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Rachel-K
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Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

Lauren's editor, Rosemary Brosnan, joins our discussion for this week only! Please help her feel welcome in the group and post questions for her here!

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Rosemary-Brosnan
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

Hello, everyone. I've been following your terrific discussion of BEFORE I FALL with great interest. Glad to be on board with you this week!

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momofprecious1
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

Hi Rosemary,

 

Welcome!

 

Did you enjoy editing this book?

 

Did you make a lot of changes to the original manuscript?

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Rosemary-Brosnan
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

Did you enjoy editing this book?

 

Did you make a lot of changes to the original manuscript?

 

 

 

Thanks for the questions! I loved working on this book, and I am so, so pleased to be publishing it. Lauren is fabulous to work with--very professional and hard-working. The first time I read the manuscript, I stayed up until 3:00 a.m. and cried and cried. I just couldn't put it down. And I had to get up to go to work at 6:00 the next day! 

 

This was a very unusual case, where the author did not have to make many changes to the manuscript at all. Most manuscripts don't come in like that--usually I work with authors on several revisions before a manuscript is publishable. And, amazingly, Lauren is only twenty-seven years old.

 

Now I am editing her second novel, which is quite different from BEFORE I FALL, and also very, very wonderful.

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pen21
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

Welcome!

My question is with the age of the characters in the book, do you read a book and intend it for a specific age group?

We have a wide variety of ages on the board for this discussion. I being on the older end of the spectrum, have found this book to really make me think about my choices and the impact those choices had on me and others. Or my friends choices at that age.

And the second question, when you read the book did it make you think of your choices or your friends choices at that age?

Thank you and so glad you have time to participate with us.

pen21

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Rosemary-Brosnan
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

 


pen21 wrote:

Welcome!

My question is with the age of the characters in the book, do you read a book and intend it for a specific age group?

We have a wide variety of ages on the board for this discussion. I being on the older end of the spectrum, have found this book to really make me think about my choices and the impact those choices had on me and others. Or my friends choices at that age.

And the second question, when you read the book did it make you think of your choices or your friends choices at that age?

Thank you and so glad you have time to participate with us.

pen21

 

 

 

 

Thanks for your good question. It's usually pretty clear to an editor of books for children and teens what age group a book is for. A lot of factors go into making the decision: the age of the characters, the tone of the book, the writing. In some cases, a book is what we call a "crossover"--a book that will appeal to both teens and adults. I think BEFORE I FALL is that kind of book, and we are trying to reach not only teenagers but also adults with it, as people of all ages can enjoy it and get something out of it. I think that adults are more open to reading books about teens these days--people are finding out that there are so many books about teens that are of excellent quality, like this one.

 

As far as my personal response to the book,  yes, it did make me think about my own high school years, but I have to say I was very fortunate as a teen to have a group of close friends who were very nice people and tremendously supportive. In fact, the ten of us are still great friends and have reunions every couple of years. Having these friends made all the difference in high school--we were not the "popular" crowd, but we were there for one another, so it didn't matter.

 

I also thought about my own sons--both teenage boys--and in fact, my eighteen-year-old read the book and really liked it. I asked him if he thought the book accurately reflected what high school was like, and he did think so. (Of course, he said he had never been to a party like the one at Kent's house!)

 

 


 

 

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krb2g
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

 


Rosemary-Brosnan wrote:

 

Now I am editing her second novel, which is quite different from BEFORE I FALL, and also very, very wonderful.


 

 

Ms. Brosnan,

 

Do you often work with authors on more than one book? I really enjoyed Before I Fall and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from Ms. Oliver!

 

Best,

Katie

gl
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gl
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

I'm one of the older readers in this YA First Look as well.  I had grown up partly overseas but I don't remember a category of YA books when I was growing up in the 1980s.  I found your description of crossover books particularly interesting. I'd been curious about the categorization of books as YA  and adult, so this crossover category makes sense to me.

 

Could you share a little about history of young adult literature as a category? 

 

Thank you.

Gaby

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Rosemary-Brosnan
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

 


krb2g wrote:

 

Ms. Brosnan,

 

Do you often work with authors on more than one book? I really enjoyed Before I Fall and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from Ms. Oliver!

 

Best,

Katie

 

 

I'm so glad you enjoyed the book! Right now, I have three more novels signed up with Lauren, and I hope to work with her on many more books after that.  I usually do work on more than one book with an author. When I acquire a book, I like to think about the author's career as a whole--not about only one book, but about whether the author has potential as a writer and whether he or she will go on to write more books. Most of the authors I work with are people I've worked with on several--or many--books, and we've established a good working relationship. We often become friends. 


 

 

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Rosemary-Brosnan
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

 


gl wrote:

I'm one of the older readers in this YA First Look as well.  I had grown up partly overseas but I don't remember a category of YA books when I was growing up in the 1980s.  I found your description of crossover books particularly interesting. I'd been curious about the categorization of books as YA  and adult, so this crossover category makes sense to me.

 

Could you share a little about history of young adult literature as a category? 

 

Thank you.

