An Interview with Lauren Oliver

Written by Melanie Foust

Lauren Oliver is the author of Before I Fall, the Delirium trilogy, and Liesl and Po.

 

If you got the chance to re-do any day somewhat like Samantha Kingston, the MC in Before I Fall, without the dying part, would you?

What would I have to give up? Would it mean changing certain aspects of my future? Because if so, definitely not. I’ve had some difficult times, but I am ultimately grateful and happy for where I am now. But if I could redo any day (without dying), and redo certain things without substantively altering my future—then yes. But I’m not telling you which day it is!

 

What is the difference between the original hardcover and the special edition hardcover of Delirium?

Well, first of all, the cover—but there’s also a sneak peek of Pandemonium,
the second book in the series, and an exclusive interview with moi!

 

Lena, the main character in Delirium, struggles with deciding whether or not to believe the propaganda that love is wrong. What propoganda is currently being aimed at teens?

Oh, the usual stuff. I think pretty much every magazine targeted at young woman is full of propaganda, and promotes unhealthy and unrealistic body ideals, as well as sexual/romantic myths (*Please your guy! Make him love you!*). In this country, there has always been tremendous propaganda surrounding success, and the idea that wealth can and will make you happy and does mean that you’re successful.

 

Is there an official name for the trilogy Delirium is the beginning of?

I always called it the *Love* trilogy. But my publishers simply call it the Delirium trilogy.

 

Two of your novels have been optioned. Have you gotten any news on their production statuses recently?

I know that the hunt for the BIF director goes on, and the script for Delirium is almost done! I can’t wait to read it.

 

There aren't too many authors who write in more than one genre. After your debut novel, Before I Fall, was it difficult to find a publisher for your dystopian series?

No, actually. My publishers were thrilled to have Delirium, and they were incredibly excited when I expanded into middle grade fiction as well. I am lucky to have a very open-minded and supportive editor, Rosemary Brosnan, and publishing house (HarperCollins).

 

You've expanded your writing resume even farther with your first MG novel,Liesl and Po, released on October 4th. Was there a significant difference between writing MG versus YA?

Oh, you know, each book is its own thing. Writing Before I Fall was very
different from writing Delirium; writing Liesl and Po was then different from writing either of those two books. And yet, at the end of the day, there are an incredible number of similarities, too: it’s you and your computer,and you let the characters speak to you through the keys.

 

Along with a bunch of other authors, you're part of a nonfiction
anthology, Dear Bully. Without giving away too much, what is your particular essay about?

My essay is simply about learning to celebrate complexity and boundary-less identity. I’m a no-boundaries kind of person.

 

You've worked on the publishing side as well. Did that give you a greater appreciation of how much work it takes to get a book on the shelves?

I always knew how much work it was. My father is a nonfiction writer, and sometimes his books take him 5-6 years to complete! So I knew.

 

Reading the about page on your blog, it seems like you're a lover of fashion. What's one (just one!) must-have accessory?

Great diamond stud earrings, or a really nice fake pair!

 

What's there to love about living in Brooklyn?

Everything. The food (amazing restaurant culture), the relaxed atmosphere, the fact that so many of my friends are so close, and Prospect Park, which I use as my personal backyard.

 

From working at a night club, a publishing house, and now being a novelist, have you ever had a boring job?

I was often bored at the nightclub! I babysat, which was occasionally boring depending on the kids, and I lifeguarded, which pretty much entailed sitting in a chair all day. But for the most part, I’ve been lucky and have worked pretty cool jobs.