Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Interview with Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the other of quite a few novels for all age groups. Her upcoming young adult novel Crazy Beautiful will be released on September 7, 2009. The countdown widget for it can be found in the sidebar of my blog. I encourage you to add it to your blog!


According to your website, Crazy Beautiful is "a contemporary re-visioning of Beauty & the Beast." How so?

CRAZY BEAUTIFUL is told in he-said/she-said fashion and is similar to Beauty & the Beast in many ways. Both stories feature characters who are judged by most of the world - one positively, one negatively - strictly based on what can be seen on the surface. There's also the theme of impossible love. And - without giving too many secrets away! - there's a handsome boy who is evil like Gaston, and a librarian father who is widowed. Yet, despite it's debt to classic fairy tales, CRAZY BEAUTIFUL is also a very modern story of teens just trying to fit in.

Speaking of Beauty & the Beast, what's your favorite fairy tale?

I do like Beauty & the Beast for the way it's set apart from other fairy tales - it's really the only one of the major ones that features the male as more than just a device to make the girl look good and to save her in the end. But if I have to pick a favorite, I think I'll go with Sleeping Beauty, because if I'm going to live in a fairy tale I want the prince to have to do something grand to save me in the end like battling a fire-breathing dragon on a narrow bridge.

Which character in Crazy Beautiful are you most like?

The librarian father, maybe? Really, I don't think I'm most like any of them, certainly not the lead characters Lucius and Aurora. That said, there's a part of each of them in me and I suspect that's true of a lot of us. Like Lucius, sometimes the greatest tragedies in my life are of my own making; and like Aurora, I sometimes fail to see my strengths in the ways that others view them. And yeah, like the librarian father, I really am gaga about books.

What sets Crazy Beautiful apart from other YA novels?

Oh, I think I'll leave that one to readers to decide. After all, if I attempt an answer, won't people say, "Ooh, doesn't she think she's special?" The only answer I'm qualified to give would be to say how it differs from my previous YA novels, ANGEL'S CHOICE and SECRETS OF MY SUBURBAN LIFE, and that would be that due to using the he-said/she-said format, and writing each of Lucius' and Aurora's perspectives in first person, this is the first time in my career that I've channeled the voice of a boy. It has been both challenging and fun in ways I hadn't dreamed.

How did you decide on Crazy Beautiful for the title of your upcoming novel?

Finally - an easy question! It's because the rumor about Lucius is that he's crazy and the first thing anyone thinks about Aurora is that she's beautiful.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Read. I read an insane amount of books. I also like to spend time with my family and friends. And, occasionally, I still get out to shoot pool.

You've written books geared toward all age groups from children to adult. Which age group is your favorite to write for and why?

I love them all, and I'm not just saying that so none of the genres or age groups I write for will be offended! Seriously, each one stretches different writing muscles and I'm grateful to have a writing career in which I can pursue so many different writing interests. That said, I am particularly fond of THE SISTERS EIGHT series for young readers, because I created it with my novelist husband Greg Logsted and our nine-year-old daughter Jackie. Readers can learn more about the series at How could I not be partial to the series I got to create with my kid??? But of course, I adore writing YA, because it's just such a fascinating age group to write for and about. And then there's writing for adults, which I love because... Do you see how hard this question is for me?

Can you give us a teaser quote from Crazy Beautiful?

From Lucius, who opens the book:
My arm rises toward my face and the pincer touch of cold steel rubs against my jaw.
I chose hooks because they were cheaper.
I chose hooks because I wouldn’t outgrow them so quickly.
I chose hooks so that everyone would know I was different, so I would scare even myself.
And then when Aurora's voice enters into the story 10 pages later, it sounds like this:
I hear the dog alarm go off in the same instant I become aware of the first morning light in my room. I like rising early, like sleeping with the blinds open because I’m scared of the dark.
In the dark, almost anything can happen.

What are you reading right now?

Graceling, the YA novel by Kristin Cashore, and it's absolutely glorious.

What advice to you have for aspiring novelists? The YA book blogging community?

For aspiring novelists, I always give the same two pieces of advice: read, read, read everything you can get your hands on because you need to be a good reader if you want to be a good writer; and always remember, the only person who can ever really take you out of the game is you.
As for my advice to the YA blogging community, it's simple: keep doing what you're doing! I've been in the publishing business in one capacity or another - independent bookseller, Publishers Weekly reviewer, freelance editor, novelist - for over a quarter of a century and I've never seen anything like the enthusiasm that the YA book blogging community brings to the table. Every time I read another article bemoaning the supposed fact that teens don't read anymore, I think about all of you and realize that about some things the conventional journalists don't appear to have a clue. You people rock.


Thanks, Lauren! I can't wait to read Crazy Beautiful!


  1. Wonderful interview! Thank you, Lauren and Katie.

  2. Ooh - this is great! I am now even more excited about CB thanks to the fairy tale element.