Please join me in welcoming the author of The Twin’s Daughter, The Education of Bet and one of my most anticipated releases in 2011, Little Women & Me, Lauren Baratz-Logsted! I’m always going to jump at the chance to talk about one of my favourite stories (and films!), Little Women, so thank you so much to Lauren for making this book-bloggers day! Seriously, a book about changing the course of Little Women? Pure genius!
Q: Tell us a bit about your relationship with the original ‘Little Women‘ book and films. What made you want to write your own story about it?
I think I was somewhere around eight years old the first time I read Little Women. Like many little girls, I fell in love with it, reading it many times over again. I think for most girls who grow up to be writers, when we’re young Jo March is a goddess to us. But of course, also like many other girls, two things about the book always troubled me: Beth dying and Laurie ending up with Amy instead of Jo. So about two years ago, when my own daughter, then eight years old, read the book, I began thinking about all that again. That’s when I decided to write my own book.
Q: If you were in your protagonist, Emily’s, shoes, and were transported to the fictional land of the March sisters, what would be most eager to see? Who would you be most eager to meet? And what would you be most eager to change?
I’d most want to see Jo’s garret, where she does her writing. I would be most eager to meet Laurie because he shoots billiards and I shoot pool. As for your last question, if I answer that too honestly it’ll give away a secret from my book! So instead I’ll say the thing I’d be most eager to change is the availability and reliability of indoor plumbing. I love the 1800s, this is the third book I’ve set in this century and a part of me would love to live in that time period, but I’m just too attached to comfortable toilets.
Q: I know a lot of other bloggers are hungrily anticipating the release of ‘Little Women & Me‘. Can you sum up the book in 25 words or less, teasing us as much as possible?
Time-traveling right into Little Women, a contemporary teen becomes the fifth March sister and must decide which plot point she is there to change.
Q: So many classic stories are being revisited with fresh faced characters at the helm. Is there a particular favourite of yours you’d like to see get a 21st century make-over?
I’d like to see a re-visioning of The Great Gatsby, a contemporary serio-comic version about a young woman who meets and falls in love with a window washer who may or may not be Zorro. Yes, I said Zorro. Come to think of it, I’ve already written that book so if there are any publishers out there reading this…
Q: There’s a huge audience for young adult fiction these days. That being so, is there something you try and avoid as much as possible when penning your own?
I think the biggest thing to avoid is talking down to the reader. Just because someone’s younger in calendar years, it doesn’t mean they’re not capable of having a decent vocabulary or entertaining complex ideas.
Q: What can we expect from you in the future regarding your work?
This year there’s a lot going on. Crazy Beautiful came out in paperback in early January. The paperback version of The Education of Bet will be in April. On August 16, The Twin’s Daughter comes out in paperback and Little Women & Me comes out in hardcover. And this year will also see the simultaneous paperback/hardcover releases of books 7 and 8 in The Sisters 8 series for young readers that I created with my husband and daughter. Phew! Did that tire you out? It tired me out!