Gail Carson Levine biography

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Gail Carson Levine

Gail Carson Levine

How to pronounce Gail Carson Levine: le-veen (rhymes with seen) - Levine says that Carson is her maiden name, which she started using when she was published in the hope that old friends would find her - and they did!

Gail Carson Levine Biography

Gail Carson Levine grew up in Washington Heights, Manhattan. From third grade through high school she wrote stories and poems, and a few of her poems were published in an anthology of student writing, but she never thought of becoming a writer. In college, first Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, then City College of New York, she majored in Philosophy and met and married her husband David.

After college she worked for New York State government, mostly in jobs that had to do with welfare. Meanwhile she starting writing for children and wrote the script for a musical called Spacenapped (her husband wrote the music and lyrics) which was performed by The Heights Players, a community theater in Brooklyn - but she still didn't think of herself as a writer.

She read novels constantly, then, one day while meditating, asked herself why, since she adored stories, she never made up any. That was the beginning of The King's Cure, an art appreciation book for kids, which she wrote and drew pencil illustrations of birds and used reproductions of famous art for the illustrations. Although no one would publish it, she became hooked on writing, and took writing classes, joined critique groups and The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (www.scbwi.org). She collected rejection letters for nine years until an editor accepted the manuscript for Ella Enchanted, which was a 1998 Newbery Honor Book.

Gail Carson Levine's website

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Interview

Gail Carson Levine discusses how the movie version of Ella Enchanted differs from her book, whether she was involved in making the movie, and if she's happy with the result. In an earlier interview she also discusses how she got started as a writer and the workshops she runs for aspiring young writers.

When you started writing Ella Enchanted did you imagine that it would one day become a movie?
No. I didn't think it would get published. Everything I'd written till then had been rejected. If it was published, I thought it might sell a few thousand copies and go out of print. I thought if I was lucky I could write more books and get them published, too. I still pinch myself over the way things have worked out.

As the author of the book, how involved were you in the production of the movie?
Not very. I had what are called consulting rights, which meant that the producer had to send me the script. I had the opportunity to comment, but the producer and director had no obligation to act on my comments.

The script is very different from the book, and so is the movie. My comments about plot weren’t acted on. But my comments about obedience were. I said there had to be consistency in the way Ella responds to orders. She could follow commands figuratively or literally, but it needed to be the same throughout. In my book, Ella follows the meaning of commands. If she were told to hold her tongue she’d be silent. In the movie Anne Hathaway actually grabs her tongue and holds it. So it goes the other way in...

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Books by this Author

Books by Gail Carson Levine at BookBrowse
A Tale of Two Castles jacket Ever jacket Fairest jacket Ella Enchanted jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Gail Carson Levine but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Georgia Byng

    Georgia Byng

    Georgia Byng is the creator of Molly Moon and the author of Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism; Molly Moon Stops the World; Molly Moon’s Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure; Molly Moon, Micky Minus, & the Mind ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Ella Enchanted

    Try:
    Molly Moon Stops The World
    by Georgia Byng

  • Michael Gruber

    Michael Gruber

    Michael Gruber was born and raised in New York City, and educated in its public schools. He went to Columbia, earning a BA in English literature. After college he did editorial work at various small magazines in New York,... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Ella Enchanted

    Try:
    The Witch's Boy
    by Michael Gruber

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