March 28, 2012

An Interview With LAUREN OLIVER

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver visited Manila recently to promote her latest novel, PANDEMONIUM, a follow up to the bestselling book DELIRIUM.  This was upon the invitation of National Book Store as part of their ongoing efforts to bring over some of the world’s most well loved authors. 
 I was lucky enough to have been invited for a one-on-one interview with Lauren.  I was touched by her genuine delight in being among her many fans here.  She is a charming and effervescent interviewee. An incredible multi-tasker, she is simultaneously writing several books, doing interviews, book signings, note writing/checking for the script of Delirium the movie and is also currently planning her wedding set for September this year.  Lauren is an amazing woman and it was a pleasure talking to her.  Here’s our conversation:

So how are you enjoying your stay in Manila?
I’m loving it! It’s been very quick I go tomorrow.  I’m going down to Australia.

You just met your fans at the signing, how do your Filipino fans compare to those from other parts of the world?
All my fans are exactly the same which is very cute.  They’re all so enthusiastic and what amazed me is how similar avid readers are around the world.  They’re Very smart.

So many fans are looking forward to the third and last book of the trilogy REQUIEM.  What can you tell us about it?
I’m not gonna tell you very much of anything. I will say that requiem takes place in two different points of view which is kinda interesting.  I’ll let you have one guess whose it is.
No? So there’s nothing you can tell me at all?
You gotta wait.  It’s coming out march 1st 2013 so you just gotta re-read pandemonium.

Ok. But If you were Lena (the main protagonist in the Delirium trilogy) though, who would you choose between Alex and Julian?
It’s not necessarily about choice.  Sometimes life chooses things for you.  For anything else please wait for Requiem to come out…(laughs)

You did write a short story of Hana (Lena’s bestfriend).  Will we be seeing her at all in Requiem?
Yes. we do get to see her, we get to see Grace, we get to see some people from Delirium that we have not seen subsequently because Pandemonium took us away from Portland.  We might meet Lena’s mother again in Requiem, let’s see..

After Requiem, what other books can we look forward to?
I am working on a book now which is a return to realistic fiction called Panic.  I can’t say that much about it because it is in its very early stages, it is fun for me because though I loved writing the dystopian series, this is a stand alone so it harkens back into my first book before I fall although as my editor says this takes place on the other side of the tracks, before I fall took place in a wealthy community.  This is a rural very poor part of America where the kids lose themselves in a very different way.  There is love in it but there’s a lot about fear.  I have another middle grade book coming out this fall called the Spindlers.  It’s kind of a subterranean journey.  A girl has to go rescue her brother’s soul from these spider people who live underground, she teams up with this enormous rat called Mirabella who wears this newspaper hat and a skirt and it’s crazy, they meet all these creatures down below so it’s fun.

You have rats and spiders, then you have dystopian and contemporary stories.  Where do you get your ideas?
I get a lot of ideas from fairy tales.  The idea for panic came from a fairy tale by Grimm where this brother sets out to see if he can be scared, he’s too simple to be scared so he sets out to do all these tasks that scare him.  So that was a premise that grew and evolved and changed.  And I get ideas from artwork.  The ideas for Spindlers came from both a Maurice Sendak book that I loved when I was younger and an artwork my sister gave me that is this really creepy piece of artwork that showed this baby and this crib in the foreground and these terrible looking creatures coming in and at the bottom it say “it’s fairy time” underneath and it’s really scary.

Which authors do you read a lot?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ian McEwan has a large body of work which is nice.  But I read a lot of mysteries too.  I love mysteries and I think you can learn a lot about plotting from them and suspense.  I love Stephen King.  I would love to meet him someday.

A lot of YA books are being adapted into movies, are you looking forward to that happening with Delirium?
Delirium and Before I Fall were both optioned for film. They both have very strong producers, studios and scripts attached to them. I’m actually supposed to give notes on the script for Delirium today.  So I am looking forward to having that happen, I mean it’s a really large process, it’s like making the world’s largest soufflĂ© because you have to have all of these different elements in place at the same exact time so it’s a process that can take 5 months if everything goes correctly or 5 years so we will see.

