Author In The House–Interview with Lauren Oliver

30 May

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Tell me who wouldn’t pick the book after reading this blurb. Tell me you wouldn’t be interested to find out who’s behind it, who’s the brilliant mind coming up with such a story. Well, I did. I had to get to know Lauren Oliver, the incredible talented author whose debut novel Before I Fall made furors since publishing back in 2010. With other novels out (Delirium, Pandemonium, and Liesl & Po) Lauren’s days are spent … in her pajamas in front of the computer, working feverishly on her next release. On the phone with her agent and editor. Making appearances at writers’ conferences and interacting with her fans. In a few words: extremely busy. And yet she graciously agreed to do an interview for my blog.

Lauren, thank you so much for squeezing time in your busy schedule to sit back for a moment (ok, more than a moment) and answer a few questions. Your debut novel Before I Fall came out in 2010 and was not only well received, it propelled you to almost overnight stardom. Let’s go back even deeper to the moment you signed up with Harper Collins. How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

I went out to dinner with all of my friends and then went dancing all night with a big bottle of champagne! Or rather, my friends and I had champagne and then danced. I didn’t actually dance with champagne.

Your main heroine Samantha Kingston has it all, although you depict her as a shallow person, self-absorbed and therefore undeserving. As the story progresses Sam’s transformation it’s a journey in itself, giving the reader a reason to start liking her. Can you see yourself in any of your characters? Which one and why?

I think I see some of myself in many of my characters. I’m kind of a mash-up of a bunch of them. If you smushed Lena, Hana, Sam, Lindsay, and Raven together, you’d get me! I think that people are incredibly complex, so when you start writing little bits of you get exaggerated and focused on as you work with different characters.

High school life including bullying, popularity struggles, laid-back versus outgoing, are largely touched subjects throughout the book. Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

Well I was a high schooler at one time! When I was that age I felt very confused, and like I was a much more complex individual then I was ever allowed to express. I think most people that age feel somewhat like that. I started hearing Sam’s voice in my head, and I just needed to write it down.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 

To write everyday, even if it’s only just a little. It’s the only way to build the discipline that’s needed to be a writer. And remember, stories are built one sentence at a time.

What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author? What has been the best component?

Hmmm. That’s a tough one. I always think of criticism as constructive, but I’ve also just been plain old insulted a lot. I think the toughest criticism to absorb, which has also helped me the most, has been criticism of the pacing/slowness of my plots. I tend to be self-indulgent and over-describe a lot.

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?

To be honest, I like the different formats for different reasons. I associate paperbacks with weather-beaten books I carry everywhere, read in the bathtub, spill coffee on blithely. Hardcovers are for collecting, for passing on to children, friends, and family. And I love my ipad for when I travel—it’s much easier than loading down my suitcase with the physical thing.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy doing most creative things. I love dancing, cooking, singing, etc. I also like watching movies, and doing physical activity like running or Pilates.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Brooklyn, where I do live! Or Paris. 🙂

What projects are you working on and when should we expect another release? In a few words what is this story about.

My next book to come out is another Middle-grade book called “The Spindlers”. I’m very excited for it. Next year the third book in the Delirium trilogy will be coming out.

For more info about Lauren Oliver and her books visit her @:

Website: laurenoliverbooks.com

Blog: laurenoliverbooks.blogspot.com

Tumblr: lauren-oliver.tumblr.com

Twitter: @OliverBooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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