Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of several novels including How Nancy Drew Saved My Life. She is also the editor of the critically acclaimed This is Chick-Lit, a response to the collection This is NOT Chick-Lit.
Other critically acclaimed books include Vertigo (Bantam), which has been called an “erotic literary thriller” and Angel’s Choice (Simon and Schuster), her first YA novel.
In this two-part interview Lauren discusses her recent work as well as her journey to becoming a published author. She offers insight into navigating the sometimes choppy waters of the publishing industry and gives authors tips on how to build a successful career.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy:
Interview with Lauren Baratz-Logsted
NG: You started writing when you were twelve. Can you tell us a little about how you started and why you continued to write?
Lauren: My English teacher gave us an assignment to write a story using three seemingly unconnected characters: a priest, a nurse, and a camel. I wrote a torrid Thorn Birds type of story where they were stuck on a desert isle, the camel was injured, and the priest fell in love with the nurse, renouncing his vows and grabbing her in a clinch as the camel was airlifted to safety in a helicopter. I guess my teacher liked it because he made the class listen to it three days running. This probably made the other students hate me a bit by that third day, but it was the first glimmering I had that maybe I could tell stories people wanted to hear. I guess that’s why I still write: I have stories to tell and, at least so far, people want to hear them.
NG: What is one thing people should know about your work?
Lauren: That each book is different, whether in voice or theme. The Thin Pink Line (contemporary comedy about a whacky woman faking a pregnancy); Vertigo (Victorian erotic suspense about the negative effects of a claustrophobic society); Angel’s Choice (contemporary serious Young Adult novel about teen pregnancy) – just to name three. The only thing they have in common is they have the same author’s name on each spine.
NG: Do you have any upcoming projects in the works?
Lauren: As far as I know I have two books coming out in 2007: my next comedy for adults, Baby Needs a New Pair of Jimmy Choos, about a window washer who suffers from having an addictive personality; and my second YA, currently called Hailing My Life, about a girl whose novelist mother is crushed to death by a stack of Harry Potter books, so her father moves them to CT where she becomes embroiled in a mystery involving on an online sex predator. In 2008 I’ll have my first tween book out about a 12-year-old who is conflicted about her gorgeous breasts.
NG: Both you and your spouse are writers. Has being in the same profession added to the quality of your relationship?
Lauren: Absolutely. For years we’ve had a six-member group of writers that meets around our table one night a week to share our work and drink wine. He’s been very supportive of my career and, I swear, I’m more excited about his first published book coming out in 2008 than I have been for any of mine. It’s called Sock Puppets in Love. It’s about a thirteen-year-old boy whose father died the previous semester and whose gorgeous new English teacher has now set her eye on him. Greg and I also used to wash windows together in his window-washing business, so there’s that too.
NG: Your novel, Vertigo, is set at the turn of the 20th century. Being that it’s a period piece, how have readers so far related to the story and characters presented in the book?
Lauren: The response has been extremely positive. The Boston Globe compared it favorably to the work of British best-selling suspense writer Ruth Rendell – be still, my heart! – and readers keep writing to ask for a sequel. What writer can ask for more?
NG: You edited and contributed to an anthology called This is Chick-Lit. How has the backlash against the chick-lit label influenced your writing and marketing efforts?
Lauren: It’s made me feel almost militantly protective of Chick-Lit; that’s said with a smile, by the way. Having been in this business for nearly 24 years – first as a bookseller, then as a reviewer and editor, now as a published author – I’ve never seen any other genre consistently swiped at the way Chick-Lit is. Like any genre, or literary fiction, Chick-Lit has its great books, its so-so books and its lousy books. I don’t know that it’s affected my marketing generally, though. My two most recent books, Vertigo (the Victorian literary suspense novel), and Angel’s Choice (the serious YA) aren’t Chick-Lit at all. And it’s never influenced my writing. I write the stories I want to write, with all my many voices, and leave it to publishers to decide how to position the individual books.
The second part of this interview, which delves into what writers can do to form a successful career, will be posted next week. Make sure to check back for more!
Interview with Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Nancy O. Greene