Thursday, August 4, 2011

Author Interview- Claire LaZebnik: Author of Epic Fail

I grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, went to Harvard and moved to LA. (Myname was Claire Scovell for a large part of all that.) I’ve written three novels: Same as It Never Was, Knitting under the Influence, and The Smart One and the Pretty One. With Lynn Koegel (who’s absolutely brilliant), I co-wrote Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies and Hope That Can Transform a Child’s Life and the upcoming (out in March) Growing up on the Spectrum: A guide to life, love and learning for young adults with autism and Asperger’s.

I live in the Pacific Palisades with my husband Rob (who writes for “The Simpsons”), my four kids (Max, Johnny, Annie and Will) and too many pets to keep track of.

Books: *Epic Fail *If You Llived Here, You'd Be Home By Now *Same As It Never Was *Families and other Nonreturnable Gifts

Website | Facebook | Buy the Books


First off, Thank you so much for stopping by The Crazy Bookworm!
Epic Fail is your debut into the YA world. Why did you chose to write a book for this genre?


The main reason? I hadn't done it yet. Seriously. I like to try new things. I've written non-fiction, fiction, play monologues, newspaper articles, magazine columns--even a teleplay and screenplay. It keeps me from getting bored. And Suzanne Collins (the author of the Hunger Games trilogy) is my hero: she writes YA novels that are better than anything else out there for any age. So I wanted to try my hand at it, see if I could make a go of it. My dream is to keep writing both adult and YA novels--that's what I've been doing for the last couple of years and I hope I get to continue doing both.


What came first: The characters or the idea of the novel?


The idea, definitely. I knew I wanted to do a hip high-school version of Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and the rest fell into place gradually. The real "score" was when I figured out that the Mr. Darcy character should be the son of famous celebrities. That's when it all started to really come together.


Who was your favourite Epic Fail character to write?


Elise (the narrator). She was pure wish fulfillment: prettier, smarter, funnier, and younger than me but still relatable. I wanted to be like Elise when I was that age, but I didn't have her self-confidence--or, let's face it, her pretty looks.


Did you come across any challenges during the writing process?


Yes. It was my first YA novel and my editor definitely had some major notes after the first draft. I'm used to writing adult books. There's a lot of overlap, but YA books move faster and leave a little less unsaid. it was a learning process for me. Fortunately, my agent was patient.


If you could have dinner with any of the characters from Epic Fail who would it be and why?


Are you kidding? Derek, of course. He's dreamy. I only write books so I can daydream about the heroes I create! But I'd settle for Derek's movie star dad who is, admittedly, much closer to my age.


What is 'A Day in the life of Claire LaZebnik' like?


Wake up early, help the kids get ready for school (or camp or whatever), send them off, drink lots of coffee and have some breakfast, do email, clean up cat poop, do some writing, waste time on Facebook, drink more coffee and have a second breakfast, take the dogs for a walk, waste more time on Facebook, eat lunch, do some writing, check Facebook some more, do more email, do some writing, pick up kids or wait for them at home, take them to any afternoon activities, come home, make dinner, serve dinner, clean up dinner, help with homework, watch TV, put the younger kids to bed (the older ones stay up later than I do), read, GO TO SLEEP. Ah, the glamorous life of a book author!


When your not reading or writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Traveling with the family, going out to lunch with friends, knitting, watching bad reality shows with my daughter, watching good TV shows with my husband, baking, eating what I bake, and baking some more. If we can have friends over for a casual dinner and then play parlor games, I'm kind of in heaven. God, I'm a nerd!


What is one guilty pleasure that you have?


Eating cookies. I can't go a day without cookies. Or peanut butter. Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies put me over the moon.


Finish this sentence "I can't live without..."


My laptop. It's an extension of my body. If I hear a dinging sound (like when you get a new email), I have this pavlovian response where I NEED to check my computer and if I don't have it with me, I whimper and curl up in a fetal position.


Are you working on anything at the moment? If so, can you share a little about it?


I'm working on my next YA novel. It's not a sequel to EPIC FAIL, but it is in a similar vein, also inspired by Austen but about high school kids.

2011 has proved to be a great year for books! What books are you looking forward to reading?


The new George RR Martin--but first I have to reread the first four books in the series. EMORY'S GIFT by the brilliantly talented W. Bruce Cameron (author of A DOG'S PURPOSE). PRETTY by Jillian Lauren (author of SOME GIRLS).


Thank you, Claire! It is a pleasure having you at The Crazy Bookworm.
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