A Fast-Five interview with the primary editor and publisher of my book, DOLLHOUSE — author Lauren Oliver.
Editing Dollhouse with Lauren was tough but rewarding. I think the goal of most writers is to continually improve. Writing is a craft, and writing well is a matter of continually sharpening the tools of the craft.
Editing Dollhouse together with Lauren and the team of editors at Paper Lantern Lit has definitely changed my writing. Lauren, together with editor and author Lexa Hillyer, is a co-founder of PLL.
One of the biggest issues I have is in seeing a scene play as a movie in my head and then in the writing of the scene, capturing the atmosphere of the scene but forgetting to be specific enough with the details. And when you have complex concepts such as parallel universes and invented beings, you need to take care with the details and ensure the reader is coming along with you for the ride!
Onto the interview with Lauren!
1. Paper Lantern Lit’s ‘The Studio’ first reached out to me in June 2013, about my book, DOLLHOUSE. What was it about Dollhouse that attracted The Studio’s eye?
First of all, the concept is incredibly cool and creepy–and extremely original. We were haunted by the subterranean world Cassie discovers with Ethan. It’s the kind of book that stays in your mind long after you put it down. And also, simply put, the execution was excellent: the characters felt real and round, and your use of language was extremely evocative. After that, The Studio is really self-selecting: we look for people who WANT to grow as writers, to get better.
2. Dollhouse features ghosts and parallel universes. What do you think attracts us as readers to the unknown?
Well, I think people are just attracted to the unknown, period. We love to speculate about what comes next, or what might come next, or what might exist now that defies our understanding. And fiction is an incredible place to explore that, because it allows us to give free reign to our imagination.
3. What is The Studio and what are its future plans?
The Studio is a specific initiative within my company, Paper Lantern Lit, that seeks to find wonderful up-and-coming authors who specifically want to be published in the online space. That includes talented and dedicated self-published authors, like you; complete newbies; and even established authors looking to experiment in the online market. The Studio has been somewhat of an experiment for us–this was our launch year–but we’ve been thrilled by the performance of all of our books. Our hope is to slowly grow our stable of writers, and continue to find innovative ways to service our current list via marketing and promotional efforts.
4. What new titles does The Studio have coming up?
In the fall, the Studio is launching a free “studio sampler”–every six months or so, consumers can download a FREE sample that includes excerpts of all of our new books before deciding which ones they want to buy. And we also have BEAUTIFUL GIRL, a gorgeous and haunting and grittily realistic story of a girl in her sophomore year at an elite private college in the Northeast.
5. You have a new book about to be released ((ROOMS), in which a pair of spirits observe the new residents of their house and speak through the house itself, in the hisses of the radiator and dimming of lightbulbs. I love the idea of spirits speaking through a house. Why was the idea behind Rooms important to you and did anything surprise you in the writing of it?
I’ve always loved old houses and the idea of all the people who must have inhabited the rooms before me. I like the idea, too, that some trace of us is left in the things we love and handle–that’s why items owned by, say, a beloved grandfather achieve such significance. And I was also trying to render literal the idea of “if these walls could talk,” by actually giving the house a voice. It was much, much more challenging than I’d anticipated, because two of the major characters have such little agency. But it was a fun challenge.