Friday 26 March 2010

Featured on Friday: Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver is the debut author of Before I Fall; the novel that’s taken the blogosphere by storm.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
I love to write in the mornings, at my kitchen table, but I travel so much and have such a hectic schedule I often find myself writing on the subway, or in airports, or at 10 p.m., unfortunately.

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
I read and loved a lot of great literature as a teenager, although weirdly, I don’t have very strong memories from that period about what I loved to read. I remember being blown away by James Joyce, but I’m pretty sure that was in college. I do know that I’ve always had a shamefully intense obsession with Agatha Christie. It has abated somewhat over the years, but as a teenager I think I may have read all of her books, multiple times.

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
The complete book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales; Remembrances of Things Past, by Proust, because otherwise there is probably no way I will ever get through the darn thing; and either Matilda, by Roald Dahl, or One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez—both books I could reread endlessly.

[Sophie: I LOVE Matilda! It's one f my favourite books ever.]

4. Is there a novel that you wish you’d written? Why?
The Harry Potter series, for fiscal reasons; The Great Gatsby, for artistic ones. The last line of that book still takes my breath away every time I read it.

5. What inspired you to tell Sam‘s story?
Sam herself. The character came to me before the story did. I knew I wanted to write about this kind of mean, bratty, self-absorbed girl who doesn’t even know how terrible she really is; she excuses her own bad behaviour. I wanted to create a set of circumstances that would enable her to see herself from different perspectives.

6. Where did the idea for Cupid Day come from?
I wish it had been some kind of invention on my part! We actually had a Cupid Day in my high school. It’s funny, because I was criticized by a blogger for having imagined this cruel holiday; she referred to that portion of the novel as “straight out of Mean Girls.” But I didn’t imagine it, or invent it! People exchanged flowers (carnations, not roses) with little notes attached to them, and the quantity you received was a big measure of your popularity.

7. Do you think that the blogosphere has had a substantial effect on the immediate success of Before I Fall?
Absolutely. I mean, I have nothing to compare this experience to, really, as this is my first published novel, but I definitely think the tremendous support of the blogging community has helped my book achieve a kind of recognition and notice in the industry. That’s what buzz is all about: getting people to chatter about a certain title. And that buzz, that chatter, certainly helps sell books.

8. If you had to relive one day in your life, which would it be?
It is probably too private—and in some ways, too painful—to share.

9. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
Yes! I’m just finishing up my follow-up book to Before I Fall (not a sequel). It’s called Delirium, and I’m very excited about it. It’s basically a Romeo-and-Juliet kind of story, with some dystopian deliciousness thrown in there. It takes place in a society that has deemed love a contagious and very dangerous disease…and figured out how to cure it. It should be out in early ’11. I’m also working on a middle-grade novel tentatively titled The Story of Liesl and Po. So lots going on!

Thank you very much, Lauren! You can visit Lauren at her website and read my review of Before I Fall here.



  1. Thanks for this awesome interview! I'm so excited to hear that Lauren Oliver has *two* more fab-sounding projects in the pieline.

  2. Oh my gosh i NEED TO GET THIS BOOK. I acually went to a book store last night and they had sold their last copy today!!! I was like WHAT WHAT!!!! I really am looking foward to this book!

  3. This is the second interview I've read of Lauren Oliver. Both bring out her process as a writer. Great job!

  4. Great interview guys! Soph, I love your question about which day you'd relive. It's got me thinking now!

    I think Lauren has a fantastic career ahead of her :)

  5. Fantastic interview - I loved reading it! Ooh, the premise of Delirium is intriguing!

  6. I can't wait to read Delirium!
    My school also had a cupid day, but it was never a popularity contest. I loved Before I Fall and I can't wait to see what other amazing books she comes out with.

  7. I still haven't read Before I fall but I am really looking forward to it. Interesting to hear how the blogosphere can have a direct effect on a debut novel. It is very cool.


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