Tuesday 13 September 2011

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Interview with Lauren Oliver

Joining us today for Death and Bereavement Week to talk about her debut novel, Before I Fall, is author Lauren Oliver.

Lauren OliverThe plot for Before I Fall is such an incredible idea. How did you come up with the idea for it?

To be honest, I was really mostly interested in writing a book about the possibilities of change. I wanted to explore a character’s evolution, from a mean and self-centered girl to someone with a real capacity for care and self-sacrifice.

What research did you have to do for this book?

Fortunately, none! That’s the great thing about fiction—you can just make it up! I grew up in a town similar to the one in which Before I Fall takes place, so I was really just inspired by my own memories and observations.

Before I Fall has such intricate plot threads. How did you keep track of the secrets, stories, histories of all the characters in the novel?

Outlining, outlining, outlining! I carefully mapped out the whole book before I began writing, because I knew that otherwise I’d become hopelessly ensnared in continuity problems.

before i fall by lauren oliverWhy did you decide to write a story about death for your debut?

To be honest, I didn’t initially set out to write a book about death; that part of the plot was kind of secondary, which surprises many people. I set out to write a book about Sam Kingston, a mean girl who changes, and I was trying to generate a convincing set of circumstances that would allow her to begin to see her choices from a different perspective. Paradoxically, it’s her death that she gives her clarity about her life.

Your novel is an eye-opener and very thought provoking. Did you write Before I Fall with the intention of making people think about how they live their lives?

A central theme of the book is that it’s important to live life with as much deliberateness as possible. That’s definitely something I believe in very strongly.

Were there any books you found dealt well with this topic when you were a teen?

There are a ton of books that deal well with death, particularly ones aimed at young readers, although I happened upon many of them later in life. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson and If I Stay by Gayle Foreman are two that come to mind, for example. But I like both of these books because they’re actually about life, and I’d like to think that Before I Fall is, too.

Anything else you would like to add?

Thanks for having me! And please check out http://www.laurenoliverbooks.com/ for more info/upcoming book releases.

Thank you, Lauren, for such a great interview! What do you think of Lauren's answers?

Be sure to check out Lauren's website, above, and her blog.


  1. Great interview, I need to read Before I Fall...

  2. Loved, Loved, Loved this book! It was a bit reminiscent of If I Stay with the circumstances surrounding the MCs, but Lauren really added a beauty in her language that hooked me from page one.

    Awesome interview!


  3. Zoe - I'm glad you enjoyed it! Before I Fall is amazing!

    Lori - I'm glad you enjoyed the interview! I loved the book too, the language is just beautiful!