INTERVIEW WITH LAURA BUZO
As a special treat for Valentine’s Day, I have an interview with Laura Buzo, author of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS!
Before we jump into the questions, here’s a brief synopsis from Goodreads.com:
Book Synopsis: Love is awkward, Amelia should know.
From the moment she sets eyes on Chris, she is a goner. Lost. Sunk. Head over heels infatuated with him. It’s problematic, since Chris, 21, is a sophisticated university student, while Amelia, is 15.
Amelia isn’t stupid. She knows it’s not gonna happen. So she plays it cool around Chris—at least, as cool as she can. Working checkout together at the local supermarket, they strike up a friendship: swapping life stories, bantering about everything from classic books to B movies, and cataloging the many injustices of growing up. As time goes on, Amelia’s crush doesn’t seem so one-sided anymore. But if Chris likes her back, what then? Can two people in such different places in life really be together?
Through a year of befuddling firsts—first love, first job, first party, and first hangover—debut author Laura Buzo shows how the things that break your heart can still crack you up. (Summary from Goodreads.com)
INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR LAURA BUZO
Laura Buzo was gracious enough to grant us an interview as part of the Selective Collective’s promotion of Love and Other Perishable Items. We had to delay the questions a bit due to the crazy holiday season, but now we have the questions just in time for Valentine’s Day, which is pretty perfect! So without further ado, here’s the Q&A with Laura Buzo!
Brittany/Selective Collective: In LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS, we see a relationship develop between 15-year-old Amelia and 21-year-old Chris. I know a big part of the story is the age difference between the two main characters – Was it ever difficult trying to get these two characters to meet in the middle?
Laura Buzo: Yes, the two main characters are separated by a chasm! Ages, life stages, social circles. I guess the fact that they can still forge a connection is the ‘hook’ of the book. You know, what will drag you into wanting to read the book. “How can it… it can’t… surely?” I think ultimately Chris and Amelia have a strong intellectual connection and they can ‘recognise a kindred spirit’. They meet in the middle through conversations – which I really enjoyed writing! – and the supermarket they work in provides the location for that to happen. There is no way they would have met in regular social circles! I worked casual ‘Mc-jobs’ since I was 14 years old all the way through to graduation from university and the best thing about it was meeting people you would not have crossed paths with otherwise. I had some amazing conversations over cash registers, down in window-less industrial basements, in restaurant kitchens, behind retail counters!
B/SC: Your novel features dual point of views from both Amelia and Chris. Did you always intend for both characters to share their side of the story, or was it something that developed naturally as the story progressed?
LB: I started writing Amelia’s sections first and then moved on to Chris, and so on. It was really refreshing to be able to switch perspectives every now and again. It kept me from getting at all bored. I really really enjoyed writing from a male perspective. On one hand, there was a lot more imagination necessary, and yet at the same time Chris is a lot like me. Plus I have always loved that particular device in literature – when a writer shows the same events through different perspectives and you can see just how differently two people can experience the same things! I was a keen diarist through adolescence and early adulthood, as was a close friend of mine, so using the diary as a narrative device felt very natural for me.
B/SC: I’m sure a lot of us remember our first big crush and learning how to handle the ins and outs of starting a serious relationship. Was the story of Amelia and Chris fueled by any of your past experiences?
LB: Um, what have you heard?
Yes, I do write pretty close to life. I have been on the rough end of the unrequited stick more than once. And my first job was in a supermarket. They say ‘there’s no fool like an old fool’ but I say there’s no fool like a young fool. The raw material of the story came from a real place in my heart, but the creation of a novel relies on a whole different set of mechanisms than ‘real life’, whatever that may be.
B/SC: Amelia goes through a lot of “firsts” very rapidly after meeting and spending time with Chris. Was there ever a moment while writing the story that you worried about Amelia going through too much at once?
LB: I wouldn’t say I ever felt ‘worried’ about her. She’s pretty resilient in a lot of ways, and we all have to get acquainted with the cruel world sooner or later.
I had a soft spot for Amelia, and I wanted to spare her pain and embarrassment. I wanted her to get what she wanted. But there wouldn’t have been a novel in that, would there?
B/SC: There are some fantastic Australian authors gaining a lot of notoriety amongst American readers (Melina Marchetta comes to mind). Did you find it difficult breaking into the American side of publishing? What other great Austrailian authors should we know about?
LB: Ah yes, Melina Marchetta rocks! Cath Crowley and Joanne Horniman are also favourites of mine. Catherine Jinks has published many novels for young adults, adult adults and more! She is really great at it.Check ’em out! And showing my age…. when I was in my teens (in the 1990s!) I really enjoyed reading books by Aussie literary icon Ruth Park. She wrote about growing up in the Sydney slums in the 1930s – so fascinating, so human. And some rockin’ other historical fiction.
As for ‘breaking into’ the American market, I was lucky that I had very little to do with that. My Australian publisher found a buyer in the states – Knopf – without too much trouble I think. I guess there are kind of universal themes in the book. I’ve not yet been able to find a taker for my second novel in the states – maybe I had beginner’s luck!
I am lucky enough to be able to provide another giveaway for a hardcover copy of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS, courtesy of Knopf Books/Random House! Check out the link for the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!
You know those pesky rules… Winner must be 13 years of age or older, US only – Sorry, friends!
Update 2/21: CONGRATS to Sasha K as our winner for the giveaway!!
Want more of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS? Check out our features from 12/31 when we featured LOVE as our December book!
Thank you once again to Random House for providing us with the book and the opportunity to promote!
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