Oshkosh readers, heads up. This week's featured author is Lauren Myracle, author of the Internet Girls series. Myracle will be at Apple Blossom Books tomorrow, Thursday, from 3-4 p.m. to do a book talk, reading and signing for her new book in the series, "L8r g8r."
Earlier this week, Word Nerd caught up with Myracle on the phone.
WN: "L8r g8r" is your third book told in IM format – how’d you get the idea to tell stories this way?
MYRACLE: The series – we didn’t dub it this, but the Internet Girls series is what the New York Times called it.
It’s their senior year. It's three dear friends are dealing with all the struggles that come with senior year. What to do next in their lives, how to maintain their friendship and what kind of people are they going to me.
My editor is about my same age, 37, and I’m proud of it. She and I were talking about how when we were in high school we would come home and get on the phone and rehash the day. It’s truly a different landscape today. It’s getting on the Internet and having these Internet exchanges.
You do say different things face to face than you do sending an email or a text message. And there are dangers to that as well as joys.
WN: Did you have to do a lot of research to learn the lingo?
MYRACLE: I’m a total dork. I was not hip or cool.
I was one of those creepy Internet stalkers, lurking in chat rooms. At first, the dialogue was one girl talking, then the next. Then I realized, that’s not how it works at all. The girls interrupt each other. I learned that it truly is a different space. I had girls send me copies of their own IM’s to get the lingo.
WN: You’re on book three … is it hard to write in this style?
MYRACLE: It’s definitely easier. I know my girls. I know these girls and what they are going through. I definitely understand the medium more, the instant messaging world. It’s really hard to tell a story all in instant message. You don’t have any of the conventional tools like telling a setting. I’ve got to find a way to make that dynamic through what they are talking about.
WN: Does your background in psychology help you out as a writer?
MYRACLE: They are so linked. People and books they mirror each other. How do the workings of a human brain show up and how do people relate and respond to each other. The degree in psychology pierces that mystery of how
All of us who are big readers have degrees in psychology because that’s why we read.
WN: You make it fairly easy for readers to contact you … email on your website and through appearances…. Do you like interacting with readers? Why?
MYRACLE: I welcome that. It can be overwhelming sometimes. I get about 75 emails a day from fans. It’s such an honor to get to be allowed access to their lives. It’s something I encourage. It’s good for these kids to know that authors are real people. I feel like I am giving them an actual human interaction.
WN: You also have a series of middle-grade books – what’s different about writing for this age group than the older teenage audience of the IM books?
MYRACLE: In terms of emotional complexity and emotional depth, nothing. [Grown-ups] think that childhood is a waiting period. In terms of being true to character, nothing is different at all. In terms of writing, my middle grade series, they are safe and clean and there’s no chance that parents are going to get mad. I think of Winnie being the little sister to the girls in ttyl. She’s just in junior high instead of high school.
WN: What’s the best part and the hardest part of being a writer to you?
MYRACLE: I’m in a good place. My best part is I’m doing what I love and what I feel authentic about. I’m incredible lucky to get my kids off to school take my computer to the coffee house, get a cinnamon dolce latte and enter into the world of these girls.
The hardest part right now is that I’m a mom and writer. Both of those are extremely important to me. It’s not like an office job where I march off. I’m squeezing in my writing time all over. It doesn’t leave a lot of lazy time for sitting on the couch reading a book
WN: What’s next for you as a writer?
MYRACLE: I’m working on a book with two other authors that come out next spring called “How to be Bad” and it’s a road trip story. I’m starting a new junior high instant messaging system. It’s the tweens that are reading these books. We’re going to do a book that’s geared toward the junior high groups, called “Luv ya bunches.”