Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Author Interview: Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Today, we've got a real treat!!  The talented Lorriane Zago Rosenthal is here to chat with us.  I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of her latest, NEW MONEY, and I loved it!  Here's what I said about it:

"Who doesn't dream of waking up one day to find out you're the sole heir to a billionaire's fortune? (That's not just me, right?!)  In Lorraine Zago Rosenthal's New Money, Savannah Morgan goes from a modest Southern upbringing to Manhattan high society in a New York minute. This delightful coming-of-age story will touch you, make you laugh, and keep you turning the pages long into the night."

Lorraine has already published a widely acclaimed YA novel, OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE.  And NEW MONEY is already poised to be just as successful as OWFL-- in fact, the television rights to the story have already been sold!

So, let's talk to Lorraine!

What was your inspiration to write your first novel, OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE?

I’m a character-driven writer, and the characters were what came to me first. Ari Mitchell (the main character in Other Words for Love) and her family were in my mind for quite a while before I fully understood Ari’s story and began to write it. When that story crystallized, I just wanted to tell it and to share it with readers. Ari was my inspiration all along. I was also inspired by the concept of “limerence,” which pertains to the intense emotional highs and lows a person can experience when involved in a romantic relationship. Limerence plays a crucial role in the story.

OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE is a YA novel. Your second book, NEW MONEY, is adult fiction. Was it difficult to transition from writing YA to adult?

It wasn’t! I think this is because when I wrote OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE, I wasn’t strictly targeting a teen audience. I believed that both YA and adult readers could relate to the story—and based on the feedback I have received from readers of many ages, this is true. The adult characters in that book—including the main character’s mother and twenty-three-year-old sister—play a major role in the novel and have their own back-stories. Some aspects of OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE are specific to the teen years, and others aren’t.

Because OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE is a mature YA novel, I didn’t find writing adult fiction to be particularly different; however, the major difference between the two novels is that OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE unfolds slowly and is quite introspective, while NEW MONEY is more of a commercial work that is rather fast-moving and—although it has serious aspects—is more lighthearted than OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE. So the biggest transition was writing in a different style—but I really enjoyed it. I think it’s important for an author to be versatile and to constantly challenge herself.

The main character in NEW MONEY—Savannah Morgan—is twenty-four years old, so she fits into the age range of the “New Adult” genre. Can this novel be classified as NA?

Not exactly! I see NEW MONEY as Women’s Fiction with a New Adult protagonist. The NA genre seems to be primarily focused on sex and romance, and NEW MONEY isn’t. Savannah is in that NA age range—and there definitely is romance in the novel—but this is only part of the story. Savannah also deals with the typical issues of being a twenty-something: finding a job/career, adjusting to the workplace, being away from home/family, dealing with evolving friendships, and figuring out who she wants to become.

What has been your biggest overall satisfaction as a writer?

The most satisfying aspect of being a writer is hearing from readers who truly understand my characters and their stories. It’s so rewarding when people pick up on subtle nuances and grasp their meanings.

Additionally, OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE was bought by foreign publishers (in Brazil and Russia), so it’s also rewarding that the book will be translated and sold in other countries. 

Are you currently working on another novel?

NEW MONEY is the first book in a two-part series, and I recently completed the second book. The next step will be finalizing it for publication in 2014!  

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