November 23rd, 2013

Interview with Lauren Oliver

[Twitter]

On November 18th, 2013, the Ottawa Public Library was lucky enough to host Lauren Oliver during its Teen Author Fest, and she was generous enough to let me conduct a one-on-one, face to face interview. I am still fan-girlishly giddy about this. Can I ever say thank you enough?

Hearing her story was sensational. I haven’t met very many authors– although I’ll post my photos with Lemony Snicket later– but it was so inspiring to hear how many times Lauren Oliver failed before making a break into the budding world of YA. Also: I am beyond excited for the release of her new novel, Panic, this March. It sounds like a Hunger Games meets ¬†Monopoly meets high school type thriller: awesome.

 

Q: Just right off of the the top, what are five things that you’d take with you onto a deserted island?

A: A bottle of ketchup, definitely coffee, the Harry Potter series, which we’ll count as one, moleskin notebook, pen. I should have probably said a ship to get off the island, but anyway.

Q: What’s the best YA book you’ve read in a while?

A: I just read Ask the Passengers by A.S. King, and I really loved it.

Q: I have to ask– are the cover models on your books what the characters really look like?

A: No, no, no. Did you know that that [the cover of Before I Fall]’s actually a five-year-old boy’s photoshopped image? It’s pretty disturbing. You’ll never look at it the same way again. I don’t even know who that’s supposed to be; it doesn’t look like Sam. It kind of looks like Juliet. But it’s cover art; it’s supposed to be evocative of what the characters are supposed to look like, but it doesn’t have to be identical necessarily.

Q: Did you like high school?

A: Did I like high school? Well, I loved my friends. I had a good group of friends and we’re still friends. But no, I was pretty deeply unhappy in high school. Not really related to high school, my parents were going through a really tumultuous divorce, and I was suffering from a lot of depression. I was pretty troubled in high school. ¬†I mean, there were good moments and I had fun with my friends and my sister, but it certainly was nowhere close to the happiest time of my life.

Q: So what was– or is– the happiest time of your life?

A: I’m getting happier every day.

Q: I know that you didn’t really want to close anything off, but I loved Before I Fall. Can you tell me where the characters would be now?

A: Well Kent gets with Lindsay– just kidding! That’s the thing, I can’t answer this because I have specific ideas, but I want my readers to engage with it and have their own ideas. So whatever you think happens, happens. What do you think?

Q: I think that Lindsay is at university studying psychology. I really do.

A: Yes! I think she is too.

Q: Can I ask you about your tattoo?

A: I have 19 tattoos. I have one on my wrist, the initials of my ex-boyfriend who died. After he passed away, I got the first line of an E.E. Cummings poem, “I carry your heart with me,” on my back. I have an ouroboros, which is a snake eating its own tail. It’s a symbol of regeneration and rebirth, and I have a phoenix for the same reason. I have Latin phrase which means ‘truth is sacred’. I’m getting two more tomorrow when I get home– I have tattoos everywhere. But ask your mom before you get one.

Q: Thank you again, Lauren!!

 

I’ll keep you posted,

 

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