Interview: Laurie Faria Stolarz
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In 2007, Blue is for Nightmares author Laurie Faria Stolarz asked if I'd be willing to help her update her website, which was designed by Chloe Weil. I've been maintaining the site ever since. Today, Laurie's adding her lighted candles and haunting tales to the Winter Blog Blast Tour.
Your bestselling series Blue is for Nightmares and the Deadly Little books all involve nightmares and visions. What inspires your supernatural storytelling?
I first started BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES in an adolescent fiction writing workshop in graduate school. I knew I wanted my first book to be a mystery/thriller. I loved suspense novels as a young adult and I really wanted to write something that would have appealed to me at that age, adding in elements of humor, romance, and drama. I wanted my main character to be relatable for teens. She needed to be flawed, to have secrets, and to have lots of opportunity for growth. When I started the novel, I had no idea I would delve into the world of magic and witchcraft – that is, until I did a free-writing exercise in my workshop class. I wrote a scene in which Stacey, my main character, was meditating in front of a blue candle. Someone in the class suggested that since she had the candle, and since I'm originally from Salem, I should try making her a witch.
When I started the TOUCH series, I wanted to write a story where the main character has to struggle with the idea of falling in love with someone who could potentially be dangerous. I tinkered with this concept in the first three books of the BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES series, as well as in Bleed (Hyperion, 2006). Additionally, I wanted to continue experimenting with the supernatural, showing how we all have our own inner senses and intuition, and how with work we can tap into those senses and make them stronger.
I started researching different types of supernatural powers and discovered the power of psychometry, the ability to sense things through touch. The concept fascinated me, and so I wanted to bring it out in a character, showing how sometimes even the most extraordinary powers can also be a curse.
Your newest release, Deadly Little Lies, is the follow-up to last year's Deadly Little Secret. How many books are planned in the Deadly Little series?
So far, there are five books planned. Deadly Little Game [the third book] will be out in November 2010. The following two books in the series will follow suit in November 2011 and November 2012. I don't have any titles beyond DLG, but I'm fond of Deadly Little Friend. We'll see...
Are you more similar to Stacey from the BifN books or Camelia from the Deadly Little series?
I'm probably more similar to Stacey. We both have the same sense of humor. We're also both very responsible, and we look out for our friends.
Did you supply either character with traits you wish you had?
I love Stacey's fearlessness. She's willing to do what she believes to be the right thing, regardless of the consequences. I'm the same way in many respects, but I'm not fearless the way she is, i.e. I would have called in the National Guard before venturing into a pitch-black forest, in the middle of the night, knowing that my best friend had been abducted by a stalker.
Speaking of Stacey, you've written four full-length novels about her so far: Blue is for Nightmares, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance. Do you have any more in the works?
Nothing is planned yet, but I think it would be fun to do a companion series, starring a different character. We'll see.
In September, Flux published Black is for Beginnings, a graphic novel based on the characters from the Blue is for Nightmares series. Who had the idea to create this graphic novel?
I wanted to try something different. I felt the series was finished at four books, but readers kept asking me for a fifth. When my editor approached me with the idea of writing a graphic novel, I was very intrigued, because it gave me the opportunity to not only try something new, but to really picture the book as a movie. I have a background in screenwriting and wrote BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS in screenplay format, adding in ideas for illustrations and sidebars. It was an absolute thrill to write, and to have the opportunity to work with an illustrator for these characters and situations I'd created.
How did you come to meet Barbara Randall Kesel, the woman who adapted the story, and artist Janina Görrissen?
My editor and I looked at sample sketches from a variety of different artists, but as soon as I saw Janina's work, I knew that she was the perfect person to illustrate my book. Barbara Randall Kesel was the manager of the project, ultimately in charge of how things would look on the page.
Are you planning to create additional volumes?
I'd love to do another graphic novel, particularly a stand-alone title. We'll see...
You have also written short stories, such as The Legend of Anna Barton in the Scholastic anthology The Number of the Beast, and stand-alone novels, such as Project 17 and Bleed. Do you approach writing short stories differently from writing novels? Do you have a certain writing process you use no matter what the story or deadline?
I start with an outline, regardless of whether I'm writing a novel or short story. I figure out what my story is truly about (I like to boil it down to a word or two). Then I map out my plot, including who my character is, what he or she wants, why he wants it, what keeps her from getting it, and what he or she will need to learn to achieve that goal. When I'm on deadline, I like to write at least ten pages per week, regardless of how busy I am.
What are your ten favorite books of all time?
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Where I'm Calling From: Selected Stories by Raymond Carver
Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Come to Me by Amy Bloom
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block
Visit Laurie's website and blog.
Related posts at Bildungsroman:
Booklist: Mind Readers and Ghostly Visitors
Visit all of today's tour stops:
Ann Marie Fleming at Chasing Ray
Laurie Faria Stolarz at Bildungsroman
Patrick Carman at Miss Erin
Jacqueline Kelly at HipWriterMama
Dan Santat at Fuse #8
Nova Ren Suma at Shelf Elf
Here's the Bildungsroman schedule for WBBT 2009:
Monday, November 16th: Courtney Sheinmel
Tuesday, November 17th: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Wednesday, November 18th: Jacqui Robbins
Thursday, November 19th: Thomas Randall
Friday, November 20th: Joan Holub
View the full schedule for WBBT 2009.