YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Archive for March 4, 2010

Thursday with Lauren Oliver!

I hope everyone is enjoying the blogoversary posts as much as I am. Leave comments, every comment left on blogoversary related posts gets you one entry into the final draw for the very BIG prize pack. Details coming next week!

Lauren Oliver’s book Before I Fall was released on March 2nd. RUN and get your copy now if you haven’t bought it!

What first inspired Before I Fall?
The idea for Before I Fall came from a bunch of different places. I used to spend a lot of time trying to imagine, in as much detail as possible, a “perfect” day: the kind of day I wouldn’t mind reliving forever. So I’ve always been curious about the idea, about how we might shape our lives if given the opportunity to live really mindfully.

Additionally, I’ve always been interested in the mean girl phenomena and in themes of change and redemption. Why are people so often cruel and dismissive of one another, particularly in high school? Where do those impulses come from? Can they be shifted? Ultimately, even though Before I Fall has a very strong narrative structure, I do see it as a character-driven book about change.

What was your first reaction when you saw the cover for Before I Fall?
I thought it was absolutely stunning. I think I actually lost my breath. It’s just so gorgeous and arresting.

In Before I Fall, the main character, Samantha re-lives the last day of her life seven times. Is there any particular day in your life that you would like to re-live? Why?
That’s such a great question—and yes, as I mentioned above, that’s something I’ve been debating and thinking about for years.

It’s strange; I think some of our best and most perfect days get kind of lost. I imagine there were many days during my childhood that I would be content to relive forever: I’m thinking summertime, long days at the pool with my friends, then ridiculously good hamburgers on the back deck with my parents and sister (my dad makes the best hamburgers in the world, and my mom makes killer potato salad—any perfect day would probably have to feature both!). But I don’t remember any one day specifically, in its unity and entirety, as being perfect.

On the other hand…the day I got my first book deal was pretty darn good… 😉

If someone told you 20 years ago that you would be a published author, what would your reaction be?
To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have been that surprised. I mean, my dad is a published author, and my mom is a writer, so writing in my household was just like brushing your teeth or something: you just did it every day. I’ve been writing stories and books forever (as some recently resurfaced and incredibly embarrassing examples of my writing have proved). But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have been psyched.

Are you currently working on anything? Is it ok if you tell us in one sentence what it is about? (unless it’s super top secret!)
Right now I’m just finishing the edits on DELIRIUM, my second YA book, which will be released in early 2011. It’s very different from Before I Fall, but I’m extremely excited about it. It’s kind of a dystopian Romeo-and-Juliet that takes place in a society that has deemed love a contagious and very dangerous disease—and has also figured out how to cure it.

I’m also writing a middle-grade book right now.

Do you have any advice you like to give to aspiring young authors?
Write every single day! That’s the most important advice I can give. Even if you only write a little bit, it will keep you in the habit of writing and thinking about writing. Also, read everything you can get your hands on—books, blogs, newspapers, fiction, poetry, nonfiction, screenplays. Everything I’ve ever read has helped me in some way.

Jay Asher says “You’ll have no choice but to tear through this book”. Ultimately, what would you like people to take away from your book?
I would hope that people take away some message about connection. We are all intertwined; our lives are connected, and I truly believe it is only by recognizing and celebrating that connection that we can find happiness and meaning.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for having me! And please, everyone—go pick up a copy of Before I Fall! It gets sad when it sits on bookshelves all day. It wants a real home! 🙂