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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Junot Diaz, Putting Your Writer's Block In Perspective

A very good friend of mine sent me this article today. Extremely encouraging for anyone who has ever doubted his/her writing abilities (which, in my experience, is anyone who has every written).

Doubly appreciated since I am sick in bed with the flu and need lots of reading material, having exhausted all of the Glee episodes on Hulu.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving!

Since yesterday I was too busy stuffing my face with delicious things like turkey and roasted butternut squash (thanks, mom!), I did not get to post about all the things I am very thankful for this year. Because this is '09, I am going to try and limit myself to 9 of them.

1. Skype, because it allows me to talk to my sister while she is doing a post-doc in Oxford.

2. The fact that I live in the same city as my parents. Nothing like getting to take the subway home with a bag full of leftovers!

3. My passionate, brilliant, generous, beautiful friends. They inspire me to be better.

4. Oceans, whales, beaches; mountains, trees, and woods; sunshine and stormy days.

5. Toasters, for making bread so much better.

6. Stephen Barbara, agent extraordinaire and surprisingly effective relay team member...

7. Book bloggers! (Especially teen book bloggers.) They keep the passion for books alive.

8. Rosemary Brosnan and everyone at Harper who has worked on Before I Fall, from acquiring editor Brenda Bowen to cover designer Joel Tippie and marketing director Suzanne Daghlian and everyone in between, for the dream that has so far been this publishing experience.

9. This last one is a little harder to explain, but I will try. After the death of one of my closest friends this year, I went very deep into myself for a long time, and I discovered a lot of darkness there. Then I went even deeper than that, and at the bottom of the bottom of myself, I discovered joy. I am very thankful for that.

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy thanksgiving (except for the turkeys of the world--sorry, guys.)


Saturday, November 21, 2009

What Does Reading Sound Like?

A few interviewers have asked me what song or playlist best embodies Before I Fall, and I think this is a fascinating question. Due to our exposure to film and TV, we are so used to the amplifying and evocative power of music, and I love the idea that books, too, conjure up specific songs for their readers. Unfortunately, it's a question I feel uniquely unqualified to answer, as I know practically nothing about music (although it is true that I often give my characters "theme songs," songs I listen to when I need to insert myself into their mindsets or emotional lives. The first novel I ever wrote featured a character whose "theme" song was "Little by Little," by Oasis, and when I wanted to get into Sam's head while writing BIF--and evoke her confusion, anger, and desperate desire to break free from the endless reiteration of her last day--I often listened to "Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence.).

That's why I was *so psyched* to learn that 9th-grader Caroline S. had actually generated a playlist for my entire book! I was even more psyched when I perused her musical suggestions and found that among them were some of my favorite songs, like "Party in the USA" (my summer anthem) and "Apologize," by Timbaland, as well as some of my favorite singers/artists: Rascall Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Sugarland (hey, what can I say? I'm a country music fan). Even better, thanks to Caroline S I've now added a bunch of new songs to my ipod (I've been listening to "Popular," by the Veronicas, on repeat for several days now!).

So, Caroline, thanks for the awesomeness! You rock. And for everyone's listening pleasure, I've posted Caroline's playlist recommendations below. BTW, check out the page numbers; Caroline synced up the writing and the music like a deejay syncing up turntables. Love it.

Before I Fall Playlist

1. “Party in the USA” Miley Cyrus (page 59)

2. “Bring on the Rain” Jo Dee Messina and Tim McCraw (page 73)

3. “Stay” Sugarland (page 76)

4. “I Hate This Part” Pussy Cat Dolls (page 128)

5. “Here It Goes Again” Ok Go (page 131)

6. “S.O.S” Rihanna (page 162)

7. “So What” P!nk (page 184)

8. “Popular” The Veronicas (page 225)

9. “Shopaholic” Verbz (page 231)

10. “Just a Dream” Carrie Underwood (page 332)

11. “Light Up the Sky” Yellowcard (page 337)

12. “Apologize” Timbaland (page 404)

13. “I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love Tonight” Outfield (page414)

14. “True Friend” Hannah Montana (page 421)

15. “Stand” Rascal Flatts (page 438)

16. “Thunder” Nuttin’ But Stringz (page 466)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Book is a Cheese-Head!

