My guest today is the wonderfully talented and diverse Lauren Baratz-Logsted whose author inspiration came to her in much the same way as mine did: from a teacher at a very tender age. What I love about Lauren is the fabulous concepts of her books. From Zombies to genies to the least popular astronaut headed to the moon in 1969, Lauren's ideas immediately sparked my interest. I don't know about you but I'll definitely be spending time this spring with a pack of zombies in England.
1) First of all, tell us a bit about your new (or latest) book. How was it inspired?
ZOMBIE ABBEY was inspired by my love for Downton Abbey. I thought, 'There should be a book that takes place in a similar world but with zombies thrown in, and it should be called - wait for it! - ZOMBIE ABBEY.' Well, once I think a thing, I have to write the thing.
2) What is your writing routine like? Where do you write?
I drive my daughter to the bus stop and then I start writing. When it's time to pick my daughter up from school, I stop writing. In between, I might check in on politics or General Hospital. I write in my basement cave. It has no stimulation, meaning no windows, but it does have a TV.
3) What are you favorite things about writing and least favorite things?
Favorites: the actual writing! I love the opportunity of taking the idea that before was only in my head and turning it into a story on the page. And oh, the power - getting to choose who finds love, who lives and dies, and how. I know some writers hate revisions but I love the opportunity to make something - hopefully! - better. Finally, and this may sound vain, the fan mail, particularly for children's books. I've received thousands of letters from kids (and their parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians) about The Sisters 8 series for young readers, which I created with my family, and some of those letters are incredibly moving. Really, I love it all, except for...
Least favorites: The heartbreak of publishing. We're all so much more connected than we were when I first started out, which is wonderful, but it also exponentially raises the number of people, on any given day, who may be going through tough times in one way or another. This business is not for the faint of heart and there are far too many opportunities for discouragement. On the plus side? Yesterday, was a great day for the friends in my writing circle.
4) When did you know that you wanted to write? Was it an "aha" moment or something that slowly dawned on you?
When I was 12 years old, my English teacher liked one of my stories so much, he had me read it to the class three days running. That was the first time I thought, 'Hmm...maybe some people will be interested in what I have to say...'
5) How do you come up with your ideas? Are they real life inspirations, dreamed up or perhaps a little bit of both?
Honestly, my ideas come from everywhere. Sometimes, it can be a case like with ZOMBIE ABBEY, where I'm originally inspired by something that already exists but think, 'Now, what would happen if I set off this bomb in that world?' Other times, it could be something that's happened to me that inspires it. For example, my first published book was the adult novel The Thin Pink Line. I was pregnant, after years of thinking I'd never be so lucky, and suffering all sorts of complications. Someone else might write a novel directly mirroring that experience, and that could certainly make for a good story, but I thought, 'Why not write a dark novel about a sociopath who fakes being pregnant for nine months?' See, that's how my sick little mind works.
6) Do you have another book you're working on now and if so can you tell us a little bit about it?
At the moment, I'm so busy promoting the books I have coming out this year, I'm not working on a new novel, but that'll change soon. In the meantime, here are the books coming out in 2018:
- ZOMBIE ABBEY - which you know about, of course! - on April 3
- the paperback edition in June of I LOVE YOU, MICHAEL COLLINS, a children's novel about a 10-year-old girl who conducts a one-sided correspondence in the summer of '69 with the least-famous astronaut heading to the moon on Apollo 11
- the adult novel THE OTHER BROTHER in August told from the point of view of the sister-in-law to the lead singer of The Greatest Rock-and-Roll Band in the World.
- I also have another YA novel coming out, I DREAM OF JOHNNIE, a comedic romance about a teenage girl who finds a genie on the beach, but I don't have a date for that one yet
7) Someone asked me this and I hated the specificity but then found it was interesting. One book. You can pick one single book as your favorite. Go.
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
PRE-ORDER the book:
Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 30 books for adults, teens and children. She wouldn't mind spending her life in period costume but she'd freeze like a deer in the headights in her Vionnet if she ever encountered a zombie. Read more about her at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBaratzL
How do I find ideas?
They find me. We date for a while & if things work out, we marry. For one year. Best books for writers? Stephen King On Writing Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.