|The Cranley Hotel, London by Sarah Laurence|
If there were an award for best use of cell phones in a novel, Meant to Be would win a trophy. Modern technology is a big problem for storytellers. Cell phones allow characters to connect too easily and texting can disrupt the narrative flow. This debut author cleverly exploits mobile phones to her narrative advantage. Every chapter starts with a text that drives the action. This was a smart editorial choice because readers will want to scroll back through those texts after reaching the final page. I can't explain why without a spoiler, but the ending is both hilarious and satisfying.
|Lauren's musical inspiration: The Beatles|
My Interview of Lauren Morrill
|Photo of Lauren by Steven Folkins|
|Lauren as a high school senior on a trip to Park City, Utah|
Lauren: I've always heard that you should write the book you want to read, and I have always loved reading YA. All of my favorite books are young adult, and so when it came time to start working on my own novel, YA is what came pouring out. I think my inner voice is permanently sixteen years old.
What inspired you to write Meant to Be?
I love romance and comedy, so when I started working on Meant to Be I knew that those elements would be a huge part of the plot. The book draws a little on Cyrano de Bergerac, one of my favorite classics, so that was also a big inspiration.
Since you were living in Boston, how did you research the U.K. setting?
Believe it or not, I've actually never been to London! I did a lot of internet research, including making some really intricate Google Maps to keep track of scenes and characters. Thank god for Google street view!
All the locations are real places. Some of them have been renamed just for fiction purposes, but every restaurant, every hotel, every shop actually exists in some corner of London or another!
|Houses of Parliament and Big Ben by Sarah Laurence 2008|
Yep, Meant to Be was always meant to be (hey, see what I did there?) a comedy of errors full of misdirection and missed connection based off the phone issue. With everyone so connected to to their devices, it seemed inevitable.
Who are some of your favorite young adult authors?
I love Sarah Dessen, Megan McCafferty, Stephanie Perkins, John Green ... oh man, I could go on and on. I love YA contemporaries in general, and romance and comedy specifically.
What is the best writing advice you received?
|Lauren as a teen rock climber|
That's sound advice. Can you tell us about your next novel?
My next novel is called Being Sloane Jacobs, and it's another contemporary comedy. It's told in dual perspectives, and I'm pitching it as The Parent Trap meets The Cutting Edge. It'll be out January 7, 2014.
Thanks, Lauren, I'm looking forward to reading more of you books!
Reviewer's Disclaimer: I bought the ebook on its November 13th release day and received no compensation. Beware of puns such as: "meant to be or not meant to be."
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