The Winter 2014 #StoryCrushTour : Panic | Lauren Oliver Day | Q & A

Welcome to The Winter Story Crush 2014 Tour. Today is Lauren Oliver day on and HERE! We are excited to spotlight one of our favorite authors of all-time. Oliver's latest young adult upcoming release is PANIC which will be out in stores on March 4th. 

Q & A with Lauren Oliver

OUaT: In your Delirium series, the storyline was mainly based on an emotion which was Love, and how it was illegal to love. Now in Panic, it's not an emotion but an actual game that is played which is illegal. Can you describe the details on Panic the game?

LO: PANIC is a legendary game open to all graduating seniors of Carp High School. Essentially, it's a game of fear--players face a variety of increasingly frightening, and dangerous, challenges over the course of the summer (for example, crossing a six-lane highway blindfolded). They are judged for their ability not just to complete the individual challenges but by their ability to demonstrate courage in the face of fear. Slowly, over the course of the summer, players are eliminated. The last man (or woman!) standing takes a pot of accumulated money, usually several tens of thousands of dollars.

OUaT: How different is it to write about an illegal game high school kids play as to writing about an illegal emotion?

LO: I think there are certainly parallels between PANIC and Delirium, even though PANIC is contemporary realistic fiction and Delirium, obviously, is not. Both books, though, tell the story of a group of people who are really trapped--they have limited choice and limited freedom. In both novels, the main characters end up railing against this sense of enclosure and entrapment.

OUaT: All the participants in Panic are different, where or how did you get the inspiration to create each individual player in Panic?

LO: Exploring the characters and their individual motivations for playing was my favorite part of the book. In early permutations of the manuscript, I actually give almost every player a short "voice" and point of view, so that we figure out just exactly why everyone has made the decision to play. I'm not sure where the inspiration for each character came, exactly. I hardly ever know. Sometimes these fictional characters just float up to my consciousness, as if they've been waiting in a shadowed corner all along for their chance to say hello!

OUaT: Even though Panic is an illegal game and some participants get hurt or even die, What is the message you want your readers to walk away with from Panic the book and the game itself?

LO: DON'T PLAY PANIC!! Also, on a deeper level, I guess I'm hoping readers look at the things of which they are really afraid--not the spiders and the darkness, but the emotional fears we all carry with us, of being abandoned or unlovable, of being left behind. Those are the fears worth confronting.

OUaT: Panic will command your full attention being that there is a main plot happening alongside subplots too, was this extremely hard to write?

LO: Actually, yes. PANIC was probably the hardest book I've ever written, for a variety of reasons. I struggled to maintain tension and narrative drive while weaving in some of the "deeper" elements necessary for character growth and development. I agonized over the darkness of the book, and the portrayal of issues like poverty, homelessness, and drug addiction. I had trouble deciding on which challenges would be best evoked on the page. The whole thing was a nightmare! But ultimately it became the YA book of which I am probably most proud.

OUaT: As of now Panic is a standalone novel, do you have plans to turn this into a series or do you feel the ending concluded the story?

LO: I definitely won't write a direct sequel to PANIC--I'm quite pleased with the book as a whole and with its ending. But I'm still compelled by the game itself and the way that it allows me to do character exploration, so I wouldn't be averse to writing a prequel or spin-off. We'll see!

OUaT: As part of the Panic promotions, you read the first 3 chapters of Panic that could be watched via YouTube videos. Reading your book out loud was it an easy task since I imagine you know how your characters sound to you? or was it the hardest thing you have done?

LO: I love reading from my own books because it gives me the chance to hear the language in a different way and to rediscover the story for myself. The only thing that's hard about reading aloud is that I always discover sentences, images, or words I want to change! I'm constantly self-editing when I read from my own books.

OUaT: The cover of Panic is intriguing, can you give us your interpretation of the Panic book cover?

LO: I love the cover! I think it might be my favorite cover so far. To me it's reminiscent of the book Gone Girl, one of my favorite novels of the past few years, and connotes a sense both of movement and stillness. That paradox--the explosion of the game and its repercussions within the dead-end, stand-still town of Carp--is really at the heart of the novel.

OUaT: Panic makes the 3rd book that the film rights have been optioned, does this still shock you when it happens? How does Lauren Oliver celebrate such news?

LO: Totally shocking! I usually celebrate by going out to dinner and ordering champagne, but in this case the call happened so late, I celebrated by going promptly to sleep!

OUaT: What next for Lauren Oliver? 

LO: This September, my first adult novel will be released, called ROOMS. I'm very excited about it, and nervous, too; it's quite different than my current work, of course, because it's intended for a different audience, though I hope that many of my fans will read and love it. Next year I have a new MG series launching called CURIOSITY HOUSE, plus a few other books up my sleeve. But nothing concrete! All I know is I'm going to keep writing for as long as I possibly can. :)

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes an extraordinary novel of fear, friendship, courage, and hope.

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of twelve thousand people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She'd never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game; he's sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he's not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Already optioned by Universal Pictures in a major deal, this gritty, spellbinding novel captures both the raw energy of fear mixed with excitement as well as the aching need to find a place to belong.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to read a great non-dystopian book by a great YA author. I couldn't put this book down and finished it in three days. While reading it I sometimes felt myself panicking and had to stop and remind myself to calm down it is just a book!



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