I had the honor of interviewing one of my favorite authors today; Lauren Saft! Her debut novel, Those Girls, is one of my all time favorite reads. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you get on that right away! Lauren is also an awesome person, and is definitely an author to watch!
Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
A: I suppose I’ve been writing since high school, or possibly even before that. I have always taken to writing, and have written stories since I learned how to write. I was on my high school newspaper, and always enjoyed the creative writing aspects of high school English classes. I wrote for my college newspaper, and pursued creative writing workshops as an undergrad. I’m not sure I can articulate why I started, it’s just something that I was always naturally driven to do!
I think truly, what drove (drives) me to write was the fact that I love to talk, and writing was a way for me to get out everything I had to say without interruption 🙂
Q: What inspires you to write? Do you have a muse?
A: Oh man, the world inspires me! My friends, my family, funny things I see on the street or at work, trends I notice, the plethora of social habits that make me angry, and the few that bring me joy. I don’t have one particular muse, but if I’ve ever met you, loved you, seen you at a Starbucks, odds are something of you will make its way into my writing.
Q: What was the original idea behind your book Those Girls?
A: Those Girls was originally (and largely still is) a spoof about me and my best friends and what we were like in high school. The story is 100% fiction, but much of it is a sort of satirical account our experience at an all-girls school in a bougie suburb.
The three perspective structure of Those Girls was meant to be a commentary on what seems to be a pervading culture of self-absorption and narcissism. I’ve always been extremely amused by the fact that so many people only seem to see the world through their own eyes, only feel what happens directly to them, and have little to no concept of (or interest in) how their actions impact others. I think high school is a particularly apt breeding ground for this way of thinking, so I wanted to initiate a conversation on the subject of self-involvement and how destructive it can be.
Q: Which one of the girls in Those Girls are you most like, Alex, Mollie, or Veronica?
A: I am definitely the most like Alex (especially outwardly), but Mollie and Veronica are definitely within me as well. I am all of them, all of them are me, and at the same time — none of them are me or any one person — they are characters I invented; so while there are aspects of me in all of them, they are fictional amalgamations of traits necessary to move my plot forward.
Q: What is one thing visitors don’t know about your home town of Philadelphia?
A: That it’s totally awesome! That it’s got everything New York’s got, but it’s cheaper, prettier, cleaner, the people are nicer, and the cheesesteaks are for tourists.
Q: Tell me about the time you met the Olsen Twins! What was that like? Are you a big fan?
A: Oh my god, I am THE BIGGEST FAN. I have been intrigued and enamored with them since their Full House days; they’re like a real life “Truman Show” (do you even know what that is or are you too young?!) They were basically Hollywood’s children, have been in the spotlight since before they were old enough to conceive of having a choice. They were told what to eat, what to wear, what to say, what movies to be in, had not even one minute of their childhood that was not curated, controlled, and observed, and now they’re like these amazing tiny little billionaire style icons, and I just am fascinated by their evolution.
Anyway, oh yeah — when I met them: I was working at Penguin when they did a book with them, and I literally had a phone-tree set up to let me know when they were in the building. One day, I got the call, and I sprinted from my desk to the conference room with a copy of their coffee table book in hand, and, sweating, I got them both to sign it.
Ashley smiled at me. Mary-Kate did not.
Q: Are you currently working on a writing project? If so, can you tell me about it?
A: I am! Unfortunately, it’s taking me a lot longer than I’d like to finish it, but it’s another YA novel, about two seventeen-year-old aspiring artists who spend a summer in New York in search of experience, inspiration, and the stylish creative mystique of Andy Warhol and his Superstars.
It will hopefully be on shelves in Spring 2018.
Q: You have worked in many different areas such as retail, childcare, and TV production. What has been your favorite job so far and why?
A: I suppose TV production, which is what I do now when I’m not writing books, has been my favorite. I’d been weened weaving stories together with words, and it’s been an interesting challenge to combine my training in aural story telling with the task of visual storytelling. When I think about a scene for a show I’m producing, I think about the things I’d describe to establish a sense of place if I were writing a chapter in a book, but instead of writing the words, I shoot (or choose) the images.
Waitressing had its fun moments too. Retail was by far the worst.
Q: If you could give advice to high-school you, what would you say?
A: DON’T CARE SO MUCH WHAT PEOPLE THINK. Focus more on developing a skill, gaining useful knowledge (like how taxes and insurance work), and less on what your friends are doing and thinking.
Also, you’re not fat.
Q: What is something that you want the world to know about you?
A: That I’m here! That I write books that are meant to be funny and true and make you uncomfortable and make you laugh and make you cringe, and make you feel not ashamed by your most shameful moments. I want the world to know that if you’re into imperfect people being imperfect in an imperfect world — my books are here for you.
You can find Lauren Saft online: