February 20, 2010 Interview: Lauren Mechling
Lauren Mechling’s the co-author of three novels: The Rise and Fall of a 10th grade Social Climber, All Q, No A: More Tales of a 10th Grade Social Climber, and Foreign Exposure: The Social Climber Abroad. Now she’s got a new series about a French girl who receives psychic dreams from a cameo necklace given to her by her grandmother. The first, Dream Life, was published in 2009 and this January Dream Girl was released.
Can I say that Lauren is the fastest interview answerer I’ve ever met?!
A large plot element of both Dream Girl and Dream Life are the dreams of Claire, which are confusing and a mixture of different things. Going off this theme, what’s one of the strangest dreams you’ve ever had?
There was a very sweet football player in my homeroom named Pete (well, that wasn’t his name, but let’s say it was). I dreamed that he had a kangaroo body and he stuffed me inside his pouch and I was stuck to his stomach all day long. Not only was it a weird dream, but it was very awkward–I could never look him in the eye after that.
Throughout the novels, Claire narrates what several characters are wearing, as well as her own ensembles. Which of Claire’s dresses or outfits would you want for your very own?
I would kill to have her colorful Givenchy dresses. They’d have to be simple, though–Im not the most adventurous dresser.
In other interviews, you’ve stated that all of Claire’s world in NYC is factual. I have two days to spend in New York City, and I’ve never been. In the voice of Claire, can you tell me what I should see and do?
You’ll have to forgive me–I’m writing something else now in the third person and I’m not feeling equal to re-infiltrating Claire (besides, I hardly know her anymore–it’s been a year and a half since I finished Dream Life and she was just on the cusp of in-her-own-skin greatness; can only imagine how much she’s grown since). Anyway, as ME talking, I’d say the best thing to do in New York is walk around as much as humanly possible and watch the neighborhoods change. Start in Dumbo Brooklyn and look up at the underbelly of the Manhattan Bridge (DUMBO=Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). Walk 5 minutes to the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge and set out on the most glorious pedestrian experience of your life (assuming the bikes dont mow you down). When you get to Manhattan, ogle at City Hall and the Municipal Building, with its glittery gold top. Wander up Centre and Lafayette Streets, through Chinatown and into the East Village, which used to be where all the strung-out poets lived and now is filled with vintage clothing stores and vegan tea shops. End up at Momofuku Milk Bar, on 12th St and 2nd Ave. Buy yourself a piece of crack pie. Heck, buy a whole pie and make friends with the other customers. You’re on vacation.
What’s your writing process like? Do you outline, plan out plot points, or just do it on the fly?
My books have so many threads and subplots and supporting characters I have to outline like a maniac.
Women’s History Month is next month and I’ll be making a post or two related to the observance. Claire is such a fun heroine, with her plucky spirit and wry voice. Who are some are your favorite heroines, real or fictional?
I love Scarlett O’Hara, for her humor and foolishness; Anne Elliot, the 27-year-old spinster (!) in Persuasion for her refusal to settle; the writer Grace Paley for her gumption and grit; Julia Child for giving late bloomers a good reputation; Norma Klein for making everyone remember that children are smart.
What five celebrities (writers included!) living or dead, would you like to have dinner with? Do you have any particular questions you’d ask them?
I’ve met enough celebrities to know this would not be all that fun. I prefer my celebrities from afar.
What’s your favorite word?
Ort. It means uneatened morsel.
I always ask authors… If you could live inside any children’s title, which would it be and why?
Dream Life. Because it is my fantasy world.
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