I am super excited to have Claire LaZebnik by the blog today for an interview! Claire LaZebnik is the author of many books, including Knitting Under the Influence, The Smart and the Pretty One, and Same As It Never Was. Epic Fail is her first young adult novel. Find her on the web at her website http://clairelazebnik.com/.
If the characters from Epic Fail got stuck on a deserted island, who would fare the best? The worst? And who would be the one to get them off the island?
Hmm . . . I’m not sure anyone in this book would do great on a desert island–they’re all fairly pampered. Oh, you know who might be kind of tough and resourceful? Derek’s nanny Jackie. (Yes, he’s too old to have a nanny, but she’s part of the family now, so they won’t ever fire her.) I feel like Jackie would bustle around the island, picking bananas and gathering firewood.
Elise’s youngest sister Layla would be do the worst, without question. She’d spend the whole time wandering around, looking for an electrical outlet or a Starbucks and when she all saw where trees and sand, she’d spend the rest of the time haranguing everyone about how awful it all is and complaining that she’s hot and hungry.
As far as getting off the island goes, I think Elise and Julianna would come up with some kind of masterful plan, and then Derek and Chase would implement it–they’re men of action and Elise and Julianna are more thoughtful.
Who was your favorite character to write in Epic Fail?
Elise, the narrator, because she’s funny and smart and honest. I could channel the young woman I wish I had been and not the timid, self-doubting young woman I actually WAS. I truly loved writing the romantic scenes between her and Derek: they’re both intelligent and sensitive and torn between falling in love and being careful . . . There’s nothing I enjoy writing more than warily flirtatious banter!
What is your favorite classic story?
That’s a tough call–probably a tie between Austen’s EMMA, Dickens’ OUR MUTUAL FRIEND (or maybe LITTLE DORRIT), and JANE EYRE. I was an English major in college, specializing in 19th century literature, so I could go on for a while like this, but I won’t.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I absolutely love London and could go there over and over again–just ask me. If I wanted to go somewhere new, I think I’d either pick somewhere in Asia, where I’ve never been–probably Japan, since my son speaks Japanese–or New Zealand and Australia, both of which are supposed to be spectacularly beautiful. I also want to go to the Galapagos Islands and I’ve promised my son to take him to Egypt one day, because he loves studying ancient worlds, and Egypt’s his favorite. I want to go everywhere, really! (But with my family, not alone.)
What do you have an easier time writing: The first line? or the last line?
What a wonderful question! I guess ultimately I have to say the first line, because it sets the tone for the whole book, so I really need to nail it. On the other hand, I love starting a new project, so I usually find it fairly easy to just plunge in with something–and often that something never needs to be rewritten, whereas I’ve frequently had to rewrite my endings because of editor’s notes and story problems. So I’d say they’re both challenging but fun. In all honesty, the two BEST parts of writing are starting a book and finishing one. It’s the endless in-between that’s hard!
If you could go back in time for one day, where would you choose?
Can I bring my contact lenses with me? That’s very important because otherwise, I’m not going to any time period before contacts were invented! Assuming I have my lenses, I guess I’d like to go visit Jane Austen and see her write, and talk to her about how she was able to get so much done in her sister’s sitting room (I think that’s where she wrote). Maybe I’d aim to drop by on the day she finished PRIDE AND PREJUDICE–then I could tell her that the book would remain an inspiration and a favorite of readers for centuries to come . . .