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What are some of your strengths and weaknesses in writing?
I think I have strength in evoking character, particularly through dialogue and detail. Plotting is always difficult for me—agonizingly difficult, in fact. I can think of good premises, and good individual scenes, but actually keeping a narrative moving forward is so, so hard for me.
What is the feeling when you see your book(s) in the bookstores?
Freaky! This is kind of weird, but I actually kind of don’t like it. I saw my book on the shelves when I was on tour, of course, but I never—not once!—have looked for my book when I’m just browsing a bookstore for myself. I didn’t even go to see it on the shelves on the day it was released!
What is was the hardest aspect of writing Before I Fall?
The hardest part for me was actually the outline phase: planning how and when everything was going to happen, and trying to keep track of all of the different outcomes of Sam’s various choices. It was somewhat of a continuity nightmare.
How are you and Sam alike? How are you different?
Well, let’s see—we’re both tall! No, um, I empathize with some of Sam’s disconnection at the start of the novel. She’s unhappy but doesn’t know it; she doesn’t know what to make of love, or sex, or even identity. I was kind of like that in high school.
In terms of how I’m different…well, first of all, I like to think I’m nicer than she is, particularly at the start of the book! I’m probably a little bit more extroverted, too. And Sam is the older sister, whereas I’m the baby.
What made you combine the concept of after-death along with the idea of popularity and high school?
You know, I’m not really sure. I wanted to write a book about a mean girl, self-involved, kind of petty, who gets the opportunity to reevaluate her actions from a variety of perspectives—and the after-death thing just enabled me to do that. I had the idea for the character, and the character’s development, first; the after-death thing was almost incidental.
Are any of your experiences in Before I Fall?
Yes, definitely. Tons of them. Just to name two: my best friend used to drive me to school every morning, and we would stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for Large Hazelnuts, No Sugar, Extra Cream, just as Sam and Lindsay do. Also, there was an all-night deli called Rocky’s in a nearby town; we used to go there after parties for 2 a.m. egg and cheeses, just like Elody begs to do in the book.
Personally, what is your opinion on after-death?
Hmm. I’m not sure. I have strange beliefs about the universe, like that all possibilities of matter exist simultaneously, and eternally, through time. I don’t have traditional religious views of an afterlife.
What are your views on popularity and high school social circles?
You know, it’s a rough time, and I don’t want to condemn anybody, but people should be nicer to each other. Popularity—and the fight for high school supremacy—is such a waste of time. You’re so much better off focusing on things that will bring you lasting happiness…and trust me, that prom tiara isn’t it. Develop hobbies, laugh with your friends, volunteer at a soup kitchen, read a book…those are things that will actually help you build a deep connection to the world around you. Ripping on someone else’s jeans will not. It’s like the difference between eating a delicious home cooked meal and pounding a Snickers bar…one is nourishing, the other might give you a temporary high but leaves you feeling really crappy ultimately.
Thanks so much, Lauren!
What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.
Instead, it turns out to be her last.
Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
- open to U.S. only
- must be 13 years of age to enter
- fill out the form below
- May 7 is the deadline
- copy provided by author
- check my contest policy