2. Would Bad Apple reflect your own attempt in self-discovery, especially during your own high school years?
Though I'm nothing like Tola — I was shy, can't draw to save my life, and not a troublemaker at all — I'd say Bad Apple does reflect some of what I was feeling when I was in high school. It felt to me that other people were always trying to define you FOR you, and it was so hard to contradict what they were saying (even when what they were saying was contradictory). It felt as if you were the last person on earth allowed to define yourself. There was always some other person slapping a label on you: you're a slut, you're a geek, you're a jock, you're goth, whatever. I felt hemmed in all the time, trapped. What if you don't want to be what everyone says you are?
3. On that note, how did you get the inspiration for the character that is Tola and why, in particular, did you choose to write about a teacher-student scandal?
I'd guess the initial inspiration for Tola came from my own blended family. I wrote the earliest pages of this manuscript back in 1994, after I was officially adopted by my stepdad, who'd raised me from when I was eight years old. I was already in my twenties at the time of the adoption, which was purely ceremonial at that point. I was interested in the way that the break-up and then re-making of families affecting the kids growing up in them. How fractured their lives could be, how jaded they appeared, and yet, how secretly romantic they were. (I was all of these things, myself).
6. If you had the chance to go back to high school and redefine yourself, what would your personality and appearance would be like?
Okay, my first, visceral response to this question: I wouldn't. Ever. I hate being told what to do.
My second, more rational response: If I could go back and change anything, I wouldn't want to change my personality or appearance so much. (Well, okay, I'd want all the lovely antifrizz hair products that are available now, and I would NEVER have bought those corduroy knickers in the 9th grade). What I would wish for my high school self is more courage. More daring. I loved acting in school plays and wish I'd been brave enough to do more of it outside of school. I loved writing and wish I'd been brave enough to finish all the pieces I started (it took me years before I could do that). And I really really wish I didn't waste so much time thinking about what other people thought of me.
Lol, corduroy knickers? Sounds like there's a story behind that. :)
Nope, no story, just very very bad judgment. I wore them once.
7. If you could only pick one thing to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
TV show? Project Runway, So You Think You Can Dance
Book? Adult: Pride & Prejudice. YA: Speak
(That's this second, however. Ask me in a few minutes and I'll have entirely different ones).
Place to write? My office, with the cats sprawled across my desk.
Vacation destination? Coronado Island.
Way to annoy others? Pontificating. Or sarcasm. Pontificating sarcastically?
9. Hm, I think that's about it. Do you have any upcoming works we should know about?
I'm working on a bunch of things — a sort-of-but-not-really YA romance, a teen thriller, a middle grade mystery, even a horror novel. I'll just have to wait and see which of them I finish first. : )
10. And is there anything else you would like add?
Thanks, Jenn, for taking the time to read my books, and to interview me. It's been fun!
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Wow, I just realized that I asked what seems like a lot of questions, but Laura gave great responses to all of them! And a huge "thank you" goes toward Laura for making my first interview an awesome experience, and just for being an awesome person in general. She's super nice, witty, and a great writer, so please go check her out! You can read more about her at her website, lauraruby.com.
And, for my readers, thank you for listening in and look for more interviews in the future!
Laura, being the amazing person she is, is providing ONE copy of Bad Apple to give away to a lucky winner, and it's INTERNATIONAL.