Lang Leav Talks About 'Sad Girls,' Her Inspiration, and More
Lang Leav is once again making waves in the writing scene—the international bestselling author has just released a new book, but it's not like the previous ones she's written. Her new book Sad Girls is not a compilation of poems, but instead a novel complete with flawed and realistic characters, an interesting plot, and an unusual love story.
Sad Girls is Lang's debut novel and everyone is looking forward to what she can offer aside from her beautifully written and honest poetry. As a fan of Lang myself, I was excited for her novel and bought it the moment it was released in the Philippines. A special edition of the book, which comes with a free bookmark, was released in the Philippines exclusively by National Book Store (NBS).
Aside from the special edition release, NBS also brought Lang Leav back to the country for two book signings (one in Cebu and another in Manila). Before flying to Cebu, I got the chance to interview Lang Leav herself and ask her about her new novel as well as some of her inspirations for writing or life in general.
When asked what inspired her to finally write a novel and not her usual compilation of poems, she said she always had the aspiration to write a novel, "I guess it's one of the things you want to do as a writer." Lang said she remembers the night Audrey's voice came into her head and she couldn't resist bringing her into the world. She felt as if the voice was speaking to her which was why she finished the first chapter in a couple of minutes.
In her new book, Lang chose to write about anxiety, death, and other serious topics rather than the cheesy romance writers usually write about for their debut novel. "I love cheesy romances and I love all kinds of fiction, but I suppose I wanted to write a character that was authentic, [that was] real," she explains. Lang adds that some people tell her that they love Audrey and some tell her that they hate the character, which to her, is really cool because she didn't want to create a character who is perfect, but instead a character who is flawed and isn't necessarily good. She says Audrey is somewhat an antihero in the story.
"I love cheesy romances and I love all kinds of fiction, but I suppose I wanted to write a character that was authentic, [that was] real."
Lang said she created Audrey and all the other characters from scratch and it was all from her imagination. She says she read a poem that said "there are no fictional worlds, only non-fiction in a parallel world" which was what she felt like while writing Sad Girls. "It felt like I was looking into something that wasn't fiction, that it was real, but it was all happening inside my head," she adds. Lang says it was a magical experience creating the characters and writing the novel. She says that for her and her partner Michael, the characters in the book felt real to them and they had their own life force.
"It felt like I was looking into something that wasn't fiction, that it was real, but it was all happening inside my head."ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
I asked if there were parts in the book that were from her own experiences and she answered that apart from the love of writing and the anxiety, she had nothing else in common with Audrey. Lang also recalls a part in the book where a character talks about visiting the Stonehenge and having pictures taken but doesn't remember being there because he was still a little boy at the time. This scene was similar to when she and Michael were in his parents' house and they were looking at a photo of young Michael at the Stonehenge and Michael says he doesn't recall being there. According to Lang, these tiny details are the only scenes similar to the scenes in the book and nothing major from the book was based on real life.
On the inner front cover of Sad Girls is a quote that reads "Your first love isn't the first person you give your heart to—it's the first one who breaks it" and I couldn't help but ask Lang about her first heartbreak experience. "My first heartbreak, I mean it's a rite of passage to have your heart broken. It's something that I suppose happens in life, [it's something that happens] and you get over and normally happens when you're very young," she replied.
Before Sad Girls, Lang was best known for her poetry compilations Lullabies, Love and Misadventure, The Universe of Us, and Memories. Her poetry talked mainly about love and heartbreak, so I wanted to know where she gets her inspiration from when she writes. "I just get my inspiration from nature, from my friends, family. I suppose ever since I was really young, I've always written and sometimes I don't know where it comes from, I've always felt this very deep emotional well and the need to express it," Lang says.
Lang Leav has inspired a lot of aspiring writers to start writing, but what exactly inspired her to start writing? Lang says it was something she had always done ever since she could remember; she refers to writing as her first love that even though she tried her hand at fashion and creating artworks, "it always started with a blank piece of paper and a pen."
When asked what pieces of advice she could give to those who aspire to be like her someday, Lang simply said "Just read widely—your favorite authors will be your best teachers. Write from the heart, find your voice, and don't be afraid to show your work."
Before the interview ended, we had a round of quick fire questions. Here's how it went:
What was your childhood dream?
