INTERVIEW WITH E. LOCKHART, AUTHOR OF WE WERE LIARS
This May, The Selective Collective featured WE WERE LIARS and we had so much fun featuring the book and sharing it with everyone! Usually we have a Q&A that goes along with our feature but with a few of our members attending BEA and E. Lockhart herself attending the conference and other fabulous events, we had a hard time coordinating our schedules for a Q&A. We did still want to feature the Q&A and share the fantastic interview so voila! A whole post dedicated to do just that. We all really still wanted to share this with everyone so we thought better late than never!
WE WERE LIARS takes place over several summers so we think it’s a great book to pick up this summer (or any, for that matter!) — Here’s a little more info about the book to help clue you in:
Publishing Info: May 13th 2014 by Delacorte Press
Source: Copies provided to us by Random House for review and use for the Selective Collective promotions!
INTERVIEW WITH E. LOCKHART
Without further ado, let’s get on with the interview! 🙂
Selective Collective: We Were Liars is a very different book than your previous works. How did you end up with the inspiration to write Cady’s story? Was it a long time coming or a random inspiration?
E. Lockhart: We Were Liars is different from my other novels because it’s more dramatic than comic, and because there’s a twisty mystery element to it — but it’s the same in that all my books are about the inside of someone’s head. I write fiction, in part, to understand the human mind a little better.
SC: Cadence suffers memory loss from after the “incident” during her fifteenth summer and we the readers only figure out the pieces bit by bit as she does. Was it hard to arrange the timing of the reveals?
EL: Absolutely. A suspense novel requires a lot more careful structuring than a comedy. I used the word-processing program Scrivener, which allows a writer to see a kind-of birds-eye view of a book’s plot. I rearranged the story many times before I found a structure that worked well.
SC: The Sinclair family dynamic is a rocky one even for the blood relatives, but ever since he was first introduced to the family, Gat had a terrible time being accepted as the outsider in many different ways. Was there a deeper meaning to the way the Sinclairs reacted to Gat’s recurring presence every summer?
EL: Racism and class prejudice run deep beneath the surface sometimes. People believe themselves unprejudiced, but that’s just a story they tell themselves. Eventually, the truth outs. I was interested in Gat as a love interest and as a catalyst for the stuff that happens on the island. He is such a strong character, so ambitious and ardent and still so conflicted.
SC: We Were Liars features several literary references, including Shakespeare’s King Lear. What motivated you to pay tribute to the classic tragedy?
EL: There are only so many plots in the world. “A quest.” “A monster.” “A stranger comes to town.” Then there’s: “Once upon a time there were three sisters, but only one of them was good.” That’s a familiar one, yes? King Lear, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast. I was interested in that plot, and the many ways it gets told and retold. Family is a universal. Competition between siblings is a universal, too.
Of course, We Were Liars is also a variation on “a stranger comes to town.”
SC: We appreciated the multicultural romance in the book, because it’s not always handled in such an authentic, mature manner. What are your thoughts on diversity in YA, and how to you approach writing characters that come from different cultures than your own?
EL: I have written characters whose race and gender and cultural background differ from my own in every book I have ever written. I must, because I am locked into only my own single existence and the books have multiple characters.
Gat in We Were Liars is unlike me because he is an Indian-American young man, but he is very much like me in his New York City home life, his middle-class upbringing, his intellectual curiosity, his anger and his position as an outsider in a privileged environment.
Cadence in We Were Liars is unlike me because she is rich and entitled and suffers chronic pain of a type I have never experienced, but she is like me in being an only child of a single mother, an ardent reader of fairy tales, and a white woman. It is, you see, not so very different to write Gat than to write Cadence.
It is important that books for young readers reflect the world in all its diversity, because one of the jobs that books do is to validate and reflect human experience. It is powerful and empowering to see oneself represented. But that is not all books do: they encourage empathy with people very different from ourselves, they encourage critical thinking, they are inspiring, they are entertaining, they are, sometimes, nothing more than a pleasant way to escape one’s everyday life.
SC: Your book is difficult to discuss without giving important plot points away — how wary are you of spoilers with this book compared to your others?
EL: The readers of We Were Liars have been amazing. Everyone keeps the secret and just shoves the book at other people, saying: “take my word for it — just read it. I won’t tell you any more about it.”
I think that kind of sharing is part of the pleasure of reading and filmgoing — and of doing so in a community. No one spoiled Allegiant for me. No one spoiled Shutter Island. Or Memento. Or The Sixth Sense or The Hunger Games. Everyone knows the fun is in the discovery.
A huge thanks to E. Lockhart for the interview and her participation in this Selective Collective feature! The answers were amazing and I always love how an interview really brings a book to life even more!
And don’t forget to check out the features from when we featured WE WERE LIARS back in May!
|Tee @ YA Crush||Roundtable|
|Candice @ The Grown-Up YA||From Page to Screen|
|Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks||Review|
|Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan||“The Long Con”|