The Daily Monocle

Critical book reviews from a literary skeptic.

Friday, April 01, 2011

An Interview with Lauren DeStefano

Posted by J. P. Wickwire

Today we have special guest Lauren DeStefano doing an interview at The Daily Monocle! DeStefano's debut young adult dystopian, Wither, hit shelves just a week or so ago. Enjoy!


First, we’d like to thank you for stopping by The Daily Monocle today!

So what made you want to write Wither?

I started writing it with the intention of it being a short story, which I was mostly writing for fun and to relieve some writer's block. But as I kept going with it, the world and characters expanded into much more than I realized was there.

About how long did it take you to write it?
The first draft took roughly 24 days.

You deal with some touchy subjects in Wither, including polygamy and forced/arranged marriages. What do you think readers’ reactions to these things will be?

I'm not sure what the reaction will be. It could go any number of ways; but I strongly believe there's no such thing as a wrong reaction to a book.

One of the most striking features of your book is the stunning imagery. Did you use storyboards, or other visual aides to help you establish this connection?

I avoid any type of outline and mostly just see where the story and its characters take me.

Wither is full of, well, creepiness and ominous foreboding. Was this a natural byproduct of the subject matter, or did you have to consciously try to make it creepy?

I can't say I consciously tried to make the story any certain way. I just started writing it one day and let it guide me.

The YA market is almost saturated with dystopian novels now. What do you think makes yours stand out from the masses?

I can't say that it will or it won't. When I was writing Wither, I wasn't thinking "This will be a breakout dystopian" or even "This will be for this specific type of audience." My focus was just on writing a story, and hopefully it will entertain readers. That's what's most important to me.

Do you think society could ever become anything like the world you’ve presented in your novel?

Anything is possible.

Can you tell us anything about the second book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy?

Not just yet.

If they made a movie out of Wither, who would you cast to play the main characters? Who would you want to direct it?

I actually get these questions a lot, but if my book were to become a movie, while I'd enjoy seeing my story come to life, I wouldn't want a say in any of those things. My focus is on the writing. That's my job, and that's what I owe to my characters, my readers, and this entire process.

Did you listen to any music while writing your novel? If so, could you tell us part of your playlist? Sometimes I prefer silence, but other times I play music. My playlist is completely random--anything from Italian soft rock to uptempo dance mixes.

Would you want to live in the Ashby mansion?

I probably wouldn't get along with the sister wives.

What author do you consider to be your greatest influence?

T.S. Eliot.

Thanks so much for stopping by The Daily Monocle!

Be sure to check out Wither at your local bookstore!

Author's Website


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