[Interview] Livia Harper Tells Us She Wants to be a Dragon & More!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I've had the wonderful opportunity to interview Livia Harper, author of Boyfriend Glasses to get a bit of insight on who she is as a person and a writer.

When I read an excerpt into Boyfriend Glasses, I knew I had to read it and was certainly not disappointed. In the unique perspective of Greta Bell, Ms. Harper puts us into the life of an... unstable... character.

Definitely read my review here.

The Interview.

​(Vesper) What gave you the idea for Boyfriend Glasses?
(Ms. Harper) I was reading a lot of stories about some really awful frat culture at the time. I have a couple of fratboy friends, and they've told me it's not all like that, but it's really hard to believe when you start looking into it. Frat boys truly earned their slimy reputation. This was also around the time when a pretty infamous letter from that sorority girl where she used some choice language got leaked. I was so fascinated with the culture I knew I had to figure out a story that could be told within that world.

(V) On a scale of 1 to Greta, how psychotic do you think you are?
 Me??? Oh, man! I hope zero! I guess I am a people-watcher. Like in public, though, not through their windows (unless the windows are open and facing the street, then it's on them.) Let's call me a student of humanity instead of a creeper. People are fascinating!

(V) What is your favorite mythology and why?
 Lysistrata probably. I don't know if it *really* counts as traditional mythology, but it's so funny and all about the ladies taking control in the most bizarre way.

(V) If you could have any supernatural ability, what would it be?
 Invisibility for sure. I could listen in on so many conversations without being the snoopy weirdo I am now at coffee shops. Wow, I'm sounding super creepy in this interview. I think I'm going to have to up my Greta ratio to at least 3.

(V) What is your perfect writing weather?
 Rain! Rain is the perfect weather for everything, as far as I'm concerned.

(V) Would you rather live one life that lasts 1,000 years or 10 lives that last 100 years each?
 Ten, please. I want to know what it's like to live all kinds of different lives. It's part of the reason I write.

(V) Would you rather have a dragon or be a dragon?
 Hmm ... that's a tough one. I'm going to go with be a dragon. Flying sounds pretty great. And I would be very popular at barbecues.

(V) Do you have any advice for people who have a "Greta" of their own?
Do not make eye contact. I repeat. Do. Not. Make. Eye. Contact. In reality, though, it can be a pretty tough situation. I used the disorder of erotomania as a starting point for Greta's character. It's a delusional disorder, and very rare, and I definitely took some liberties about how people behave with it. But when they fixate, they fixate, and it's nearly impossible to change their minds without medication ... which they must agree to take. I've heard of cases lasting over a decade where the person moved states and was still followed. It's pretty sad and sometimes horrifying. If you want an even scarier read, check out the true story I Know You Really Love Me by psychologist Doreen Orion, about her personal experiences with a patient who fixated on her, and was still stalking her as of the writing of the book eight years later.

(V) Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what type of music did you listen to while you wrote Boyfriend Glasses?
I can't listen to anything with lyrics while I'm writing, because I want to sing along and it's just too distracting. So I write to classical a lot and also some glitchy modern stuff. But I do have a couple of songs that are just all Greta. There's the all-time best stalker song, Every Breath You Take by The Police. Lady Gaga's Paparazzi also comes to mind as does The Blow's True Affection, and F@$#ing Boyfriend by The Bird and the Bee. Lots of modern love songs are just SO dopey about relationships. Like, I love Adele. Love her. But, girl. No man knows your heart more than you do. No one. In musical terms, Adele is a Greta gateway drug. But I get it. I do. We've all felt very strong feelings about a significant other.

(V) Did you fit into a certain stereotype in school? What stereotype?
Oh, totally. I was All State ... CHOIR and DRAMA CLUB!! Let's just say that I'm a pretty big Pitch Perfect fan. It satisfies my inner high-schooler on so many levels.

(V) Honestly, how often did you accidentally type/write "Great" instead of "Greta?" I swear, I think I've done it at least 5 times just typing up these questions.
Um, all the time. Like, ALL the time. Twice so far while answering these questions.

(V) Is there anything currently in the works that you're willing to share?
Oddly enough, I've been writing paranormal romance with some friends of mine for the last year. We write jointly under the pen name Lily Cahill. It's been really fun! It's also made for a very busy year with Boyfriend Glasses releasing almost on top of our debut. So I'm in this weird stage where I haven't decided what to write next, which is very unusual for me. I have so many projects I want to write! I'm under deadline for Lily until almost Christmas, and when I'm done I'm going to take a couple weeks to breath and recover and figure out which project is screaming the loudest.

(V) If you could sit with anyone (living, dead, famous, other) and talk to them for an hour, who would it be?
 Oooh. Probably Patricia Highsmith. She's the author of The Talented Mr. Ripley and Strangers on a Train, among many other fabulous things. She's my all-time favorite author. She's very minimalist, but her stories are still extremely rich. Plus she was just a rockstar who was doing a lot of cool stuff way before her time. They're only just now releasing a movie about some of her most controversial material--controversial because it was written in 1952, of course. (Carol, based on The Price of Salt.) 65 years later, and we're finally starting to come around. She's totally my writing hero. We would discuss her bacon-heavy diet, what it's like to work with Alfred Hitchcock, and if she has any interest in taking up residence in my skull on a part-time basis.

About the Author

Livia Harper is an award-winning screenwriter with a lifelong love of books. When she's not hanging out with her ginger husband and two stinky basset hounds, Livia writes modern thrillers and mysteries in the vein of Megan Abbott's Dare Me or Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. Learn more about Livia's other books at her website:

Check out the Greta Bell Trilogy:

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