I had the pleasure of asking Claire LaZebnik, author of Epic Fail, a few questions that she so graciously took the time to answer. I first read her work years before I started this book blog. Before she wrote Epic Fail, she started out writing adult fiction. I devoured and loved The Smart One and the Pretty One awhile back, so when I saw that she was writing YA - I was ecstatic!
Thank you Claire for taking the time to reach out to book bloggers. I hope every one has an opportunity to read this woman's amazing work. You won't be disappointed, I promise.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I never wanted to be anything else, mostly because I wasn't good at anything else. I was useless at sports, graceless at dance, couldn't paint, hated making phone calls (rules out a LOT of professions) and got bored in classrooms. But I always loved to read. It's a short hop from reading to writing. Even as a little kid, I liked to write stories and poetry. The poetry faded out pretty quickly though.
Do you prefer writing books for an adult audience, or a young adult audience more?
Right now I'm really enjoying switching back and forth between both. YA books move faster and they're more "on the page"--not quite as much subtext. I like some of the issues I can grapple with in the adult books and the ambiguity of life when you're an adult, but I like the pace of the YA books. They force me to be a sharper, less self-indulgent writer.
When coming up with the story for Epic Fail, where did you get most of your ideas for the plot & characters?
Oh, completely from Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE! It's a modernized retelling of P&P, with a setting straight out of my life here on the west side of LA.
Are there any interesting quirks or habits you have while writing a novel?
Does constantly eating cookies and drinking coffee count as an interesting quirk? Because that's mostly what I do. Also checking Facebook, gofugyourself.com, and seriouseats.com every few minutes. I wish I were exaggerating, but I'm not. I try to get my butt to Starbucks because I'll focus better and work harder there, but sometimes it's crowded and I find it so depressing to get there and not be able to find a table that I can talk myself out of going in the first place. Also, at home I can stand up while I write, which I like--it protects my back and also feels less sluggish than sitting all day. We have this one tall piece of furniture that's the perfect height for me to stand at. I guess that's quirky--standing up to write!
Which books inspired you, or are considered high up on your literary scale?
Well, all of Austen of course and most of Dickens. JD Salinger, especially 9 STORIES and FRANNY AND ZOOEY. I can really get into Alan Moore's graphic novels--they're dark and sexy and weird. Not for the faint of heart. Oh, and ASTERIOS POLYP may be the greatest book every written. Colette was a huge inspiration to me. So was Bronte. I thought Jonathan Franzen's FREEDOM was riveting. And Robin Hobb's fantasy novels are amazing.
Looking over this list, I realize I have weird tastes. I'm all over the map.
Share one memorable experience you've encountered since becoming a published author.
My first novel SAME AS IT NEVER WAS got made into a movie called HELLO SISTER, GOODBYE LIFE for the ABC Family Channel. I met the director Steve Robman (who's since become a good friend) and he invited me and my husband to come visit the set. They were shooting in New Orleans and we thought it sounded like a fun place to spend a weekend without the kids. We went and had a fabulous time, hit a couple of the well-known restaurants, went to a bunch of museums, spent a day on the set . . . We came back home and about three weeks later Hurricane Katrina hit. It felt so much more tragic and meaningful to us since we'd just been there and really loved the city. We still have a good luck charm we bought there hanging over our kitchen window.
For fun: if you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
With no regard for calories? Spaghetti. Just your basic red sauce spaghetti with lots of parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper. I don't think I'd ever get sick of that. Or maybe peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies--there are days now when I live on those. But I like eating so many foods. I'm the least picky person in the world (although I don't eat meat or fowl, so maybe I AM kind of picky now that I think about it). I'd be very sad if I could only eat one dish for the rest of my life!
Be sure to check out my review for Epic Fail here.
Pick up your copy today, it's now in bookstores :-)