Leveen is also about to release the upcoming, “Zero” set for release in April and “Mustardseed” planned for spring 2013. Seventy-five River Ridge students came to hear Leveen talk about his process as an author, his route to becoming published, and the importance for students to follow their passions.
His trip to Atlanta was the first plane ride he had taken since September 2001. Leveen has been active in live theater as an actor and/or director since 1988, directing 35 plays and appearing in more than 35 shows. He served as artistic director and co-founder of Is What It Is Theatre in Phoenix for 13 seasons, and again for three seasons at Chyro Arts Venue in Scottsdale.
His book has drawn interest around the country. Publishers Weekly said in its review, “Leveen’s debut follows one wild evening in Santa Barbara through the eyes of 11 teenagers on their way to a party. In the book, attention-seeker Morrigan has just dumped Josh for not sleeping with her and is determined to find someone else; Josh’s friends want to get his mind off the breakup. Morrigan’s best friend, Ashley, plans to supervise her, but is distracted by the distant behavior of an old friend, Beckett, who desperately wants someone to notice her, according to the synopsis. Max is secretly in love with Beckett, and Azize is a Turkish immigrant taking the opportunity to meet new people.”
According to the review, the story has the feel of a raucous SoCal soap opera, with abundant drinking, fighting, plot twists and cliffhangers: “Readers spend one chapter with each character, which is effective in building suspense and getting to know the characters (from different angles, yet feels emotionally reductive — it’s not quite enough time inside their heads. While the dialogue is realistic and voices and personalities well differentiated, despite all the drama the story feels too tidy.”
Since the release of “Party,” Leveen has been an active speaker and instructor at high schools, libraries, bookstores, conferences and colleges. He is an Arizona native, where he lives with his wife, Joy, and new son.