Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rock This! Thursday Interview with Lauren Oliver

Today's guest is debut author, Lauren Oliver, is here to discuss her debut novel and music with us! Before I Fall instantly became one of my all time favorite reads. If you haven't checked out my review, you can read it here.

Your debut novel, Before I Fall, has already hit the New York Times list. How did you feel the moment you heard the news?

Oh, man. I was overjoyed—and immensely, immensely relieved, because I knew my editor and agent had been staring at their inboxes all day, waiting for the list to appear. I was actually in Petaluma, CA on tour, standing outside of this funky little inn I was staying in for the night, and I started prancing up and down and dancing in a little square of sunlight.

 Did you have a playlist you listened to while writing? If so, could you share a few of them with us?

I don’t, actually, because I find that music is so emotive—and moves me so greatly—that it really influences the way I write. If I’m listening to a sad song, for example, my writing just becomes melodramatic and saccharine. So I usually avoid listening to music when I work.

I was amazed how you made each repeating day for Samantha seem like a complete new day. Everything flowed so nicely. How difficult was it to do this?

Thanks! That’s very nice of you to say. :) I spent a long time outlining the whole book—and the major events that would occur on each day—before I began writing, and this helped me greatly. I knew the book would depend on tight plotting and small changes in characterizations and details, so I really took the time to plan before I dove in, and I think this saved me.

You're walking the street. What song is following you?

Oh, man. Depends on the day and my mood! Some days “Defying Gravity,” from the Wicked soundtrack, and the “Halo”/”Walking on Sunshine” mash-up from Glee. Other days, unfortunately, probably more like “I’m Only Happy When It Rains, by Garbage.

Let's say a week before Samantha's accident, her and her friends scored tickets to a concert. What band/artist are they seeing?

Probably Dujeous, a cool hip-hop group from NYC who generously let me use their lyrics in the book. Or Lady Gaga.

Tell us a song you've listened to that you think would make an interesting book.

Whoa—that’s a really cool (but hard) question! Well, I always like country songs because they really are these tremendously great narratives; they tell stories. They are stories. How about The Devil Went Down to Georgia, by Charlie Daniels? I love that song, and I like the idea of a book about a boy outsmarting the devil. Very mythological.

Awesome choice! I would LOVE to read a book based on that song. If you could meet one musician - living or dead - who would it be and why?

John Lennon, probably. I had the most wicked crush on him when I was growing up (even though he died before I was born) and I kind of still have a crush on him.

Samantha talks about her 'greatest hits' - moments in life she would always remember. I really liked the idea of that and was wondering if you could share one of your own 'greatest hits'.

Sure. I’m really blessed to say that I think my life has been really rich with moments that could constitute a greatest hit. But here’s one: a few summers ago, my boyfriend was home after a long absence. We walked across the street to the park, right at the edge of Lake Michigan, to have a picnic lunch, even though it was May and the air was just a little chilly and it was probably slightly too cold to be outside for hours. We ate delicious sandwiches and chocolate pudding. Then we wrapped ourselves up in the blanket, in the sunshine, and he fell asleep, and I lay there and thought about how much I loved him. It was wonderful.

We're always up for new music. Tell us five songs we should definitely be listening to.

You Are the One by Shiny Toy Guns
C’est Beau La Bourgeoisie by Discobitch
Lose Control by Timbaland (feat. Jojo)
Break Bread by Dujeous
Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments yet?

Hmmm. Moments when I felt like a rock star, you mean? Harper (my publisher) arranged for a car to take me to the airport when I started my tour, and for whatever reason the car company sent an enormous Escalade to collect me. I must say I did feel kind of like a rock star then. Or a pimp. One of the two.

Thanks so much for hanging out with us today, Lauren! If you'd like to check out more, swing by Lauren's website



Adriana said...

This was a really fun interview. Lauren's greatest hit moment was really sweet. I can't wait to read more from her. :D

Cecelia said...

Ha! What fun. I've been meaning to read this because so many bloggers I respect loved it, but I have to admit that the concept (from the blurb) made me pause. But Lauren is so hilarious in this interview...I think I'm going to give it a try. Great musical questions, too!

prophecygirl said...

A Shiny Toy Guns fan! Yay! Such an interesting post guys, thanks. :)

Robby said...

Before I Fall is by far on of the best books of 2010. Thanks for the interview! She's so sweet. :] said...

I have always enjoyed "The Devil went down to Georgia" song.

Your interviews are always fun to read.

ally said...

I'll have to agree with her: 'You are the one' by Shiny Toy Guns is an awesome song!!!! And i loved her book :)! Great interview!

Ella Preuss said...

Loved this interview!
BIF is also one of my new favourite reads.

Halo/Walking On Sunshine! Love her more <3

Okapi said...

You have fun interviews that keep me reading! Before I Fall is in the mail right now -- I can't wait till it arrives. The Devil went down to Georgia is an awesome song! :)

Anonymous said...

Great interview.. I started her book Before I Fall towards the end of last year and read about half of it and never picked it back up again..

Llehn said...

Lauren is my new favorite writer. I read BIF from the library and loved it so much I bought a copy to keep!