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Monday, June 14, 2010

Ten Tantalizing Questions for Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Author of The Twin's Daughter!



Have you ever wanted to learn more about your favorite authors?
Ten Tantalizing Questions is designed not only to showcase exciting books on the horizon, but to also provide a glimpse into the personalities of the authors behind them.



There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes. ~William Makepeace Thackeray


The Twin’s Daughter is a story about Lucy Sexton, a girl whose world is turned upside down when her mother’s identical twin sister, separated at birth, appears on the family’s doorstep. Can you tell us a little more about the book, and share with us a favorite line, scene or passage from the book?

"Fly at me, Lucy."
I flew.

How's that for cryptic? I also love the last line of the book - but I can't tell you what that is! - and I love pages 166-172, the scene that ends Part II, midway through the book. It's one of the most dramatic scenes I've ever written and if The Twin's Daughter were a play the curtain would come down and the (hopefully) stunned audience would need to take an intermission before going forward. I'll just add that the book takes place in Victorian England and that Aunt Helen's arrival on the Sexton doorstep heralds changes in Lucy's life like none she's ever dreamed of.

What three words do you think best describe The Twin‘s Daughter?

Dark. Suspenseful. Romantic.

Do you draw from the personalities of the people in your life when constructing characters in your novels?

Short answer: No. Slightly longer answer: Sometimes a character may express some of my ideas - for example, when Bet in The Education of Bet speaks about the importance of never underappreciating the need for an education or when Angel in Angel's Choice speaks of the importance of never allowing others to take away one's power over personal decisions - they speak for me, but that's as far as it goes. The characters are themselves. Take a book like Crazy Beautiful: I've never known anyone as tragic as Lucius and I've certainly never known anyone as perfect as Aurora.

The female characters in your novels are strong, gutsy and intelligent leads. What types of feedback have you received from readers regarding your books? Has there been anything that really resonated with you in particular?

A teen wrote after reading Angel's Choice, "This book has taught me to make my own decisions, and to say 'no.' " How could that not make me happy? And for The Sisters 8 series for young readers, which I created with my husband Greg Logsted (www.greglogsted.com) and our daughter Jackie (http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/features/sisters8/) and which features strong, gutsy, intelligent little girls who happen to be octuplets, the response has been phenomenal. We hear from not just kids but also their teachers, parents, and even grandparents. Really, I love hearing from readers.

From teen pregnancy in Angel’s Choice to the Victorian thriller Vertigo, you have written numerous novels for adults, teens and children. Is there one in particular that was the most challenging for you as a writer?

The Twin's Daughter was challenging because it's such a big book both in size and scope. It's nearly 100,000 words, making it twice as long as Crazy Beautiful or The Education of Bet, and the story unfolds over a period of several years. Crazy Beautiful was also challenging with its he-said/she-said dual-storyteller format plus I'd never written from the viewpoint of a 5-year-old boy before. Finally, The Sisters 8 - with eight main characters in nearly every scene together, plus supporting characters, it is a constant challenge making sure each character has their own dialogue in a scene and that that dialogue reflects the character's unique personality.

If you could inhabit the life of one literary character (yours included), and dive into their world for just one day, who would you choose and why?

I'd love to be Lucy Sexton in The Twin's Daughter on the day that ____ comes back from ____. It's incredibly romantic and I am a romantic at heart.

What is the biggest surprise you’ve experienced since becoming a published author?

The relentlessness of everything. Before you get published, you just dream of it happening, as if all your problems will then be solved - it's a little like losing those last 10 pounds. But there are always problems when you're a writer, even if the problems post-pub are different than those pre-pub. I'm not complaining, though!

When you have a free day with no responsibilities looming overhead, and your only mission is to enjoy yourself, what do you like to do for fun?

Anything with my daughter. One of our favorite things to do is go to the movies together when it's a movie that's been out for a while so there are few people in the audience. We take up six seats in the back row, three for each of us, and lie down sideways head-to-head.

What were you like as a teen? Can you tell us what types of books were your favorites and whether you always knew you wanted to be a writer?

I was odd as a teen. I was neither a jock nor a hood, nor a theatre person nor any of the other boxes people were classified in. I refused to be pigeonholed so in some ways I belonged nowhere while in other ways I went everywhere. I loved to read so many things back then - still do! It was when I was a teen that I discovered John Irving and I used to love Stephen King, also the classics. Books like The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Separate Peace - I loved them all. I've been interested in writing since I was 12 but when I was a teen I thought I was going to be a psychologist when I grew up.

Your upcoming novel The Education of Bet is about a girl determined to follow her dreams in a time when many obstacles hindered women from higher education. Can you tell us a little more about The Education of Bet and any other projects in the works?

Like The Twin's Daughter, The Education of Bet takes place in Victorian England. But the latter book is much more lighthearted in spirit than The Twin's Daughter. Bet's mother was a maid who died of typhoid when Bet was very young and Bet never knew who her father was. She was raised in the home of wealthy Paul Gardener, the great-uncle of Will whose own parents both died of typhoid. I know, that doesn't sound very lighthearted yet! Anyway, when they are teens, Will hates going away to school. He'd rather be in the military. Bet, on the other hand, wants nothing more than a crack at the kind of serious education that was not available to girls like her back then - girls could go to school, but the maid's daugher getting a posh education? I don't think so. So she devises an elaborate plan whereby they can both get what they want: She'll impersonate Will. As for what else is in the works, Book 6 in The Sisters 8 series, Petal's Problems, comes out on October 4, and next year - I don't have a date yet - The Middle March will be released. It's a YA novel about a teen who manages to break through the space/time continuum to somehow find herself living as the fifth March sister in Little Women.




Lauren Baratz- Logsted began writing for adults, but has also written for teens and for tweens. Greg Logsted, husband of Lauren, has written one novel.

Jackie Logsted, daughter of Lauren and Greg, is making her literary debut. She is eight years old.

The Baratz-Logsted/Logsted family lives in Danbury, Connecticut.

To learn more about Lauren and her books, visit her Official Website.

WANT MORE?

Interview with Lauren Baratz-Logsted discussing Crazy Beautiful.
One Question Blog Tour celebrating The Education of Bet.
Guest Post with Lauren Baratz-Logsted discussing writing with husband Greg and daughter Jackie.
Review of Crazy Beautiful.
Pre-order The Twin's Daughter and enter to win The Twin's Daughter Pre-Order Contest going on here at the Book Butterfly! You will be eligible to win a SIGNED copy of Crazy Beautiful!

3 comments:

Liz Cush said...

I have an award for you over at http://theshelf2010.blogspot.com/

Blueicegal ♥ said...

ok i just have to saw your blog is utter cuteness!!!!

Jennie Englund said...

That picture of cupcakes looks SO yummy!

All kinds of blogs have
cupcake-i-ness right now, and I'm STARVING!!!