Lauren Oliver Interview

May 2, 2011
Lauren Oliver, the author of the absolutely stunning novel Delirium, was really sweet and agreed to do an interview with me. Her schedule has been super busy (with the recent release of Delirium) and I was so fortunate to be able to do this with her. If you have not heard of Delirium (where have you been?) here is the summary:

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Without further ado, Lauren Oliver:

Delirium has been described as a dystopian Romeo & Juliet. What was it that really inspired Delirium?
The idea for DELIRIUM came from an essay I read by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in which he wrote that all great books were about love or death. The next day I was thinking about that quote--particularly about how and in what form a modern love story could be told--while I was on the treadmill at the gym. I was simultaneously watching a news story about a flu outbreak that had everyone freaking out about the possibility of a pandemic, and I was kind of marvelling that people so easily go into panics about reports of these diseases, and at some point the two trains of thought--love, and disease--just sort of combined in my head.

This book dealt with some hard subjects and also very unusual subjects, how did you handle writing about them?
I don't think I've ever shied away from dealing with difficult subjects, either in my writing, my reading, or my real-life. I'm relatively known but have known a good degree of difficulty--as, I think, has anyone--and the world as I experience it is strange and beautiful and terrifying and sad, all at once. So that is the kind of world I like to write about, too.

The world of Delirium is absolutely captivating, I've always found dystopian novels so intriguing. Are there any particular dystopian novels that you would recommend?
The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, and The Giver, which is a classic I only recently read! It’s very moving.

Hanna was one of my favorite characters because of her "spunky" attitude. Did you feel like this story needed a more "light" character because of some of the
dark and emotional themes?
I didn’t intentionally make Hana “light,” per se. She is dealing with her own fears and anxieties, her own inner struggle. But I certainly did intend for her to be a very different character, superficially, from Lena. I actually like, though, that paradoxically Lena becomes the more radical of the two.

Delirium had me laughing, crying, and on the edge of my seat. Was it hard writing about so many different emotions?
Writing is just hard in general, I think! But yes, it’s true that when you’re writing, you often have to experience your character’s feelings along with them. When I’m writing a fight scene, for example, I’ll find that I’m unconsciously clenching my jaw. When I’m writing about a death, or something very moving, I do experience dips in my mood. That’s how you know your characters have really come alive.

The cover is so unique and definitely eye-catching. What did you think when you first saw it?
The cover was actually a little bit of a process—we didn’t hit on it right away. And I was so lucky that the design team at Harper was so supportive and willing to collaborate, and listen to my feedback. The final cover is lovely and different, and that’s exactly what we were aiming for.

So I absolutely have to ask, what can you tell us about Pandemonium (Delirium #2)?
Pandemonium takes place in two different locations and in two different time periods, as Lena navigates the world outside of Portland. Other than that, I won’t say a word! J

Thank you so much for taking the time to doing this interview Lauren! I am absolutely dieing to read Pandemonium!


  1. Great interview! I can't wait for Pandemonium!!!!


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