Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Interview: Laura Ruby

As part of the Summer Blog Blast Tour, I chatted with Laura Ruby, author of The Wall and the Wing and its recently-release sequel The Chaos King (read my review of the latter). You can visit Laura online at her website or MySpace.

What inspired you to write The Wall and the Wing?

My stepdaughter was having a sleepover party for some friends. I don't know why, but I asked them if they could have any kind they wanted, which superpower would they want? Three girls said they'd like to be able to fly, and one girl said she'd like to be able to turn herself invisible. I thought, wouldn't it be cool if there was a city in which nearly everyone could fly, except for one girl, who learned she could become invisible? And this power turned out to be more interesting -- and far more dangerous -- than flying? This was the idea that eventually became THE WALL AND THE WING.

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I'm not really sure. I've written stories and poems ever since I was a little kid, but I don't think I realized that it was actually something I could do for a career until I got much older. Until I figured it out, I was a library page, a store clerk, a waitress in a restaurant called Stuff Yer Face, the world's worst marketing assistant, and an advertising copywriter who wrote about everything from books, CDs, and websites to guitar-shaped Elvis plates.

Describe your writing process.

Ha! Every time someone asks me that I think: Process? Sounds important. I should get one.

Glad I'm not the only one! ;) Will there be any more books featuring Bug and Gurl?

I don't have anything in the works at the moment, but I'll never say never.

Which talent would you rather have, and why: Bug's (to fly) or Gurl's (invisibility)?

Oh, I've always wanted to be invisible so I could eavesdrop on everyone without them knowing. I'm horribly nosy. Plus, I always thought that flying would be overrated. You know, you'd be flying around, minding your own business, and the government would catch you in some big government butterfly net and keep you in a freezer somewhere.

Which authors have inspired you the most?

So many! My favorite authors growing up were E.L. Konigsberg, Ellen Raskin, Judy Blume, Lois Duncan, Paula Danziger, Ellen Conford, Edith Konecky, Roald Dahl and Robert Cormier. Now, I'm inspired by so many different writers: Louis Sachar, Robin McKinley, Nancy Farmer and adult authors like Nicole Krauss, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Lethem, and Matt Ruff.

What can readers expect next?

I've got a few "realistic" novels for older teens coming out, but after that, I'd like to get back to fantasy again. Nothing's more fun!

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

My favorite thing about being a writer is when you're sitting at your desk, staring out the window, trying desperately to figure out what comes next and questioning your own sanity, when you suddenly have an idea. You think YES! MONKEYS! I must have MONKEYS! And then you do. It's fabulous.

Thank you so much, Laura!

Thank you!

Check out today's other SBBT interviews with these authors at these blogs:

Bennett Madison at Shaken & Stirred
Shaun Tan at A Fuse #8 Production
Holly Black at The YA YA YAs
Kazu Kibuishi at Finding Wonderland
Christopher Golden at Bildungsroman
David Brin at Chasing Ray
Kirsten Miller at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Chris Crutcher at Bookshelves of Doom
Sara Zarr at Big A, little a
Sonya Hartnett at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast


jules said...

Oh how I love her answer to the writing process question!

I really gotta read that book already.


Gwenda said...

Alright, this book has now moved to the top of the stack!

Bohae said...

That was a really great review, and now I really want to read her books!! Oh yeah, about the process, I don't have one either. Maybe that's why I never finish writing a story??

TadMack said...


I love the cover of THE WALL AND THE WING. I like that Laura Ruby wants to be invisible too -- I mean, you could make some kind of huge kite and hang-glide on it, if no one could see you, and *STILL* fly so you'd get the best of both worlds...

Okay, I can see now that I *MUST* read this book.

Sookie said...

Ooh! Those books sound so interesting. Especially the Wall and the Wing.
Great interview!

Little Willow said...

I echo TadMack: MONKEYS! (Someone tell Maureen Johnson.)

I liked Lily's Ghosts and was quite impressed by Good Girls. I plan to read Wall and Chaos.

HipWriterMama said...

I like Laura's sense of humor. Nice job!

daphne grab said...

thanks for the opportunity to get to know laura better with those great questions. i am such a fan of her work!

Erin said...

I'm so glad you all enjoyed it!

Everyone who hasn't: read WALL and CHAOS!!

Acting Gal said...

Erin, you can't believe how anxious I was to read your interviews while I was at camp!

Good Job! It was wonderful!

a. fortis said...

Yes, I love her answer to the writing process question, too! It makes me feel so much better. :)

Thanks, Erin! I can't wait to read these.

Erin said...

You're welcome. :)