Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of numerous books, including the Sisters Eight Series and The Education of Bet. She graciously took time out of her busy schedule to chat about her books.
Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
I’m the author of 18 published books that are hopefully somewhat good and mother to one daughter who is completely excellent.
Can you tell us a little about your book, The Education of Bet?
It’s about a sixteen-year-old girl in Victorian England who impersonates a boy in order to get a proper education.
How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
I’ve always been a big fan of the classic novel of English boarding school life, Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes. In the eighteen hundreds, of course girls were allowed to go to school. But a sixteen-year-old girl like Bet who’s the orphaned daughter of a maid? She’d never have the opportunity for that kind of education, not unless she did something drastic. From Bet’s situation and the character of Bet herself – the rest of the story and characters grew around that.
What have you learned about yourself through your characters?
Good question. From Bet I’ve learned to be appreciative of the opportunities I’ve had in life.
Is there a message you want readers to come away with after reading the book?
Well, I’d like readers to realize how much has changed since Victorian times and how hard females used to have it. Mostly, though, I hope readers are entertained.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?
There’s a scene where Bet, while impersonating a boy, is quite badly physically beaten. It was hard to have a character I have so much affection for be bullied in such a violent way.
What would be the most difficult change for you if you suddenly got sucked into a time vortex and ended up in 19th century England?
Inadequate indoor plumbing.
If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, what would it be?
The tenth Nancy Drew book, The Passage to Larkspur Lane. My parents and older brother were such strong readers, I used to read defensively, sometimes feigning speed just to keep up with them. That’s the first book I can remember reading and suddenly realizing, "Hey, wait a second – I’m enjoying myself here!"
What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
Reading. I absolutely love to read. And TV – I’m a big TV head.
Can you tell us about your next project?
Since The Education of Bet came out in July, I had another YA book published, The Twin’s Daughter. It also takes place in Victorian England but it’s a much darker book about a teen who discovers her society mother has an identical twin who was raised in the poorhouse. There is mystery, romance, suspense and murder.
Thanks for answering my questions!
If you haven’t read The Education of Bet, I recommend giving it a go. You can purchase it from your favorite bookseller, or use the handy widget to have it delivered to your door from Amazon.