enough to buy. And that speaks volumes.
The worst part of my journey had to be the months before my first book offer. They say it gets darkest before dawn and I think this may be true. I did not have an agent at that point and it's exhausting to keep submitting only to get rejection after rejection. My rejections number in the hundreds and there were many times I considered stopping. Fortunately, I forged ahead and things worked out... but they only worked out because I took all of my rejections as a sign that my writing was not good enough yet. Looking back at what I was submitting back then, it was a correct assumption! Ugh!
Me: Isn't that hard? Looking at what you wrote and submitted a few years back? I practically cry when I think someone, especially an agent or editor read some of what I wrote. Your attitude is great and it's good to pass that along to all those writers still subbing and still being rejected. Thanks for sharing that.
I can almost predict your answer to this question, but here it is anyway: What advice do you have for those still subbing or seeking representation?
Eric: Make lemonade out of lemons. Rejection is a part of this business. Use it as a barometer to see if your craft is "there" yet. If you are getting all form rejections, you need to rethink things. If you're getting personal rejections or invitations to submit other things, you are on the right track. Either way, keep your mind open to change; It's the only way you'll ever improve.
I've been following you and your writing for a while now, so this has been a treat for me and I hope my readers enjoy your visit. Find out more about Eric and his writing on his BLOG or check him out on TWITTER. Most important be sure to BUY SETH BLUMGARTNER'S LOVE MANIFESTO. Here's what readers are saying about it.
–Rachel Cohn, bestselling author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
“If you’ve ever been dumped, you’ll relate to this winning story about one ordinary boy’s funny, flawed attempts at putting the pieces back together. Not just a breakup book, Seth’s story is about the complications of love in its many forms: for family, for friends, for those who don’t return our affections, and for those who surprise us when they do.”
--Megan McCafferty, author of the NYT bestselling Jessica Darling series
“A break-up story...that turns out to be a love story...that turns out to be so much more. Awesome.”
--Lauren Myracle, bestselling author of TTYL and TTFN
“A compelling page-turner. Seth's manifesto has all the bitterness and hurt of a break-up, and his story has all the romance you need to get over it. Luper throws in some great twists and lots of angst. Add a realistic ending and characters who are quirky and real, and you get a great read.”
--Romantic Times (RT) Magazine (4-stars)
--Sally Kruger, reviewer for TeensReadToo.com
“SETH BAUMGARTNER'S LOVE MANIFESTO should come with a warning: Do not read while drinking milk. It will come out of your nose.”
--Marjorie Light, online reviewer
“Eric Luper is the Nick Hornby of teen writers.”
--Sabrina Banes of Y.A. New York
“Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto is, without a doubt, the gold standard of books about teen guys who are unhappy in love… I may be a bit too old for Seth but when he grows up I’m going to marry him, because he is one of the most fall-in-love-with-able characters in all of teen fiction.”
--Sabrina Banes of Y.A. New York
“Entertaining summer reading with heart and soul worn proudly on its sleeve.”
And don't forget his other two books: BUG BOY and BIG SLICK. Once you read any of his books you have to become a fan.