Monday, February 8, 2010

Interview: Laurie Stolarz

IMG_1428web1comp.jpgWe have with us today the YA author Laurie Faria Stolarz. Stolarz is the author of:
- The Touch Series
- The Blue is For Nightmares Series
- Bleed
- Project 17 

Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston.
 Amber: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Laurie: I've been writing since I was a child.  Before I could even put pen to paper, I was making up stories and telling them to whomever would listen.  It’s always been a part of who I am.

Amber: How long does it take you to write a book?
Laurie: It took me about two years to write my first book, BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES, I spent another year and a half editing it, and then another year trying to sell it.  I learned a lot from that novel.  I now work with an outline and know ahead of time where I’m going and what my character needs to achieve, as well as what he or she needs to learn in order to achieve it.  I draft a novel in about 6 months’ time.  I then spend another few months or so reworking it before I hand it in to my editor.

Amber: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Laurie: I do a lot of research to write a book, and my ideas come from all over – the news (I’ve been known to rip from the headlines), the media, magazines, eavesdropping, things I learn, everywhere. 

Amber: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Laurie: Yoga, cook, pilates, dance, walk, pottery, meet up with friends.

Amber: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Laurie: I’m actually a vegan and don’t eat ice cream.  I’ll sometimes substitute with Rice Dream in a chocolate flavor.

Amber: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Laurie: How supportive readers can be.  It’s amazing how devoted some of them are, sending me letters, making trailers for my books, sending me artwork.  It’s amazing.

Amber: Do you have any suggestions to help others become better writers? If so, what are they? 
Laurie: My biggest advice is to persevere.  There are many talented writers who give up after 5, 10, or even 100 rejection letters.  Be open to learning and to getting better in your craft.  If more than one person criticizes the same point in your work – i.e. your main character whines too much – chances are you need to look at that point again.  Never pay reading fees while trying to get published.  Do your homework.  Know who it is you’re sending your query letter to – who their clients are, what their track record is, and what they’re looking for.  Every letter should be personalized and reflect that you’ve done your research.  And, lastly, consider joining a writers group.  There’s nothing better than being in a group of like-minded writers who can help inspire and cheer you on, and who provide constructive feedback that helps to strengthen your work.

Amber: What do you think makes a good story?
Laurie: When a story enables the reader to feel emotion.
Amber: Do you think that you will continue to write novels?
Laurie: Yes, definitely.  I love my career and feel very lucky to be able to do what I love.

Thanks Laurie for allowing us to learn a bit about you! I really enjoy your novels. :)

Hope you guys enjoyed reading a bit about Laurie Stolarz! Be sure to check out her novels.