Readergirlz & YALSA Chat With Lauren Myracle!

October 27th, 2007 Chat Transcript

readergirlz wrote:

Tonight readergirlz welcomes NY Times best-selling author Lauren Myracle. Lauren is a supporter of readergirlz 31 Flavorite Authors for Teens in celebration of YALSA's Teen Read Week. We're excited to chat with her about the enormous success of the ttyl books!

Thanks to everyone for joining us tonight.

Remember if you'd like to reply to someone's statement or question, hit the Quote Button in their text box. Use the Refresh Button on your tool bar to see the latest additions to the chat. If it seems as if no one is talking, you probably need to hit Refresh!

The 31st post in our chat tonight will receive a free copy of one of the 31 Flavorite Authors books! Good luck all you chatters.

So, two questions to get started:

1.) How are you doing tonight?

2.) What is your flavorite ice cream?

 

Lauren Myracle

Hola, doodles! I'm here and psyched and getting ready to settle in for a lovely long chat. Must prepare my snackies, though. Whaddaya think: cashews (salty goodness) or chocolate???

Miss Erin wrote:

I love your last name btw, Lauren Myracle! :)

Lauren Myracle

Merci buckets!

readergirlz wrote:

Agree -- born with it? Married into it?? Made it up for pen name??

Tell All'

Janet

Lauren Myracle

Ah. Well. It's the last name I was born with, and it's pronounced MY-racle, just so you're in the know. If it were pronounced "Miracle, " it would be so much prettier, so I never correct anyone who says it that way. But I have yet to make the bold move of, like, just switching the pronunciation myself. Guess I'd feel disloyal to my dad? Right now, no one is carrying on the Myracle line (by having kids, that is) but me...

readergirlz wrote:

So, two questions to get started:

1.) How are you doing tonight?

2.) What is your flavorite ice cream?

Lauren Myracle

Two answers:

FAB! and Baskin Robbins chocolate chip mint, which, I KNOW, is technically called Mint Chocolate Chip. But c'mon. choc. chip mint is so much better.

The sadness is that there aren't any Baskin Robbins here in Fort Collins, where I live!!! Boo-ness!

readergirlz wrote:

I'm totally awed by how many readergirlz make it to the site on week nights with tons of homework.

And then come to chat on Saturday too!

Much love to the authors shown here.

Thanks to you ALL

Janet

Lauren Myracle

I agree--much love to all of you, and especially to La Divas themselves!

Marlena [is on Team Edward] wrote:

Hi everyone! Hi Lauren!

Can you settle something for me- is it Myracle as in Miracle, or Myracle as in My-racle?

only4daysuntilNaNoWriMo!

Lauren Myracle

MYracle! :)

turtlesteach wrote:

Both! ;-)

Lauren Myracle

Ah, yes. Now that's a fine idea. Mmm, maybe some cashews, M&Ms, and even some raisins thrown in. Or craisins for the girly who likes craisins!

lex [Goldfish] wrote:

What insipres you to write?

Who are your heroes?

What is your defining moment?

What is your favorite color?

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Lauren Myracle

+clears throat importantly for this set of coolio questions+

inspiration: I always always wanted to do something meaningful--and also creative. For me personally, I think that's my way of making life have purpose. So the inspiration just comes from wanting to live authentically, ya know?

Heroes: Hmmm. In a big scheme way, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jn., Big J. On a less cosmic level, mothers everywhere, readers everywhere, people who try to be kind, my husband. :)

Defining moment? Oh, gosh. No clue. If I think of anything as time goes on, I'll post it.

Color: sea foam green

advice: read See Jane Write by Sarah Mlynowski and Farrin Jacobs!

Olivia wrote:

Lauren, how often do you write?

Lauren Myracle

Almost every frickin' day. Saturdays I devote to my family, without being pulled away by the siren call of my novels.

Jessi G. is Smarter Than Me. wrote:

How old were you when you KNEW you were a writer?

Lauren Myracle

Hmm. Love this question. A longer answer than you probably want:

I started writing "for real" at age 7, meaning that I loved it and did it on purpose and felt proud of it. But by age 30, as I was getting my MFA, I remember feeling like I wasn't allowed/wasn't good enough/wasn't legitimate enough to CALL myself a writer--and so I referred to myself as a "wannabe writer." And I got chastised, in a loving way, by my advisor, who said, "Own it. Claim it." So I tried.