Gaby

 

 

 

There were YA books in the 1980s, but perhaps you missed them because you were overseas. Also, the category has expanded tremendously in recent years, and has been more widely noticed and talked about and studied. 

Probably the first novel considered a YA novel was S.E. Hinton's THE OUTSIDERS. Hinton was a teenager when she wrote the book, in the 1960s, and it was different from other books that portrayed teenagers' lives, because it was grittier and very realistic. Before that there were other books such as THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, but that was published for adults (and embraced by teens.)

Authors publishing during the 1980s include Robert Cormier, Norma Klein, Norma Fox Mazer, Judy Blume, and Walter Dean Myers, among many others. These authors took chances with their books, spoke directly to teens, and often dealt with difficult issues that concerned teens.

There was a time when the YA novel was considered dead, I think sometime during the 1990s, although wonderful authors were still publishing great books. It was often difficult for publishers to sell these books.

Nowadays, this is a thriving genre, and adults as well as teens are reading the books. There is a tremendous amount of talent out there, and a rich array of books.

 


 

 

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Sadie1
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

 


Rosemary-Brosnan wrote:

 


 

There was a time when the YA novel was considered dead, I think sometime during the 1990s, although wonderful authors were still publishing great books. It was often difficult for publishers to sell these books.

Nowadays, this is a thriving genre, and adults as well as teens are reading the books. There is a tremendous amount of talent out there, and a rich array of books.

 


 Rosemary,

I am the mother of a 17 year old senior.  I know my son has read many YA books through assignments in middle and high school along with many he has chosen himself to read.  I have found that my son enjoys these books and has learned and grown from them.

 

I would also like to say something responding to something you said about your son and the party's.  Their were party's like the one in this book back in my day.  Lot's of them and I attended lot's of them.  I am 45.  So, this isn't something new at all.  I am glad to see someone writing about them and educating young adults and parents of what is really happening out there in the real world.

 

I know some parents will be shocked into reality when they read this book.  Some will not want their children to read it for fear that the book might educate the children on some of these things.  I am not one of those parents by they way.  I want my son to read this book.  We often discuss issues like the things in this book on a regular basis.  I am one of the few parents that is comfortable talking with their child and he is one of the few children comfortable talking with his parents about these issues.

 

I am wondering what your take would be to a parent that would have concerns over their child reading this book.  I'm not talking young children.  I'm talking teens.

 

I personally think this book gets down to the level of a teen and will be a learning tool to them.

 

I also would like to tell you that I like Lauren's writing style.  I look forward to reading more books by her too.

 

Lisa in Georgia

 

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bookrooted
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

Welcome Rosemary(;

 

I loved Before i Fall and Lauren's writing style as well & can't wait to read more by her.

You said you were impressed on how such a wonderful story came from a young author. Do you think that we might see more talented young authors, like Lauren? And how would you/do you feel working with them? Lastly I'm just curious how you and Lauren discussed before i fall. Did you guys start talking via phone, email, in person?

 

Thank you.

----------------------------------------------
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Rosemary-Brosnan
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

 


bookrooted wrote:

Welcome Rosemary(;

 

I loved Before i Fall and Lauren's writing style as well & can't wait to read more by her.

You said you were impressed on how such a wonderful story came from a young author. Do you think that we might see more talented young authors, like Lauren? And how would you/do you feel working with them? Lastly I'm just curious how you and Lauren discussed before i fall. Did you guys start talking via phone, email, in person?

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

So glad you loved BEFORE I FALL and want to read more of Lauren's books. I think it's unusual for someone so young to be such an accomplished writer. It usually takes many years to be able to write really well--and Lauren's writing is exceptional for someone of any age. If I could find another young or not-so-young author who wrote like that, I'd be very happy!

 

The manuscript was originally acquired by another editor at HarperCollins, who then left the company. So that editor read it first. When the editor left, Lauren's agent had Lauren meet a few editors to see who would be a "good fit." So first we talked in person, at a meeting with Lauren and her agent, and later I did some light editing of the manuscript. But it was in great shape, as I said.

 

With Lauren's second book, I marked up the manuscript and wrote her a letter explaining how I thought she could improve what was already a great book. Then she revised the manuscript (although it did not need any sort of major revision at all), and now I am almost finished doing light editing of the revision. I usually like to write down my thoughts for an author, rather than talk over the phone or meet in person. I need time to get my thoughts together about what I think needs to be done, and if the author receives a letter or e-mail, he or she has time to digest the comments and think about them. Then the author has something to look at while revising, as well. 


 

 

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lau05
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

I consider the precedent questions very interesting. I'd like to know when you receive many manuscripts and the most of them are very good, how do you decide which will edit and which not?? It's very hard I suppose.

 

Will we have to wait much time to the next book of Lauren Oliver? Maybe this year?  Thanks.

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Rosemary-Brosnan
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

 


Sadie1 wrote:

 



 Rosemary,

I am the mother of a 17 year old senior.  I know my son has read many YA books through assignments in middle and high school along with many he has chosen himself to read.  I have found that my son enjoys these books and has learned and grown from them.

