Sunday, October 21, 2012

We Are at the Mercy of What Other People Tell Us to Believe: Interview with Lauren Oliver

Hello, book lovers! Today, we have the extra special pleasure of talking to Lauren Oliver, author of “Before I Fall” and the Delirium trilogy.

I absolutely adored “Before I Fall”, so as you may imagine, I was really excited for this interview. And after reading Delirium and Pandemonium, well… my excitement grew tenfold.
Lauren, welcome!
Your debut novel, “Before I Fall”, is a heavily character-driven piece. How did you go about creating Sam?
Sam, and all the girls in that book, are largely based on my experiences in high school. I wanted to write characters that felt realistic, so I went with what I knew!
“Before I Fall” deals with a lot of complex themes - family, friendship, sex and bullying. How would you describe the response it got?
I'm still so overwhelmed and flattered by the amazing response Before I Fall has gotten. It's been such an incredible journey for my first book. I think people feel like they can relate to it.
Were you ever worried about “going too far” in your novels? Would you say there’s a line that a writer should not cross?
I haven’t actually worried too much about that; I trust my characters to lead me where they need to go, and no further.
The “Delirium” trilogy is set in a dystopian alternate universe where love is stigmatized as a disease. Do you think parallels can be drawn between Lina’s story and our world? If so, what would they be?
There are certainly many places in the world in which love is regulated, mandated, and controlled by religious and social groups; where the sexes are segregated; and where displays of affection such as kissing are forbidden. More pertinent, however, are parallels to be drawn about how the media works to communicate fear and to regulate information, even in democratic societies. We are at the mercy of what other people tell us to believe, and that is very dangerous.
Why is love the emotion that is outlawed?
Historically, many thinkers have viewed love (and passion in general), as a kind of disease or madness. And it does lead people to unpredictability and even violence, so in a society that depends on rigorous control, it made sense to me that this would be outlawed.
If “Delirium” is about awakening, and “Pandemonium” is about fighting back, what is the word to describe “Requiem”?
I guess Requiem is about understanding and living with the consequences of our choices.
It is said that in the age of the Internet, it’s easy for an author to become less of a Person and more of a Public Figure – do you think that’s true? And if so, would you advise for or against a closer relationship between author and fans?
I don’t know—I definitely feel like a Person! :) I think the increased interaction between authors and fans is great, as long as you create boundaries around certain pieces of information and remember that your friends and family exist offline, and it’s important to experience those connections away from twitter!

Lauren, thank you!

You can follow Lauren Oliver on twitter @OliverBooks, or check out her website at All of her books are available on and, as well as your local bookseller.
Images courtesy of Goodreads.

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