Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 352 pages
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: The Lost #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
When Lauren receives some bad news about her mother’s already deteriorating health, she needs to get away and clear her head; an aimless drive to nowhere sounds perfect. But after she gets caught up in a blinding dust storm, she pulls off the road and ends up in a small town called Lost. She is immediately wary of the town’s strange inhabitants: the eternal six year-old ballerina, wielding a knife; the perennial 1980s prom queen; the former CEO digging through the garbage for a lucky penny. Like everyone else there, Lauren quickly discovers once you arrive in Lost you can’t ever leave—not until you find what you have lost. Scared and anxious to get home, Lauren has to dig deep to find what she is missing or remain separated from her mother forever.
Lauren feels empty. She's twenty-seven, and her life hasn't turned out the way she imagined. She's working a dead-end job, she's drifted apart from her friends, and her mother (who is her best friend) is sick. On the day that her mother is supposed to get the results of her latest medical tests, Lauren gets into her car to drive to work and instead of turning left at the light, drives straight. There's a part of her that feels that if she isn't there to hear the bad news, then the bad news can't happen. So she drives and drives until she runs out of gas in a town called Lost. Problem is, once you're in Lost, you can't leave. It's a town full of lost things and lost people, and no one can leave until they've found what they lost.
How is Lauren different from your other female characters? How did you get inside her head while writing her character?
A lot of my characters are kick-butt, take-no-prisoners heroes. Liyana from Vessel is determined, practical, and brave and intent on single-handedly saving her entire clan. Pearl from Drink, Slay, Love is evil and fabulous. Cassie from Ice would rather dive into the Arctic Ocean than admit defeat. But Lauren... She's not a hero. When we meet her, she's running from her life. And all she wants to do, after she realizes she's trapped, is get back to it.
Getting inside her head was an emotional experience. The POV for this book is very, very tight. It's told in first-person present tense. Every sentence is a breath. So I tried to breathe with Lauren as I wrote. I laughed with her when she laughed, and I cried with her when she cried.
The whole thing required a lot of chocolate.
You always write such unique settings in your YA novels and it's no different in THE LOST (your first adult novel). How do you flesh out the setting in your novels? Do you draw maps, collect pictures or is everything all in your head? Is your process different in every book you write?
I loved creating the town of Lost. In fact, it was the first thing I did, before I had a character or a plot or anything. I had this idea for a town of lost things, and so I began with a three-page, single-spaced list of everything that could possibly be lost: socks, shoes, keys, umbrellas, cell phones, dogs, children, dreams, memories, minds... And then I built the town from there.
With some books, the world grows out of the characters. But in this one, the characters definitely grew out of the world.
Lauren ended up in a place where all lost things go. What things might she find there that belonged to you?
I've lost a lot of earrings over the years. If I see Lauren wearing a gecko on one ear and a blue butterfly on the other, I'll know she's found my stuff.
What is your favorite scene or favorite quote in The Lost?
My personal favorite moment:
Glancing back, I see the mob has spilled back onto the street. They are watching me. So far, they aren't following, but that could change. "If you know a place to hide..."
The girl switches direction, pulling me into the alley between the barber shop and a decrepit triple-decker house. She still doesn't speak.
I don't know why I'm trusting her. "Are you helping me, or dragging me someplace private to cut me to pieces and feed me to your teddy bear? Just curious."
The girl looks at me with her wide eyes. "My name is Claire. And my teddy bear is not hungry today."
Thanks so much for interviewing me!