Happy Sunday! And it’s even happier Sunday than most other Sundays because today I have another author interview for you! (I sort of lied in the headline of this post, though, because I didn’t actually speak with Laurie, we communicated by email. But you all get the allusion, right?)
I present (drum roll, please) … an interview with Laurie Halse Anderson!
C: Most of your books deal with important topics that are, typically, tough to talk about. Are your books ever challenged by individuals or groups? If so, how do you, as an author, defend your books?
LHA: The criticism mostly comes from people who feel that by talking about these problems, I am somehow encouraging teens to dive into dangerous behaviors. A book banner in California once called me a "pornographer" because I wrote SPEAK! That mindset is ridiculous and deadly. The only way to reduce the incidence of dangerous behaviors and to help heal emotional wounds is to talk about the things that are hard. To pretend that things like date rape, emotional abuse, eating disorders, and cutting (just to name a few) don't exist - and to ignore the pain that causes them - guarantees sadness and tragedy. I'm going to keep writing about what is real and hard because speaking the truth is the only way to make things better.
C: You write both historical fiction and realistic fiction. How does the writing process differ between the two genres? Do you enjoy writing one genre more than the other?
LHA: My historical fiction novels start in plot; the characters evolve out of it. My YA novels always start in character. The plot grows out of the conflicts faced by the characters. Because of the research involved, it generally takes twice as long to write a historical novel as a YA novel. I am a huge history geek, but I am also very passionate about kids and the issues they face, so I enjoy both genres.
C: You came to the First Annual Teen Book Festival in 2006! What was your favorite part of the festival?
LHA: The enthusiasm of the crowd was like nothing I had ever seen before. It completely validated my theory that teens love books and book events and authors. Can't wait to come back!
C: What was the last book that you read for pleasure?
LHA: “Shades of Grey” by Jasper Fforde
C: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Fifth Annual TBF?
LHA: Several old friends - Terry Trueman, Ellen Hopkins, Coe Booth, and Holly Black. I'm looking forward to meeting Barry Lyga because we've been trash-talking each other on our blogs about the writing process.
Thanks so much, Laurie, for such a great interview. We can’t wait to see you at TBF 2010 in 75 days!
Readers, do you have any questions for any of the authors that I haven’t interviewed yet? Let me know and I’ll ask them!