Friday, August 7, 2009

Author Interview: Lucienne Diver

Lucienne Diver is a literary agent, and the author of the YA novel, Vamped, which was released on May 01, 2009. She's also published works under the pseudonym Kit Daniels, including Playing Nice.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and why you began writing?

I’ve always been a writer…or at least since fifth grade, when my awesome teacher divided the whole class into critique groups and had us do free-writing assignments which we’d read aloud, take criticism, revise…. Before that the ideas floated around in my head without a whole lot of form. Fifth grade was the beginning of the end. From that time on, I was a holy terror. I’d write plays and make the other kids in the neighborhood perform them with me, charging the parents a quarter a seat. I wrote short stories and “novels,” if 110 pages qualifies. In high school I got involved editing our literary rag, and it college it was our anthropology magazine. I love words, characters, voice. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, it might be that the control enthusiast in me (expression borrowed from Joss Whedon) likes to create characters who behave as I want them to behave and a world that follows my rules (grin).

How has being a literary agent influenced your writing?

I think for one it’s made me hyper-aware of my faults. I’m a perfectionist anyway, and for years I didn’t send out my material for fear that no one I worked with would respect me in the morning. I was afraid that my imperfections as an author would reflect on my work as an agent, which is very important to me. In short, I wasn’t ready. I kept thinking, “I’d reject me.” Then I wrote the Vic and Bob story, “The Problem with Piskies.” I loved the boys. Their voices had to be heard. Not mine, theirs. That made all the difference. When I stopped writing in my voice and started letting the characters take control, of the words if not the actions, I started to both improve and to feel less chutzpah about the idea that I might have what it takes.

How is writing YA fiction different than other genres?
It’s really more about the setting and storyline than the voice. Teens can and frequently do read adult novels, so it’s not as if you have to modify your language or sentence structure, and you certainly don’t want to talk down to them. The difference is that YA is more relevant to teens and their current experiences. There are more young characters. They’re at the same point in their lives as your audience and going through the same pressures, insecurities, joys, pains….

What steps did you take to become a published author?

I got myself an agent (grin). Being in the biz, I know the advantages to a good agent, and I wanted someone at a remove from me to handle my work while I handle that of my authors. Even though I know all about negotiation, when it comes to my work, I’d be too likely to jump on the first offer that comes along. She handled finding a publisher, haggling terms, sending Vamped out for subrights submission….

Why do you think Vampires are so appealing to readers of all ages?

Oh, so many reasons. I think the idea of eternal youth and beauty is appealing, for one thing. Mostly, though, I think it’s about power. I have to admit that as a good Catholic girl (at least, so I was raised), the idea of a strong, mesmeric hero who might be hypnotic enough to make me drop my inhibitions was very compelling. (Or is that a little too much information?) I love strong characters, but I also like vulnerability. With vampires, you get all of the above – the enhanced senses, including strength, agility, speed, coupled with the need for blood and the sun and pointy stick allergies.

At Gina's senior prom she gets turned into a vampire, do you have any special prom memories you'd be willing to share?

You bet. Senior prom, the after-party was at my house. Guess which is the only car that didn’t make it back to my house. You guessed it. Me and my directionally-challenged cohorts nearly ended up in New Jersey before we finally got going the right way. My friends, in the meantime, had thrown rocks at my windows to wake my parents to let them in, panicked at our continued absence, called all the hospitals and finally fallen asleep in exhaustion. By the time we finally got to my place, everybody was say too groggy to party. Am I the hostess with the mostess or what?

You're working on a sequel to your novel, Vamped. Can you give us any hints about where this will take Gina (and my new favorite vamp, Bobby)?

It’s all very hush-hush. I’m working on the revision for Flux right now, but you should be able to find out for yourself when it comes out in September or October 2010.
(And I love Bobby too. Thanks so much for saying!)

Did you base any of your characters off of people in your life?

Gina started off as the big-haired girl with the reputation from high school who used to torment my sister, but that only worked as long as I thought she was a short story character. In order to spend an entire novel with her, she had to grow and evolve into someone I wanted to hang with for a while.

Are you currently reading/watching any addictive books/tv shows?

I love my authors’ works, which is why I represent them: Marjorie M. Liu, Susan Krinard, Rachel Caine, Chloe Neill, Carol Berg, Vickie Taylor, Jasmine Haynes, Crystal Jordan, Rosemary Clement-Moore…. I could go on and on.

TV shows: I don’t get much time to watch, but I can’t resist anything by Joss Whedon. I also love Castle, Psych, Monk, So You Think You Can Dance, Burn Notice, Leverage, In Plain Sight and True Blood. Sadly, because of that limited time, I’m behind on almost everything, and my DVR is filled nearly to capacity!

(Lizzy's Note: Some of my favorite shows are on that list, and the new season of Psych starts tonight at 10)

What's one question you wished you were asked more in interviews?

Can’t think of anything. You asked some great ones! Loved the one about the prom, even if it does show my ditzy side (grin).

My first author interview! Is there really anything more to say? I was so excited about this that I geeked out a little bit. So, thanks again Lucienne!


Sandy said...

I like how she, a literary agent, hired another agent for herself. xD! But that's smart, since sometimes you get too involved in your need someone to grab you by the shoulders and tell you, "This sucks. Revise it."

This was a great interview! I can't wait to read more of them in the future. ;)

gamergirl said...

this was such a great interview. I love how you asked her about her prom memories. She had such a funny story! Cant wait to read more. =D

Cecelia said...

Wonderful interview! Lucienne has such an engaging voice! I seriously appreciate her description of her childhood self as a holy terror. That strikes a chord with me (and I'm sure with all the other control-freaks with big personalities out there).
I have to say that I'm much more likely to pick up her book after reading this - I'm convinced that i like Ms. Diver's writing, and that she's smart and funny.

Great interview all around!

Marie said...

Wow- that was a great interview! I loved what she had to say about vampires & why people like them. I loved hearing about being a writer AND literary agent!

Keep up the awesome interviews!

Lucienne said...

Thanks, everyone, for tuning in. This was such a fun interview to do!

Faye( Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm) said...

very cool! interviews are fun.
Lucienne Diver is awesome! the prom memory was funny. I wonder how my prom is going 2 B....

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