"My childhood dream was to be a writer [from the very beginning] for as long as I can remember."
What is your favorite poem that you've written?
"My favorite poem [is] probably 'Sea of Strangers' because it has sentimental value. I remember writing it one night, the whole poem just appeared in my head and I just scribbled it down and I felt this sense of relief. It's about someone you haven't met yet. I wrote that and just a little over month later, I met my partner, Michael, so it felt like that was the first poem I wrote for him."
What is your favorite childhood memory?
"I guess just going to the beach with my brothers, laughing."
What is your favorite fan encounter?
"I remember I was actually in this hotel, I went to use the bathroom and this really sweet girl followed me into the bathroom, she was really lovely and she just asked for an autograph. It was little bit surreal."
What other writing styles have you tried before you realized poetry was the one for you?
"Poetry has always been a major thing; I've been writing poetry ever since I was a kid. I also really love writing comedy but I mainly just write for myself; I haven't really shown anyone my comedy writing."
Poems or novels?
"I can't really choose between the two, I love them both equally."
What is a saying you live by?
"I always say to my readers, 'Remember your words are your power. Never forget your words.'"
What quote from any of the poems you've written describes your life right now?
"I wrote a poem called 'Happiness.' I think that's what probably best describes my life right now because I'm in a really great place, I'm in a really fantastic relationship, and my career's going really well. Everything's great at the moment."
Sad Girls is a coming-of-age novel that will surely leave you wanting more. Lang is having a book signing in Cebu on the 24th and in Glorietta on the 25th. Go and attend the signing so you'd see how nice and lovely of a person she is. Lang says she has a poetry and prose compilation coming out in February (yaaas!) and she plans to write more novels in the future so stay tuned!
What're you up to today? Submit your OOTD, fanfic, essay, school project, org event, a pic of your latest hobby, or anything you want to be posted on the Candy Bulletin page!
5 Mystery-Thriller Novels to Read
If you’re stuck at home and out of Netflix shows to binge-watch, then you might want to try and read these mystery-thriller books to match your homemade Dalgona Coffee.
1. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
The debut novel, and Goodreads Choice Awards Best Mystery & Thriller of 2019, follows Alicia Berenson, a well-known painter married to an esteemed fashion photographer. Life seemed perfect for Alicia, until one evening when she shot her husband five times, and… never spoke again.
2. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
From the author of Final Girls comes this page turning novel about an infamous building in Manhattan called the Bartholomew. After stumbling upon an ad to become an apartment sitter, Jules Larsen has set out to look after apartment 12A under strict and somewhat odd conditions. Not long after stepping foot in the building, Jules has been met with unfriendly tenants, eerie noises in the apartment unit, and an abrupt departure of a fellow sitter named Ingrid.
3. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
If you loved Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho or David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, then this book is for you. After the disappearance of her Aunt Vivian while working as a night-shift clerk at the Sun Down Motel in 1982, Carly has set off to Fell NY, to work the same job at the same place as her Aunt had 35 years ago – with hopes of uncovering the truth lurking behind the Motel walls.
4. Verity by Colleen Hoover
While known for Young-Adult Novels such as Slammed and Maybe Someday, Colleen Hoover offers readers a romantic thriller about Lowen Ashleigh, a struggling author who was given the opportunity to finish the three remaining novels of a successful series after its original author, Verity Crawford, suffered an accident and has become immobile. After receiving an invite at the Crawford manor to sort through Verity’s notes, Lowen discovers an unpublished autobiography revealing the truth about Verity. With the eerie atmosphere of having Verity confined in her own home, and who is seemingly aware of her surroundings, Lowen is certain Verity is not what she appears to be.
5. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
A mind-bending science fiction thriller from the best-selling author of Wayward Pines – Dark Matter is packed with the concept of the Multiverse and the philosophy of existentialism. The novel follows an ordinary Physics professor, Jason Dessen, who was looking forward to dinner with his family while walking the streets of Chicago. The next thing he knew, he was being held at gunpoint – by a man wearing a mask – and injected with an unknown drug and blacks out. When he regains consciousness, he learns that the world he woke up to was different from the world he knew.
