Keepin’ It Real: Lauren Oliver (Author Interview)

August 1, 2014 Author Interview 28

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Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Keepin’ It Real celebration, hosted by the fabulous Kaitlin @ Reading is My Treasure and Eli @ RealityLapse. Keepin’ It Real is “a celebration of contemporary YA fiction.”

For my stop, I have a fabulous interview with Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall, Delirium trilogy, Panic, Rooms) to share with you! And let me tell you, I LOVE Lauren Oliver. So when I found out I was going to be interviewing her?!? MAJOR fangirl moment!! I’m so, so excited to share this interview with you guys, and I want to thank Kaitlin and Eli from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to participate!

First, here’s more information on Lauren Oliver’s newest YA Contemporary, Panic (January 2014):

Panic_HC_JKT_des4.inddPanic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

And now, without further adieu, here’s the interview!!

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Question: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Answer: Writing has always been a way that I expressed myself. I’ve been writing every day since I was about nine! Even when I entertained other career options, it was always part of my life.

Question: What authors have inspired you to write? Which ones inspired your writing style?
Answer: That’s a difficult question to answer, as I am always finding new authors that inspire me. To pick just one out of MANY, I’ve always admired Neil Gaiman, both for his prodigious writing skills, and for the way he’s always writing for new audiences, and in new genres and mediums.

Question: You were an editorial assistant and an assistant editor. How did that affect your view of publishing? In what ways did it help and in what ways did in hinder?
Answer: It definitely helped in that it taught me a ton about how to structure narratives and think about books holistically; I also learned about the exigencies of the marketplace. That’s a double-edged sword, though. Working in a publishing house, you are intimately aware of all of the wonderful books that simply don’t find an audience, and all of the brutality of an industry that ultimately has to feed a bottom line. So it’s practically a very good thing but emotionally or artistically painful.

Question: All your books have such unique plots. Where do you get your ideas?
Answer: You never know where an idea is going to come from. My characters just start talking to me until I can’t ignore them anymore and have to write them down.

Question: Which book was the easiest to write? The hardest to write?
Answer: The truth is, all books have their own joys, and their own challenges. I also think that writers tend to keep pushing themselves, so the work never gets easier.

Question: You’ve written stand-alones and a trilogy. Do you have a preference?
Answer: No. There’s joy in each. I love writing a self-contained book whose story is bound completely between two covers. But certain stories, and certain worlds, require more than a single book for their unfolding. And there’s a joy in being able to luxuriate in a world over the course of years. Of course, that can also grow deeply tiresome.

Question: Rooms is your first adult novel. In what ways was writing for adults different than writing YA?
Answer: I’m not actually totally sure. I’m sure it is different, but qualitatively the experience of writing every book feels somewhat different: each comes with its own set of difficulties and challenges. So I’m not sure that I consciously internalized differences in the process as being related to target audience.

Question: Delirium’s pilot just aired on Hulu. Congrats! How does it feel?
Answer: It was so much fun to watch along with everyone else. I had a twitter party the first time I watched it, and it was such an incredible feeling of community.

Question: If you could create an “alternate ending” for one of your book, what – if anything – would you do differently? Why?
Answer: I don’t think I would do that! Unfortunately for the Requiem haters, I’ve ended every book exactly the way I always intended to.

Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: “How to build a homemade bomb.” I’m sure I’m on an FBI watch list somewhere.

Question: If you could tell your pre-published self one thing, what would it be?
Answer: Enjoy this time! Writing without pressure or expectations or deadlines is a wonderful, beautiful thing.

Question: What is the most important lesson you have learned in your time as a published author? Do any memories, in particular, stand out for you? Best reader experience?
Answer: I’ve learned how to tune out critical voices–and even laudatory ones–and focus on the work. As a modern author, you’re constantly assailed by reviews, opinions, tweets, posts, etc…and it’s important to be able to tune that out, to a certain extent, to preserve your vision and to believe in yourself.

