Monday, October 19, 2015

Author Interview: Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Red Girl, Blue Boy comes out tomorrow. I LOVED this book and was happy to host Lauren talking about the book and of course politics. Red Girl, Blue Boy is part of the If Only line from Bloomsbury.  Check out my review plus my If You Like Pin for more book suggestions after reading this one!

What's one piece of advice you have for teens regarding politics?
Try to keep an open mind and, if you already have a particular party affiliation, try not to fall into the habit of demonizing the other side. Recognize that politicians are people too, and don't seek to get rid of people over a single mistake (of course, depending on just how big that mistake is), because if we keep doing that, who will be left? Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good, meaning if we expect politicians to be perfect and hold only those positions that align exactly with our own, we're just going to be miserable because that's impossible. If you can find politicians whose positions align with the issues that are most important to you, those are people worth getting behind.  

Would you ever consider going into politics - either in the background or running for office?
Whenever I'm asked the question, "If you weren't a writer, what would you like to be?" my answer is always the same: Mayor of Danbury.

If you were in politics, what's one thing you would change?
Candidates always talk about reaching across the aisle, but we see far too little of that in practice once people are elected. So I'd try to do more of that: find the common ground with people who hold opposing viewpoints and then try to build from there. I'd also do my best to make Election Day a national holiday. We have days off for so many things; why not have one that would make it easier for everyone who is registered to vote?  

Katie and Drew seem opposites - why do you think opposites attract?
When you think about it, it's kind of like with novels: if you have a novel in which everyone is in agreement, where's the excitement and conflict and tension? That doesn't have to translate into arguing all the time. And hopefully over time, characters and people in real life come to say: "OK, I wouldn't do that the way you just did that, but I get why you being you would and I'm OK with that." I also think that in a healthy relationship, you grow both individually and as a couple by working through the ways you're different.

Would you rather be more like Katie or Drew?
Unfair! Like asking a mother which kid she loves more or a cat owner to pick her favorite cat! In the instance of Katie and Drew, since I created them both, there are things about them that sometimes frustrate me - as I'm sure they will readers! - and things I admire. Katie can come across as naive about modern life - and she is, her constant campaigning for her father having kept her out of mainstream life and pop culture - but there's also something resilient and hopelessly optimistic about her. As for Drew, I just find him to be insanely kind. 

What's your next book?
My next book, due out in February, is an adult novel called FALLING FOR PRINCE CHARLES, an alternate-universe romantic comedy in which a cleaning lady from Danbury meets and falls in love with the heir to the British throne. Beyond that, I have a Middle Grade novel coming out with Farrar Straus and Giroux in 2017 that I'm super-excited about. It's called I LOVE YOU, MICHAEL COLLINS and is about a 10-year-old girl who, in 1969 and as her own family is falling apart, finds comfort in conducting a one-sided correspondence with the least famous astronaut heading toward the moon on Apollo 11.  

 Is there something I didn't ask that you wanted to talk about?
"What do you hope teens will get out of reading RED GIRL, BLUE BOY?" It's a comedic romance, so I don't expect them to read it with a super-political eye toward trying to learn: "Ohhh, so that's how a bill becomes a law," because it's not that book. It's fiction. It's meant to be entertaining fiction. So, first and above all, I hope they're entertained and have a good time. Beyond that, if it makes anyone more interested and/or excited about the political process than they were before, I'd be ecstatic. We're in the midst of a marathon to decide, as a country, who the next president of the United States will be. We should all care about that.

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