Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Author Interview: Lauren Oliver

Well, if you've been following my annoying tweets, you'll know that I had a surprise author for an interview post, and that author just so happens to be Lauren Oliver, bestselling author of Before I Fall and soon to come, Delirium :) So, lets see what a day in a life of Lauren Oliver is like!

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do, and it’s a great pleasure to receive emails from them. I’ve found my teen readers are so articulate and so interested in connecting with me authentically; they tell me about how their own experiences are reflected in my books, they pose really interesting questions and are just wonderful and thoughtful and generous. And I’m so impressed by the number of my readers who blog all the time, and conduct interviews and contests (like you!). When I was in high school I’m pretty sure I spent most of my free time giving attitude to my parents and smoking cigarettes.

Do you like to create books for young adults?

I like to create books, period! I don’t care who reads them—child, adult, monkey, or alien. (Well, I guess I care if aliens read them but only because that would mean that aliens are real!)

What do you think makes a good story?
That’s a great question, and a tough one to answer. Multi-dimensional characters are necessary to a good story; also, interesting things need to happen, and they need to happen in a causal relationship to one another (i.e., because A happens, B happens, and so C happens). That’s all I got so far—I’m still trying to figure it out myself!

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to be a ballet dancer for a long, long time.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’m not sure I ever wanted to “be” a writer. I always knew I would write. That was just a big part of my life. But I’m not sure I thought of it as a feasible, money-making career. It was just something I knew I would always do on the side, because I loved it.

How long does it take you to write a book?
Typically, the first draft takes about eight months. Then there is usually an additional 2-4 month editing period.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I write 1,000 words of whatever I am working on every single day, period. And I like to get my writing done by 3 p.m., otherwise I get super antsy. But other than that I have no “set” schedule—sometimes I write in bed, sometimes at my dining room table, sometimes on a subway train shuttling between meetings.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I think my most interesting writing quirk is that I rarely write at my computer. I am just as likely to write by composing on my blackberry, or typing on my ipad, or scribbling notes in a journal. It’s a rare day that I actually get to sit down at my desk!

How do books get published?
I think the most critical step to getting a book published is finding a great agent to represent it. That’s a process that is called “querying”; typically, when a manuscript is finished, you begin sending a portion of it out to different agents/agencies, hoping they will agree to represent you. Once you sign with a good agent, all the hard work goes to them!

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
From all over. I love to read the paper for book and character ideas—real life has an endless surfeit of weird and wonderful occurrences. Everything I’ve read, absorbed, or looked at in some way makes it into my writing. I’ve found ideas in paintings, photographs, essays, dinner party conversations, and other people’s memories.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I think I completed my first “novel” when I was nine years old (it was, like, thirty pages), but I’ve been writing pretty much every day since I was five!

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Read, cook, laugh with my friends, travel, EAT, run, kickbox, dance, and buy shoes.

What does your family think of your writing?
I’m not sure what they really think—but they tell me they love it!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That it never gets any easier.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Oh, man. I have no favorites. I’m fond of them all in different ways. Novels are like children—you can’t pick a favorite…unless one of them is really evil and bad and always screws everything up, in which case you can pick a least favorite. So far that hasn’t happened yet, but I’m sure one day I’ll write a really bad apple.

Lauren's Delirium is scheduled to be released a week from today on February 1st. Make sure to go buy it!

You can find Lauren at:


  1. Aw, great interview! I love Lauren, she's so lovely! And her books are both amazing.

  2. @Amber - Thanks! She's really great :) I just got Before I Fall and can't wait to start reading it!

  3. Wonderful Interview! I loved Before I Fall and Delirium and I can't wait to get my own copy of Delirium!

  4. @Katie - Thanks! I'm going to start Before I Fall within the next couple of days. Can't wait to see how good it actually is :D


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