But, goofy though it is, I didn't really FEEL like a legitimate writer until my first book, KISSING KATE, came out the following year.

Miss Erin wrote:

Do you outline?

Assuming you say yes like 99% of all authors (according to my calculations...haha) what is your outlining process like? Any tips?

Lauren Myracle

Ha! I'm the 1%, I guess, because no, I don't outline. I keep thinking it would be a good idea to actually PLAN, but so far, it hasn't happened. What I do is brainstorm about where I want to go one chapter at a time...

readergirlz wrote:

Yes. Proud Mom carries on the family line :)

Lauren, in the ttyl series the girls are so distinct from each other -- yet you do this all in instant messages.

How did you create such unique characters?

Lauren Myracle

Ah, man. Er--woman. Thanks for saying that. And it was HARD, I tell ya. I decided early on that I'd have to come up with visual/stylistic "signs" for each girl: Maddie does the "s" thing; Angela does the gesture/stage direction thing; Zoe does the *asteriks* thing.

Other than that, I just had to make sure I knew each girl's character really well--and that the three characters spoke in ways that reflected their different characters.

Dia Calhoun wrote:

Hooray! Counting the first readergirlz post as one, Miss Erin is our 31st post tonight and will win a free copy of one of the 31 Flavorite Authors' books. Watch your inbox, Miss Erin, for details.

Lauren Myracle

Dude! Rock on!!! ANd how cool that you won by writing in for your bud. That is SO emblematic, I think!

Anywaysies, I think I'll answer the outfit one: jeans and a t-shirt, NO DOUBT. I am a no fuss, no muss kind of gal. ;)

lex [Goldfish] wrote:

In your opinion, what is the most important thing in life?

Lauren Myracle

LOVE

Olivia wrote:

Lauren, I was wondering in "Prom Nights From Hell" where you got the idea to write "The Corsage"?

Lauren Myracle

Oh, you read "The Corsage"? +does happy dance AND Snoopy dance+

From that awesome story "The Monkey's Paw." Do you know it? Thought it would be fun to update it--and it turned out to be really good craft experience for me, too, to take a form that someone else had already worked with and to re-do it in a fresh way.

Courtney wrote:

Hi Lauren :D

Are you planing to write a fourth book in the TTYL series? Btw, I loved L8r, G8r.

Lauren Myracle

I don't know! Eeeeek! I *want* to, because I love those girls. And if I did, I already know what I'd call it: *SuperFlyingTacklePounce*. Like?

BUT. I don't want to write it just to continue on the series, ya know? I don't want it to suck, in other words, and for everyone to think I just...sold out and did the easy thing. So I just don't know!!!!

Book Chic wrote:

Whew! Showed up a bit late and it's 4 pages already!!

Anyway, a few questions for Lauren-

1) How did you get the idea for Rhymes with Witches? I LOVED that book.

2) What are you working on now? Will there be more IM books?

3) What was it like working with two other authors (I say this because the only one I remember is Sarah Mlynowski, lol) for "How to be Bad"?

4) (yes, so many questions!!) Who are your favorite YA authors?

Thanks for coming and chatting with us!!

Book Chic, now putting on pjs! lol

Lauren Myracle

Ooo, PJs! Now that's a good idea.

Thanks for liking RWW! I'm working on a prequel right now. VERY fun. It's called BLISS, and it's about the evolution of the creepy Lurl the Pearl.

More IM books for sure--but not necessarily about the same girls.

Aw, working with Sarah M. and E. Lockhart was RIDICULOUSLY FUN. I love them! I love them! They influenced me SO much. And they're my fave YA authors, of course! But I love tons of other peeps, too. A few that come to mind: Rachel Vail, Ann Brashares, M.T. Anderson, Gail Giles, Cecil Castelluci, Wendy Mass, Jo Knowles, Libba Bray. Whew! I could go on and on--but will stop there for now!

Miss Erin wrote:

With your series, ELEVEN, TWELVE, and the soon to be released THIRTEEN...how many years do you expect to take that series? (as in, how many more books will you do?)

Lauren Myracle

Oh, yay! I'm so happy to get to talk about the Winnie books. I love Winnie. I love her little bro, Ty, too, who is basically my own goofy son, Jamie. (Just yesterday: me: "Jamie, you have beautiful eyes." Jamie: "Um, actually, Mom, they're brown." Kills me!)

Anyway, I reckon--sigh--that Thirteen is the last. But I'd write 'em up till Ninety-Nine, when Winnie is hobbling around on a walker. Alas, my editor seems to think I'm done!

