Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Book Launch: My Invented Life
I'm delighted to introduce debut author Lauren Bjorkman and her novel MY INVENTED LIFE.
Congratulations on the publication of your novel, MY INVENTED LIFE. Can you tell us a bit about the story and what inspired it?
The story is humorous look at sisters, secrets, and Shakespeare.
My older sister and I are close, but there was a time in high school when were not. I felt lonely and shut out then. So I wanted to write about sisters—ones that were very different than us, of course! Circumstances around my high school reunion inspired me to include sexual orientation in the novel. And a Shakespearean comedy with a convoluted plot of secret identities and confusing romance made for the perfect backdrop.
How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or is this your first effort?
Almost ten years, actually. I started writing four hours a week when my oldest son entered pre-school. The first thing I completed was a middle grade novel, Vanessa the Contessa. After finishing MY INVENTED LIFE, I wrote another YA novel set in Hawaii and aboard sailboat. And now I’ve written a fourth novel, which will be my second published novel. I’m batting a 0.5!
Can you describe your path to the publication of MY INVENTED LIFE?
In the beginning, I submitted directly to editors, ones I met at conferences or read about in the SCBWI Bulletin. After some research, I discovered that most writers get their first contract through an agent. While preparing to query agents on a grand scale, I got a lucky break. A well-established author for adults referred me to his agent based on a piece of writing I brought to his novel writing workshop. A few months later, Henry Holt made an offer, which I gladly accepted.
Note: Check out my blog for agent websites and how to query. http://laurenbjorkman.livejournal.com.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Don’t make the same mistakes I did! If I could do it over again, I would spend more time focusing on craft, especially in the beginning. I did join a critique group right away, but I should’ve attended more workshops and read more books in my genre. I did a few things right, though—like writing about what excited me most. As Shakespeare would say, “To thine ownself be true.”
Can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?
I want to write more and more books. That’s my true passion. At some point, I imagine myself branching out into plays or screenplays. I hope to connect with my teen readers in a meaningful way.
On the home front, time with my husband, children, and friends is my highest priority. I would like to improve at aikido, and earn those blue pants at last. Acoustic guitar and the I Ching feature in my hazy, distant future.
Do you have any new writing ventures underway?
My agent calls my latest novel, MISS FORTUNE COOKIE, a Chinese-American Juno. Look for it in spring of 2011. As I revise it over the next months, I will also be thinking about the other stories bubbling away on the back burner of my brain.
Do you have a website where readers can learn more about MY INVENTED LIFE?