Please welcome the fabulous author of Before I Fall and Delirium, Lauren Oliver!
Lauren Oliver comes from a family of writers and so has always (mistakenly) believed that spending hours in front of the computer every day, mulling over the difference between “chortling” and “chuckling,” is normal. She has always been an avid reader.
She attended the University of Chicago, where she continued to be as impractical as possible by majoring in philosophy and literature. After college, she attended the MFA program at NYU and worked briefly as the world’s worst editorial assistant, and only marginally better assistant editor, at a major publishing house in New York. Her major career contributions during this time were flouting the corporate dress code at every possible turn and repeatedly breaking the printer. Before I Fall is her first published novel.
She is deeply grateful for the chance to continue writing, as she has never been particularly good at anything else.
3LB: Who or what inspired you to write? Do you have any role models?
My love of reading inspired my desire to write. When I was little, I wrote early versions of “fan fiction”; when I finished reading a book I loved, I would continue to write its sequels, as a way of existing a little longer in that world. I have a ton of role models, including various authors I admire and my parents, both of whom inspired in me a love of literature and an intense creative orientation to the world. My sister is also a role model; as any younger sibling does, I absolutely venerate her.
3LB: Delirium is set in a futuristic world in which love is considered a disease. What was your inspiration behind that idea?
The idea for Delirium came from an essay I read by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in which he wrote that all great books were about love or death. The next day I was thinking about that quote--particularly about how and in what form a modern love story could be told--while I was on the treadmill at the gym. I was simultaneously watching a news story about a flu outbreak that had everyone freaking out about the possibility of a pandemic, and I was kind of marvelling that people so easily go into panics about reports of these diseases, and at some point the two trains of thought--love, and disease--just sort of combined in my head.
3LB: Do you share personality characteristics with any of your characters? Did you put part of yourself in them as you they were being created on paper and ink?
Yes, definitely. I think that’s the only way to make characters feel real and also to feel invested in them—and hopefully get the reader to be invested in them too. I always say this, but I really do believe that novels are like dreams: every character is you.
3LB: What’s the hardest part of the novel to write? (By the way, the hardest part for me to read was the end. I was trying not to cry, because I was in class…)
I think the beginning and the end of any book are easy; I find everything else very, very difficult. That sounds kind of strange, but it’s true. Moving through that wilderness of the middle section, not knowing whether what you’re doing is good or bad or stupid or nonsensical, is so, so difficult. And it’s a phase that lasts for months and months!
3LB: If Delirium was to be made into a movie, who would you want to be in it?
Oh, dear. I don’t know! I never, ever see movies, so I’m a terrible person to ask. I’ve only seen two movies since January 2010!
3LB: Holy mashed potatoes, how have you survived?? Anyways, can you give us any hints on what’s going to happen in Pandemonium? ;)
Not a chance! I will say that it takes place in two different time frames, and Lena is the narrator.
I’m in the middle of writing Requiem now, the third book in the Delirium trilogy. I have a middle-grade book called Liesl and Po coming out this fall, which I’m quite proud of. And I’m editing another untitled middle-grade, too, which will be published in Fall 2012.
3LB: If you were to go live on an island and could only choose 5 books to take with you, what would you choose?
Man, I hate this question! It’s so difficult. Probably Matilda, by Roald Dahl; The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, as I could read them both endlessly; Remembrances of Things Past, by Proust, only because it would take me forever to get through it; and probably the complete book of the fairy tales of the Grimm brothers.
I’m inclined to say read minds, but that would take much of the mystery and wonder (and yes, sometimes pain) out of life. So I would probably choose the ability to fly.
3LB: What do you do to unwind and relax?
I read, or I cook for friends.
Thank you, Lauren! It was great having you. For more information about Lauren and her books, visit: