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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oh. My. God. I'm IN A MOVIE

Check it out:

My starring role.

(yes, I'm a dork, but this is very exciting for me as I barely know how to use a computer.)


That Which We Call a Rose, By Any Other Name...

...Would smell as Sweet?

Possibly, though not necessarily if written in German!

Okay, here's the deal: I absolutely love Germany, and the German language. My favorite philosophers are all German (Kant; Nietzsche; Schopenhauer); some of my favorite writers are German (Goethe; Hesse; Brecht); Beethoven was German...and, of course, nobody does beer and sausages (two of my favorite things) as well as the Germans!

But I think it's fair to say that the German language isn't as melodic as, let's say, French...

Point is, I just received an email about the German translation of the title of my book. Ladies and Gentlemen, the German version of "Before I Fall" is... (drumroll, please)...

"Wenn du stirbst, zieht dein ganzes Leben an dir vorbei, sagen sie".

Which translates to something like:

"When you die, your whole life will pass before your eyes, they say"

As my agent says...just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? :P

Seriously, I'm thrilled, thrilled, thrilled to be published there and don't care whether they call my book GobbledyGook and the Story of Nonsense (okay, I might mind that), but I just had to share. You have to admit--it's kinda funny.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Rules

The lovely Mandy of HeaddeskForWriters.blogspot.com contacted me recently about doing an interview on her site closer to the publication of Before I Fall. I of course acquiesced happily and gratefully (in my fam, no one asks for my opinion on anything more significant than shoes and restaurant selection--not that either shoes or restaurants is insignificant, by any means--so it's always fabulous to get solicited for my feelings on writing/books/the creative process).

Anyway, Mandy asked me a question that really struck a chord with me. She wrote:

Here on Headdesk, I have a minor obsession with the rules of writing. Is there any particular rule you write by?

First of all, I want to say that I think this is a great question. Second of all, I want to clarify that I am reprinting this question without having consulted Mandy, so I am hoping she will forgive me for the shout-out. (Sorry, Mandy.)

In general, I'm not sure I believe in writing "rules." I certainly don't "only write what [I] know," for example. My first-ever novel, completed when I was nineteen, was told from the perspective of a 35-year-old man with a sex worker addiction whose first wife died of cancer. (I was very angsty back then...actually, I'm still angsty, but whatever.) And I don't show instead of telling, necessarily; I use exposition with liberal abandonment, in fact.

There's only a single writing "rule" I rigorously adhere to: I write Every. Single. Day. No matter what. At my desk. In the subway. On the train from Champagne to Paris. In the park. I think the most difficult part of being a writer is overcoming daily Resistance, those hundreds of myriad excuses and time-sucks and procrastination techniques that keep you from digging into your manuscript (like, um, blogging...). The only way to get good at beating resistance is to beat it again and again and again; that's why I write every day.

I'm going to do a longer post about Resistance at some point because it's a topic that really interests me and is, I believe, pertinent to all creative endeavors, but now I want to know: Writers, what about YOU? Is there a writing rule you follow?


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Boys On The Side?

So, in the past week I got some very interesting responses about what people are tired of--and what they'd like to see more of--in YA literature. One issue that arose? The male protagonist, and whether it is possible/desirable to have a greater quantity of male protagonists in books primarily targeted to teen girls.

People seem divided on this, and to be honest I am too. @Wavekeeper always prefers female main characters, no matter how subtly characterized the boy protag might be. And as a girl, I think it is easier to "relate" to a female main character.

But is our ability to relate ultimately the thing that makes a book worth reading, or a character's story worth pursuing? I wonder. And might it help reduce some of the Men-are-from-Mars, Women-are-From-Venus style-polarized thinking if we were forced to try and relate, at least through fiction, to members of the opposite sex? (Any girl knows there's almost no hope of relating to guys in real life.... :P)

@LovesSam just read Beautiful Creatures (which looks amazing, btw, and which you can order from Amazon here), which apparently totally rocks out a successful male MC (main character). Now I'm dying to read it, even though I often resist books in which the main character is a guy--strangely, though, only in YA literature. (I didn't put down Great Expectations with a sigh of frustration because Pip wasn't stressing over the shoes he was going to wear to Homecoming...) JessJordan (are you on twitter??) is ready for it to be raining--or at least drizzling--men...in the pages of a book, at least.

The idea of someday writing a book with a male main character does appeal to me, primarily because it seems extremely challenging, and I'm always up for a challenge. Who knows? Maybe writing from a guy's POV would help me sort out/untangle the complexities of the male psyche (if there are any! kidding, kidding)...which, for anybody who has ever tried to navigate the the NYC dating scene, would DEFINITELY be a giant plus!

Okay, those are my thoughts for the day! Happy Thursday!

www.laurenoliverbooks.com (oh, by the way, I will be ending all of posts with a link to my website from now on just in CASE you want to go there and check it out and look at funny prom pictures of me.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Location, Location, Location

So...my book has begun its journey, both across the United States and to foreign lands.