Here's a poem I wrote a while back reflecting on what it's like over-rationalize a simple thing like crushing on a dude -- hence, the title "Scientific Method"
You were a phenomenon I cannot wrap my head around
When I first met you, my heart forgot to make its signature sound
And it's overwhelming, your presence;
And underwhelming, so science will be the only language I'll hide in-- For now.
At first glance, I notice your top button unbuttoned,
and your shirt fully cotton
Complete with a smile as nervous as me
And a swagger in your step only I can see
Further on, I find your wit to be at a pace
That doesn't leave any space for tension to rise
and it's all too nice
And ridiculous and a bit too suspicious
That this isn't another (well,) circus.
Now, let's take a wild guess,
Oh, but it has to be smart, yes,
That this could lead to something with potential
That this isn't another differential easily solved
With a formula, tried and tested but never evolved
For so long, we've both been independent of any dependent
Keeping our variables fixed and ourselves distracted
With anything, everything,
But not a single thing
Could stop me from pushing this blindly to find its threshold,
Hoping that it's a quantity my hands could still hold
Over hours, days, and weeks
Through minor revisions and tweaks
Then comes the analysis -- that these weren't accidents
So, now I find myself in a conundrum
With the anomaly in a blue shirt right in front of me,
That this had to be processed logically,
But the findings are as follows:
None of which were shallow, so I therefore conclude that it's true,
I therefore conclude that it's you.
Mi Luna: The Light in My Dark Soul Locked in… Alone…
Why do I feel comforted by darkness? Oh cause maybe because… I am a jolly and very enthusiast kid back then. All I know is to have fun, laugh and play. But as I grow older, everything has changed, a lot. I can feel the changes. I know the more I get older, I’m turning to something I’m not. You know what, I just realized I like it even more. And that’s how I turned a monster. A monster to my own self. Always questioning life and even God about the things that are happening with my life. “Do I deserve this?”. Every day was a struggle. “Which mask should I wear now?”. And every night is my judgement time. “Should I still continue with my miserable life?”. This certainly sum up my whole life. I have this mindset since I was young. I can say that my experiences made me like this. I always want to escape, but every time I tried to pick up myself up, there is always shits that pulls me down. And there, I get tired. Hoping that no one would ever see this. As I despise myself as well. What I can do now is to just embraced everything, I just embraced darkness- reflecting my own self.
“Look at the moon, it can shine alone and it can give us light at night.” A line I was keeping in my mind that a friend of mine helps me realize things and been there to fix my path. And there I started seeking for my moon but I do not know which part should I start. As days passed, I started to open up myself. I started to act as what truly inside me. It is very hard at first and there is this time that even the situation got worst. But as I continue exploring with my life, a question pop out on my head “Why did I still get this far?”, I can say that maybe I should do this, maybe I really can do this but it is myself who is holding me back because I’m afraid.
Now as far as I am trying to revive my soul, there I know that many people care. Yes, I learned to open up but not to all, on different situations there are people who can understand me because they have the same situation as I am. I learn to open up as long as they did not force me. I learned to navigate and open up for whom I trusted and at the same time when I am ready. The light that I am seeking is my own understanding and acceptance about myself. My light is myself and I am Mi Luna. So it is not too late to save myself. I have thought that, I should be a survivor and winner. That I should also be the ruler of my own mind and soul. Eliminate the room for darkness and let the light shine through you, that I can say how I earned myself again. Mi Luna’s darkness have turned to spotlight.
I just posted some of my own movie reviews from LSS to The Heiress para naman may pagka-movie critic ako in the midst of the pandemic… from Home! Check them out here: Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 3 (#PPP2019): • #LSSTheMovie: bit.ly/MyLSSReview • #ThePantiSisters: bit.ly/MyTPSReview • #ImEllenyaL: bit.ly/MyImEllenyaLReview Metro Manila Film Festival: • #TheMallTheMerrier: bit.ly/MyTMTMReview • #MissionUnstapabol: bit.ly/MyMissionUnstapabolReview • #3polTrobolHuliKaBalbon: bit.ly/My3polTrobolReview Non-film fest: • #JamesAndPatAndDave: bit.ly/MyJPDReview • #TheHeiress: bit.ly/MyTheHeiressReview Any thoughts? Don't forget to connect by commenting! Enjoy #MovieBingeAtHome! #COVIDMovieCritic