Debut Novelist Leah DeCesare Talks about Making the Switch from Nonfiction to Fiction, and How Cutlery Can Help You Find Your Perfect Love Match

By Holly Robinson

Leah DeCesare’s nonfiction parenting series, Naked Parenting, is based on her work as a doula, early parenting educator, and mom of three. In 2008, she co-founded the nonprofit, Doulas of Rhode Island, and in 2013 she spearheaded the Campaign for Hope to build the Kampala Children’s Centre for Hope and Wellness in Uganda. Now DeCesare has written her debut novel, Forks, Knives and Spoons, a fast-paced and often comic read about how to find love when you least expect it. Here she talks about what it was like to make the switch from nonfiction to fiction, why Santa Claus kept making his way into her novel, and just why it’s so important for writers to support one another.

Q. So I have to ask: in this novel, your character Amy goes off to college and tries to convince her friend Veronica that they should use the “Utensil Classification System” as a guide to finding a suitable boyfriend. Did your father give you this guide when you left home, like Amy’s gave it to her? Do you believe the UCS holds true?

A. That idea of labeling guys as forks, knives, and spoons is the nugget from real life that I spun the rest of the story from. The August before I left for Syracuse, out to dinner with my parents, my dad spontaneously gave me this last ditch talk about guys. At school, my girlfriends and I elaborated and invented and really USED this system, so that concept stayed with me. But there was no STORY around it, so when I finally sat to write this book, I really 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. Read more…