Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of nearly 40 books for adults, teens and children, including the popular nine-book series for young readers called The Sisters 8 which she created with her husband and daughter. Before becoming an author, she was a bookseller, reviewer, freelance editor, sort-of librarian and window washer. She lives in CT with her husband and daughter and the greatest cat ever, Yoyo.
For me, almost all of my creativity starts with the question "What if?" What if a 10-year-old girl in 1969 had a class assignment to write a letter to one of the three astronauts heading to the Moon on Apollo 11 but after finishing the assignment she kept on writing to him? It's just the way my mind works, the way I see the world. I can find a "What if?" - meaning I can find the germ for a story - in almost anything. For example, the other day I did a school visit where I came up with the story: "When I'm done talking to you, the librarian here will likely shake my hand, thank me for coming and then say something along the lines of, 'This was wonderful - please come back anytime.' Well, what if I was slightly deranged? Not dangerous, but maybe temporarily a bit off. And what if I took her at her word and showed up the next day and the day after that?" Another example would be when I asked myself, "What if I took a Downton Abbey type of world and mashed it together with a Walking Dead type of situation?" That's how I came up with the idea for Zombie Abbey.
Beyond the fact that it's opened up worlds to me that I'd never otherwise get to explore, reading has meant I've led a life free of boredom. When I hear another person complain about being bored I always think, 'Huh. You must not be a reader.'
I like to start very early in the morning. Every author I know suffers from occasional bouts of self-doubt, but I find that if I start early enough in the day, the negative voices in my head have less time to take root.
I'd be the Mayor of Danbury.
It's impossible to pick just one but if the amount of times a person reads a book means anything, I did read the five-book series The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander over and over again as a child.
The thing I want most is for them to have a good time. And then, if they accidentally learn something along the way, that's a bonus. That said, I get a ton of fan mail for The Sisters 8 series and sometimes what the letter boils down to is: "Your books make me feel less alone in the world." Well, that's everything, isn't it?
Make sure they see you reading a lot! Beyond that, read to them. Take them to libraries and bookstores and act like libraries and bookstores are the greatest places in the world, because they are.
My daughter, Jackie. When she was 6, she helped my husband and me come up with the idea for The Sister 8 series. She's 18 now and she's just an awesome person to bounce ideas off of.