Saturday, January 12, 2013

Author Interview with Elizabeth LaBan

Saturday, January 12, 2013
Thanks for stopping by! Today I have the privilege to interview Elizabeth LaBan, the author of te absolutely amazing The Tragedy Paper. (You can check out my review of The Tragedy Paper here.)

Without further ado... Welcome, Ms. LaBan!

Elizabeth LaBan worked at NBC News, taught at a community college, and has written for several magazines and newspapers. The Tragedy Paper is her first young adult novel. She lives in Philadelphia with her family.


The Tragedy Paper centers on the forbidden romance between Tim and Vanessa. Who are some of your favorite star-crossed lovers from literature?
Well I just read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and I would say Hazel and Augustus are at the top of my list. That is one of the books that you envy people who haven’t yet read it because they still have it ahead of them. (Blogger Note: I completely agree!) Also, I loved Lee Fiora and Cross Sugarman in Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep.

Did you go to boarding school? Did you have to write a “Tragedy Paper?”
I did not go to boarding school, but I went to a private school for my last two years of high school which was not unlike the Irving School. My school had an unusual set-up through which boys could board during the week, but had to go home on the weekends. That was intriguing and mysterious to me, and helped me imagine what it might have been like to live there. I did write a tragedy paper which had a huge impact on me, much bigger than I realized at the time. For the paper I wrote, I was asked to define tragedy in the literary sense and then discuss if tragedy could exist in contemporary writing. At the time, after much research, I concluded that it could not. But I have since changed my mind. I think literary tragedy can still be written.

If you could give your high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t care so much about what other people think of you.  

What’s one word that would describe Tim, Duncan, and Vanessa, respectively?
Furtive, Insecure, Enticing.

Which character in The Tragedy Paper is most similar to you?
That is a great question, but I don’t have an answer. The easy answer would be Daisy because she is everything a nice teenage girl should be, and I think I was usually a nice teenage girl. But honestly I didn’t have myself in mind when I wrote any of the characters. I think there might be parts of me in all of them. It’s funny, though, because before I wrote this book I wrote three (not-yet-published) women’s fiction novels. In all of them there is a definite character based on me – no question. But with The Tragedy Paper, it didn’t work that way.

Have you always wanted to be a Young Adult author? Why do you think the YA genre is so popular, even with people who aren't “young adults?”
The short answer to that question is yes – because I read S.E. Hinton’s books when I was in middle and high school and there was nothing I wanted to do more than create a world in the same way she did. The long answer to the question is no – because the first books I wrote were picture books, then women’s fiction, and then finally young adult. Maybe the third try is the charm! And it is a great time for me to be immersed in the world because I have a 13-year-old daughter. I know that part of the reason I have been reading so many young adult books is because she and I have a great time talking about them. But that isn’t the only reason. There is something about going back to that time in your life, and being able to view it from the perspective of an adult, that makes the books extremely appealing.

I hope you're excited to read this book! Will you be picking up a copy of Elizabeth LaBan's The Tragedy Paper?


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