While I roast on a beach in Todos Santos, Mexico, the Traveling Copy of Before I Fall is continuing its cross-country trek back in The Homeland. This time, it has landed in Wisconsin, where it has braced itself against the chilly autumnal weather by snuggling up with a pig t-shirt and a cuddly pig stuffed animal (special thanks to Erica at the book cellar for providing the pic and taking such good care of my book, despite the fact that she was unable to unearth a cheese hat for it to wear!).

For your viewing pleasure....

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Am Going On A Trip, And I Am Going to Bring...

Does anybody remember this game? I remember very clearly that when I was in first/second grade we had to sit in a big circle and play. The game was an alphabet game; you would go around the circle and each person would select an item to bring on the fictitious trip that started with the next successive letter of the alphabet. (I'm going to bring an apple! I'm going to bring a bear! I'm going to bring a circus!)

Anyway, I remember always feeling like the game was really dumb because, it's like, really? You're going to bring a circus on vacation? In your suitcase? Even at the time I was clearly obsessed with realism. And then I always felt like we would all be totally unprepared for an actual vacation, since no one ever said I'm going to bring sunscreen for s or a pullover for p in case the weather gets cold at night.

But anyway, I'm leaving today on vacation for two weeks to lovely Todos Santos, Mexico (yay!!), and I realized that my suitcase is so filled with an assortment of oddities that it could totally have been assembled by a bunch of first-graders playing this game. A selection of the items in my suitcase, below:

2 Cookbooks
7 Regular books
6 bikinis
1 Chef's knife
2 tubes sunscreen
1 Rash guard (for surfing)
1 Meat thermometer
1 very nice bottle of wine
Running Shoes
1 jar of peanut butter

In other words...I'm ready to go!

Will post from south of the border (if Wifi is available)--in the meantime, happy weekend to you all!


Embarrassing high school pictures here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wisdom of the Ages

So... This weekend was my birthday, and as I am now a year older and allegedly a year wiser, I thought I should do a post about all the things (or, at least, some of the things) I learned this year:

1. Chocolate truffles and anxiety do not make a good combination. (Okay, so that's not the most profound thing, but it's the one that occurred to me first.)

2. If you are nice to other people, the world is a much easier place.

3. Corollary to #2: It really is true that you get what you give.

4. When you park your car in NYC, you really have to pay attention to the parking regulations. (3 parking tickets down, an infinity to go!)

5. Freud said in order to have a meaningful life, you needed two things: work and love. He was onto something.

6. You cannot change people, for better or for worse.

7. If you have one friend or, in my extremely lucky case, several friends, who will fly with you to a funeral, and hold you while you are sobbing, you have already led a very, very successful life.

8. Sometimes, a book and an early bedtime really are the answer for everything.

9. Scones are delicious, especially when enjoyed with one's sister in Oxford.

10. Time may heal all things, but it won't do so linearly: the healing comes in fits and starts and loops and curls.

11. When all else fails, put on some really great music and dance.

12. Barefeet on grass, the smell of barbecue, and warm berry pie with ice cream: a combination good for the soul.

Okay, so I've probably learned more than this but it seems like a pretty solid list. And lastly, this year I discovered a wonderful new quote:

"We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warmly and loved each other."--Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Amen, Hem.
Can't wait to see what next year brings!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Before I Fall a Borders Original Voices pick!

This weekend, in the midst of navigating adorable children dressed up as bunny rabbits and trying mostly unsuccessfully not to consume every piece of candy I'd picked up for the trick-or-treaters, I got a piece of fabulous news. There I was, minding my own business, munching a Greek Omelette and pretending to read the paper while really people-watching, when my editor called to let me know that Before I Fall had been chosen as Borders' March 2010 Original Voices pick!!

I was so excited I almost choked on a piece of feta...which is hard to do, because feta is a semi-soft cheese. THAT'S HOW EXCITED I WAS.

According to their website, Borders defines their Original Voices selections thusly:

Borders Original Voices recognize fresh, compelling, and ambitious written works from new and emerging talents in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, and kids' books. We select innovative and inspiring new books from first-time authors, as well as works that represent a new direction for established authors.

All I can say is: :D :D :D. (Okay, I recognize that using emoticons isn't exactly "saying" anything, but for this purpose we'll have to consider funny visual representations of smiley faces vehicles of speech.)

Yayyy! Thanks for the faith, Borders. Just so you know: my book (and I) really, really appreciate it.


Content by Lauren Oliver - Copyright 2011. Blog designed by Ella Press Studio - 2011.

Author Photo by Jonathan Alpeyrie - Copyright 2010. Original Font Idea by Erin Fitzsimmons - 2010.