Thursday, December 04, 2008
FEATURED AUTHOR: Lauren Baratz-Logsted
By the end of 2008, Lauren Baratz-Logsted will have had 12 books published since 2003 in a variety of genres: six novels for adults, including Vertigo, The Thin Pink Line, and Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes; three for teens, including Angel's Choice and Secrets of My Suburban Life; and for young readers, the first two volumes in The Sisters Eight series, co-written with her husband Greg Logsted and their eight-year-old daughter Jackie. Lauren is also the editor and a contributor to the anthology This Is Chick-Lit. You can read more about her life and work at http://www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com/.
THE SISTERS EIGHT is a nine-book series about that rarest of things, octuplets, eight sisters – not quite eight years old – who find themselves plunged into adventure. On New Year’s Eve, Mommy goes into the kitchen for eggnog while Daddy goes out to the shed for firewood…and neither returns. Now the Eights, as they are known, must solve the mystery of what happened to Mommy and Daddy while keeping the greater world from realizing that eight little girls are living home alone.
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
I'd like them to have fun, no matter what their age. THE SISTERS EIGHT books are targeted for the 6- to 10-year-old market, but we tried to create books that, like those of Roald Dahl, would have something for readers of all ages.
What is your favorite scene from your book?
It's so hard to say! Maybe the one where Annie tricks Pete the mechanic into teaching her how to drive Mommy's Hummer? And then she creates a Daddy costume, complete with fedora and handlebar mustache, which she wears while Durinda pushes the pedals while she drives because she can't reach them?
Why did you elect to write for children?
That's an easy one. My daughter, Jackie, has always been proud of my career, but she's never been able to read any of my books because the content is too mature. So when she was six, her father Greg Logsted (also a writer), she and I brainstormed THE SISTERS EIGHT while stranded in Colorado by a blizzard. (Jackie's eight now.)
What did you learn while writing this book?
That it's a lot more challenging writing with two other people...but also it's a lot more fun!
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
That writers, or at least most writers, work very hard at what they do. It's not that easy to string together 50,000-100,000 words - or even just 20,000, in the case of books for young readers - and wind up with something that people other than your own mother will pay good money for. We mean well; we really do. We just don't always succeed.
What is the best lesson you have learned from another Children book writer?
From a lot of children's writers I've learned: never talk down to kids. I agree.
What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
Staying published! Really, you spend years trying to break into this business, only to find it's even tougher to keep going. That said, I love my job and I'm grateful to have it.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
Listen to political news almost all day long while working and watch "General Hospital."
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
That it's harder writing the second book than the first; that the rejection never stops; that you have little control over anything but the quality of the writing. But I still love my job! Did I mention that I love my job? I do.
How do you reach new readers?
Through blogging and doing as much networking as I can on the Internet. Oh, and crossing my fingers; I do that a lot too.
Can you give us five Children book authors you admire?
Sarah Dessen, Laurie Halse Anderson, Marcus Zusak, Roald Dahl and Greg Logsted (how can I not mention my husband???).
If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?
Since you didn't limit it to children's authors, I'm going to go with William Shakespeare, Charlotte Bronte and Gabriel Garcia Marquez because they're just giants. I'd add F. Scott Fitzgerald, but that would be being greedy.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a children’s book writer?
As mentioned above: don't talk down to children in your writing. In terms of the "do," do listen to real children talking so you can develop an ear for their voices. Oh, and do read children's books too. It's tough to write for an audience if you don't know what they really like.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
My website is http://www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com/ and there's an email link there. Readers can also learn more about THE SISTERS EIGHT series at http://www.sisterseight.com/.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
Greg, Jackie and I have written the first four of THE SISTERS EIGHT books. My next book on my own is CRAZY BEAUTIFUL, a young adult novel due out in mid-2009 that's a contemporary beauty-and-the-beast tale about a gorgeous girl and a boy with hooks for hands. Thank you so much for having me!
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