Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Author Interview: Justine Larbalestier

Here is my latest interview with YA author Justine Larbelestier. She is the author of the amazing and thought provoking book LIAR. Here is a link to her website.You can read my review here. She is also married to Scott Westerfeld hence the references to Scott in the interview. I proudly present to you, the interview questions.

1. Growing up, when I was reading books I never really even considered authors to be human. I never gave a thought to actually talking to them or sending them letters. Now authors do interviews (like this), Skype conferences, blogs, email, etc. How does the utilization of all the latest technology and internet help you as a writer? Do you think it helps you or is it more of problem trying to fit it all in?

I love it. (Well, not Skype.) It's very isolating being a writer. Pre-internet it was even worse. Now we have the luxury of as little or as much contact with our readers as we like. I really enjoy blogging and responding to my readers' questions. Sure, it's tough to get it all done and sometimes I lag months behind on responding to mail but it's so worth it.

2. LIAR is the first book that I have read by you and I loved it. Without giving anything away(I am holding true to your request) how did you come up with the idea of a narrator who lies? I don't think I have ever been lied to as a reader.

Have you ever read Great Expectations or Catcher in the Rye? Then you've been lied to. Unreliable narrators are much more common than many readers think. Basically anything from a first person point of view is going to give you a limited view of the world. There will, at the very least, be omissions and a slanted version of events. More is happening than one person can see.

The out and out unreliable narrators are usually trying to trick you, which is a little bit different. Usually, they also try to hide that they're unreliable, but Micah flat out says from the very beginning that she's a liar. That way the reader is on their toes from the very beginning.

3. This novel leaves the reader with a lot to think about at the end. As a reader, do you prefer books with a closed ending or ones that just keep you guessing on what exactly happened and/or will happen?

It really depends on the book. Some books need closure some don't. I prefer a good book with the right ending.

4. How were you able to understand what Micah was going through? How were you able to get inside the head of a compulsive liar where everything was so believable?

I think pretty much all novelists have a very good understanding of being a liar.

5. You have been out and about on your recent book tour. Can you share a story from your travels that shows that doing what you do is worthwhile?

It's hard to pick just one. I was amazed by so many of the schools I visited. So many wonderful and enthusiastic readers and writers. School librarians are just amazing.

6. What surprised you most as you were writing this novel?

That I finished it!

7. I was reading about how you and Scott are competitive in many things like shooting spit wads and such. What was the last thing you guys competed about? Who won?

Thumb wrestling. I always win. Scott might not back me up on that though. But he's a liar. (You know, like all novelists are.)

8. I recently read a book title, Six Word Memoirs, which has a website. If you had to write your memoir in six words, what would you write?

Sum my life up? Rather sleep.

11. What other books would you recommend young adults to read besides your own?

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith. Was my favourite book of the year. A tale of a black girl passing as white so she can fly planes during world war II. I could not put it down.

12. Coming up in a few weeks I am starting the great nerd debate for my students on my blog - Would you rather be a pirate or ninja? What would you choose?


Here are some additional random questions that you could answer if you feels like it(though not really necessary, but students wanted me to add). These come from the Teacher Mystery Challenge that I have on my blog. They thought it would be cool to hear answers from an author.
1. What flavor of Kool Aid is your favorite?

I don't like soft drinks.

2. What do you think of hot dogs?

I don't think about hot dogs. Sorry. I'm a foreignor.

3. Favorite Holiday movie or tv special?

Don't have one. They're not really a thing in Australia.

4. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?


5. Can you do push ups? If yes, how many?

Yes. 10. And they're proper pushups, no putting knees on ground. I'm working my way up to 50. Slowly.

6. Favorite hobby?


7. Middle name?

Don't have one.

8. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?

Hungry. Need to pee. Hope there's a ninja movie to watch. (These are my standard thoughts. Though usually I'm also thinking about going back to bed.)

9. Current worry?

Should I go pee or finish these questions?

12. Do you own slippers?

Yes. Well, I own uggies. They're only worn indoors in Australia. Wearing them outside should be made illegal.

13. What color shirt are you wearing right now?

I'm in my pjs so I'm not wearing a top. But the pjs are blue. When you become a full-time writer you're always in your pjs.

14. Can you whistle?


16. Would you be a pirate?

No. Not a great life for a woman. Also I don't like boats.

17. What was the last song that was stuck in your head?

99 Problems

18. What’s in your pocket right now?


19. Best toy as a child?

Evil Kenivel doll with motor cycle.

21. Favorite Sports Team?

NY Liberty

22. What are you currently reading?

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld. (The sequel to Leviathan. That's right I get to read it before you do! *cue evil laughter*)

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