BIR2011: Kicks-off Today w/ Lauren DeStefano Interview + Giveaway

Welcome to the 1st day of BIR2011. Last year was our first year doing BIR. We had such a great time doing it and here we are back once again. This year its a little different and less chaotic. This year all the 11 blogs participating will each feature 7 BIR Authors on their blogs and 8 BIR Authors will be featured on the Best I've Read 2011 blog. Each day a new BIR Author will be featured on each blog, so don't miss one day. 

Today featured on the Best I've Read blog: Haven by Kristi Cook

Here is a full list of all the blogs participating:

Today we kick-off with the very talented Lauren DeStefano, she is the author of The Chemical Garden series. Wither is book one in the series and one of my top favorites of 2011. I'm sure you all know and have read Wither and agree with me on it being a top choice. So today Lauren answered some questions and thanks to Simon & Schuster we are awarding one reader with a copy of Wither. 

Lauren DeStefano Links: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

OUaT: Welcome Lauren to OUaT. Wither obviously was one of my top favorites this year. When you thought of the idea for Wither, how and when did it come to you? 

This is a question I get a lot--so much, in fact, that it's now the top answer on my FAQ page! It's wonderful to know that readers are so interested in how this story began.

OUaT: While reading Wither, I became addicted to the story. As a writer does that happen while you write a story?

 I only work on one big project at a time; I can't multitask. That story will be the dominant thought in my brain for the entire time that I'm writing it. It's been this way since I was little; when I was a little Lauren, my parents decided that I was too old for my nightlight and they took it away. To console myself, I began making up stories to comfort myself before I fell asleep. More than twenty years later, my characters are still the last thoughts I have before I go to bed, and the first thoughts I have when I wake up each morning. As a teenager, when I was going for my driving test, I remember thinking, "I love thinking about my stories in the car. How can I do this while I'm driving without crashing into things?" (I haven't crashed into things so far).

OUaT: The main character is Rhine, how difficult or easy was she to create? 

I don't know that it's a question of easy or hard. Rhine first came to me as a girl who was in a dark place, ho was frightened of where she was heading and what would happen to her. As I wrote, the world materialized around her and I got to know her by seeing the world through her eyes. I never consciously tried to create  her--she was already there, and I was lucky enough to find her.

OUaT: How much did you have to cut out of Wither in your first draft? Do you have a favorite deleted scene?

My first drafts tend to be short, so very little, if anything, was cut. When I first spoke to my editor, her ideas all centered around "We need more of this, more of that" and so forth. Subplots and many, many scenes were added to make the story what you see now.

OUaT: If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? 

Maybe I would try to stop freaking out so much and just enjoy the ride.

OUaT: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 

My favorite part is a toss up between the new year's scene and what I call the "Jenna scene." Without giving too many spoilers away, the new year's scene is sort of a defining moment in Rhine's relationship with her husband. And in the "Jenna scene" there's a moment where all three wives are huddled in the bed together, consoling each other, and it shows what a family the three of them have become. They were all thrown into this peculiar situation, and it means something different to each of them, and there's no obligation for the three of them to love each other, but they really do.

OUaT: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The words are very important to me. I rarely find myself with a shortage of ideas, but execution is very difficult. Telling a story is easy, but telling it in a way that resonates is like climbing Everest with
dental floss.

OUaT: How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

They're people. I set them on the page and let them become what they wish to become.

OUaT: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your books?

When I was aspiring to be published, I assumed there was some formula or trick that published authors had. Like there was something they knew that I didn't. Now I realize that the key difference between an aspiring author and a published author is that the published author has made a sale. We still have insecurities and doubts. There is still no promise that our next book will sell, and no promise that it will be liked. Getting published is the most humbling experience I've had to date.

OUaT: What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?

Whatever it is, I probably don't have the answer for it.

Thanks Lauren for those great answers. I'm glad Rhine found you too then. Now on to the bonus part, we mentioned Simon & Schuster is giving away one copy of Wither to a reader. 

To Enter: 
  • Fill out the FORM
  • Have you read Wither? 
  • Giveaway runs until December 18th
  • US Only
  • No Po Boxes
  • Read our Giveaway policy HERE
  • Do not leave email or any personal information below


  1. Nice Interview. I have yet to read Wither but it sounds like a really good book. Thanks for the chance to win!

  2. I've got a copy of Wither already and I loved it. I hope a lot of people enter this contest because it was a great book!

  3. Thanks for the interview and giveaway! I would love to read Wither! :)

  4. I haven't even heard of Wither, but I want to read it now!!
    Thank you so much for having this blog hop and giving me a chance to win!

    Happy Holidays!

    Gena R

  5. I've not read Wither before and I've seen alot of great reviews... thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Thank you for such a sweet giveaway!! I haven't read Wither yet, but I'd love to - the idea of the chemical gardens is fascinating, this book's been on my radar for a while now :D

    Hugs & Happy Holidays!!

  7. What a great interview I have never read it yet but heard it was a great book! Thank you very much for the great giveaway!

  8. What a great idea for theme week.

    Thrilled to see an interview with Lauren - I love how she says she doesn't multi-task when writing - I so respect that!

    Can't wait for book two.

  9. Thanks for the giveaway. I haven't read Wither yet but I hear it is good.

  10. I actually have read Wither and I absolutely LOVED it! I can't wait for book 2! Thank you for the Giveaway!

  11. I have read it and it was really so very good. I'd love to win a copy to donate to my local library.

    Thank you for the chance to win!

  12. Thanks so much for the awesome giveaway! You rock. :)

  13. I have an arc copy so I won't enter this giveaway but I loved the interview with Lauren! I hope whoever wins the copy will enjoy the book as much as I did!!


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