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Lauren OliverAbout Lauren Oliver:
 
Lauren Oliver comes from a family of writers and so has always (mistakenly) believed that spending hours in front of the computer every day, mulling over the difference between “chortling” and “chuckling,” is normal. She has always been an avid reader.

She attended the University of Chicago, where she continued to be as impractical as possible by majoring in philosophy and literature. After college, she attended the MFA program at NYU and worked briefly as the world’s worst editorial assistant, and only marginally better assistant editor, at a major publishing house in New York. Her major career contributions during this time were flouting the corporate dress code at every possible turn and repeatedly breaking the printer. Before I Fall is her first published novel.

She is deeply grateful for the chance to continue writing, as she has never been particularly good at anything else.

Find Lauren Online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Goodreads | Tumblr | YouYube

28 Responses to “Keepin’ It Real: Lauren Oliver (Author Interview)”

  1. Irene

    Good point about writing with no deadlines!
    Also, I like how you’re inspired by the characters! I thought it’d be more like: ‘oh, this is interesting, let me write about this.’ :D

  2. Amanda

    I didn’t know she worked in publishing and editing before becoming a published author herself. It must be very satisfying for her to have gotten through all those hoops and to be so successful now.

    P.S. I’m sorry, but the Delirium pilot was just all-around bad…

  3. Tanja

    I love Delirium trilogy and I really cannot wait to read Panic! I have heard such amazing things about it. Also this interview is really lovely. Great job! :)

  4. Natalie

    I know what she means about being on the FBI watch list for things Googled. Also, for things I put on hold at the library. I also love how Neil Gaiman pretty much inspires every author out there, his name is probably the one I hear the most. Brilliant interview!!

    • Meredith

      That’s one of my favorite things to ask authors, haha. I notice that, with Neil Gaiman, too! I haven’t read his stuff, but clearly, I need to!

  5. Kaitlin @ Reading is My Treasure

    Great interview! I love her answer about how she gets her ideas. :) I’m now curious about the Requiem ending. I still haven’t finished the series. . . .

    Thank you for being a part of the event! I’m glad you got to interview Lauren.

    • Meredith

      You MUST finish reading Pandemonium and Requiem and then we can discuss!

      Thanks for allowing me to participate! This was so fun!!

  6. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    Oh, how I adore Lauren Oliver! I would read basically anything she wrote, I find her writing style so beautiful. And even though Requiem may have frustrated me (or you know, sent me into a spiral of fury, whichever), I think it is really awesome that she completely owns and stands by her choices. Because it is her story, after all. I love her point about tuning out the critics too. It has to be so, so scary for an author (or any artist) these days, since critique of their work is literally everywhere. Great interview!

  7. Emma A

    That is so cool that she worked at a publishing company before she was published! I would think that it would be super helpful to have done that because one would then know a lot of the ins-and-outs of how publishing a book works. Also, it is awesome that she basically writes everyday! Such a commitment, but I am sure it is a great way to eliminate pent up emotions.

  8. Stephanie H.

    Great interview! I read the Delirium trilogy and Panic and enjoyed them. I plan to read Rooms when it comes out, I am interested to find out what happens.
    I like that Lauren can “tune out critical voices”. I think that is amazing. That is one reason I am not sure I could be a writer because I have a hard time tuning out when someone doesn’t like something I’ve written or said. (I am working on handling criticism).
    It is cool that she worked with editorial/assistant editor. I find it so interesting some of the careers authors I love have/had while/before writing.
    Great post! :D

  9. Kierra

    I actually bought Panic for a friend of mine. She really liked the book and also passed the book along to some of my other friends(who were non-readers, too!) who liked it too :) I liked Delirium, even with its faults.
    P.S. I didn’t know Oliver worked in the publishing industry prior to becoming a published author! That’s so cool.

    Thank you for the awesome interview, guys!

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