Lauren Bjorkman spent years sailing on a boat with her family before going to middle school and high school in California. She studied Mandarin in college, traveled to China for her honeymoon, and believes in ghosts. She is the author of two young adult novels, My Invented Life and Miss Fortune Cookie.
1. Did you ever think of any other names for Erin to name her blog?
No. Usually I spend weeks agonizing over the title AFTER finishing the book. But with Miss Fortune Cookie my process did a one-eighty. Once I got the idea to write a story about a teen advice columnist, the title came to me immediately. Bad puns are a weakness of mine.
2. Was it ever a possibility for Erin’s friends to find out about her secret before she revealed her true identity to them?
Since the story follows Erin’s transformation from zero self-confidence to believing in herself, announcing her secret to a large crowd of friends, family, and strangers emphasized how much she’d changed. It was uncharacteristic, and therefore the perfect way to end the novel.
3. Where did the idea of Miss Fortune Cookie originate from?
Starting point: If you give bad advice, are you responsible when someone takes it?
Evolution 1: Write a story about an advice columnist.
Evolution 2: An advice columnist gives bad advice to her best friend.
Etc., etc., ad nauseum.
After a while, a true story from my life snuck into the manuscript. The first year of HS, my best friend dumped me. I thought it was because I teased her too much. Later we hung out together at school because of a mutual friend. Much later, long after high school ended, she told me the truth. She’d met a new girl that she really liked. She didn’t want to introduce us because she was afraid the new girl would like me better. So she dumped me.
4. Why fortune cookies?
They’re amusing, and maddening and fun. I always feel a twinge of excitement when I crack one open. In fact, I got a fortune saying that my wildest dreams were about to come true just before an agent offered to represent my first novel. Which made me more superstitious than I already was to begin with!
5. If you could co-write with any other author, who would you choose and why?
Best. Question. Ever.
I love reading co-authored books with the boy-girl thing going on. But what about an intense friendship between girls? Or a bully vs. bullier story? I’d love to write that with Jennifer Brown, Janet Gurtler, or K.L. Going. They are all so freaking talented. Paging Carolyn Mackler. Are you reading this? Message me!
6. What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received?
A successful author for adults took me to the storage locker containing all the drafts of his published and unpublished novels. It was huge. He also showed me some letters where his editor basically kicked his ass. The take home message—work hard at writing, and when you’re done, work harder.
7. What's your favorite book?
The one I’m completely absorbed in at the moment.
8. Favorite beverage and food?
I love variety best. That said, I’ll go to ridiculous lengths for a cup of coffee, and might shrivel up and die without chocolate.
9. Favorite pastime?
Having fun! Baking and eating brownies with my kids, traveling to exotic places, skiing on a powder day, dancing with my husband. Being silly with my friends.
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