Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of 20 books for adults, teens and young children, the most recent of which are the YA Victorian suspense novel The Twin’s Daughter and the latest volume in The Sisters 8 series for young readers that she created with her husband and daughter, Book 7: Rebecca’s Rashness. You can read more about Lauren’s life and work here.
Let the conversation begin!
What’s one rule you’re dying to break?
It’s a tie: “Show, don’t tell” and “Write what you know.” Seriously, I hate all that stock advice that’s handed out like candy and that too many would-be writers take far too literally. ‘
Are your characters completely fictional?
Not wanting to get sued, I do not base characters on real people. I do, however, steal anecdotes from real life all the time. In one of my adult books, a limbo contest is recounted that actually happened to my brother in real life. And yes, my mother did once decorate the support pole in the garage in what I refer to as “TV Guide Style” – meaning she taped covers from TV Guide all over it, just like the mother does in A Little Change of Face.
Where do you get your ideas?
The Idea Fairy! I’m not even kidding about that. A few times a year I see or hear something that makes me think, “Hmm…I’ll bet there’s a 250- to 450-page book in that.”
What advice would you give young writers?
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.
What one word describes you?
Resilient. It took me nearly eight years and seven books written before I sold the sixth by myself as part of a two-book deal. You can’t make it very far in this business unless you learn how to withstand rejection and keep moving forward.
What would you like your life to look like in ten years?
I’d like to still be writing but I’d like to be worrying about money just a little bit less. Also, I hope “GeneralHospital;” doesn’t get cancelled.
Daily word count?
It depends on the project I’m working on, anywhere between 1000 words and several thousand words. I’m pretty sure my most productive day still stands at 43 pages and I hope not to repeat that anytime soon. It was insanity.
Outliner or seat-of-the-pants writer?
Both, all project-dependent.
When are you the most productive?
Morning, before self-doubt has had a chance to set in. But if I’m working on a novel, I’m pretty much living it in my head 24 hours a day and will work on it anytime I can.
What element would you add to your writing space if money wasn’t an issue?
A window. No, that would be too distracting in my basement cave. (“Ooh! Squirrel!”) I’ll say a bigger TV so I can see “GeneralHospital” better. Are you sensing a theme here???
What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
What book was the easiest to write? Hardest?
The Sisters 8 series for young readers is the easiest to write because I get to do it with my husband and daughter. I don’t know about the hardest in terms of actual writing but the hardest in terms of restraint was The Twin’s Daughter. The book is broken down into 44 chapters and I would not let myself write more than one chapter a day even if the urge was there to surge forward.
Do you let anyone read your work-in-progress?
I’m not superstitious about my writing so I’m not at all secretive about it but I produce too much in a year to expect anyone else to read all of it. I do have a weekly writers group that I’ve hosted in my home for years so they get to hear one or two books a year.
If there is one genre you’d never write, what is it?
I’ve never written epic fantasy – so involved! So ambitious! So much world-building! That said, I do have an idea…