Have you heard of the 2011 debut novel, Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal? In this novel, Ari receives an unexpected inheritance that brings her opportunities that she never imagined possible, like the chance to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, wealthy new friends like Leigh, and introductions to both the glamorous side of New York and gorgeous guys, like Blake. Ari is sure that she doesn’t stand a chance with Blake, but in some weird twist of fate, he actually does. As things heat up, Ari finds herself caught up in an all-consuming romance to the point where her parents are worried that she’s losing track of the important things in life. Maybe she really was because when misfortune comes to Blake’s family, he pushes her away and her life comes crashing down. Was this really true love…or was it something else entirely?
Today, you can check out a short interview I conducted with the author as part of the novel’s official blog tour. Hope you enjoy it!
YA Book Shelf: In a previous interview, you mentioned the importance of “limerence,” or a state of consuming and obsessive romantic desire for another person, in your debut novel Other Words for Love. How representative are Ari’s obsessive, romantic feelings for Blake among teen girls?
Lorraine Zago Rosenthal: Ari goes through highs and lows to which I think many people—including teen girls—can relate. Everything that happens in Ari’s relationship with Blake is new to her, and that makes her feel all of it very deeply. I think that whether teen girls feel this way in their own lives depends on their individual personalities—but I also think that much of what Ari feels is representative of the maturing process that most of us go through.
YABookShelf: If readers enjoy your novel, which other love stories in general and in the YA genre in particular would you recommend they read?
YABookShelf: I’ve never been to New York City before, but am planning a short trip there in April. As a native New Yorker, what parts of the city do you think are essential for any newbie? Do any of these places play a key role in Other Words for Love?
LZR: New York is very interesting because it’s so diverse, which is something that is explored in Other Words for Love. Those who live in NYC know that there’s a big difference in lifestyle and culture between Manhattan and the other boroughs. If you’re going to visit New York, I would definitely tell you to spend your time in Manhattan because there is so much to do and see. I’m a big Broadway fan, so I’d definitely recommend that you check out a show—Jersey Boys, Wicked and Mama Mia are all fantastic! Additionally, I recommend that you go to Little Italy and Chinatown. There are several landmarks in Manhattan that appear in my novel, including Central Park, The Winter Garden Theater, Delmonico’s Restaurant, and the Waldorf Astoria. The story also takes place in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Hamptons.
YABookShelf: We don’t get to read all of the books that we want in a given year. Rather than ask you to narrow down the YA reading you did in 2010 to one or two favorites, please tell me and my readers a few of the novels that you wish you’d had the time to read last year.
LZR: I have read quite a few YA novels this year, but I’ve been so busy writing and getting ready for the publication of my novel that I haven’t had time to read as many as I would have liked! I’m really interested in Vixen by Jillian Larkin because I love YA set in the 1920s. I hope to have time to read it soon.
YABookShelf: What inspires you to write books for teens? Do you always see yourself writing for the YA audience or would you consider writing for younger children as well?
LZR: Believe it or not, I never consciously intended to write books for teens! I have always enjoyed writing stories with a teen as the central character, and my novel therefore falls into the YA category. I think the reason I’m attracted to teen protagonists is that they’re going through a time in life that is both exciting and difficult, and there are so many stories to be found within that dynamic. I also have a very vivid memory of what it’s like to be a teenager, which helps me with my writing. I am definitely going to continue to write YA fiction, but I wouldn’t write for younger children—it’s just not my area of interest.
Thanks so much for stopping by YABookShelf.com as part of the official Other Words for Love blog tour, Lorraine. It was great to chat with you, and I have to admit that I’m getting pretty excited about your debut novel! Can’t wait to read it myself!