Speaking of the movie, are there particular artists you’re looking forward to playing the parts?
I really don’t know because there are so many new young actors and actresses who are incredibly talented and fill the role.  I think the fans have a better sense than I do and I get a lot of casting advice from my fans on a regular basis because they’re more in touch with the younger generation of film stars.  I’m still like George Clooney, great!
I love George Clooney, he can play the uncle
Exactly yeah

But I wonder who can play Lena, Julian and Alex?
Not Justin Beiber that’s all I know.
He’s too young?
No he’s getting up there, he’s like 18 man and he’s hitting the wall.
But Lena is Magdalena so I’m thinking more Hispanic?
Yah I was thinking Selena Gomez, she has dark hair and she is very very pretty and she looks like a regular girl which is kind of nice.  But definitely no Miley Cyrus, she’s too old now though.

What’s your process when you write? Do you have typical habits while writing?
I don’t think I have any habits honestly. I used to say I need coffee to live but I’ve really cut down.  I used to drink 10 to 14 cups a day and now I’m only at like 6.  But I have trained myself out of habits partly because writers get very fussy about where they need to write but all that means is when you don’t have those things you’re not gonna be able to write that day so I’ve trained myself to write wherever whenever on anything.  I can write by hand, I can write on my blackberry, I can write on my computer.  Really whatever is fine.  I’ve written in the back of cars, in the back of taxis, in bathrooms, on airplanes.

When do the best ideas hit you?
The best ideas usually hit me when I’m in two places.  Either when I’m running or when I’m taking a shower.  I think because both are places when your mind is really relaxed.

How do you relax?
My kinds of relaxing are either running or eating and drinking wine.  So those are the ways I relax.  My ideal day would include a really nice run, a great meal, wine and reading.

How in touch are you with your fans?
I’m really in contact with my fans. I write them back…sometimes it takes me while to write them back but I email people back and I’m active on my blog and I’m there on twitter.  I actually wished I had more time in the day to do more of that but it’s simply not possible to do all the connecting you wish you could do and still write. But it means something to them and to me.

Do you have a playlist with your books? Coz a lot of writers have that now especially YA.
I made a playlist for Delirium awhile ago and it’s on my Amazon page but it’s so long ago I don’t even remember what’s on it.  I need to do that with pandemonium.  See a lot of writers write with music, I don’t.  I tend not to.  But I was asked what would be Alex and Lena’s song so I decided their song is Romeo & Juliet by the Dire Straits.  That’s a really good song for them.  You just have to listen to it a couple of times and it will break your heart.  It is an amazing song.

How about Julian and Lena?
I was originally thinking about this song by Alanis Morisette but I don’t remember the title, it’s like “you’ve already won me over…”… I could sing it. I like that but then I think the Ryan Adams song “Lucky Now” off of his new album.

So what else can your many many fans expect from you in the next few years?
I know I will be writing more Young Adult definitely.  I really have a great aspiration to do a big fantasy epic middle grade book but it hasn’t so far materialized so that may take a while.  I’m also writing an adult book so that will be a new challenge for my fans and for me.  And hopefully they can expect movies to come out of it.

All Lauren Oliver books are all available at National Book Store branches nationwide.


  1. Nice post! I attended the book-signing event. In Oliver's latest blog post, she hinted on returning to the Philippines, possibly when is Requiem is out. Ma'am, have you read Divergent by Veronica Roth? It's a cross between The Hunger Games and Delirium.

  2. that would be great! she is really sweet and wasn't afraid to try Pinoy food...i hope she does returm here when Requiem comes out next March. something we can look forward to. No, i have not read Divergent yet...

  3. Wow! Lauren Oliver is so coool! Before I fall is made of awesome! My friends and I talked about it for weeks. I am not a super fan of Delirium but I am really intrigued if Alex is alive... I should really read Pandemonium. :)

  4. This is really cool! I didn't know you had a book blog. I wasn't able to attend the signing event because we were still in Surigao when it happened. I just found out about it when I saw it on TV AFTER. The woes!

  5. I'm envious! I wish I get to interview even one of my favorite writers too.

  6. OMG! where was I? I didnt have any idea about this til about last month.. arghh!

  7. I hope there's a 'like' button here because I like your post! I really hope she comes back here again next year. I'm a fan of Delirium and Pandemonium and I regret that I missed her book signing event here. Ms. Lyn, you may want to read Divergent series, it's superb! :)