Lauren Myracle visited the Squirrel Hill library in Pittsburgh tonight, and I got to go to my very first author visit! She was a fantastic storyteller :)
She started off talking about how she first started writing. She'd been writing since the 2nd grade, and loved it all through elementary school. In middle and high school, she got fed up with research papers and the like and the writing stopped, because the fun of it all went away. She started up again in college when she found out that Creative Writing was a major offered at UNC-Chapel Hill (where she went to school the same time as Sarah Dessen, and didn't even know it!). She joined a creative writing class, with a total of 14 students and Daphne the teacher. It wasn't until near the end of the class that Daphne let her students know that creative writing was a limited major and only a few people could take it. 12 students from the class could go on. 2 would not. Lauren and a girl affectionately termed Aphid Girl, who wrote stories from the point of view of an aphid, were the two. Aphid Girl did not want to go on in creative writing. Lauren did.
When she found this out, she went to her public library, to the children's section, her "safe place" and sat and read Ramona books, until realizing that she didn't have to major in creative writing in order to write.
After graduating, Lauren was fed up with her prep school life, and wanted a simplistic job. So while her friends went on to be lawyers and things of that nature, she ended up at Colorado Screw Factory, sorting screws into "good screws and bad screws."
She met a coworker at the Colorado Screw Factory who, when Lauren didn't know how to tell the good screws from the bad screws, helped her out. This co-worker never really read, and Lauren therefore took it upon herself to narrate stories to her. When her temp agency called and let her know there was a clerical job offered for her at a lumber factory, she let her coworker know she was leaving. The coworker was devastated; she wanted to know how the book ended! Lauren gave the coworker her copy of the book and told her to read and find out, and she never saw her again.
She worked at a nursing home for a while, where scenes from Bliss directly came from, dealing with things like walker fights and lost dentures. She loved the people there.
But all the while, she was frustrated. She wanted to be successful in writing. Her husband knocked some sense into her, saying that if she wanted to write, she should write. So she did.
Her first book, unpublished, was called Consider Yourself Lucky.
Before her first book was published, Lauren received 148 rejection letters. She's kept all of them in a folder and still has them all.
Then, Kissing Kate got published. It was based on her college roommate Amy, who called her after college and nervously came out. She was told to revise the book, but after 5 rewrites, it was taken and published. It was accepted for publication at age 29. As a child, she had told herself that if she hadn't been published by age 30, she would give up.
She wrote the Internet Girls series because she'd noticed that people in her generation had grown up talking on the phone, and the big thing was three-way calling. It was a challenge, but one obviously well accomplished.
Luv Ya Bunches was written as an answer to the complaints she was receiving from tween's parents, kids who wanted to read the Internet Girls books but were way too young for the content.
Kissing Kate did not get hate mail, surprisingly.
She went on to talk about Bliss a little bit, for which I was happy, as that is my favorite book of hers. Cool bit of trivia, the dot on the i on the cover of Bliss has a reflection at a window. It is the reflection of Chad, the cover's art director.
The title was written in chocolate syrup, and then photoshopped red to look like blood.
She ended the Q&A session talking about Luv Ya Bunches. She pointed out Tally the turtle on the cover, and teased saying, "Oh, you think [Katie-Rose] is mean to Max, wait until book two!"
She read an excerpt from Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks,
and then we all got free copies of her books!
I chose Let it Snow, as I had read it from the library but didn't have my own copy, and got to talk to her and got it signed. I babbled like an incoherent [but giggly] crazy person, and we talked about Maureen Johnson's trapezing and nerdfighting.