Leah DeCesare dreamed about being an author from an early age, though she never expected her first book to be about parenting. The Naked Parenting: 7 Keys to Raising Kids With Confidence series stemmed from her main gig as mother of three, and now her debut novel has brought that dream to fruition. Leah spends her days ferrying her children around Rhode Island, writing, and volunteering for several local causes.
Your new book, Forks, Knives, and Spoons: A Novel was released April 18, 2017. What was the inspiration for the story?
I’ve carried the central idea of this book with me since 1988 when my own father sent me off to college with the advice that Amy York’s dad sends her off with: There are three types of guys: forks, knives, and spoons. That tidbit was true and when I shared this silly system with my college friends it took off, with everyone adding descriptions for new utensils and talking as if it were an understood concept, for example, “I met this complete fork last night.”
That idea sat with me but there was no story around it, so when I finally sat to write this I had to build the characters and their arcs and let the Utensil Classification System (the UCS) become a backdrop and an organizing idea serving the characters and their growth.
What is your favourite one-liner from your book, and why?
I guess I’d say the last line of the first chapter: “Her dad carefully rewrapped his silverware into the cloth napkin and bestowed the final moral: ‘And remember, Amy, every guy is thinking about getting a girl into the napkin.’”
In the context of Amy’s father’s utensil labels for guys, this line makes me chuckle and, though this is an invented line, not something my said to me, I know for sure that my dad wanted me understand that guys always have one thing in mind.
What character out of all your books is the closest to your personality?
Since the inspiration for this book came from something my own father told me, my character Amy York, whose father tells her about the forks, knives, and spoons, is probably closest to my personality. Like Amy, I am incurably optimistic, love romantic comedies, and I gave Amy my compulsion for teeth brushing. Despite the similarities, this isn’t my story as much as people who know me want to think it is.
Which author would you most like to meet?
I make it a point to meet and get to know many writers, I feel like I’m among my tribe when connecting with other authors. I’d love to have met Harper Lee, I was so taken with To Kill a Mockingbird when I first read it in eighth grade that I wrote her a letter. I’ve reread the classic many times and it remains at the top of my list of all time favorites. If I had to choose a living author, I’d pick Ann Patchett or Australia’s own Liane Moriarty – I love them both!
If you had a pet, which book character would you name it after and why?
Ha! What a fun question. Two of my favorite scenes are at Joey’s big Italian family’s home. My husband is 100% Italian and gatherings with them are boisterous and lively, I had so much fun writing those scenes. One of Joey’s relatives is named Cosmo and now that you ask, that’s a pretty great pet name!
About Forks, Knives, and Spoons: A Novel:
There are three types of guys: forks, knives, and spoons. That is the final lesson that Amy York’s father sends her off to college with, never suspecting just how far his daughter will take this lighthearted advice. Clinging to her dad’s Utensil Classification System as a guide, Amy and her skeptical roommate navigate heartbreaks and romances. In college and beyond, they label guys as nerdy spoons, arrogant, player forks and husband-material, dateable knives. On the quest to find their perfect steak knives, they learn to believe in themselves—and not to settle in love or life.