Thursday, December 10, 2009

Interview with Lauren Bjorkman

Lauren Bjorkman grew up on a sailboat. She met her husband to be in a poetry class at the local junior college. She was a senior in high school then. She went to UC Berkeley and UC Davis, majoring in International Agricultural Development. Secretly, she hoped to be a writer one day. After her first son was born in Honolulu, she quit my job, and pursued my dream. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her husband and children. Her first book, My Invented Life is in bookstores now.

1. My Invented Life really shows how sister relationships are today, keeping secrets and more distance. Were you inspired by your own sister?
Yes and no. My sister and I were very close growing up. We lived on a sailboat, and shared the tiny foc’sle. So we had to be! When we moved back into a house, things changed. Secrets came between us, and the distance grew. Luckily, we got through it, and became close again.
But Jolene and I are nothing like Eva and Roz. And the secrets and the issues between us were entirely different. When she read My Invented Life, Jolene was a little disappointed that she couldn’t recognize us in the story.

2. I love Eyeliner Andie. I have read that you would love to write a book about her. What would you like to write about her?
Andie is so mysterious. This makes her unpredictable, and a bit dangerous as a close friend. In My Invented Life, I never lay out the reason why she’s this way. She just is. The truth is, I don’t know the answer. I would love to write a story where she’s the main character, and gets peeled layer by layer to her core. Then I would understand her at last.

3. What was your favorite thing about writing about theater geeks?
I was too shy to audition for a play in high school, but I found the whole scene fascinating, and would often attend school plays two nights in a row. In my senior year, I got an “in” to the theater geek crowd and attended their parties. They are a wild lot—uninhibited, talented, and a bit crazy. While writing the novel, I especially enjoyed imagining doing the things I never dared to do.

What are some other plays that you can see Roz in?
Roz would be excellent as Medea in the play called Media by Euripides. Or as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. And though she might not be content in a smaller role, Nathan Detroit’s girlfriend Adelaide would be perfect for her.

4. What is a normal writing day for you?
I write while my kids are at school. After I drop them off, I make myself a cappuccino, pile up snacks on a tray, and go back to bed! Really. I did all my school work in my bunk on the boat, and the habit stuck. I work on a laptop propped up with pillows. When I get excited about an idea, or don’t know what to write next, I get up and pace around.

5. What book(s) are you working on right now?
I’m almost finished with a major revision of my new YA, Miss Fortune Cookie. It will come out in the spring of 2011. It is the story of a friendship triangle gone wrong—with bad advice, teen pregnancy, a Mini Cooper, and fortune cookies. My agent is calling it a Chinese-American Juno.

6. Other then writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I love to travel to far flung places. Other than that, I gravitate towards quieter activities like sewing, reading, and eating good food. But my daredevil husband has gotten me mountain climbing, kayaking, and camping among Grizzly bears in Alaska. When I do these things, part of the joy is the sheer terror.

7. How did being a part of Class of 2k9 help you with the release of your book?
When I got the book contract, I hadn’t the slightest idea what to do next. Both the Class of 2k9 and the 2009 Debutantes have been enormously helpful and supportive groups. Now I can ask questions and get advice when things go wrong from other authors. The Class of 2k9 focused on marketing, which was great because I didn’t have the faintest idea how to go about it. When I started, I barely knew what a blog was! Now I’m a huge fan of the book blogging community.

8. Is there anything that you would like to add?
My sisters from My Invented Life have started their own advice column, like Dear Abby with a twist. It’s called Ask My Sister—(mostly) good advice for those who dare. And if you write a letter asking for advice, I’ll send you a signed My Invented Life bookmark.
Go here for details:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sarah & Lauren :)
    Thank you very much for the excellent interview.
    I really enjoyed learning a bit more about Lauren. Thank you for sharing here Lauren. I also enjoyed learning more about Lauren's writing and writing process.
    Happy Holidays,


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