Get to know more of the wonderful authors that are going to be signing at YA Fest in October 2015.
Author of The Tragedy Paper.
YA Fest: Favorite YA authors and illustrators you admire?
Elizabeth LaBan: This is always one of the hardest questions to answer because there are so many and I am always finding new authors to admire. I will say that my daughter just read Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty and the two books that follow that and loved them. Those are next on my list to read, and I admire her for grabbing my daughter’s attention and keeping it.
YA Fest: How/why did you start writing?
Elizabeth: I have always wanted to write. I can trace my first attempt at writing a novel back to fourth grade. Mostly that just involved creating a character and designing the cover, but I knew I wanted to do it. I wrote all through school, majoring in creative writing in college and going on to earn my master’s in journalism. I wrote poems, essays, picture books, newspaper articles. I didn’t actually attempt a novel until about twelve years ago – but everything before definitely led up to that.
YA Fest: One piece of advice for young writers?
Elizabeth: My advice to young writers, and I still have to tell myself this, is to never, ever give up. There is so much that goes into writing a novel and getting it published – many drafts and probably many rejections – that it is really easy to just say forget it, I can’t do this, this is never going to happen. I could have done that so many times. I don’t even want to tell you how many rejections I have gotten over the years with different books I’ve written, but all it takes is one great agent and one great editor to make it all happen. You just have to keep trying to find those people, and be open to constructive criticism so you can write the best book possible.
YA Fest: What are you currently working on?
Elizabeth: I just finished the draft (when I say draft I mean probably the third or fourth total go-through) of a new YA book. My agent is reading it now, and I look forward to getting it into great shape to show to my editor soon.
YA Fest: Are your characters/stories inspired by real people and events?
Elizabeth: My answer to this is a mixture of yes and no. With The Tragedy Paper a lot came from real life – the school setting, the actual tragedy paper – but the characters (except for the English teacher Mr. Simon) were not based on real people, and the actual events were not based on anything that had happened in my own life. The YA book I just finished is not modeled after anyone or anything that happened in my life, but of course I took details and bits and pieces from real life. It is impossible not to, I think. Also, I have a women’s fiction novel coming out in January. It is called The Restaurant Critic’s Wife. I am married to a restaurant critic. How much is real and how much is fiction? That is a very good question. While I did take details from my own experiences in restaurants and being married to a critic, the main characters in the book are completely their own people and what happens to them is their story.