Marlena [is on Team Edward] wrote:

Do you IM much, or are your books your only outlet for that kind of netspeak? =]

Lauren Myracle

The books are the only outlet!!!! ;)

Book Chic wrote:

Agh! Another question for you (I'm on a roll tonight, lol!): How did you react when you found out you were on the NY Times Bestseller list?

BC

Lauren Myracle

I was *so* happy. And amazed. And...sheepish feeling, for being bestowed with such a cool honor. AND I always feel goofy for feeling proud of what comes down to plain old praise, ya know? I mean, it's the writing that matters, not the NYT list.

But yeah, I was extremely psyched, thrilled, and honored. Most of all? Appreciative of the peeps who read my books! I mean, that's pretty darn cool...

Miss Erin wrote:

What advice do you have to other writers who'd like to co-author a book like you did with Sarah and E?

Lauren Myracle

Put it out there that you want to--or approach the authors you want to work with, if you have specific hopes and dreams. And then, remember that working with three authors (or however many) won't be a third of the work; it'll mean three times the work. But if you're lucky enough to work with peeps as phenomenally awesome as Sarah and E., then it'll be such a pleasure that you won't care.

Miss Erin wrote:

What was the hardest part of co-writing a novel? The best part?

Lauren Myracle

Hardest part: not being in total control. Embarrassing, but true.

Best part: the friendship that grew...and grew...and grew.

readergirlz wrote:

Also wondering that, Erin. I've co-written a screen play with a writing buddy. That was a blast!

Did you email chapters to each other, Lauren???

Janet

Lauren Myracle

Yeppers. Our "rule" was: I'd write a chap, then pass it onto E. E. would write a chap, then pass it along to Sarah. And then back to me, ad nauseum...

Just Brooke. wrote:

Welcome!

What's your favorite ice cream flavor?

How do you get rid of writer's block?

What are some of your favorite book series?

What's your favorite word?

Lauren Myracle

Oh, wow, that is so weird that you would ask what my fave word is. I've been thinking about that A LOT recently.

Contenders: luminous, numinous, grace, bridge, love. You?

Miss Erin wrote:

Woo-hoo! heheh ;) Good for you. So...what do you do when you feel like you're stuck, and the story has no point, no ending, no middle--any of those things. ??

Lauren Myracle

Oh, I feel that way A LOT. When I do, I write myself a letter. I start off by typing--cuz I've got to have the writing-it-out vibe going--"What is going on here? What do I want to have happen? Where does this need to go?" And then I just freewrite, and usually I find my way.

lex [Goldfish] wrote:

what is your favorite genera of music?

Favorite artist?

When you hear(or see) the word love, what is hte first thing that comes to mind?

Lauren Myracle

Music: oh, I love so much. SO much. Hmmm. Let's just go, today, with "2 AM" by...ah, geez, how lame am I that I have a fave song and can't remember the artist? It's cuz I'm typing so fast, ya know, trying to keep up with you crazies!

And, word association with LOVE: God. Yes, it's true. BUT, please know, a God that *is* love, and that has nothing to do EVER with hate or discrimination or barriers.

Emily wrote:

Hi everyone! Sorry I'm late, was dropping my good old dad off at the airport on his way back home... boo hoo =(

Hi Lauren! So excited to talk with you.

I first heard your name while reading an article about your book collaboration with two other YA authors =)

Lauren Myracle

Ah, so cool! And I hear ya: my good old dad just left after a lovely visit, too!

Jessi G. is Smarter Than Me. wrote:

Here's a fun question for everyone, including Lauren: what is everyone dressing up as for Halloween?

Lauren Myracle

Yay for Halloween! LOVE Halloween.

I'm a fortune teller, by default. Got roped into it by my kids' school, for their party. But I love it.

Book Chic wrote:

I know of some people who have a hard time reading the IM form of the TTYL series. Did you ever get flack for writing whole books completely in IM? Was it hard to get those published (or, well, at least the first book)?

BC

Lauren Myracle

Are you kidding? TONS of flack, for the IM, for the language, for the topics the girls discuss. Sigh. I hate getting flack. I hate being yelled at! And some of the people who write and rant are MEAN.

However, wasn't hard to get ttyl published, as it my editor's genius idea that I should try that format in the first place. Her name is Susan Van Metre, by the way. I LOVE SUSAN!!! She is so amazing. She makes my stuff so much better than it would be with just me doing it...

