I'm very pleased to have Lauren Baratz-Logsted here at One Book At A Time. Lauren is the author of several book such as Crazy Beautiful, The Education of Bet, and her latest novel Little Women and Me.
With a degree in psychology, did you want to do something different besides writing?
From the time I was 10, I thought I wanted to be a psychologist. But somewhere near the end of my college career, I realized it wasn't for me. I finished the degree with that major anyway but I always had as many English credits as Psych credits, so the degree could have gone either way. The only career I'm interested in now outside of anything to do with books is Mayor of Danbury. I'd really like to one day be Mayor of Danbury.
How hard was it to take a chance on writing?
Extremely hard and extremely easy! It was hard in that I walked away from a day job I'd loved for 11 years - I was an independent bookseller - and walking away also meant losing a good salary, full medical benefits and four weeks of paid vacation a year. But it was also easy in that for a long time I'd wanted to write a novel and it was time to take my chance.
How does it feel to look back and see how far you’ve come?
It feels amazing...even if I'm the only one saying so! After quitting my day job, it took me nearly eight years during which I wrote seven novels, holding down as many as four part-time jobs at once to support myself, before I finally sold the sixth on my own. Since 2003, I've had 22 books published for adults, teens and young children. My publishers have included Bloomsbury, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Simon & Schuster, Random House, and Red Dress Ink, and the books have been published in 13 countries. So yes, it seems pretty amazing to me.
Do you have a favorite character from any book you’ve written?
It's like making a parent choose a favorite child! But if you're going to hold a gun to my head, then I have to go with Kit, the boy next door from The Twin's Daughter. I tend to write flawed characters - often deeply flawed! - and Kit was the first purely noble character I ever created.
One thing you love about being a writer?
Just one? When something I've written makes a connection with real-live people. There's a series for young readers called The Sisters 8 - http://www.
Does your daughter read your books?
She's 11 years old so some are still a bit too mature in content but she has read The Education of Bet and Little Women and Me. Near the end of Little Women and Me, she was on the couch reading the climactic scene in the book and she just started screaming. It took a while for me to realize she was screaming in happy shock. That was a pretty great moment for me to be a writer too.
Lauren grew up in Monroe, CT, where her father owned a drugstore at which her mother was the pharmacist. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut at Storrs, where she majored in psychology. She also has what she calls her “half-Masters” in English from Western Connecticut State University (five courses down, another five to go…someday!).
Throughout college, she worked semester breaks as a doughnut salesperson, a job that she swears gave her white lung disease from all the powdered sugar she breathed.
Upon graduation, she began work at the venerable independent bookseller, now sadly defunct as such, Klein’s of Westport. There, she bought and sold for the better part of 11 years.
In November 1994, Lauren left the bookstore to finally take a chance on herself as a writer. Success did not happen over night. Between 1994 and May 2002 – when Red Dress Ink called with an offer to buy THE THIN PINK LINE – Lauren worked as a book reviewer, a freelance editor and writer, and a window washer, making her arguably the only woman in the world who has ever both hosted a book signing party and washed the windows of the late best-selling novelist Robert Ludlum.
Since Red Dress Ink’s call in 2002, Lauren has been kept very busy with writing more novels and checking her Amazon ranking on a daily basis. She still lives in Danbury, with her husband and daughter, where she has lived since 1991.