Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of the upcoming YA novel, Crazy Beautiful. It will be released in September of this year. She is also the author of many other books including the YA novels: Angel’s Choice, Secrets of my Suburban Life, and Me, In Between. You can pre-order Crazy Beautiful here.
KBB: What inspired you to be a writer? Was there a certain person or event?
LBL: When I was 12 years old, my English teacher read a story I wrote to the class three days running. For the first time in my life it occurred to me that I had stories to tell that others might want to hear. It took another 20 years for me to walk out on my day job to take a chance on myself as a writer. It was just time.
KBB: Do you have a best and worst moment in your career and if so, what were they?
LBL: I can’t think of a worst although I’ve definitely had my share of bad moments. As for “best,” most of those are somehow tied to my daughter Jackie. For example, when she was three years old, a carton of books arrived with my first published book in it, The Thin Pink Line. Jackie had seen the jpeg of the cover on my computer. She pulled a copy out of the box, then looked at me and said, “Mommy’s book.”
KBB: What do you consider the best thing about writing?
LBL: Writing. Seriously, I just love the actual writing, getting to explore ideas and tell my stories the way I want to tell them.
KBB: Is there a genre that you particularly like writing?
LBL: I love everything I do: both comedy and drama for adults, books for teens, tweens, and even younger kids. I do find YA to be particularly rewarding. It’s just so exciting how much you can explore in that area.
KBB: How did you come up with the idea for Crazy Beautiful? I know it says that it is a contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast but how did you transition the story to this time period?
LBL: Two years ago I was in New York doing a round of editor meetings. One night we took Jackie to see “Beauty & the Beast” on Broadway and I started thinking how it’s the one Disneyfied fairy tale that’s most successfully been translated onto stage and screen so that it really does appeal to all ages. I further started thinking that that’s because it’s the only one where the male lead is more than just a Ken doll there to make the female look good. If anything, he’s by far the more complex character. Before I knew it, I began thinking of a contemporary story involving teens where the boy’s physical affliction, by which the world judges him harshly based on his appearance, was somehow the fault of his own making and the emotional journey he would need to undergo to make himself whole again.
KBB: Is Beauty and the Beast your favorite fairytale? If not, what is and is there any chance that you might possibly do a retelling of that in the future?
LBL: It’s definitely my favorite fairy tale right now! But who knows what the future might bring? I do love taking classics and playing around with them to give them a modern spin. One of my adult books, How Nancy Drew Saved My Life, is one part Nancy Drew, one part Jane Eyre and one part Chick-Lit. I call it my comic gothic. I’m also working on something that plays with Little Women.
KBB: Do you have a favorite character from Crazy Beautiful or maybe just a character you can relate to?
LBL: Aurora’s librarian father maybe is the most like me? Seriously, I’ve never had the problems Lucius has and I’ve certainly never been as gorgeous as Aurora. In terms of favorite characters, I am rather partial to Lucius. Like the Beast, he’s just so complex, plus he shoots a mean game of pool. I love shooting pool.
KBB: How did you come up with the title Crazy Beautiful? Were there any other possibilities?
LBL: Crazy Beautiful, the title, comes from the two main characters: the reputation of Lucius is that he’s crazy while Aurora is so obviously beautiful. I didn’t even know at the time that there was a Kirsten Dnst movie with the same name! The only other title I ever considered was Aurora Belle.
KBB: Are you currently writing or planning on writing any more YA books?
LBL: My next YA novel is called The Education of Bet and is due out in spring 2010. It’s set in Victorian England and is about a 16-year-old girl who impersonates a boy in order to get a proper education.
KBB: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
LBL: I always say the same two things. Read, read, read – everything you can get your hands on, because you can’t be a good writer without being a good reader first. And always remember: the only person who can ever really take you out of the game is you.
KBB: Thanks again, Lauren! I can’t wait for Crazy Beautiful to be released and I actually just bought a copy of Angel’s Choice so I will have to read that sometime soon. Readers if you would like to know anything else about Lauren you can visit her at her website: www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com.