November 23rd, 2013

Interview with Lauren Oliver


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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