As part of our Lauren Oliver day, Lauren very kindly agreed to answer some questions for Novelicious, hope you enjoy them! And remember that the post below offers you the chance to win a copy of her book – Before I Fall!
1. Can you describe your typical writing day?
Sure. I get up at about 7:30, and go straight to my computer after fixing a pot of coffee (and I do mean pot. I drink, like, eight cups a day.) Then I sit there for about six hours, doing some combination of writing/blogging/responding to emails/brainstorming new ideas. Then I take a break in the middle of the day for an hour or so to do something relentlessly physical, like run or take a dance class; then I do some more fussing around on the computer. Then I go out and try to be social, as by then I have forgotten how to interact with people other than the ones in my head.
2. What made you decide to write YA Fiction?
I don’t think it was really a conscious decision. At the time I began working on Before I Fall, I was working as an editor of young adult fiction, so I was just kind of focused on that demographic. Then, when Sam’s voice began to take shape in my head—as well as her story—I realized that due to her age and situation, it would probably be categorized as YA. But it wasn’t a deliberate choice per se. I’m really glad to be writing YA, though; I love interacting with teens. They’re so intense and passionate and thoughtful.
3. How did you come up with the idea for Before I Fall?
I was mulling at the time about ideas of change and redemption, and a girl who would have an opportunity to reconsider her actions—and the whole of her life, actually—from a series of different perspectives. I was trying to figure out what set of circumstances would enable her to do that.
4. Sam is a very ‘real’ character, is she based on you, or anyone you know?
She isn’t “based” in her entirety on anybody, no, but I try to give all of my characters real attributes and insecurities and preferences, some of which I’ve taken from people in real life. In Before I Fall, Sam deals with issues of assimilation, and love, and sex, that I remember trying to sort out myself—and her journey to uncover what is most meaningful in life is a journey I still recognize, and feel I am also participating on in some way.
5. Do you plan out your novels before writing them, or is it more of an organic process for you?
I do. I have to outline my books, otherwise I end up with four hundred pages and no plot. That said, occasionally I’ll get part of the way through a book, and go back and re-outline it and reshape it—so there is a kind of organic motion back and forth in that way.
6. Does Cupid Day really exist?! Us Brits got non-uniform day and that’s about it!
Ha. Cupid Day is not an established American holiday, no, but we actually did have Cupid Day in my high school: friends sent each other carnations, not roses, and there really was a certain amount of judgment attached to how many roses you received.
7. How will you celebrate your publication day?
On publication day I’ll be doing an event in upstate New York with my wonderful publicist, Elyse; but the following day I am going to dinner and out to a club with a few friends of mine, to dance the night away (I hope).
8. What’s next for Lauren Oliver?
My second novel, Delirium, will be released in early 2011. I’m really excited about it; it’s kind of a dystopian Romeo-and-Juliet story. Very different from Before I Fall, obviously—but I’m equally proud of it.
Thanks so much, Lauren and good luck with publication!
Photograph of Lauren (c) Jonathan Alpeyrie, 2009.