Today, I have a little treat for you. My friend and publishing partner L.C. Spoering is releasing a brilliant new YA novel, and I interviewed her so you can learn more about her work!
So, Lorrie, obviously, I know you really well – we write novels together, we geek out on skype together and support each other. That’s why I want the people who read my blog to get to know you, too. You’re such a great writer and such a generous person and they should all know that! You have book coming out, called At the Edge of the World. I’ve read it in more than one stage of development and was always a great fan of the detail and the atmosphere you created.
What drew you to write about a street kid on Venice Beach?
One of the first rules of writing thrown around is “write what you know.” Outside the obviously problematic nature of such a recommendation, I simply like to write things that require me to research, and really dig deep into character and setting. Given I’ve never lived on the street, and, in fact, have never lived in Venice Beach, either, the fascination was easy, and large. I like the lore of Venice, and the notion of an outside/insider moving within it.
YA is really big right now. How you do account for its success and where do you think YA should go as a genre?
I think people are interested in youth and, in particular, the youth they didn’t or don’t have. There’s definitely something fascinating about, say, a teenager dying of cancer, or one thrown into a death match. Few (if any, in the case of a death match) live this kind of life. Putting kids and teenagers into these situations is relatable because, hey, we’ve all been teenagers.
I’d like if YA allowed for more nuance, and more subtly of both story and emotion. I was once told my work was “too lit fic” for YA, which confused (and amused!) me: what’s too lit fic for teens? They care about emotions, and the smaller stories, too. It seems strange to decree a genre unable to process human complexity.
I know you have more ongoing YA projects and plans for the future – how would you define your style in this area?
As I said above, I’m “lit fic” in almost everything I do: I like a close character study, as well as a sort of particular structure to the story, so that the way it’s told is as important as the story itself. I’m totally unable to be completely straight-forward: I like to have to work in a story, and have people think.
Do your children influence your writing, especially when you write for an age group they are just now growing into?
Yes and no. My kids have interests that are WILDLY different from my own, and so I’m not totally capable of writing what they might like. I do, however, ponder themes a lot, in relation to things I would approve of, and endorse, them reading – I want both of them to see a variety of characters, male and female, in all the ways people appear in the world. I want them to have feminist books to reach for, and ones that contain a diversity they see in their lives.
Who you do you think is your core audience? Who will enjoy At the Edge of the World?
I tried to write a book I would have enjoyed reading at 16 years old, but one that also would interest my 70 year old mother. It’s not that drastic a goal, I’ve found: most people, despite their more focused interests, can come together over a story with compelling characters.
I think those who enjoy an element of fantasy to their grit, sweet love in the rough, and a bit of mystery to a story, will enjoy At the Edge of the World.
At the Edge of the World will be on August 26th, and you should definitely check it out!
Lost in the chaos of Venice Beach, among the homegrown freaks and weirdos, the tourists and life’s forgotten people, one runaway is just another face in the crowd—and this is just how Shane likes it. Torn between the home he left behind and lure of the ocean he ran to, something has tied his fates to the beach, and he is not the only one.
She is a famous mystery: the Venice Skater Chick. Shane has loved her since his first night on the beach. Others are watching her, too—and at least one wants her dead.
A mystery unfolds between the famed boardwalk, a dusty record store, a cramped apartment and a hidden cave. Under the gathering storms, Shane makes a desperate attempt to protect the girl he loves, and the life waiting for him on the other side.