Hey there! It's Daijah! Today, I'm joined by the amazing Luanne Rice. I have the pleasure of interviewing her about her new book, The Beautiful Lost, which is an achingly beautiful book about a girl, a boy, and the road trip that changed their lives. Luanne’s a bestselling author who’s written more than thirty other titles, including The Secret Language Of Sisters and Cloud Nine. Without further ado, let's get into today's interview!
Daijah: Hey Luanne! Your new book The Beautiful Lost just came out earlier this summer. Can you give our readers an idea about what your novel is about?
Luanne: The novel is about Maia, a high school junior who has suffered a breakdown after her mother left the family. Maia knows she’s balancing on the brink and decides finding her mother is the only thing that will save her. She takes off on the search but first has to say goodbye to her massive crush—Billy. To her great shock, Billy jumps into the car and says he’s going with her. And off they go on the road trip of their lives.
Daijah: Maia and Billy both grow a lot during the book. Was it important to you that your novel show that things get better?
Luanne: I think that’s the way life goes—experience is cumulative. Everything we think and do adds up to life changes. We might not see them happening at the time, but when we look back, the amount we’ve changed along the way can be a revelation.
Daijah: I’m a hopeless romantic. So I have to ask, have you thought of a
future for Billy and Maia?
Luanne: Yes! They’ve been through so much together, and although they have to figure out the next part of their own lives, the bond they made on the journey is unbreakable. I see another road trip in their future.
Daijah: It seems as if depression is sometime romanticized in the media. Was it important to you to show the actual struggles of depression?
Luanne: Yes, definitely. I’ve struggled with depression, and it began when I was in high school. I know how badly it hurts, and how hard it can be to talk about, to tell someone. I hope a teen who needs help will read The Beautiful Lost and decide to tell their secret to someone. Or a teacher or a librarian or parent will read it and recognize a young person they know, who needs help. Recently I’ve been involved in”Deconstructing Stigma: A Change in Thought Can Change a Life,” a mental health awareness and anti-stigma campaign at McLean Hospital, the psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School. People of all ages and all walks of life took part.
Daijah: Maia’s form of art therapy is writing. Do you find writing to be therapeutic for you as well?
Luanne: Yes, it always has been. My characters come from my dreams and are so much wiser than I am. Sometimes they know more than I’ve been ready to admit. My books are emotional, and they often echo parts of my own life.
Daijah: Is there any advice you would give to our readers who are going through depression?
Luanne: There’s an author’s note at the end of The Beautiful Lost, with a list of resources. But the main thing I would tell a reader is that she is not alone—no matter how much she feels she is. Depression is real, just like any other illness, and nothing to be ashamed of. It’s important to tell someone—a friend, a sibling, a parent, a teacher how you are feeling. There is a lot of help out there, but the first step is to stop carrying the pain alone.
Daijah: What’s next for you? Are you working on anything new?
Luanne: More writing. I live by the sea, and I get my inspiration by listening to the waves and looking up at the stars. Nature inspires me more than anything. I never know where it’s going to take me.
That’s it for today’s interview with Luanne, but don’t leave just yet. We’re giving away five copies of The Beautiful Lost to our amazing readers. Just click on the image below and enter to win a hardcover of Luanne’s new book for your bookshelf or classroom. The contest ends on Tuesday, August 22nd, and the winner must live in the United States. And don’t forget to come back next week when James will be talking with E. Katherine Kottaras, author of The Best Possible Answer. Until then!