Saturday, April 28, 2007

What's Fresh with Lauren Barnholdt's The Secret Identity of Devon Delaney (YA Fresh loves Tween Books too!)

Mom says karma always comes around to get you, and I guess it's true. Because last summer I was a total liar, and now, right in the middle of Mr. Pritchard's third-period math class, my whole world is about to come crashing down.

That's because while Devon was living with her grandmother for the summer, she told her "summer friend," Lexi, that she was really popular back home and dating Jared Bentley, only the most popular guy at school. Harmless lies, right? Wrong. Not when Lexi is standing at the front of Devon's class, having just moved to Devon's town. Uh-oh.

Devon knows there's only one way to handle this -- she'll just have to become popular! But how is Devon supposed to accomplish that when she's never even talked to Jared, much less dated him?! And it seems the more Devon tries to keep up her "image," the more things go wrong. Her family thinks she's nuts, her best friend won't speak to her, and, as if it's not all complicated enough, Jared starts crushing on Lexi and Devon starts crushing on Jared's best friend, Luke. It all has Devon wondering -- who is the real Devon Delaney?

Hello Lauren, thanks for agreeing to chat. Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Lauren: My first sale was for my YA book, REALITY CHICK, which came out last year. I’d been writing YA for a while, and not having much luck. Another book I’d written had been rejected by every publisher in New York. I decided it was time to switch agents, and when I showed her my new project, she sent it out and sold it in two weeks to Simon and Schuster.

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Lauren: I don’t really have a typical schedule. It really all depends on where I am in the writing process. I like to have coffee or diet coke with lime while I write. And I always set a word count for the day – it helps me to have a specific goal to fixate on.

Please tell us about your latest novel THE SECRET IDENTITY OF DEVON DELANEY and what we can expect from your characters.

Lauren: THE SECRET IDENTITY OF DEVON DELANEY is out this week from Simon and Schuster's new MIX line for tweens. It’s about what happens when thirteen-year-old Devon goes away for the summer and lies to her “summer friend” Lexi about how popular she is, only to be left scrambling to recreate her “secret identity” when Lexi shows up at her school.

Sounds great! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Lauren: My latest YA book, TWO-WAY STREET, will be out in June, and I’m currently working on my next tween book, which will be out next year.

Thanks Lauren! I wish you the best with your writing career. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Lauren: Here are my top three tips for aspiring writers: 1. Don’t give up. 2. Don’t compare yourself to other writers – everyone’s path to publication is different, and what happens to one person is not necessarily going to happen to you. Don’t worry, you’ll get there. 3. Enjoy the process. Sometimes it’s so hard to enjoy writing when you’re getting rejections or things aren’t going well. But remember that you’re working toward a goal, one that’s worth it. And be thankful that you’ve found what it is you’re passionate about – not everyone can say that.

Lauren Barnholdt’s first book for teens, REALITY CHICK, was a Teen People Can’t-Miss Pick and a New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age 2007. In junior high, she was known to have a few “secret identities” of her own. She currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts, where she’s hard at work on her next book. Visit her website,

4 fresh comments:

TinaFerraro said...

Great interview, Kelly!

And hi, Lauren! This book sounds terrific--haven't we all told a lie that has come back to haunt us?--and I'm looking forward reading to it, as well as your June release!

And hope to see you in Dallas!

Kelly Parra said...

Thanks, Tina! Lauren's latest sounds like a fun read! :) :)

Jessica Burkhart said...

Glad you shared that with us, Lauren! :) The "enjoy the moment" advice sounds great.

Kelly Parra said...

Glad you enjoyed the interview, Jessica!!