One copy is currently in Washington with Sarah, who very kindly assured me that my book was keeping very good company by photographing it hobnobbing with some Tenner books (that's the UK galley cover, in case you are wondering--my book is in the middle).

On the other side of the ocean, Jenny informed me that my book arrived dusty, tired, and craving a hot shower and a cold beer on her doorstep in England.

Annnnd...she's off!

Monday, October 19, 2009

YA LIT: What's Hot, What's Not, What We Wish Would Go Away

Inspired by the spate of Fall Fashion Features in various female-targeted magazines (which I never read, by the way, as they only leave me feeling bitterly insecure about not being able to buy a $4,000 fur-trimmed-Vanessa-Bruno-skirt in a size OO and then fit it with ease) trumpeting articles about What's New This Season, I decided to do a little twitter round-up of all the things in YA lit we wish we could see more of, and all of the things we wish would be DONE. Basically, I just asked what subjects/genres people would like to see better represented in the YA world. I got some very interesting answers, and will share them below. (For the record, if you do not follow any of these peeps, you really should.)

@Wavekeeper likes standalone novels, and also dystopias, alternative histories, and post-apocalyptic novels. Ed note: This made me giggle with glee, as my book 2 is a stand-alone dystopian alternative history of the United States, coming out in March 2011!

@LovesSam rightly points out that angels seem to be the next big thing, and wishes someone would draw inspiration from Paradise Lost. Ed note: I love the idea of taking inspiration from great literary works, and as Paradise Lost is one of my faves, can only wish I had the smarts to have come up with this myself.

@suzanne_young wants to see more REALISTIC teen romance, and @EmilyJGriffin agrees. She is sick of stories in which people meet and within two days have vowed their eternal devotion to one another, and suggests a cross between Laurie Halse Anderson-style realism and romance.

@sharonlovescats is tired of paranormal, and extremely tired of books in which boys pine after girls who treat them like dirt, just because those boys are smolderingly good-looking. Ed note: I couldn't agree more. I know this is a convention that extends way beyond YA literature (girl pines for asshole), but I just find it horrifying that it continues to perpetuate a very unhealthy and unfulfilling view of romantic relationships, and about how girls should be treated.

@susan_adrian posted a whole fascinating article about this here.

and lastly...Sophie Jordan, who is on facebook but not twitter (c'mon, Sophie--you know you want to join!) is tired of seeing paranormals that only feature vampires, and would also like to see more male protagonists. Ed note: I've been mulling the problem of male protagonists over for a long time. The issue is, would you/could you target girl readers with a male protagonists? Or boys? Or both? Are the sexes so divided by high school about what kind of books they like to read that you could not find a book/theme of universal resonance? I doubt it, but it might be tricky...

So there it is, folks. Feel free to comment back with your own Wishlist/Blacklist of YA trends.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Muffins--Better Than Reviews?

Yesterday I had a lovely, lovely meeting with the sales and marketing team at Harper. I brought yummy Morning Glory Muffins and people ate them and we drank coffee and spoke about Before I Fall. It was all very exciting and (because of the muffins and bagels) delicious.

I received some other good news, which is that my first review in an "official" review publication will be appearing in next week's issue of Booklist. I am posting it below for your reading pleasure:

Before I Fall.

Oliver, Lauren (Author)

Mar 2010. 480 p. HarperTeen, hardcover, $17.99. (9780061726804). If you could relive your last day, what would you do differently? This is what Samantha asks herself when, after a fatal accident driving from a party on Friday, she wakes in her bed to find she must repeat the entire day again. And again. As Samantha lives through multiple Fridays, desperate to prevent her death, she is struck by how even the most insignificant acts, like running late for school instead of being on time, can change everything. Suddenly she is noticing uncomfortable things—about her friends, about herself—she has never noticed before. It’s the ultimate learning experience, and it takes Samantha seven times—not to save her own life but to leave with one she can be proud of. Oliver, in a pitch-perfect teen voice, explores the power we have to affect the people around us in this intensely believable first novel. Samantha grows from an entitled, popular, yet insecure girl to one with the compassion and guts to make the right decisions. This is a compelling book with a powerful message and should not be missed.

I liked the review, though probably not as much as I liked eating piping hot muffins straight from the oven. Just sayin'. Simple pleasures, folks, simple pleasures.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bon Voyage, Before I Fall!

Tomorrow my book sets out on a transatlantic adventure. One ARC will go trekking across the United States to meet up with fabulous bloggers in various far-flung states like Washington, Florida, and Texas, while another ARC will pack itself up and ship itself off to Europe, where it will bash around Manchester and take a siesta in Spain. Here is a picture of my book, wearing a hat and holding its passport and a ticket in preparation for its departure (and yes, I know I'm weird):

When my book comes back it will be all grown up! Sniff. I'll be updating about its location, so check back for details of its itinerary.

And thanks to all of the bloggers who are participating! You will soon get individual shout-outs. :)


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.