Touring today is Elizabeth Lenhard's CHICKS WITH STICKS (KNITWISE), a new novel in her popular trilogy. (And the timing is perfect, since at the park the other day, I met a woman knitting with circular needles, and I was bowled-over impressed!)
At any rate, the Chicks trilogy began in 2005 with Chicks with Sticks (It’s a purl thing) (Dutton). Fifteen-year-old Scottie lives in a cool, Chicago loft, goes to a progressive-to-the-point-of-wacky private school—and she’s miserable. Her former best friend, trust-fund princess Amanda, is just that—her former best friend—and her mom has become an It girl in Chicago’s art world. Meanwhile, Scottie just wants to blend in.
Then she discovers knitting, and it’s as if she’s been thrown a cashmerino lifeline. Soon Scottie and Amanda find themselves hanging at their local yarn store, bound together by a yen for yarn and a hunger for friendship. They make two more knitty friends: Bella, a new age yoga goddess, and Tay, an indie tomboy with “anger issues” in the wake of her parents’ divorce. The friends’ stitches and their relationships become so intertwined that it’s hard to remember which came first: the girls or the purls.
Chicks #2, Chicks with Sticks (Knit two together), could be called the Chicks’ boy book. At sixteen, Scottie is finally smitten and thrilled to have her first boyfriend—or does she? Amanda’s heart is broken when she wakes up one day and finds that she’s a trophy girlfriend. Tay wonders if her b.f.—an adorable basketball player who knits on the side—is a cling-on. And Bella swears off boys altogether. Drama ensues—all, of course, to the tune of the girls’ click-clacking needles.
And now, there’s Chicks with Sticks (KnitWise). For Scottie, Amanda, Bella, and Tay, life in Chicago has been all about seeking shelter. They’ve found it in their firelit stitch ’n bitch at Joe Coffee; in the halls of their quirky private school; in the arms of boyfriends—and always in the comfort of the friendship that bonds them together.
But now the Chicks are staring down the end of high school and it's time to contemplate life beyond the protective web of their knitty ensemble. Will the stresses of college applications and service projects, debutante balls and long-distance loves, mean the end of the Chicks? Or can this unlikely foursome bind-off the happy ending that only true friendship can craft?
The Chicks with Sticks books aren’t just for crafty types (though each book does include several original knitting patterns and projects). They’re for anyone juggling the works-in-progress that are friendship, first love, and surviving high school; for anyone who’s ever found friends in the most unlikely place—or wanted to. Sometimes you just need some string and sticks—with some full-fat hot chocolate on the side—to get you there.
You can order the book HERE
Elizabeth's answers to my GCC questions:
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL “WRITING DAY”?
I take care of my daughter from wake-up time (6:30ish) until my mother, aka "granny nanny," arrives (11:30ish) and go into the office and shut the door. I then realize I'm exhausted from all the momming, so I ease into things with some e-mailing, blogging, and blog-reading. I rarely get rolling before the clock strikes noon, but then I try to work until around 5, with occasional breaks for cuddling with the baby and chatting with my mom. It's a longer, messier work day than it would be if I went somewhere "off-site" and just FOCUSED for several hours, but apparently, I don't have the discipline for that kind of work day!
DO YOU RECALL THE KERNEL OF INSPIRATION FOR THIS BOOK? I must admit, my editor was the one who came up with the concept of a knitter grrrl novel. But I came up with the setting and characters as an ode to a life I'd just left behind. Only a couple months before I started writing the first Chicks book, "Chicks with Sticks (It's a purl thing)" I'd moved away from Chicago and a really great, tight-knit group of girlfriends. None of the characters are directly based on these friends, but the sweet, silly, familial vibe of our friendship definitely inspired the Chicks.
PICK A CHARACTER IN THE BOOK AND TELL US WHAT TRAIT YOU SHARE (OR COME CLOSEST TO SHARING) WITH THAT CHARACTER. Scottie (the main character in the quartet of Chicks) is closer to my teenage self than my current one. We both have/had a tendency to brood and to go a bit overboard with new obsessions, like knitting or boys.
IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND, WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE A MAGICAL TRUNK THAT GAVE YOU LIMITLESS BOOKS TO READ, OR A LIMITLESS SUPPLY OF PAPER ON WHICH TO WRITE?
Books! Without them, frankly, I'd curl up and die. And, though I guess writers shouldn't admit this, I can't say the same about writing.
BEER OR WINE? Wine (red)
CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA? chocolate
WHAT’S YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE BOOK? All time!?! That's too much pressure. I cannot choose. But ONE of my faves is "Feast of Love" by Charles Baxter.
More about the author…
Elizabeth Lenhard grew up in Atlanta and studied English and creative writing at the University of Michigan. She’s been a features reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a contributing dining critic for Chicago magazine, and the author of more than thirty series books for teens and children. Elizabeth lives with her husband and daughter in Atlanta. Now that the Chicks are college-bound, she’s assuaging her empty nest syndrome with lots and lots of knitting. Visit her online at http://elizabethlenhard.com/http://elizabethlenhard.com/ or at her blog at http://elizabethlenhard.typepad.com/