Please welcome Lauren Oliver to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Rooms, Lauren's adult fiction debut, will be published on September 23rd by Ecco.
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?
Lauren: I've been writing pretty much every day since I was nine! I started because, as an avid reader, I wanted to spend more time in the worlds of books I loved. It was really a kind of fan-fiction!
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Lauren: I'm a combination of both! I start out with just writing, and then after I get a firm foot in the story I'm telling, I force myself to write a really detailed outline of the rest of the book.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Lauren: Every book has its own challenges, just like each one has its own joys. It really changes from story to story.
TQ: How different is it writing a book for adults vs. young adults?
Lauren: Again, I think it is really a matter of the individual book rather than the age it's meant for. Adult books are obviously tonally and thematically different than children's book, but the process of writing remains pretty similar.
TQ: Describe Rooms in 140 characters or less.
Lauren: Here is EXACTLY 140 characters!
After the death of the patriarch, a family goes home to clean out the house. They are watched by the ghosts that inhabit the walls. SECRETS!
TQ: Tell us something about Rooms that is not in the book description.
Lauren: There is a story within the story called The Raven Heliotrope.
TQ: Rooms is described by your publisher a "ghost story." Why ghosts?
Lauren: I'm kind of obsessed with ghosts! Rooms is my third published novel to include a character that speaks from the afterlife (after Before I Fall and Liesl & Po). I think we're all interested in exploring what an afterlife would be like.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
Lauren: That's a difficult question to answer. I guess in some ways, Trenton was easiest. He'd existed in various permutations of the novel, since its earliest inception. I knew him very well when I sat down to write. And I think Sandra was possibly the hardest. Her vocabulary and her experiences were so distinct from mine, and I wanted to give her sections resonance while having to restrict myself to her kind of curt, somewhat crass voice.
TQ: Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Rooms.
Lauren: That is what it is to be alive: The dust doesn’t blow backward for you. The roads remain. For the shortest time, shorter than the shortest second’s breath, you get to stand up to infinity. But eventually, and always, infinity wins.
TQ: What's next?
Lauren: My next YA Novel, Vanishing Girls, is coming out this Spring! After that I have a new Middle Grade series that I'm very excited for. :)
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Ecco, September 23, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.
Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.
But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.
The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.
Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.
Lauren Oliver is the author of the New York Times bestselling YA novels Before I Fall, Panic, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem. Her books have been translated into thirty languages. She is also the author of two novels for middle-grade readers, The Spindlers and Liesl & Po, which was a 2012 E. B. White Read-Aloud Award nominee. Lauren's first adult novel, Rooms, will be published in September 2014. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU's MFA program, Lauren Oliver is also the co-founder of the boutique literary development company Paper Lantern Lit. You can visit her online at www.laurenoliverbooks.com