Elizabeth Eulberg, author extraordinaire for our March Book of the Month — The Lonely Hearts Club — was kind enough to answer our lengthy interview questions. See Part 1 here. Today, we bring you Part 2 of 3 in our interview!
At Novel Novice, one of our main goals is encouraging teens to read. What would you say to reluctant teen readers to convince them to pick up a book (any book)? Why do you think reading is so important?
Books are the ultimate escape. While TV, movies, video games, etc. can be a fun distraction, books truly make you part of the experience: they can transport you to places and experiences without limit. As a reader, you visualize the story for yourself. I think it is a more personalized experience than watching a story.
I think reading is important because it introduces you to so many experiences, worlds, people, etc. Reading can help you become the person you want to be, take you to a place you’ve never visited, the possibilities are endless. Plus, reading is fun!
Tell us about an educational experience you had that changed your life.
I studied abroad twice in my life. In high school I was an exchange student in Switzerland and I studied a semester in London during college. Both these experiences made me a much more independent person. It also opened my eyes to other cultures and countries. I’ve been hooked on traveling ever since.
As a writer, what are some of your biggest inspirations?
While writing, I turn to music a lot to set the mood for me. While I’m working on ideas, I try to look around me a lot and take in settings and people. Two characters from The Lonely Hearts Club, Missy and Ashley (the Freshman) came from two really loud and annoying girls sitting next to me on a cross country flight. I wrote the scene where they first appeared right then on a piece of scrap paper.
What’s the scariest part about being a published author? The best part?
The scariest part is putting something that you’ve work very hard on (and in the case of The Lonely Hearts Club, five years of my life) out into the world. I’ve been fortunate to get mostly positive feedback on the book, but I’ve also seen some very negative reactions to it. I do look at thoughtful criticism and try to learn from it. However, there will be some people who are being negative just to be negative and it’s important to be able to tell the difference and block out the haters.
The best part is hearing from readers. I’ve received some amazing notes and e-mails from girls that say my book has helped them get over a broken heart or realize they are worth waiting for the right guy. A girl recently wrote me and said that my book “stopped the tears at night.” I was so touched and honored that my book could help someone in that way.
What question do you always wish someone would ask you during an interview?
Would you like us to arrange a date with you and Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol?
Now answer that question.
Why yes. Yes I would.
Young Adult lit has become a huge phenomenon over the last few years, especially with series like Harry Potter and Twilight — the latter of which, you’re extremely familiar with having done the publicity for Stephenie Meyer. What do you think is the appeal of YA lit?
I believe that our teen years are some of the most critical years of one’s life. When you’re a teen, you’re trying to figure out who you are and what you want to be—that’s pretty big! I think the emotions you go through as a teen never really leave you. There are so many memories from my high school experience that feel like they just happened yesterday (like walking into school on the first day of class). I think people like reconnecting to that part of their past.
What books would you recommend to fans hankering for more after reading LHC?
I’m a huge fan of Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girl series. The books center around a spy school for girls so you’ve got female empowerment AND boy troubles!
What are your favorite types of books to read?
I really like fun books. When I’m on vacation, I usually read Jennifer Weiner or Sophie Kinsella. I’m also a huge David Sedaris fan. For YA: I really like books from Carolyn Mackler, Sarah Dessen…I like contemporary YA fiction best.
Tune in for Part 3 tomorrow!!