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LARA M. ZEISES

BIOGRAPHY I BOOKS I PRESENTATIONS I BOOK ORDERING

Lara M. Zeises is the author of three novels for young adults. Her first, Bringing Up the Bones (2002), was named an honor book for the 2001 Delacorte Press Prize Competition as well as one of the New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age.

 

Her second, Contents Under Pressure (2004), began as her thesis project at Emerson College, where she earned her M.F.A. It has gone on to be named to the 2006 International Reading Association's Young Adult Choices list, the 2005-06 Tayshas (Texas) Reading List, and the 2005 New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age. It was recently voted the 2006 Delaware Blue Hen Teen Book Award winner.

 

Lara's third novel, Anyone But You (2005), was named a Top 10 Pick by Teen People. An excerpt from that project helped earn Lara a 2005 Emerging Artist Fellowship in Literature-Fiction from the Delaware Division of the Arts.

 

She's currently hard at work on her next project for Delacorte, tentatively titled What's Cooking with Stella Madison?

 

In addition to writing, Lara teaches part-time at the University of Delaware, where she received her BA in English-Journalism. She also facilitates creative writing workshops for both teens and adults.

 

In addition to writing, Lara teaches at the University of Delaware, and she also facilitates creative writing workshops for both teens and adults.

Lara has the further distinction of being the mentor and inseparable friend of chick-lit author, Lola Douglas, whose book, True Confessions of a Hollywod Starlet, not only was among ALA's 2007 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, but has been made into a Lifetime Original movie starring Joanna "Jojo" Levesque and Valerie Bertinelli with 8/9/08 the premiere airdate.

 

IN LARA'S OWN WORDS:

 

I grew up in Delaware, the First State, and, more importantly, the Home of Tax-Free Shopping. I earned my B.A. in English-Journalism at the University of Delaware. After a miserable stint as a journalist at a small newspaper in Indiana, I ran screaming back to the greater Delaware area and saved up enough money to go to graduate school. I earned my M.F.A. in creative writing at Emerson College in May of 2001, just two days before I sold Bringing Up the Bones.

 

I am a dork. This is something all of my friends will tell you. When you are young, being a dork is a terrible burden. But the older you get, the more you realize that dorkdom is often a great predictor of success as an adult. At least, this has been my experience.

 

I've been writing nearly all my life. When I was eight I used to spend the summer doing so-called work in my mom's office, writing knock-off Nancy Drew stories on the typewriter because I loved the sound of my fingers banging on the keys. In high school I wrote some really bad fiction and some even worse poetry, but I spent most of my time working on marginally good plays.

 

In college I sort of stumbled into journalism. To borrow a phrase from Laura Lippman, with whom I worked while interning at The Baltimore Sun, I wanted to be a writer with a steady paycheck. I spent much of my college career sweating blood into The Review, UD's student-run newspaper. Unfortunately, I didn't find real-world journalism nearly as satisfying as my time at The Review or as rewarding as my internships at the Sun or The News Journal, Delaware's largest daily paper. Eventually I had to face facts and acknowledge that what I really wanted to do was write for television.

 

Huh? you ask. In addition to being a dork I am also a certified pop culture junkie. So yeah, I wanted to write TV shows like my all-time favorite, My So-Called Life. This is what I was planning to do when I got to Emerson. Instead, I ended up in an Adolescent Novel Workshop taught by Lisa Jahn-Clough, and the rest, as they say, was history.

 

So many young adult authors have said they didn't start out wanting to write for the genre -- Francesca Lia Block, Sarah Dessen, Rob Thomas, Nancy Werlin, Ellen Wittlinger, and even Paul Zindel, to name a few. And I can't speak for all of them, but I'd guess most of these authors thought they were writing for adults when some smart agent or editor suggested that they should rework their manuscripts for teens. And if they were anything like me, hearing this made something click. In my opinion, there is no better audience to write for. Perhaps this is because, no matter how old I get, I feel like I live in a state of arrested adolescence. Or maybe it's just because the issues that most teenagers deal with don't go away once you turn 20 -- if anything, they only intensify and grow bigger.

 

And that's my story.