Lauren Oliver captivated readers with her first novel, the New York Times bestseller Before I Fall, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. She followed that up with Delirium and Pandemonium, the first two books in her bestselling trilogy, which concludes with Requiem. Delirium has been optioned for film by Fox 2000 Pictures. Oliver is also the author of two luminous novels for middle-grade readers, The Spindlers and Liesl & Po, which was named a Kirkus Best Book of the Year. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU’s MFA program, Lauren Oliver lives in Brooklyn, New York. You can visit her online at her website, Wikipedia, and Tumblr.
Let the conversation begin!
What one word describes you?
Disciplined. Wait, that’s so boring. Okay, I’m changing it. Passionate.
If I gave you a brick, what would you do with it?
Use it as a paperweight OR bake brick-chicken with it.
What do you do when you see a spider in your house?
Smash it. Unless it’s a really cute spider, in which case I catch and release.
Do you bake or buy?
Buy. But I love to cook.
What kitchen utensil would you be? Why?
A meat thermometer. I can handle the heat.
Should you tip for takeout?
If you can afford it, of course.
If you could be anyone else, who would you be? Why?
Beyonce. I don’t feel I need to explain.
If you were to attend a costume party tonight, who would you be? Why?
I don’t know, but it would have to involve feathers. I’m in a feathers-phase. So…Big Bird?
Which is worse, being in a place that is too loud or too quiet?
What is one quality that you really appreciate in a person?
What is the most distinguishing landmark in your city?
Most people would say the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. I like the Brooklyn Bridge!
What classifies as a boring conversation? What classifies as an interesting one?
Boring conversation = a conversation in which no one asks a question or expresses a point of view
Interesting conversation = one in which people have different opinions
What is your favorite board game?
What food item would you remove from the market altogether?
Bananas and flavored yogurts.
What would you rather have, a nanny, a housekeeper, a cook, or a chauffeur?
Definitely a housekeeper. I’m incredibly messy.
Would you rather be trapped in an elevator or stuck in traffic?
Stuck in traffic! I live in terror of being stuck in an elevator.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book EVER? Or my first published book? My first published book is called Before I Fall and it was inspired by my meditations about social hierarchies in high school.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Probably, but I’m not sure I know how to describe it!
What do you think you do best in your writing? Bragging is encouraged.
I think I’m good at generating realistic characters and at basic “style” stuff—like metaphors, lyricism, and vivid language. I am less-good at world-building and at keeping the action moving!
What books have most influenced your life?
It’s too hard to pick. I’ve been a lifelong reader; I’ve been inspired and influenced by almost everything I’ve read.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
My father, for sure. He writes nonfiction books, so ourchosen genres are very different, but he’s definitely been my mentor!
What book are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading THE NEAR WITCH, by Victoria Schwab, and OUR SONG, by Jordanna Fraiberg.
Name one entity that supported your writing journey outside of family members.
Harper Collins! They’ve supported my books from the start. And Dub Pies in Brooklyn, where I get my coffee.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I want to change small things on every page—turns-of-phrase, images, redundancies. But I don’t have any burning desire to change any of the major action.
What initially inspired you to pursue a career in writing?
I’ve just always loved to write. I don’t think I ever assumed I would be able to make my career as a writer—but I always knew that I would write stories. At a certain point, I just decided to see whether anyone else wanted to read them!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing?
Plotting, for sure! And world-building. I’m working on both.
What comes easily?
Dialogue, character development, and description.
Who’s your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I can’t list a favorite—that would be like asking me to name a favorite, I don’t know, pasta shape! THEY’RE ALL SO DELICIOUS.