Friday, October 22, 2010

In The Hotseat: Lauren Bjorkman

It's been a while since I've posted an In the Hotseat post, and I thought, hey, it's about time I do another one. So here it is! Today I have with me Lauren Bjorkman, author of My Invented Life, a YA novel about sexuality, sisters, and Shakespeare; and Miss Fortune Cookie, which comes out next year.

How'd you come up with the idea for your debut novel, My Invented Life?
I climbed to the top of a crag during a lightning storm, when … wham! Just kidding. I wish it worked that way. Instead, the ideas came to me over time—an incident at my high school reunion, productive people-watching, and a re-reading Shakespeare—and it all developed into a story.

My Invented Life tackles some LGBT themes. What was the toughest part of writing a novel that touches on teenage sexuality?
I wanted to get it right! And make the story relevant to teens of any sexual orientation. And keep it upbeat. I probably read a hundred coming out stories online, a dozen books, and a zillion conversations before I trusted myself with the subject.

Shakespeare plays a pretty big part in the story. Which of his pieces is your favorite?
The word “favorite” sends me into panic. For a while in high school, I was crushing on this boy who played Orlando in As You Like It. And just like that, As You Like It was my favorite Shakespeare play. My other favorites are—Much Ado about Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and King Lear.

Who are you more like, Roz or Eva?

I find writing about myself impossible and boring. But both my characters contain echoes of me. As a real-life little sister, I worshiped my older sister, and remember a painful time when she shut me out of her life. As a teen, I tended to hang back. I do share a sense of humor with both of them J

There are a lot of secrets between characters in My Invented Life. What's one thing a lot of people don't know about you?
My first pet was a hermit crab I called Vermnicious Knid.
I’m a secretive person.

What are your biggest inspirations in life?

It amazes me how people overcome hardships. People with the most difficult lives can end up positively glowing with love and happiness.

Any advice you can give aspiring writers?
Write what you love.
Never give up.

What's a typical day like for you?

Getting up too early (I love to sleep).
After I drive my kids to school, I make myself a cappuccino.
In this wired state, I fritter away an hour or so on the Internet, and finally write like crazy for four hours, taking only snack breaks.
By three, it’s family time, again.

When you're not writing, what can you usually be found doing?

Hanging out with friends and family (hikes, dinners, movies, aikido, making apple-sauce). Which is great, but not terribly interesting.
Every year, though, we go somewhere adventurous. I just returned from Belize where I snorkeled with sharks and rays, floated down a river through a deep cave, and climbed Mayan pyramids.

One thing you can't live without?

I can’t live without love. Or dark chocolate.

You can find out more about Lauren by checking out her official website, or her blog, which she regularly updates. Also, if you're interested in finding out more about her debut, My Invented Life (which is out now), here's a synopsis:
Roz and Eva are sisters, close friends, and fierce rivals. Roz fantasizes about snagging the lead in the school play and landing sexy skate god Bryan as her boyfriend. Sadly, a few obstacles stand between her and her dreams. For one, Eva is the more talented actress. And Bryan happens to be Eva's boyfriend. But is Eva having a secret love affair with a girl? Inquiring minds need to know.

1 comment:

  1. hI erika!! great post! ive read my invented life and it's awesome and hilarious!! lauren is super kind, too. nice interview!

    ps- it came out sept 2009, if im not mistaken :)