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Author Lauren Oliver, who wrote the bestselling young adult novel Before I Fall, was in the Philippines in March for a book signing event sponsored by National Book Store. Lauren released Pandemonium, the second book in her Delirium trilogy, in February, and she has been touring around the US and in several countries abroad to promote it.
Delirium tells the riveting story of 17-year-old Lena Holoway, who lives in a world where love—called amor deliria nervosa—is a disease and where the government performs a mandatory “cure” on every citizen when they turn 18. Lena, who only wants a quiet life, is all set to undergo the cure, but things change when she meets a boy named Alex and falls in love with him. What follows is an emotional series of events that makes her question the very principles she has been following all her life. Pandemonium picks up from the point at which the first book ended, and readers meet a much changed Lena and follow her adventures through a world on the brink of a revolution.
Female Network sat down with Lauren for a quick interview after her book signing event on March 25 at Powerbooks, Greenbelt 4, to get her thoughts on writing as well as her novels. Lauren had just finished signing books for nearly 200 fans, but she kept right on smiling as she answered FN’s questions. “I’ve been sleeping for quite some time because I’ve been jetlagged,” she confessed of her stay in the Philippines, “but it’s absolutely beautiful here and it makes me really want to return when I have more time to explore.”
Want to learn more about Lauren, her books, and her writing tips? Read on to find out what she has to say.
Lauren began building the world of Delirium after reading an essay by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, author of Love in the Time of Cholera. “He said that all good books came from love or death. This is after I wrote my first book [Before I Fall], and it really played with themes of death, so I started thinking about writing about love specifically,” she shares.
But what really got her creative juices flowing was her trip to the gym the next day and what she saw on the news while exercising. “It was during the swine flu panic or bird flu panic, and people in New York were really going crazy over this epidemic that was supposed to sweep the nation—which did not end up killing anybody, thankfully,” she recalls.
Lauren took note of how easily people panicked over diseases and fear of contagion. She was still thinking about love at the time, so she combined the two ideas in her head and had a realization. “If you look at the symptoms of love and deep infatuation,” she says, “they have a lot in common with some psychiatric disorders treated with medication.” She was fascinated by the idea, and soon Delirium was born. It was released in January 2011 and became a New York Times bestseller.