There isn’t a big enough welcome for today’s guest. Lauren Oliver became one of my favorite authors last year when I reviewed her ‘painful, heartbreaking, utterly real’ dystopian novel, DELIRIUM. This month brings us the sequel called PANDEMONIUM (available on February 28th from HarperTeen) which left me breathless by the end. I had the privilege of interviewing Lauren as part of the Pitch Dark Dark Days of Winter tour below, but be sure to check out all the other delicious Dark Days books!
Are you ready for the DARK DAYS ahead? Prepare to experience romance, suspense, and a touch of darkness in these new YA books: Balthazar by Claudia Gray, Bewitching by Alex Flinn, Everneath by Brodi Ashton, Hallowed by Cynthia Hand, Incarnate by Jodi Meadows, The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting, Magic of the Moonlight by Ellen Schreiber, Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Slide by Jill Hathaway, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, and Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton! Stay connected to all things Dark Days on the Pitch Dark Facebook page, including exclusive content features every Wednesday!
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ATUF: I’ve heard you describe DELIRIUM as ‘a riff on Romeo and Juliet.’ How much influence did that story have on DELIRIUM, and, if any, on PANDEMONIUM?
LO: It influenced me in terms of its themes alone–the idea of love, forbidden love, as the center of the story. But I didn’t stick closely to the original story (or ending). None of the messages in Delirium go awry.
ATUF: How would you compare writing BEFORE I FALL to the Delirium series?
LO: That’s such a difficult question! Every book is both different and the same. Writing a series–keeping a book, and its characters, with you for years at a time–is very burdensome in some ways, although in other ways it’s a great comfort. I tend to have massive anxiety when I’m not living with characters. And Delirium required research that wasn’t necessary for Before I Fall. But on the other hand, the act of writing is always hard in the same way: you have to sit down, you have to park in a chair and do it.
ATUF: You portray more than just romantic love in the Delirium series. Familiar love, friendship love. How difficult was it to portray the ‘cured’ characters of all forms of love?
LO: It was very important to me to explore more than romantic love, as our experience of love is certainly much vaster than that. (I didn’t know romantic love until LATE in my teen years.) I’m not sure it was particularly difficult, craft-wise, to portray characters who don’t love, although it did make me feel squirmy and sad inside. So I guess it was emotionally difficult.
ATUF: I’m not alone in my utter delight that DELIRIUM might find its way to the big screen. Can you give us a progress report of the status of the (potential) movie?
LO: The movie has a great team of producers behind it and a fabulous script. Hollywood is very uncertain, so I’m just keeping my fingers crossed.
ATUF: If DELIRIUM does ultimately make it to theaters, who would your dream or, to keep things interesting, nightmare cast be?
LO: There are so many talented young actresses right now, which makes it a great time to be looking for a teen cast. I love Hailee Steinfeld, Emma Watson, Dakota Fanning and Mia Wasikowska, just to name a few. I love Taylor Swift. I’m not sure if she can act, but I love her! Nightmare cast would include: Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez and Justin Bieber.
ATUF: The transformation Lena goes through in DELIRIUM is kind of magnificent. I likened her as the anti-Katniss in my review because she starts out completely believing and trusting the government in her society, but by the end, she was literally breaking out. Can we expect a similar transformation in PANDEMONIUM?
LO: Definitely. My primary interest as a writer is the transformation of personality, and how people become something better or greater or different. It’s a theme that runs through all of my books.
ATUF: What are a few of your favorite dystopian titles?
LO: I love The Hunger Games, of course, and I’m a fan of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. I also love Moira Young’s Blood Red Road.
ATUF: What other projects can we look forwarding to reading from you soon?
LO: Well, apart from Pandemonium and Requiem, the final book in the Delirium trilogy, I have a middle grade book releasing in the fall called THE SPINDLERS. Apart from that, I’m not sure! I’m playing around with a few things right now, but all of it is in very early stages.
ATUF: Finish this statement with as much/little detail as you like: You’ll like the Delirium series if you like…
LO: Romance. Or guns and explosions.
ATUF: Any other questions that you would like to answer?
LO: No! Thank you very much for having me.
ATUF: Thanks so much for stopping by Lauren. Come back anytime!
About the author:
She attended the University of Chicago, where she continued to be as impractical as possible by majoring in philosophy and literature. After college, she attended the MFA program at NYU and worked briefly as the world’s worst editorial assistant, and only marginally better assistant editor, at a major publishing house in New York. Her major career contributions during this time were flouting the corporate dress code at every possible turn and repeatedly breaking the printer. Before I Fall is her first published novel.
Want to read more from Lauren Oliver?
PANDEMONIUM by Lauren Oliver
Available on February 28, 2012 from HarperTeen
I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.
Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.