Saturday, September 3, 2016

Author Chat: Caleb Roehrig (Last Seen Leaving)

Find Caleb: Twitter | Website | Goodreads

"Caleb Roehrig is a writer and television producer originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Having also lived in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Helsinki, Finland, he has a chronic case of wanderlust, and can recommend the best sights to see on a shoestring budget in over thirty countries.

A former actor, Roehrig has experience on both sides of the camera, with a résumé that includes appearances on film and TV—as well as seven years in the stranger-than-fiction salt mines of reality television.

In the name of earning a paycheck, he has: hung around a frozen cornfield in his underwear, partied with an actual rock-star, chatted with a scandal-plagued politician, and been menaced by a disgruntled ostrich." (taken from Caleb's website)

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

"I pretty much always wanted to be a writer--even before I knew how to write--because I was so fascinated by the art of storytelling. As a little kid, I'd sit in my mom's lap and dictate made-up fairytales and things to her; she'd write them down, I'd draw pictures to go along with them, and we'd staple all the pages together to create little "books." So this is quite literally the fulfillment of a lifelong dream!"

What was the most difficult aspect of writing Last Seen Leaving?  

"Last Seen Leaving is not the first novel-length manuscript I've written, but it's the first one in which the main character struggles with certain self-acceptance issues that are very personal to me; plumbing my feelings on this particular subject, and really laying bare some of the emotional turmoil that I experienced when dealing with it all, was a challenge."

Who is your favorite character that you've created? Why? 

"January, the girl who goes missing, is probably my favorite character from Last Seen Leaving, because (in my opinion!) she is probably the novel's most complex figure. It gives nothing away to reveal that she disappears before the book begins, and so, as a result, the reader mostly gets to know her through flashbacks and stories told about her by third parties; since not all of these parties like her, not all of the perspectives are flattering. It was a challenge, building a character that can be relatable without also needing to be "likeable" all the time--but characters like that are my favorite kind to read, so it was gratifying to try my hand at it."

If you could pair a song with your novel, what song would you pick? 

"This is actually really hard! There was a song I listened to A LOT while writing LSL, and I would pick it in a heartbeat...except that the title sounds an awful lot like a spoiler, and I don't want readers to think I'm giving anything away. So I'll go with "It's Not" by Aimee Mann. It's such a great, moody ballad about the paralysis of self-doubt and the curse of false friends, and I think it reflects a lot of the emotions both January and Flynn (LSL's main character) experience at one time or another over the course of the book."

What authors do you think have influenced your writing style the most? 

"I'm going to keep this list at ten names, which still feels too short, but: Sue Grafton, Raymond Chandler, Sara Paretsky, Megan Abbott, Ross MacDonald, David Levithan, Armistead Maupin, Robert B. Parker, Lois Duncan, and Gillian Flynn are all personal heroes of mine. There are way more, but that's plenty for now!"

What book are you currently reading in your spare time? 

"I just finished TINY PRETTY THINGS by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton, and it was amazing. Dark and suspenseful and thrilling, but also touching and complicated and's great."

Don't miss Last Seen Leaving, which hits shelves soon (October 4)! 

Flynn's girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?

Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January's boyfriend, he must know something.

But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January's disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.
(taken from