Lauren of the blog I Was a Teenage Book Geek (GREAT name, first off) is a relatively new YA blogger from the UK, but she's already made a big splash in the big ocean of YA blogs! Not only does she leave truly thoughtful comments on others' blogs, she can also write one heck of an impressive review. You know how you can just tell when a blogger is destined for greatness and possible future book deals? Yeah, you can totally tell that with Lauren's writing. And now you get to say you knew them way back when, and I get to say that I interviewed her waaaayyy back in the beginning, hehe. So without further ado...!
1. Welcome, Lauren, to Steph Su Reads! Tell us about yourself in a few short sentences.
I’m Lauren and I’m from London, England. My hobbies are reading YA fiction, writing my own stories, and playing videogames. I got married last year on Halloween and I’m in the middle of relocating to the beautiful seaside town of Brighton. No pets yet, but when I finally move for good I’m going to adopt a kitten. (I’m allergic to cats, but I’m super-fearless.)
2. Tell us about your blog. When did you start it and why? Where did the name come from? What interesting things can visitors expect?
I’d been reading several YA book blogs for months, and I was really impressed with the quality of the content and writing… but I thought it looked like a lot of work. Then one day the urge to join in the fun got too much, and I cracked. I started I Was A Teenage Book Geek in August. On Tuesdays I’ll usually post about a YA book that isn’t a recent release, something that’s years or even decades old. I think it’s great that new titles benefit from the buzz that bloggers generate, so this is a way of showing some love to the books that missed out on this kind of attention the first time round. Most of the books I feature will be speculative, fantasy or will have LGBT interest, because those are the subjects that interest me most. And yes, blogging is even more work than I thought, but I’m loving it.
3. I think that Time Travel Tuesday is a fantastic idea--there are certainly many great old books that deserve more recognition. What were some of your favorite books when you were very young?
I used to read a lot of my mum’s childhood books. Her actual childhood copies, which were usually hardback and dusty. I loved What Katy Did, Little Women, and absolutely anything by Noel Streatfeild. I was a real girly girl.
4. Name 3 favorite books and why you think everyone should read them.
First, it has to be The Hunger Games. This book is pretty close to perfection. It’s dystopian, it’s exciting, and it has one of my favourite protagonists of all time - the awesome Katniss. Also, it has some of the best world-building ever.
Thirdly, because I should probably have a non-speculative choice, Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer. It’s this beautiful time-travel story about a girl who goes to boarding school and begins to switch places each night with a girl from 1918. It’s just perfect.
5. I'm adding Charlotte Sometimes to my wishlist! Now where would you go on your dream vacation?
I really want to go to Japan, because it has this amazing mix of rich tradition and vibrant modern culture. Plus, it’s the home of Final Fantasy. (I’m obsessed with Final Fantasy. The biggest compliment anyone’s ever paid me is that I look like Yuna from FFX). If we’re talking big dreams, I’d like to go into space. As a child, I really expected that you’d be able to stay at a hotel on the moon by 2010. Frankly, I feel let down.
6. Do you have any books you turn to when you're feeling down, or books that have changed your outlook on life?
If I’m feeling down, I’ll probably reread Charlotte Sometimes for that comforting nostalgic thing. As for books that have changed my life… Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeannette Winterson, which definitely isn’t a YA title but completely changed how I think about narrative. Feed by M.T. Anderson is another. It’s one of the saddest and most deceptively meaningful speculative titles I’ve ever read. I heart it. Most recently, Ash by Malinda Lo. I’m an aspiring writer and Ash reminded me to be true to myself, and to tell the stories I want to tell.
7. Yay, Ash! Malinda will be very happy. In your opinion, what UK author deserves more international recognition and readership?
I adore Gemma Malley. Her first two books, The Declaration and The Resistance, follow ‘surplus’ teens in a world where drugs have allowed people to live forever… but at the expense of new life. I’m so excited about her next book, The Returners, I can hardly stand it.
The Line by Teri Hall, Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien, The Returners by Gemma Malley, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Oh, and the next books in two series: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink. (Yes, I know you said ‘most’ looking forward to, but this is such a great time for YA titles. I can’t choose!)
9. What are some things you just LOVE to receive for presents? :)
Well, books of course - I guess everyone says that. Also anything from Hotel Chocolat, and mix cds. In my experience, if someone makes you a great mix cd, they really love you.
10. Aww, mix CDs. You bring back nostalgia for me. And finally, 2 things about yourself that can spark conversation.
I do the best impression of a dog barking you’ve ever heard. I guarantee it. Actually I do two: one of a little yappy dog, and one of a big scary dog. Just a vocal impression obviously. (I don’t look all canine or anything.)
Something less freaky, you say? Um... I tend to believe what I want to believe, for as long as I can. Earlier this year, my workmates were forced to inform me that Komodo dragons don’t in fact breathe fire. I was devastated.
Wait, you mean Komodo dragons DON'T breathe fire? DARN IT! Hehe, only kidding. Thanks for the wonderful interview, Lauren! If you haven't checked out her blog I Was a Teenage Book Geek yet, what are you waiting for? I guarantee you will be blown away by her writing, and you might end up seeing her name on the cover of a book yet! :)