Q&A with Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Baratz is like the Barrett in Elizabeth Barrett Browning if it were plural. Logsted is how it looks except everyone always wants to shove an 'a' in there to make it Logstead.
2. In college you worked as a doughnut salesperson. Do you have a favorite kind of doughnut?
3. Before writing full time you worked many jobs. Which was your least favorite?
Honestly, none. Independent bookseller, PW reviewer, freelance editor, sort-of librarian, window washer - each somehow contributed toward making me the writer I am today (such as that is!).
4. In your newest book, Little Women & Me, Emily want's to 're-write' Little Women. Have you ever wanted to do this with a particular book (other than Little Women)?
There are characters I've been so in love with on the page - Gatsby, or Phineas from A Separate Peace - that I sometimes wished I could jump in the pages and save them. That said, I wouldn't change a thing in either book. Little Women is the only book I've loved that I also wanted to change. Usually, if I want to change a book, it's because the book is really bad. But we won't talk about those!
5. Who is your favorite character in Little Women?
Jo. As much as Emily pokes fun at Jo in Little Women & Me - and I let her! - Jo's one of the prime reasons I fell in love with the book while growing up. And, like many women writers, Jo's probably a prime reason I fell in love with the idea of being a writer.
6. You've written several novels that are a re-telling of sorts of well-known stories, such as Z: A Novel (The Great Gatsby) and Crazy Beautiful (Beauty and the Beast). Why do you think these classic stories still appeal to readers?
I think classics become that because they speak to readers not just of their own time but for all time. I love taking classics and trying to find a new way to tell an old story. For example, The Great Gatsby is my all-time favorite novel by a dead writer. When I created Z: A Novel, I took the main template - mystery party-thrower suffers a fall from grace - only in my version the Gatsby figure is a contemporary window washer (do you see how my odd-jobs history plays into this?) who may or may not be Zorro. Instead of being a tragic novel, my version has moments of tragedy but it's also a comedy and a romance and an adventure - there's even swordplay! Also, in my version? No one dies in a swimming pool.
7. You write books for all ages. Which is the hardest age group to write for and why?
They all have their joys and challenges. The funny thing is, people think writing for teens must be easier than writing for adults and writing for children must be easier still. But the reverse is true. The younger the reader, the shorter the attention span and the more demands these days on that attention through ever-increasing technology with all of its distractions. Shorter attention means that, as a writer, you'd better be on your toes and fascinating every second!
8. What do you do when you're not writing?
You mean it's possible to do something else? Actually, I read, almost obsessively. I'm also a big TV head.
9. What projects do you have planned for the future?
At least a little bit more of everything, I hope! Also, I have a new pet project out that's ebook only, THE DISRESPECTFUL INTERVIEWER: Thirteen Interviews with Authors. It's extremely offbeat and you can see more about if here if you're interested: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BZU8DDU
10. What is the best book you've read this year?
THE ANTAGONIST by Lynn Coady, hands down.
Thanks Lauren! It's great having you here! To find out more information on Lauren check out her website. Also check out her latest books,Little Women and Me and The Disrespectful Interviewer: Thirteen Interviews with Authors.( I recently finished this book and it's great.) Both books are available in stores.