Wednesday, March 7, 2018

2 Lorie Langdon, author of OLIVIA TWIST, on writing the book of her heart

We're excited to have Lorie Langdon join us to chat about her latest novel, OLIVIA TWIST.

Lorie, what was your inspiration for writing OLIVIA TWIST?

Olivia Twist, is a love letter to characters that first entered my life as a child in the musical, Oliver!, and later in Dickens’ classic, Oliver Twist. After my Grandma took me to see a rerelease of the movie musical, I became obsessed with the story and would sit in my room and listen to the double album soundtrack for hours, making up new adventures for the characters. In my favorite daydream, Oliver had been born a girl and was disguising her true gender as a safety measure. I imagined that the two became embroiled in endless mysteries and eventually fell in love.

As a teen, I devoured every bit of historical fiction I could get my hands on, including the classic Dickens’ novel, Oliver Twist. I quickly realized two things: The Artful Dodger was not the hero I had envisioned, and the film had missed a major character; Oliver’s half-brother, the villainous Monks. When I began writing my own books, the dynamic duo of Jack and Olivia would not leave me alone, and a mash-up of the original novel and the film began to solidify in my mind.

How long did you work on OLIVIA TWIST? 

I began the first draft of Olivia Twist in 2011. I continued to work on it in-between writing the DOON Series and finally finished it in 2013. Sadly, the young adult publishing world wasn’t ready for a historical novel without steampunk elements or vampires, so I received rejection after rejection. But I didn’t give up hope. After four years of being on submission to publishers, it sold to Blink YA Books. Now, it is receiving strong reviews and is my first book to be sold in Target stores across the nation!

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself? 

Friends, this is the book of my heart. It is my sixth published novel, but it is the one that I’m most proud of and most terrified to release into the world. It taught me that I’m stronger than I knew. That there are some things worth fighting for through every obstacle. It taught me to trust my voice and to embrace my strengths as a writer. I happen to have a talent for historical characters and world building, not to mention, I write a darn good kissing scene! Realizing that I don’t need to write the next Pulitzer prize winning novel or epic Science Fiction series, that in fact, I can write what I love to read, was a glorious revelation.

What do you hope readers will take away from OLIVIA TWIST? 

There are many things that I hope readers will take away from the story. The tag line that I write when I sign the book is; Be the light in your world. Jack and Olivia emerge from very dark circumstances to become lights of hope.

In the book, Jack says something that illustrates this for me. He’s speaking to a homeless orphan boy:

Kneeling, so that he met the boy’s gaze at eye level, he said, “Do not bow to any man, toff or thief. They’re no better than you. Do you understand?”

I tell my own sons that no one is better than them, but they are no better than anyone else. It doesn’t matter what your background is or how much money or success you have or don’t have—we are equally human and worthy. My hope is that Olivia Twist personifies this principle.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it? 

I like this question because I think it’s important to communicate to aspiring authors that we ALL struggle while writing. Good writing is hard work. Even after completing seven books and working on my eighth, there are times that I question my abilities. But I think it’s also important to realize that you are the only one who can tell your story. Your ideas, your voice, your words are all unique to you and if you believe in your innate gifts as a writer it will empower you. Write like you KNOW that you can!

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc? 

I write first thing in the morning, usually at home in my office. I set word count goals for the week and then break them down by the day depending on how much I have going on. Music is a HUGE inspiration for me! I create playlists for every book I write and listen to them over and over throughout the writing process. You can listen to my Olivia Twist playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb5sN9ENXPjr488AxPyq3mw

Or you can visit my website for links to my YouTube channel, social media, and a sign up for my newsletter: www.LorieLangdon.com  I love hearing from readers!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Olivia Twist
by Lorie Langdon
Hardcover
Blink
Released 3/6/2018

Olivia Brownlow is no damsel in distress. Born in a workhouse and raised as a boy among thieving London street gangs, she is as tough and cunning as they come. When she is taken in by her uncle after a caper gone wrong, her life goes from fighting and stealing on the streets to lavish dinners and soirees as a debutante in high society. But she can’t seem to escape her past … or forget the teeming slums where children just like her still scrabble to survive.

Jack MacCarron rose from his place in London’s East End to become the adopted “nephew” of a society matron. Little does society know that MacCarron is a false name for a boy once known among London gangs as the Artful Dodger, and that he and his “aunt” are robbing them blind every chance they get. When Jack encounters Olivia Brownlow in places he least expects, his curiosity is piqued. Why is a society girl helping a bunch of homeless orphan thieves? Even more intriguing, why does she remind him so much of someone he once knew? Jack finds himself wondering if going legit and risking it all might be worth it for love.

Olivia Twist is an innovative reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic tale Oliver Twist, in which Olivia was forced to live as a boy for her own safety until she was rescued from the streets. Now eighteen, Olivia finds herself at a crossroads: revealed secrets threaten to destroy the “proper” life she has built for her herself, while newfound feelings for an arrogant young man she shouldn’t like could derail her carefully laid plans for the future.

Purchase Olivia Twist at Amazon
Purchase Olivia Twist at IndieBound
View Olivia Twist on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lorie Langdon is one-half of the author team behind the bestselling Doon series, a young adult reimagining of the musical Brigadoon. A few years ago, she left her thriving corporate career to satisfy the voices in her head. Now as a full-time author, she spends her days tucked into her cozy office, Havanese puppy by her side, working to translate her effusive imagination into the written word.

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Have you had a chance to read OLIVIA TWIST yet? Do you trust your voice and embrace your strengths as a writer? Do you write like you know that you can? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Anisaa, Charlotte, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

2 comments:

  1. What an interesting "TWIST".... sounds like a terrific read. Love Dickens' works, and to put a spin on these classics is such fun!

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  2. I loved Lorie's advice to writers. And I, too, always loved the play and movie of Oliver Twist, although frankly, when I read Dickens' book, I felt it wasn't his best. Oliver wasn't as engaging as the play version. But I think it's brilliant that Langdon was able to turn the story around and make something unique and new from it.

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