Book: You Asked For Perfect
Photo by Katie King
Author: Laura Silverman
"Laura Silverman is an author and editor and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. Her books include Girl Out of Water, You Asked for Perfect, and It’s a Whole Spiel. Girl Out of Water was a Junior Library Guild Selection." (Source: www.laurasilvermanwrites.com)
1. Do you believe there’s an unfair pressure on teens in the modern education system to succeed?
Yes. It's definitely not something all students experience, but there's an increasing amount of pressure on many teens to excel. I think a lot of the pressure stems from putting 'brand name' colleges on pedestals, which leads to high schools and students all jockeying for acceptance into the same small pool of colleges, forcing them to constantly one-up each other with more AP classes, more extracurriculars, etc.
I believe the whole system would be a lot healthier if there was less marketing for these 'top' schools and more conversation about how there are so many colleges where you can get a good education.
2. What was your writing process like for 'You Asked For Perfect'?
This was a really difficult book to write! I knew I wanted to write about a character experiencing intense academic pressure, but I had no idea how to plot it, which meant I wrote the book almost from the ground up like five times. I knew the characters and their personalities very early on, but figuring out how to plot an academic anxiety spiral was definitely difficult.
3. What is something you loved writing about the relationship between Ariel and Amir?
I love their scenes together *so* much. You Asked for Perfect is a really stressful book. I felt the anxiety right along with Ariel every time he spiraled. The time with Amir wasn't only a pressure release for him, but it was also a pressure release for me. We both got to chill out and have happy moments.
4. Do you think that queer teenagers are hit harder with perfectionism?
I think it's definitely possible. I think many people with any type of marginalization probably feel pressure to excel in areas they can 'control.'
5. What are some ways schools can better assist the mental health of their students?
I know funding is an issue, but I wish there were way better ratios of guidance counselors to students. I also wish schools didn't chase accolades like 'offering the most AP classes' and 'highest SAT scores.' The pressure of those goals directly affects the students.
6. What is some advice you can share with up-and-coming authors about advertising their book?
Don't force anything - promote in ways you're good at or enjoy. I'm pretty good Twitter, so I do a lot of promotion on there. I have chronic pain, and it makes networking events/conferences difficult, so I'm very selective about attending those.
I love interacting with bloggers and doing interviews, but if I'm ever too busy, I'm honest with them, and I promise they're awesome and understand. Promoting is definitely work, but it shouldn't be work that makes you feel miserable, okay!
7. What’s the best book you have read in 2019 thus far?
THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO! SO. FREAKING. AMAZING.
8. Do you plan on writing more books in the future?
Definitely! More novels and short stories to come. I also just starting work on a picture book. It's a really fun new challenge!
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