AUTHOR INTERVIEW: E Lockhart
Please describe your latest book in 15 words or fewer:
The Boy Book - Hyperverbal teenage girl. Rogue ex-boyfriends. Exploitation of hooters. Terrors of school trip. With penguins!
Where do you like to write your books (in bed, a coffee shop, an office)?
I have a tiny tiny office/closet with dark pink walls and built-in bookshelves. There are pictures pinned up all over and stacks of papers everywhere. I have coffee and diet ginger ale and absolute silence. Although sometimes, for variety, I write in a coffee shop with my novelist friends Maureen Johnson, John Green and Scott Westerfeld.
Your favourite chick-lit book?
Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding. And the sequel, Edge of Reason. Why? Because I laughed out loud. Repeatedly. Especially at the bit about loaning out the wonderbra in prison. I love stylized prose and outrageous situations. I adore Louise Rennison's books for the same reasons.
Your favourite female heroine (if different from above!), and why?
Bridget Jones makes me laugh, but for a favorite character I prefer more inner steel. Jo March, from Little Women, is probably the character I think of most often in daily life. I think about her charity, her impulse for goodness, and the way it combined with her unconventionality and her love of hilarity and storytelling. She was figuring out how to be a woman, and a writer, and a good person -- all of which are things I still deal with every day.
What tips would you give to any of our readers who want to become writers?
Finish your book. The big difference between me and many equally (or more) talented but unpublished writers is that I sit down every weekday and write. I finish a project, revise extensively, and begin the next one within a reasonable time frame. It is the discipline and the finishing that make the difference, not the talent.
What are you reading at the moment?
I have approximately twenty books going at any one time, plus audiobooks. Mainly I read chick lit, literary fiction, food books, mysteries, travel writing, and humor.
Currently in my pile: Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen), Twelve Sharp (Janet Evanovich), Home to Big Stone Gap (Adriana Trigiani) [hope she likes it better than we did], Size Twelve is Not Fat (Meg Cabot), Laughing Gas (P.G. Wodehouse), The Bookwoman's Last Fling (John Dunning), The Coffee Trader (David Liss).
What are you working on now? (If you can give us a hint!)
In the UK, the novel coming out after THE BOY BOOK will be FLY ON THE WALL: HOW ONE GIRL SAW EVERYTHING. It's about a teenage girl at a New York City art school who's a collector of odd objects and a Spider-man fan. She's also very freaked by the opposite sex, and one day she wishes she could be a fly on the wall of the boys' locker room in her high school, just to see what guys talk about when girls are not around. And the next thing she knows, she is. A fly. On the wall of the boys' locker room. She sees it all -- and I mean, all. [We've read it. We loved it.]
But truthfully, that book came out in the states in 2006, so I haven't exactly been working on it. I've been finishing The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, which is a novel about a boarding school girl who infiltrates and eventually dominates her boyfriend's all-male secret society. It was really hard to write because I had to devise all these complicated pranks and secret society rituals, but in the end I'm quite pleased with it. It comes out in the USA in March 2008. I don't know about the UK yet!
What question have you never been asked in an interview, but think you should have been? (Tell us the question and answer it too, if you like!)
Question: Would you like me to take you to a stylist who will give you
the perfect haircut? Because really, you shouldn't be cutting your hair
yourself any more, my dear, and I know you keep having bad stylist
Answer: Yes please!