In addition to Speak, Laurie has written five other YA novels: Twisted, Prom, Chains, Catalyst, and her newest novel, Wintergirls. She's won more awards than I care to count (mostly because it'll make me feel inferior - I'm fragile like that) and is an all-around very cool lady.
YAYA: How did you start writing?
Laurie Halse Anderson: I started writing for fun in second grade. I was a journalist in my twenties. I didn't try to be a published author until my early thirties.
From where have you drawn inspiration?
Speak seems to be a novel that we're always recommending to aspiring YA authors. Can you talk about the difference between writing a first book and a second, in terms of the expectations of a growing audience?
I found the expectations daunting. It took me awhile to figure out how to write without worrying about what other people would think.
Do you have any favorite scenes in your novels?
What was your day job before becoming a literary rockstar?
I don't know, I'm not there yet. (Modesty!) Before SPEAK was published, I was a mom and freelance journalist. (I'm still a mom!)
Have you written novels for other age groups?
Yes, historical novels aimed at middle grades; a series of animal adventure books for older elementary kids and picture books for little kids.
If so, what makes YA different?
Level of emotional intensity and more mature themes.
Do you have thoughts on the growth and evolution of YA as a genre?
I think it is wonderful because teenagers need good books to read. (Yes!!)
Do you believe that Speak and Wintergirls have the potential to become "crossover" novels?
Based on my mail, they already are. I am honored by that fact.
Do you have a favorite author?
Do you have a favorite cliché?
I avoid cliches like the plague!
What's your writing schedule like?
Write from 7AM-3PM, go for a run, do writing business the rest of day. On a deadline, write for 18 hours a day.