Hey there! It’s Daniela again! I’m so excited to introduce today’s #BeyondTheBio author, Lorie Langdon. Although Lorie loves writing, some of her ultimate goals in life include living in a cottage by the sea, traveling the world, and learning to cook like Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. Her newest YA novel is Olivia Twist, a retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic tale Oliver Twist that takes place in the Victorian Era. Lorie also just happens to be the author of Amazon’s #1 best selling Doon series and romantic thriller, Gilt Hollow. Olivia Twist hit bookstores earlier this year so don’t miss out! Olivia Twist is one of my favorite YA historical fiction novels, and I am incredibly grateful to be interviewing Lorie. Alright, let’s get to it!
Hi Lorie! I just got done reading this incredible love story. Can you tell our readers a little bit about Olivia Twist?
Sure! Olivia Twist is a reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic tale Oliver Twist, in which Olivia was forced to live as a boy for her own safety until she was rescued from the streets. Now eighteen, Olivia finds herself at a crossroads: revealed secrets threaten to destroy the “proper” life she has built for herself, while newfound feelings for an arrogant young man she shouldn’t like could derail her carefully laid plans for the future.
Even though Olivia Twist is a gender-bent ‘sequel’, of sorts, to the classic Oliver Twist, you don’t need to know anything about the original to enjoy this retelling.
Your book was filled with so many amazing characters! I fell in love with Jack, Olivia, the orphans, and even Brom! Which of these characters is the most like you?
Ahh…good question! I would have to say Olivia, just because I’ve learned, like her, that perseverance is the key to accomplishing my goals. Despite the constraints that society puts on females of her time, Olivia finds ways to overcome those obstacles in order to help others. Her selflessness actually inspires me to want to be a better person!
I don’t think I could pick a single chapter as my favorite, but I did really enjoy the various luxurious dinner parties and the adventures of Olivia disguised as a boy. What's your favorite part of the book?
One of my favorite parts of the book is when Olivia steals the money from Jack’s pocket. He isn’t used to being bested, especially by a lady. Writing this was so much fun!
If I’m being honest, I am now completely obsessed with all things Victorian era! Except the disgusting sewage systems, of course! What are a few interesting things that you discovered during your research about Victorian England?
While researching some of the darker sides of Victorian London, I discovered that the word “Treadmill” comes from a device used in workhouses and prisons, where individuals were forced to walk a wheel for up to eight hours a day in order to crush grain or pump water. Some people were literally walked to death!
The characters, especially Olivia, are obsessed with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Are you also obsessed with this short story?
While writing Olivia Twist I was looking for a good name for Olivia’s dog. It was Halloween and as I watched Disney’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow cartoon with my kids, the character “Brom Bones” fascinated me because you never know if he’s actually the Headless Horseman. It stuck me that Olivia would have believed the best of him even if it wasn’t the popular opinion—just as she felt about Jack. Thus, her dog’s name became Brom and the story became one of the orphan gang’s favorites!
Since I know you are a music fanatic, what are your favorite songs from the Olivia Twist playlist?
This question makes me smile, because music is such a strong inspiration for all of my stories. Here are a few of my favorites from the Olivia Twist playlist:
Say by One Republic is the song that helped shape Jack heart and soul.
Paradise by Coldplay is Olivia’s theme song. It captures her optimism despite all the heartache she’s suffered.
Wherever You Will Go by Charlene Soraia – How Olivia feels about Jack. I listened to this song on loop as I wrote the scene on Blackfriars Bridge.
I’d Do Anything, from Oliver! the movie. The entire soundtrack served as inspiration, but in particular this scene from the movie because it was the moment my crush on The Artful Dodger began!
Olivia Twist is historical fiction, but you've also written fantasy and a romantic thriller. How's the writing process difference for each genre?
There are more similarities than differences, mainly because every story I write is about the characters. Doon and Olivia Twist both required extensive historical research. But Gilt Hollow was the most different. Crafting a mystery that gave the reader just enough information to keep them guessing without giving away the ‘whodunit’ proved more challenging than I’d anticipated. But I’m thrilled with the way it turned out!
After reading Olivia Twist, I can’t wait to delve into some of your previous books! But are there any future projects you can tell us about?
I’m currently writing an Olivia Twist spin-off novel that features Brit, the leader of the Hill Orphans, several years in the future, and a young woman who is attempting to become the first female doctor in London. Brit has been fascinating to write. He has experienced some of the same hardships that Jack endured as a child, but Brit is more of an intellectual, and since he was practically raised by Olivia, he has quite progressive views about women. It also turns out, he has an aristocratic background!