Book Chic wrote:

I read "The Corsage" too! I absolutely loved it. :)

BC

Lauren Myracle

Awwww! THANKS!!!!!

Marlena [is on Team Edward] wrote:

LOVE the title, but I understand if you don't write another one. I MUCH prefer the first three Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants to the fourth, and I wouldn't want you to go that way.

Of course, if you can avoid that pit, PLEASE write another one! I loooove Maddie, Angela, and Zoe!

Lauren Myracle

Yes. Exactly. I don't wanna write Ghostbusters Three, ya know?

Chicklish wrote:

Aww, write it! I LOVE the title and I love the sound of this book!!

Lauren Myracle

Aw, thanks, Luisa! And yay for Chicklish and cool British girls!

Book Chic wrote:

haha! LOVE that title. :) And I don't think I would ever call you a sell-out if you continued the series, no matter when it happened.

For the fourth book, if it's published, what color do you think the cover would be?

BC

Lauren Myracle

I'd want...either tangerine or lavender! What do you think?

Book Chic wrote:

AWESOME!!! Thanks for answering, and I can't WAIT for that prequel. Do you know when it will be released?

BC

Lauren Myracle

Not sure. Fall of...08?

Emily wrote:

Lauren, I loved the response from Janet the other night, about the night she first learned she was going to be published. Can you share your story with us?

Lauren Myracle

Heck yeah. First, you have to know that my (beloved!) editor put me through TWO YEARS and FIVE REVISIONS (of Kissing Kate) before she offered me a contract. And all this time, we never talked on the phone. So then late some Thursday night, I get a call, and this teeny tiny voice says, "Lauren? This is Susan Van Metre, from Dutton Children's Books." (She has since moved onto Abrams, and I now work with the lovely Julie Strauss-Gabel at Dutton. And of course I still work with Susan at Abrams.)

Anyway, my heart started to pound, and I got all nervous and freaky, and she said, "I'd like to offer you a contract on your novel." And I was SO excited. But you know what I'm both astonished by and proud of myself for? Before I said yes, I asked for a higher advance!

Now, keep this in perspective. The advance I was offered was SMALL, and the increase I asked for was even smaller. But still. I felt quite tough--and scared, too.

But she checked with her peeps, and then came back and said yes, and voila! Much dancing about in joy. And then I took my hubby and baby boy out for ice cream. ;)

Dia Calhoun wrote:

Lauren, do you have any writing rituals?

Lauren Myracle

Sweetie, I lost all my rituals once my kids came along--and I realized that if I wanted to write at all, I'd have to do it whenever and wherever I could.

I do like to eat and drink while I write, though. :)

Sarah Mlynowski wrote:

Hi! Just popping in to say WE LOVE YOU TOO LAUREN! You are awesome. Seriously, she is awesome. Ridiculously awesome. And all her books are awesome! OK, am off to dinner now. Have fun everyone.

xxx

Sarah

Lauren Myracle

Aw, Sarah!!!!!!!! Aren't you supposed to be out being a fancy New Yorker?

And...did ya like how I stole your "ridiculously fun" phrase? ;)

Emily wrote:

Speaking of "Team Edward"... which "team" are you on Lauren?

Lauren Myracle

Aye-yai-yai. Hard one. I love Jacob, but I think our gal loves Edward, you know? And I'm all for true love...

Dia Calhoun wrote:

Lauren, how about a fantasy novel in IM? Now that would be wild! :)

Lauren Myracle

Oooo, yeah! Hey, I know: YOU write it! ;)

Janet wrote:

Lauren, if you don't write them, fast forward 10 years, where do you see Winnie in 10 years???

Just wondering.

Lauren Myracle

Well, in ten years, Winnie would be 23. She'd be out of college and...doing something cool. Oh, I know! She'd be interning at Sesame Street!!!!!

~VaNeSsA~ wrote:

Hey everyone! I can't stay, but I wanted to say hi.

And for Lauren (sorry if this has been asked before): How did you pick your character's names? Did writing in IM format come naturally to you? Which is easier, IM or prose?

Thanks.

-Vanessa

Lauren Myracle

Hola! And: picked 'em in some ways so that I could have fun IM names to go along with them, names that would identify the girls but would also be fun in and of themselves.

AND, writing in IM is definitely harder. Harder because you have to do so much without *seeming* like you're doing it: setting up scenes, exposition, setting, etc. But really good training!

