Lauren Oliver, author of the best-selling Delirium series, was back in Toronto to promote her new adult novel Rooms in Toronto’s west end last week. Foregoing the seat behind the desk, Lauren came out to excited applause from her fans and hopped up onto the table to get more close and casual to the people who came to see her. The talented author has dabbled in all demographics from young adult, middle grade and adult fiction and she explained how she doesn’t start out that way, deciding what age to write for.
The idea for Rooms had come to her while in the midst of writing two separate books that she eventually realized were quite similar and could coexist together. As separate stories, Lauren had been inspired by a party at a large mansion she had attended, and hearing a story of a neighbouring family who never left their house. They were so wealthy that they would just buy or build everything they needed. Lauren also mentioned the idea of “memory palaces” (which I had only heard of that idea from watching Sherlock!) where it’s a trick, of sorts, to help people remember things – by placing them in a specific room and location. So after 7 months of trying to write two separate books with these stories, she realized that it would work to converge them into one.
Lauren then read from the beginning of Rooms, which I unfortunately missed the very beginning, but here is a clip!
Afterwards was a quick Q&A where someone asked about writing for YA vs Adult, and how to make sure it’s appropriate. I loved Lauren’s response which was succinct and totally made sense for any writer who has done their job: “If you’ve done the work to develop your characters, they won’t lead you down a road that’s inappropriate.” She also talked about YA being “escapist” but not for the reason we think. It’s not an “easier” read but more a different way of thinking. Young adults think differently and in that way, when we read (or write) YA, it’s an escapist way to think differently.
With the obligatory “writing advice” question that is often asked at author signings, Lauren tells the crowd to just write. She’s been writing every day since she was little. People just need to practice writing and stop being so stressed about getting published. “Writing is literally my favourite thing.”
Thank you to the staff at Chapters Queensway, the Harper Collins team and Lauren Oliver for being so gracious and awesome (and hilarious!)
— Lauren Oliver (@OliverBooks) September 25, 2014