Welcome to Author Thursday hosted by the Never Too Old for Y.A. & N.A. Books group on Goodreads!
Today we welcome author Lauren Bjorkman!
I have had the honor of reading Lauren's books and I tell you now you really need to pick them up!
Meet Erin. Smart student, great daughter, better friend. Secretly the mastermind behind the popular advice blog Miss Fortune Cookie. Totally unaware that her carefully constructed life is about to get crazy.
It all begins when her ex-best friend sends a letter to her blog—and then acts on her advice. Erin’s efforts to undo the mess will plunge her into adventure, minor felonies, and possibly her very first romance.
What’s a likely fortune for someone no longer completely in control of her fate? Hopefully nothing like: You will become a crispy noodle in the salad of life
With Roz and Eva everything becomes a contest—who can snag the best role in the school play, have the cutest boyfriend, pull off the craziest prank. Still, they’re as close as sisters can be. Until Eva deletes Roz from her life like so much junk e-mail for no reason that Roz understands. Now Eva hangs out with the annoyingly petite cheerleaders, and Roz fantasizes about slipping bovine growth hormone into their Gatorade.
Roz has a suspicion about Eva. In turn, Eva taunts Roz with a dare, which leads to an act of total insanity. Drama geeks clamor for attention, Shakespearean insults fly, and Roz steals the show in Lauren Bjorkman’s hilarious debut novel
So let's hear what Lauren has to say!
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
In my earliest memories, I wanted to be a princess or ballerina or a Greek Goddess. As I got more practical (and sadly, older), I considered a career as a writer. Because I didn’t believe in myself enough, I did a ten-year detour as a soil conservationis before finally getting around to it.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
The first draft takes me about a year. I can rewrite and tinker for another year or two after that. Way too long, in other words.
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
The source of my ideas is a complete mystery to me. Magnetic fields? The stars? Odd incidents in my life? Memories? The news? Once an idea grabs a hold of me and doesn’t let go for weeks, I know I have to write about it.
Do you have a schedule of when you write?
While my kids are in school. Now that they’re older, it’s possible to work when they’re home with a cold or the flu. They take up to much oxygen when fully healthy.
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
I’m one of those lucky people that can stay home and write. My husband and I are both careful with money. We saved most of my earnings during my career at the USDA. Still, I find it hard to juggle the demands of family and friends, though. If you don’t go into an office each morning, most people imagine you at home lying on the couch eating bon bons, waiting for their call. I rarely answer the phone while working. When on deadline, I’ve been known to lock myself into a room. With snacks, of course.
What elements do you think make a great story line?
Complicated characters that the reader cares about, an interesting setting, heartache, action, and some fun twists.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
The emotional roller coaster, emocoaster for short. Sometimes it feels as if I’m writing a work of staggering genius and other times as if everything on screen has died horribly, and it’s my job to prod it back to life with a stick.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
Five. My first, a middle-grade novel about bullying, generated some interest with editors, but no offers. I wrote it before getting an agent, and she’s never seen it. Between My Invented Life and Miss Fortune Cookie, I wrote a dark story about a girl looking for the mother that abandoned her, set in Hawaii and Morocco. My agent felt it was too different from my debut, so I set it aside. Right now I’m working on a story about a girl who has to save her mother after she’s accused of stealing corporate secrets.
I love them all!
Do you have a favorite character?
I envy Roz for being outspoken and Eyeliner Andie for being mysterious. Lincoln—Erin’s young advice giving consultant—is the most adorable, though. He’s my current favorite.
Where do you write?
Having grown up on a boat, I started life doing schoolwork in my bunk. After moving to a house, I continued the tradition, and wrote my first three novels in bed. To change things up, I sometimes write in a café. We moved recently, and I now have an office of my own. With a door. It’s tiny, but it’s mine.
When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
In the beginning, I sent cover letters and chapters to editors at various publishing houses. After a few years of that, though, the houses tightened their policies and fewer considered unagented submissions. When that happened, I began looking for an agent.
Here are some resources that I used in my search:
Miss Snark (This blog went dark before I found an agent, but it’s still full of useful info)
Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
Though I try to laugh it off, feedback from family members is absolutely terrifying. My Dad hated the cover for My Invented Life. My sister was disappointed that I wrote about sisters so different from us. My aunt catches every typo. Most recently, she loved Miss Fortune Cookie, but let me know that a particular joke rubbed her the wrong way. That same joke later appeared in a blogger’s review as her favorite line from the book, lol. On the plus side, my dad enjoyed Miss Fortune Cookie. And my son loved Erin’s Pokemon question, the one she uses to decide if a boy is worth dating.
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
Traveling. I’ve been all over SE Asia, Nepal, and the near east. I enjoy the challenge of communicating across the language barrier, eating strange and tasty foods, and taking in beautiful sights. Most of all, I appreciate the fresh perspective I get on life at home. I also enjoy domestic bliss—cooking, eating, and hanging with friends and family.
I love to sing and wish I didn’t suck at it.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
Read a lot. Write a lot. Try different genres to see which one feels right for you. If one story calls to you the loudest, write that one.
I once read that you have to write a million words before you’re any good. That may or may not be true, but in any case, don’t be stingy with writing.
Go to workshops. Meet other writers. Join a writing and/or critique group. Be ridiculously persistent.
Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
My best beta readers are other YA authors. I’m lucky to have Sydney Salter (My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters) and Janet Gurtler (I’m not Her) reading my WIP right now.
Are you working on anything now?
It’s a contemporary YA with a Sci/Fi and action/adventure twist. This is a departure for me. The story still has plenty of humor, angst, and drama between my characters to satisfy my fans.
Thanks so much for being here today Lauren! It was so great having you and hearing what you had to say!
I am the author of two YA novels, MY INVENTED LIFE and MISS FORTUNE COOKIE. I also contributed a short story to the anthology THE FIRST TIME.
Though I grew up on a sail boat and loved traveling the world as a kid, I'm still afraid of the ocean. I much prefer other modes of transportation these days--plane, train, or car. Walking is best.
I love books with multi-faceted, intriguing characters. The best one make me laugh, cry, and turn the pages long past my bed time.
When I'm not reading or writing, I spend time with family and friends, talking about everything under the sun. Add in some good food to the mix, top it off with chocolate, and I'm truly happy.
Lauren has generously offered a giveaway with today's post. So just scroll down to enter and win the prize pack in the picture below!a Rafflecopter giveaway