An interview with Lori Weber, Montreal author of ten YA books including Lightning Lou, Yellow Mini, and Deep Girls. Interview snippets not heard on the Cabin Tales podcast, edited into a 15-minute continuous segment in which Lori shares her love of fictional settings, her aversion to moral messages in fiction, and her unease around squirrels in her own yard. All ages.
A full transcript is available at CabinTales.ca.
[1:15] Interview with Lori Weber
CA: When you’re creating a story… do you do any exercises to help build your story world?
LW: … I will consult maps…use a lot of photographs… research real places… Setting can contain so much important symbolism in a story…
[3:00] CA: Are any of your stories based on your own childhood or youth?
LW: …Absolutely…. Bits and pieces modified, expanded, completely changed. …Sooner or later you run out of autobiographical traumatic things that happened to you as a teen….The emotions have been real even if the events have not been real….
[4:30] CA: Do you know the end of your story when you begin?
LW: I think sometimes I have a general idea of what might happen at the end…I know some writers really have a strong sense of that final scene. I don’t have that when I start…
[5:15] CA: How do you feel about comeuppance tales?
LW: … I’m not big on morality to begin with in a book. … I’m okay if there’s no big punishment that’s being meted out …I was once accused of having comeuppance for a character … And that really bothered me, really really bothered me that somebody would see it that way.
[7:00] CA: And how do you feel about sad endings, for youth?
LW: I think I’m okay with them. … as long as there’s some kernel of hope or …some learning or something for the characters to latch onto and to grow with… That’s what literature does… It takes characters through a lot of darkness. … I’m not big on the Hollywood ending…
[8:55] CA: Do you read your own work out loud when you’re revising ever?
LW: At some points I might. I did a lot with Yellow Mini because it’s poetry. … I advise my students to do that…I should follow my own advice maybe.
[9:20] CA: And do you have a favorite point of view to write from?
LW: Most of my work has been in first person, present tense…. Lightning Lou is my first third-person creation. … I find third … way more challenging than first person…. It’s almost like you’re dealing with two characters: the narrator and the main character…
[10:30] CA: And have you ever written a monster story?
LW: Human monsters, maybe. No….
[11:00] CA: Did you tell stories around the campfire as a kid?
LW: … I had a real urban inner-city upbringing. …. We were a huge gang of kids on the street, and we played in the back lanes. … there was a ton of storytelling going on. It just wasn’t around a campfire…
[11:45] CA: And I’m not sure if you have a favorite scary story?
LW: I find dystopias with a taste of reality…extremely scary. …
[12:30] CA: And do you have any phobias
LW: I’m mildly phobic about squirrels darting around me when I’m outside. … I don’t love heights. And I regret that sometimes when I travel…
CA: And have you used that fear in any of your work?
LW: … I should start. … I’m going to create a character who can’t walk across a bridge.
[13:45] CA: Do you collect anything?
LW: I used to collect salt and pepper shakers….
[14:14] CA: I’m going to say a word, and you say whatever comes into your head, okay?
CA: And that’s it. That’s all I’ve got….Thanks, Lori. Bye.
[15:25] Lori Weber introduces herself
LW: My name is Lori Weber and I live in Dorval, Quebec, which is a suburb of Montreal. And I’m the author of ten books for young readers. And I’m a recently retired teacher.
[15:50] Find out more about Lori Weber
You can hear more creative writing advice from Lori Weber on Cabin Tales Episode 1, “Things Hide in the Darkness,” about setting, on Episode 2.5, “Author Interviews about Character,” and on Episode 8, “The Never-ending Story,” about revision. You can find out more about Lori Weber and her books from her website at LoriWeberAuthor.wordpress.com.
[16:45] Thanks and coming up on the podcast
I’ll be back next week with leftovers from my interview with Amanda West Lewis, author of two novels for young adults and five non-fiction books for young readers.
Thanks for listening.
Host: Catherine Austen writes books for children, short stories for adults, and reports for corporate clients. Visit her at www.catherineausten.com.
Guest Author: Lori Weber is the author of ten books for young adults and middle-grade readers, including Yellow Mini, a novel in verse, and Deep Girls, a short-story collection. A native Montrealer, she taught at John Abbott College for decades before her recent retirement. Find her online at LoriWeberAuthor.wordpress.com.