Book Nerd Interview
I was born in Queens and raised in Westchester, New York, in a small town very similar to the one depicted in Before I Fall. My parents are both literature professors, and from a very early age, my sister and I were encouraged to make up stories, draw, paint, dance around in costumes, and essentially spend much of our time living imaginatively. Our house was old and full of art and towers and towers of books, and that’s still the kind of house I like best.
I started writing as a way of extending my love of reading; when I read a book I loved, I would continue to write sequels for it (I was inadvertently a fan fic writer, before “fan fiction” was even a term!). Later on, I began working on my own stories, and keeping company with a lot of imaginary friends.
I pursued literature and philosophy at the University of Chicago, and then moved back to New York to attend NYU’s MFA program in creative writing. I simultaneously began working at Penguin Books, in a young adult division called Razorbill, and while there, I started work on Before I Fall. I left in 2009 to pursue writing full-time, and now I happily work in my pajamas every day.
I have a variety of interests apart from writing, including reading, cooking, traveling, dancing, running, and making up weird songs. Some of my favorite things are: being cozy; fires; autumn; fuzzy slippers; very high heels; great wine; dark chocolate; ketchup; pasta. Things I hate: practical shoes, liars, and bananas. I live in Brooklyn, New York, with my best friend and fiancé, Michael.
Tell us your latest news.
Well, I'm very excited because PANDEMONIUM, my newest book and the sequel toDelirium, comes out in exactly a week! I'm about to embark on an international tour, too, which is very exciting. I'm also busy planning my wedding.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Disciplined, passionate, fun.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a ballet dancer for a very long time; but I also always knew that I would try and write novels.
Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
My father was a great influence on me. He, too, is a writer, and although he writes nonfiction, his work ethic and his great love of reading have been continued inspirations.
What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?
I didn't choose it so much as stumble into it; I got a job working as a YA editor at Penguin, and because my reading shifted so substantially, I think my influences began to shift as well. I liked the idea of untangling some of the themes (such as love, partnership, identity) that predominate YA lit.
How many books have you written?
Well, I've written a few books that have never been published and never will be published! But I just completed my sixth (publishable) book.
For those who are unfamiliar with your series, Delirium, how would you introduce it?
Delirium is about a world in which love has been declared a contagious disease, and scientists have figured out how to cure it. It's big and epic and scary and romantic!
How did you come up with the title and cover design?
Actually, it's a common misconception that authors actually design their own covers. We don't! I have the wonderful art directors at HarperCollins, my publisher, to thank for that. :) Delirium, the title, springs from the name of the "disease" of love: amor deliria nervosa. The other two books in the series, Pandemonium and Requiem, were actually named by my bloggers and fans!
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating the Delirium Series?
I got very tired of my characters after living with them for so many years. But then I really missed them, and found it very difficult to start a new project!
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about Alex?
He often wears the same pair of socks two or three days in a row. :/ It's gross, but he lived in the Wilds for a long time and is used to conserving!
What is the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I was writing Delirium while touring for and promoting Before I Fall, so it was difficult to juggle both tasks.
Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
Well, I love Lena, of course--it's important to connect with your main character! But I'm also a big fan of Hana, even though she's a difficult character, in some ways. I recently wrote an e-short story entirely in Hana's POV, and I really enjoyed it.
What was your inspiration for the series?
The idea for DELIRIUM came from an essay I read by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in which he wrote that all great books were about love or death. The next day I was thinking about that quote--particularly about how and in what form a modern love story could be told--while I was on the treadmill at the gym. I was simultaneously watching a news story about a flu outbreak that had everyone freaking out about the possibility of a pandemic, and I was kind of marveling that people so easily go into panics about reports of these diseases, and at some point the two trains of thought--love, and disease--just sort of combined in my head.
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
I have so many favorite books, in a variety of genres! I love Roald Dahl and Phillip Pullman; I devoured Agatha Christie as a child; I love Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Ian McEwan and F Scott Fitzgerald and Virginia Woolf. But everything I've ever read has influenced me in some way.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Everything about being published is rewarding! I love being able to connect with my fans, and I love being able to do what I love for a living. I feel hugely blessed.
Any recent appearances that you would like to share with us about/any upcoming ones?
I'm soon embarking on a long tour to promote Pandemonium--I'm even heading to Australia and the Philippines! Please
check out www.laurenoliverbooks.blogspot.com for details.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Yikes. There are probably a lot of them, depending on the context!
What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Phone, chapstick, keys (hopefully), and something to read.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I prefer to do my writing in the morning, at home at my dining room table. But I travel a lot, and more often than not am forced to write on my blackberry, or in the back of a car, or on a plane!
What is your favorite food?
Pasta, pasta, pasta.
Who was your first boyfriend?
This guy Jay who got fired from Starbucks for stealing from the register. Whoops!
Which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Um, JK Rowling. Please.
If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?
Either how disorganized I am, or the fact that my books have been published in a whole lot of countries! That still surprises ME every day.
Where can your readers stalk you?
FB: Lauren Oliver Books
See you there!
Love. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.
In Lauren Oliver’s stunning second novel, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the cure. Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. But then she meets enigmatic Alex, who lives under the government’s radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?
Lauren Oliver follows up her incandescent debut, the New York Times bestseller Before I Fall, with this extraordinary novel about a high-stakes romance set in a dystopian United States. Delirium presents a world as terrifying as The Hunger Games and a romance as true as Romeo and Juliet.
Delirium was one of my favorites in 2011. Imagine a world where love is deemed illegal? I couldn’t even phantom the idea but that’s exactly the world Lena lives in. What’s worst, at age 18, each person receives an operation that prevents them from feeling love. The government then pairs them up with a spouse spending the remainder of their life in an unfeeling stillness.
Lauren Oliver’s creation of a world where true feelings are not allowed presented a lot of interesting concepts about how humans feel towards one another. The plot is simply amazing and truly a unique idea. Oliver’s descriptive writing of the people, environment and scenery were completely fleshed out that it was so easy to visualize everything that was described. Lena, Hana and the other characters were intricate and convincing.
The book contained a lot of action and each one was thrilling. Oliver sure had a surprise for us in the end. It was a cliffhanger that I have not experienced in a long time. It was remarkable having an internal experience of a dystopian society who has outlawed love. I am fully satisfied with this book despite having that cliffhanger. It just adds more suspense and anticipation for the upcoming sequel.
You can purchase Dilirium at these following Retailers:
Available February 28, 2012
I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and ?ame.
Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.
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