 

I would also like to say something responding to something you said about your son and the party's.  Their were party's like the one in this book back in my day.  Lot's of them and I attended lot's of them.  I am 45.  So, this isn't something new at all.  I am glad to see someone writing about them and educating young adults and parents of what is really happening out there in the real world.

 

I know some parents will be shocked into reality when they read this book.  Some will not want their children to read it for fear that the book might educate the children on some of these things.  I am not one of those parents by they way.  I want my son to read this book.  We often discuss issues like the things in this book on a regular basis.  I am one of the few parents that is comfortable talking with their child and he is one of the few children comfortable talking with his parents about these issues.

 

I am wondering what your take would be to a parent that would have concerns over their child reading this book.  I'm not talking young children.  I'm talking teens.

 

I personally think this book gets down to the level of a teen and will be a learning tool to them.

 

I also would like to tell you that I like Lauren's writing style.  I look forward to reading more books by her too.

 

Lisa in Georgia

 


 

 

Hi, Lisa,

 

Thanks for your thoughtful post. I agree with you: I think that Lauren is portraying the way life is in high school, in our day and today. Yes, there were parties like this back then, and there are parties like this now, and I'm sure most kids are more familiar with this kind of thing than many parents would like to acknowledge. I love the book's honesty, and I think BEFORE I FALL is a great choice for parents to share with their teenagers. It will open up some interesting conversations about life that the parents and teens might not have had otherwise.

 

I think that parents have to make up their own minds about whether or not to share the book with their children. But I also think that kids are exposed to a wide variety of media--TV, the internet, etc.--and I think that this book does not glorify the behavior that's described. Instead, Lauren shows how we are all connected, and how one little action can change the course of one's life.

 

Rosemary

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Rosemary-Brosnan
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

 


lau05 wrote:

I consider the precedent questions very interesting. I'd like to know when you receive many manuscripts and the most of them are very good, how do you decide which will edit and which not?? It's very hard I suppose.

 

Will we have to wait much time to the next book of Lauren Oliver? Maybe this year?  Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

Lauren's next book is coming out in about a year, and it will be worth the wait. I hope you get to read it.

 

I do receive and read many manuscripts: Some of them are certainly good, and many of them would need more work to be publishable. Often, a manuscript is well done but there is nothing that makes it outstanding. I try to be very selective, and I have to love a book and feel it's outstanding in order to publish it. An editor needs to read a manuscript many times during the course of the book's production , and we only want to read something that many times if we feel very strongly about it. And, really, most of what editors read is not outstanding enough. We can read many, many manuscripts before we find one we want to publish.

 

Editors generally have to present a manuscript at a meeting, or even two meetings,  if they want to publish it. We get input from the publisher, the editor-in-chief, the fiction publishing director, the sales department, marketing, finance, etc. It's the rare editor these days who can just decide on her own to publish something.

 


 

 

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Zeal
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

Rosemary,

 

It is exciting to hear that Lauren already has another book in the works and that you will continue working with her in the future!  You sound as if you love what you do, and I can imagine that it must be very rewarding knowing that you were a big part of the process in bringing a book to life.  How many books do you actually get to edit and see through to release during a year? 

"I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching. I shall always be a dreamer."
Sharon Draper
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Rosemary-Brosnan
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

 


Zeal wrote:

Rosemary,

 

It is exciting to hear that Lauren already has another book in the works and that you will continue working with her in the future!  You sound as if you love what you do, and I can imagine that it must be very rewarding knowing that you were a big part of the process in bringing a book to life.  How many books do you actually get to edit and see through to release during a year? 


Hi, Zeal,
Yes, I do love what I do, and I'm very fortunate to have found a career that is so satisfying. The number of books I edit per year varies, but it's usually about fifteen or sixteen hardcover titles, and then a changeable number of paperback reprints.
And I do look forward to working with Lauren on more books!

 

 

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Clyo
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

If you should choose one of the characters in the book... who would be your favorite and why?

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Vermontcozy
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Re: Questions for Rosemary Brosnan?

Good Morning Rosemary,Thank you for being here with us,,Its always such a learning experience for all of us,when an Editor who is so close to Lauren and her book gives us a peek into your world.I am one of the older readers,having grown up in the 60's and 70's.i was raised in NYC,and Brooklyn,so the book has many familiar themes for me.I have also counseled teens  from backgrounds that are revealed in 'Before I Fall."(I also have a 25 yr old daughter).Lauren has the gift of being able to bring her characters to life in such a way,they all just jump off the page,and for me are very visual...Because of FirstLookTeen Reads and Paul,I have been reintroduced to YA writers.I for one join many other readers in saying,these writers are our future,and to catagorize them as only YA Writers must change,The crossover is apparent.The one question I have is "Why aren't these writers given a Bestseller List of their own?Of course in conjunction with the 'Other Lists "they are on.I am referring to The New York Times Sunday Book Review..Do you think that will ever happen?   Thank you for recognizing Lauren Oliver and her talent..'Before I Fall"..I look forward to more of her work,and will Gift this book to some friends..Best   Vtc  Susan

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer