Elizabeth LaBan

2013 Club: Elizabeth LaBan and THE TRAGEDY PAPER

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! *blows horn and gulps champagne* We are so excited to kick off the new year with a brand spankin' new feature! The 2013 Club will showcase all the best and brightest debut authors of the year. Because, we know y'all love discovering great new authors as much as we do! 

Our guest today:Elizabeth LaBan

Why she rocks: Her writing will suck you in from page one!

Her debut: The Tragedy Paper

The scoop on it: It follows the story of Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “It” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim's surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

Jumping between viewpoints of the love-struck Tim and Duncan, a current senior about to uncover the truth of Tim and Vanessa, The Tragedy Paper is a compelling tale of forbidden love and the lengths people will go to keep their secrets.

Our thoughts: Another great YA novel that's not just for teens.  We love it!

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and we'll choose the winners on January 13th after 3pm PST.

Fun Fact: Our writer crush Jen Weiner loved The Tragedy Paper too, saying it was a "A beguiling and beautifully written tale of first love and heartbreak."

Where you can read more about Elizabeth: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.


DO'S: 3 things every aspiring novelist should do... Write a lot, read a lot, and go out into the world to find all the great and crazy stories.

DON'TS: 3 things every aspiring novelist shouldn't do... Give up, take rejections personally, or over-edit themselves.

MUST HAVES: On your desk? I work at my dining room table and it is always a mess. The only thing I must have is my laptop computer – which is usually surrounded by piles and piles of junk.

On your Facebook feed? There isn’t really anything I must have here, just my news feed. I like to see what everyone is up to, how their kids are, and what people are cooking for dinner.

App on your phone? I just installed Twitter – I love it!

LASTS: Song you listened to on repeat? I must confess, I listen to my 13-year-old daughter’s iPod. The two songs I have been listening to over and over are Some Nights by Fun. and Home by Phillip Phillips – don’t tell anyone.

Book you read? I am just finishing a book by Jacob Tomsky called Heads in Beds – a memoir about the hotel industry. It promises to let you in on lots of secrets about how hotels are run and how guests can get extra stuff. I love hotels, and I love that sort of thing, so I am really enjoying it.

Time you laughed? Last night my kids and I were laughing really hard. My daughter’s name is Alice and for some reason Alice Cooper came up. I said, very seriously, “Is Alice a boy’s name, too?” My daughter said matter-of-factly, “Shouldn’t you have looked into that already?” We were laughing so hard my husband had to come up and see what was going on.

HOW MANY: Agents did you query before you found "the one?" I’ve never told anybody this (I mean that!) but I queried about 50 agents before I found my wonderful, loyal, never-tiring agent Uwe Stender.

Hours do you write per day? That varies greatly. I am not someone who writes every day for a certain amount of time. Some days I don’t write at all. Lately, for example, I have not written much because I’m trying to help get the word out about The Tragedy Paper and my mother has been in and out of the hospital – so it’s been busy. But there was one weekend in November when I had a burst of excitement over the next novel I hope to write. I wrote for hours. I couldn’t drag myself away from the computer. I drove my family crazy. I’m waiting for another burst like that.

Minutes a day do you waste online when you should be writing? Maybe thirty or forty-five. I probably do what everyone does – turn on my computer, briefly glance at the top news stories, go through my Facebook news feed to see what people are talking about. (That can sometimes spin my day out of control. The other morning, for example, one mom said her kid and lots of others at our school had strep throat but didn’t have many symptoms. My daughter was a little under the weather so I had to call the doctor, whose office was closed, then find an urgent care center we could go to to get tested. By the time we were set to leave she felt much better, so we didn’t go, but we’d wasted a good hour or so). I also glance at Twitter, of course, and sometimes check Amazon to see the rating of my published nonfiction book and my not-yet-published novel. You know what? I want to amend that estimate of time wasted and change it to three to four hours!

BESTS: Way to celebrate a book deal? I had been trying to sell a novel for a long time. The Tragedy Paper is the fourth novel I’ve written, and the first one to be published – so we started talking about going to a particular, wonderful, Thai place when I got an offer a very long time ago. The problem was, by the time I finally got an offer, that restaurant was closed. So we went to a great sushi restaurant instead.

Trick to overcome writer's block? Get up and walk around, talk to your kids if you have any, or just talk to someone, anyone. They might give you a good idea for a next scene.

Way to think of a book idea? Brainstorm with people, and, if that doesn’t work, think about what you would like to read. I find book ideas come to life for me without my even realizing it. Something will click and then EVERYTHING suddenly seems like it will fit in the new book – I am constantly saying, “That would be a good scene in the book,” or “I have to write that down so I can remember it.”

NEXTS: Show you'll DVR? Parenthood – my absolute favorite. And the new season of Girls on HBO.

Book you'll read? Every Day by David Levithan.

Book you'll write? Another young adult book – it’s starting to form, I am starting to think everything my daughter does would be a good scene in the book (that’s how I know it is taking shape!). I’m not ready to talk details yet. I wrote those first few chapters last month, but now I’m waiting to be taken over again with that amazing, all-consuming need to write!

Thanks, Elizabeth!  xoxo, L&L