Today we're excited to chat with Lorie Langdon, author of Olivia Twist. Read on for more about Lorie and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Lorie Langdon!
Lorie Langdon is the Amazon best-selling author of YA novels such as; the Doon Series, Gilt Hollow, and the upcoming historical retelling, Olivia Twist, which has received a starred review from Booklist Magazine and will be sold in Target Stores across the nation. She has been featured on such media outlets as; USAToday.com, NPR Radio, EntertainmentWeekly.com, RedbookMagazine.com, Girl’s Life Magazine, and BroadwayWorld.com. Her first novel, Doon, has over 2,200 five-star reviews on Goodreads and has been optioned for film by Dreamstreet and Lonetree Entertainment. She is a self-professed Wonder Woman Wannabe who lives in Ohio with her husband and two superhero obsessed teenage sons.
Olivia Brownlow is no damsel in distress. Born in a workhouse and raised as a boy among thieving London street gangs, she is as tough and cunning as they come. When she is taken in by her uncle after a caper gone wrong, her life goes from fighting and stealing on the streets to lavish dinners and soirees as a debutante in high society. But she can’t seem to escape her past ... or forget the teeming slums where children just like her still scrabble to survive.
Jack MacCarron rose from his place in London’s East End to become the adopted “nephew” of a society matron. Little does society know that MacCarron is a false name for a boy once known among London gangs as the Artful Dodger, and that he and his “aunt” are robbing them blind every chance they get. When Jack encounters Olivia Brownlow in places he least expects, his curiosity is piqued. Why is a society girl helping a bunch of homeless orphan thieves? Even more intriguing, why does she remind him so much of someone he once knew? Jack finds himself wondering if going legit and risking it all might be worth it for love.
A Chat with Lorie Langdon:
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Like all the best stories, this one began when I was a child. After my Grandma took me to see a rerelease of the movie musical Oliver!, I became obsessed with the story and would sit in my room and listen to the double album soundtrack for hours, making up new stories about the characters. In my favorite daydream, Oliver had been born a girl and was disguising her true gender as a safety measure. This way, I could imagine myself as the heroine of the story and the Artful Dodger as the hero. In my childhood fantasies, the two would have endless adventures and eventually fall in love and escape from poverty. I blame this train of thought on the actor Jack Wild, who played Dodger in the film and became my first celebrity crush!
As a teen, I devoured every bit of historical fiction I could get my hands on, including the classic Dickens’ novel, Oliver Twist. I quickly realized two things: The Artful Dodger was not the hero I’d envisioned, and the film had missed a major character; Oliver’s half-brother, the villainous Monks. When I began writing my own books, the dynamic duo of Jack and Olivia would not leave me alone, and a mash-up of the original novel and the film began to solidify in my mind.
2. Who is your favorite character in the book?
Although I love Jack (maybe a bit too intensely!), Olivia is my favorite character. Her sense of justice, kindness, and love grounds the story. She experienced a harrowing childhood as an orphan living on the streets and uses what she learned to fight for those who can’t help themselves. Even after she’s taken in by her wealthy uncle, she doesn’t forget those who are still suffering. Her ability to circumvent the restrictions society has placed on her as a female, while still accomplish her goals, is one of my favorite things about her. It sounds odd, but Olivia inspires me to be a better person!
3. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
There’s a scene early in the book that embodies one of the major themes in the story. Interestingly, I wrote this scene in a later revision of the book. Jack “the Artful Dodger” who spent his childhood on the London streets picking pockets to survive, stops to help a homeless boy:
Kneeling, so that he met the boy’s gaze at eye level, he said, “Do not bow to any man, toff or thief. They’re no better than you. Do you understand?”
I tell my own sons that no one is better than them, but they are no better than anyone else. It doesn’t matter what your background is or how much money or success you have or don’t have—we are equally human and worthy.
4. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I like this question because I think it’s important to communicate to aspiring authors that we ALL struggle while writing. I struggled in the beginning and I struggle now. Good writing is hard work. Even after completing seven books and working on my eighth, there are times that I question my abilities. But I think it’s also important to realize that you are the only one who can tell your story. Your ideas, your voice, your words are all unique to you and if you believe in your innate gifts as a writer, it will empower you. Write like you KNOW that you can!
5. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Oh...I adore the antique title font, the London skyline, the tagline, and Dodger’s hat and “brolly”...but most of all, I love that the cover conveys that this is a story for all ages!
6. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2018?
I just scored an ARC of A TOUCH OF GOLD by Annie Sullivan and I cannot wait to read this YA fantasy about King Midas’ daughter! It releases August 14th.
7. What was your favorite book in 2017?
My favorite book of 2017 was without a doubt, THE DARK DAYS PACT by Alison Goodman. This is the second book is a regency era fantasy series with espionage, demon-fighters, and romance, wrapped in all the delicious world building of 1812 England. The third and final book is due out later this year. I’ll be dropping everything to read it!
8. What would you say is your superpower?
I’m fond of saying that writing books in my superpower, but on a personal level I have an intuition that boarders on creepy. I can tell when my friends are down even by the tone of an email or text! Some people say I’m an empath which sounds kind of cool and supernatural.
9. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
As I’m writing this, there have been eighteen school shootings this year. Eighteen and it’s only mid- February. It makes me sick to my stomach that children go to school in fear, that students must do “active shooter drills”, that mentally unstable individuals can buy guns legally, that innocent children are being murdered. We must stop it now!
I’ve joined the #NeverAgain movement in lobbying for stricter gun control laws. WE can make our government listen if we band together! Don’t just complain. Write, call, engage. What you do makes a difference. Contacted your representatives in Washington, DC, ask them what they are going to do to reduce gun violence in our country and keep asking until they do something: https://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/general
By: Lorie Langdon
Release Date: March 6, 2018