Book Nerd Interview
Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Not at all. I decided I wanted to be a writer about four years ago. I guess I'm a late bloomer.
What's one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I watch a lot of television. Everything from Masterpiece Theatre to South Park and Family Guy.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
I learned how to work hard and stay focused. I think doing well, in school or in life, is as much about effort as it is about intelligence.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
My editor, Jacquelyn Mitchard, who is a bestselling author, has taught me so much about writing in the few months that we have been working together. Her best advice: don't rush the ending. Ending my stories is hard for me, and she has helped me become much better in the final pages.
In your new book, Louder Than Words, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
Sasha has lost the power of speech because of the trauma she suffered in the accident that killed her family. Her inability to speak has made her an outsider, and her only link to the normal world is her best friend, Jules. When Sasha is attacked by a group of bullies, Ben rescues her and Sasha discovers he can read her mind. She has stumbled across the perfect guy and is certain she has found her 'happily ever after' until . . .
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in Sasha?
I'm not totally sure I understand this question, so I'll just talk about the character. I wanted Sasha to grow over the course of the novel, but after being mute for four years, she couldn't have an overnight epiphany. Sasha's muteness is a metaphor for the angst and isolation many teenagers feel. She doesn't fit in, and it's not just because she can't talk. I, and probably lots of people, can relate to that feeling of being a little out of step with the rest of the group, and the related urge to step back even more to avoid the risk of rejection. Sasha has to work out her relationship with herself as well as her relationship with the world.
For those who are unfamiliar with Ben, how would you introduce him?
Ben is kind of old-fashioned, but in that totally hot Mr. Darcy/Edward Cullen way. He's not the guy who is going to pressure the girl to sleep with him, but he is the guy who makes it very clear how much he wants her. If you read more of my stories, you will see that my male protagonists are all of that type: passionate but not predatory.
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Television, movies, the Internet. They're all great, but they are a passive kind of entertainment. In a movie, the director is telling you how to experience the characters and the action. When you read, you're in charge. You get to cast the movie yourself. You get to interpret the characters, the emotions, the setting. It's very satisfying.
If you could introduce Sasha to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Sasha and Edward Cullen would hit it off perfectly, since he, like Ben, would be able to read her thoughts.
When asked, what's the one question you always answer with a lie?
"Do you like my shoes/haircut/new dress?" Even if I don't like someone's shoes/haircut/dress, I don't see any point in being negative and possibly undermining a friend's confidence.
What's your most missed memory?
I look at photos of my kids as babies, and I want to hold those tiny people in my arms again.
What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
After my first year of law school, I worked at a big, fancy law firm. It was my first real job, and I was so nervous about making a good impression that I didn't end up impressing the lawyers there at all. They didn't ask me to come back the following summer.
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
I call my close friend, Claire. We met when our sons were in nursery school together. Now they're halfway through college.
When was the last time you told someone you loved them?
This morning, when I dropped my daughter off at the bus stop.
Do you remember your favorite teacher?
I've been lucky enough to have some great teachers, but one I especially remember is Mrs. Moore. She taught Reading in grades five through eight, and all we did was read Newberry Award Winners and learn how to appreciate good literature.
When was the last time you cried?
Probably within the last week or two. It usually doesn't take much to get me started: a sad movie, an upsetting story on the evening news.
Most horrifying dream you have ever had?
I think everyone has probably had this dream: I'm standing on a crowded street . . . and I'm completely naked. I think the naked dream means you're feeling vulnerable.
Where can readers stalk you?
I have a website. laurieplissner.com You can read an excerpt from Louder Than Words and get a sneak peek at my next book, SCREWED, which is coming out next May. Also, you can email me through my website.
Since the snowy night when her family's car slammed into a tree, killing her parents and little sister, Sasha has been unable to speak except through a computer with a robotic voice. Nothing is wrong with her body; that's healed. But, after four years, Sasha's memory, and her spirit, are still broken. Then one day, she's silently cussing out the heavy book she dropped at the library when a gorgeous, dark-haired boy, the kind of boy who considers Sasha a freak or at least invisible, "answers" Sasha's hidden thoughts -- out loud. Yes, Ben can read minds; it's no big deal. He's part of a family with a host of unusual, almost-but-not-quite-supernatural talents. Through Ben's love, Sasha makes greater progress than she has with a host of therapists and a prominent psychiatrist. With him to defend her, bullies keep the world from ever understanding Sasha, he pulls away. Determined to win him and prove her courage by facing her past, Sasha confronts her past -- only to learn that her family's death was no accident and that a similar fate may wait for her, in the unlikeliest of disguises.