Author Interview: Laura Ruby

Friday, December 4, 2009 |

I have Laura Ruby here with us today! She is the author of many books, including children, YA, and adult. Her latest release was Bad Apple, which came out October 6!

What made you write Young Adult?
I'm still a huge reader, but I think my most intense reading experiences happened when I was a teenager. I remember being able to fall into a book and not come out again until I was finished. The characters and their worlds felt so real to me. I wanted to write the kind of books that teens could get lost in, if I possibly could.

Did you know you were going to become an author?
I think I always knew I would write, I couldn't seem to help it. But I didn't know that I would ever write books for a living, I didn't know that I was going to be a professional author. I didn't know that was even a possibility. When I went to college, I planned on being a psychologist. But I suppose both jobs — author and psychologist — require an intense curiosity about what makes people tick.

What are your strengths and weaknesses in writing?
Hmmm. I'd say a strength is my interest in writing stories from different points of view. For example, I wrote BAD APPLE primarily in my main character Tola's voice, but I followed every chapter with "comments" from many other characters in the novel, similar to the comments you might find after a blog post. (I'm so nosy that I want to be anyone and everyone, if only a little while.)

I'm also interested in writing characters that aren't necessarily the most likable or admirable. Tola is sarcastic, desperate, and quirky. She isn't the type of person that everyone falls in love with. But I hope that though she might not always be likable, she's relatable. That even if a reader doesn't necessarily like something Tola says or does, the reader will still find Tola intriguing and/or understandable.

But then I think some would consider these interests as weaknesses, as not everyone likes that sort of viewpoint-switching, or enjoys reading about people who are less than perfect, or perhaps somewhat odd. But I think you can only write the kind of books you like to read, and I like reading stories told from various viewpoints, so there it is.

How are you and Tola alike? How are you different?
We're not very alike at all. She's tiny, I'm tall, she's a troublemaker and I was shy and obedient, she's an artist and I can barely manage stick figures, I was teased here and there, but never bullied like she is.

But, like Tola, my parents got divorced and my family was a little...dysfunctional. I had a fierce mom, a good stepdad, a wicked stepmom, and a crazy cat who thought he was a dog. And like Tola, I always felt like an outsider when I was young. I know what it feels like to be confused and misunderstood.

If I had to pick the character that was most like me in the book, I'd have to say Madge (though I wrote about all the things that made me angry instead of screaming about them).

What was the most difficult aspect of writing Bad Apple?
This is going to sound weird, but the most difficult aspect of writing BAD APPLE was writing BAD APPLE. I wrote the first draft of this book waaaaay back in 1994, and it took more rewrites than I can count over many years — dozens and dozens — to figure out what I was trying to say.

Is there a particular part/scene in Bad Apple that is your favorite?
I mentioned the comments sections earlier. I *loved* writing those comments, they were so much fun.

What is the best piece of advice for those young aspiring writers out there?
The standard stuff: read as much as you can, even stuff you're not sure you're going to like (you never know what will inspire you). And then write as much as you can. Try to finish what you start. Be willing to revise — a lot!

One more thing: read what you write out loud, or better yet, get a friend to read it out loud back to you. It can be time consuming, but you can find the boring bits, the repetitive phrases, the awkward sentences, etc. so much more easily when you're listening rather than when you're reading silently.

If you weren't an author, what would your dream job be?
Actress, I think.

Lastly, is there anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks so much for the interview!

Thank you Laura! Be sure to check out Laura's Website! =)


Amaliazy said...

Great interview! =) I haven't read this one yet but I love the cover!

Misty said...

This is a GREAT interview! You asked some really good questions, and she gave you very thoughtful answers. Good job!
And you know, I've never thought about it, but she's completely right about YA -- you are able to fall into it when you're a teen and become completely engrossed. Even now when I read YA, even if I don't absolutely love the writing, there have been so many times when I've said "I would have loved this as a teen; it would have taken over my brain."

ExtremeReader said...

Great interview! I feel the same way about reading YA books! You can totally fall into them and forget all your "grown-up" problems! I can't wait to read this one!

brizmus said...

Thanks for an awesome interview - I loved her answers. She made me feel better about the fact that I like to write but never once thought I could be an author (and still never do think that). It might could happen despite that. Who knows.
I love her response about how writing the book was the hardest part of writing the book.

Jessy said...

Insightful review! I haven't had a chance to read this yet but it sounds really good.

RKCharron said...

Thank you for the excellent interview with Laura Ruby. Thank you to Laura for sharing. I really enjoyed learning a bit more about Laura and her writing. Thanks for this.
All the best,

Nickles said...

Great interview! I'm going to have to check this book out.

Jo said...

Great interview! I have only ever read one book by Laura Ruby, but it has become a great favourite of mine; Good Girls! I am desperate to get more of her books, I need to read more!

Donna Gambale said...

Love the interview. Thanks, Laura, for giving such great answers.

Mitzy said...

I want to read this!!!

Wendy said...

Love the interview! I can't wait to read Bad Apple. :)

Eileen Burmester said...

I love the cover of the book. What a great interview. Thanks for the interview

Laura Ruby said...

Thanks, Bookologist, for asking such great questions. And thanks, all, for your comments!


Laura R.

bekki1820cb said...

I found her very honest and refreshing. Can not wait to her work. Thanks for the great interview! :)

Mandy said...

I like the interview, especially the writers tips. I had never heard people say read your work out loud, but it makes sense.

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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