Emily wrote:

Lauren, you seem to love the characters you create. What kinds of questions do you ask yourself about your characters when you are creating them?

Lauren Myracle

you are so nice to say that--and yes, I do. I'm all about love. ;)

I ask questions that I got from Sarah and Farrin's fab how-to book: What does she want? What does she NEED? And that gets me a looooooong way.

Courtney wrote:

Yet another question but,

Who is your inspiration for the Maddie, Zoey, and Angela in TTYL? Are they like your friends or are the charaters just a work of fiction?

Lauren Myracle

They are SO my own dear friends from high school--but they're a combo, of course. My high school friendships were super strong; I still vacay with them and email them tons. In some ways, it was crippling, though, because I was a huge loser in college because I felt so...without mooring anymore. I missed my buds!!! (Not that they'll ever read this, but: hi, Julianne! Hi, Gini! Hi, Mags!)

lex [Goldfish] wrote:

what makes you smile and/or laugh?

Lauren Myracle

My husband. My kids. My friends.

People being brave in small ways, people who are willing to be goofy. Irreverence. Challenging expectations.

Ellen DeGeneres. (Is that how you spell her last name?)

Sarah M. and E. Lockhart.

RANEY, by Clyde Edgerton.

Chicklish wrote:

This is so interesting (and it's how I often write too!!)

Have you ever done NaNoWriMo?

Lauren Myracle

I haven't--and I still don't get what it is, really!

Just Brooke. wrote:

I'm the one to ask random stuff.

I've been at a drama festival all day=]

For right now, my favorite word is mademoiselle

Pretty much means girl.

Do you like the Harry Potter series?

Lauren Myracle

For French, I love "calendrier." Just so pretty.

And...but of course, little missy!

Janet wrote:

Lauren,

Which girl in the Awesome Threesome from ttyl books were you the most like in High School?

Lauren Myracle

Ah, crap. The question that has no good answer--or at least, no answer that doesn't spin off into "Oh, I'm all of them!"

But I am. Sigh. One identity--perhaps the strongest?--was good girl Zoe, although to be honest, I became more Good Girl Z in college. I got busted for pot in high school--just like Maddie--and I did like to test parameters. (I *never* used the word "tits, " though!) I guess I was most un-like Angela--although oddly enough, I might be most like Angela now! For example: I am write now wearing cute jeans with embroidered patches on them and--don't vomit--a pale pink Hannah Montanna shirt. Yeppers, my sons and I went to her concert on Thursday night....

Book Chic wrote:

Is it Anna Nalick? I LOVE her and her album "Wreck of the Day". She's an amazing singer/songwriter.

BC

Lauren Myracle

YES! Yessie yes yes. Thanks!

Just Brooke. wrote:

What would your pen name be if you made one up, eh?

Lauren Myracle

Brooxie Campbell. Brooxie, from my grandmother on my dad's side; Campbell from my grandmom on my mom's side. Like?

readergirlz wrote:

WHAT? THE HOUR IS UP ALREADY?

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!

Lauren, are you all out of cashews?

Thank you so much, Lauren, for being a part of 31 Flavorite Authors for Teens and celebrating YALSA's Teen Read Week with all of us! And thanks for bringing your peep, Sarah Mlynowski too :)

Your chat has been awesome! Drop in anytime. The readergirlz love you!

Note to all: If everyone wants to hang around longer, feel free to do so. Otherwise, we'll see you tomorrow night as we chat with the amazing, Holly Black.

Thanks again Lauren and readergirlz everywhere!

Diva Janet

Lauren Myracle

Oh, but of course! And thank YOU and your fellow divas for being so gracious as to have me!

I'll hang out for a bit more, though...

Ally Carter wrote:

I don't have a real question, but I did want to stop by briefly and say publicly and for the record that I HEART LAUREN MYRACLE! that's all.

Ally Carter

Lauren Myracle

Awwwww! +jumps around spazzerifically+ And *I* heart Miss Ally! Who is now a New York Times best-seller! And who is one of the most talented and generous authors around! Yah, Ally!

Jessi G. is Smarter Than Me. wrote:

I'm still here, too! =)

Lauren Myracle

I am, too. WHEW. But it looks like most everyone has moved on to...other Saturday night things. So I reckon I will, too. BUT Y'ALL ARE ALL SO COOL TO HAVE COME! Seriously, this was mucho mucho fun. I love you guys!

readergirlz