Interview and Giveaway with Claire LaZebnik

Claire LaZebnik

Claire LaZebnik lives in Los Angeles with her TV-writer husband and four children. She has co-authored two books about autism with Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel (Overcoming Autism and Growing Up on the Spectrum). Her previous novels include Knitting Under the Influence, The Smart One and the Pretty One, Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts, and Epic Fail.

Books (YA Novels)

Epic Fail (2011)
GoodreadsAmazonThe Book Depository

The Trouble With Flirting (2013)
GoodreadsAmazonThe Book Depository


City of BooksConfessions of a Readaholic

Find Claire

Website ● TwitterFacebookGoodreads

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Hi Claire! Thank you so much for stopping by Books That Glow to answer some questions about yourself and your latest book, The Trouble With Flirting!

What gave you the idea for The Trouble With Flirting?

When I'm first mapping out a novel, I always like to combine at least two different ideas or inspirations to end up with something unexpected. In this case, I knew I wanted to update and adapt Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, but then I also decided it would be fun to borrow elements from my teenage son's like– he'd spent a recent summer at two different acting programs and came back full of stories. We visited him at both of them, so I saw firsthand how exciting and busy and emotional these summer programs can get. Since Mansfield Park has a whole theatre subplot (they start to put on a play but never get around to performing it), it felt like it could work to put its story into this theatrical setting, and I'm happy with how it turned out.

Well, that definitely makes the both us! I'm a sucker for books with theater :D
Your novel is inspired by Jane Austen's Mansfield Park (as you've mentioned above)– what elements did you take from the original and incorporate into your book?

In the original, meek and gentle Fanny Price is sent to live with her much wealthier relatives. Most of them create her like a glorified servant, but her cousin Edmund is very kind, so of course she falls in love with him, even though he's oblivious. A dazzlingly sophisticated brother-and-sister combo arrive at their village and pretty soon, Edmund is in love with the Sister and Edmund's sisters are in love with the Brother, and–long story short–the Brother falls in love with Fanny, but she's faithful to Edmund, who continues to be obsessed with the Sister. Because Austen is incredibly funny and her characters are realistic, this is all much more fascinating that you'd think. I borrowed the bare bones of the plot (except most of my characters are NOT related to each other): my protagonist is still an outsider (she's sewing costumes at the summer program, not acting like the other kids) and the guy she adores still falls in love with someone else. But MY heroine is a lot less long-suffering: she stands up for herself much more than the Fanny, whose freedom to speak her mind is constricted by her status and the era she lives in.

Woah... Now I've totally GOT to go read Jane Austen's book. Sounds absolutely fascinating and after reading The Trouble With Flirting, I can definitely see the similarities.


Sequels or Standalones?

Standalones. Not that I don't' read plenty of sequels–if I love a book, I'll definitely keep going with the sequel. But my absolute favorite books are all standalones and I think there's a reason for that. I think there's something almost perfect about a book that contains everything you need within it and takes you a journey that has a satisfying arc and conclusion. Also? I think sequels are rarely as good as the original book, especially if the author didn't originally plan to write on.

Newspapers or Magazines?

Magazines. But I'm ashamed to admit it. Newspapers feel much more intellectual and responsible, don't they? But I'm not either of those things, so maybe that's why I prefer magazines!
(I do have to agree with you on this– magazines are more my thing than newspapers!!)

A Happy Ending or Suspenseful Cliffhanger?

Happy ending. No contest.

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate. Also no contest. I don't get vanilla. Why bother?

Team Edward or Team Jacob?

Team Peeta. (Best. Answer.)

If you were stuck on a deserted island, and could pick ANY three people to be there with you, who would you pick?

Three is soooo hard– I have four kids so you're asking me to do a Sophie's Choice kind of thing. Plus there's my husband... I guess five people would be out of the question?

I have one friend who knows show to spear fish and build fires and sail a boat, so now that I think about it, all I really need is HIM on the island with me and I know he'd figure out how to get us safely back to civilization so I could be reunited with my family!

Ouch– that was mean of me :/
What's the craziest thing you've done?

This interview. :)

Hehe, guilty :P
If readers enjoyed The Trouble With Flirting, what other books should they try?

My first YA novel Epic Fail! It has a similar vibe. Also Mansfield Park– then you can see where my inspiration comes from.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers out there?

Just keep putting words on the screen. Seriously. The more you write, the better at it you get. You develop a style all your own and feel for how a sentence should read. And speaking of reading– keep doing that too. Read the best authors you can find, and by "best", I don't mean the most old-fashioned stuffiest. I mean the ones that keep you enthralled from the first page to the last– those are the best teachers there are.

What's you favorite movie candy?

I seem really contrary today, don't I? I'm not really. It's just that lately all my cravings seem to be of the salty and not sweet variety. Maybe it's a phase.
But if I HAD to pick a candy, it would probably be those nonpareil things. They're my husband's favorite and you know how they say couples grow to be more like each other? They're much favorite now too. That's kind of scary, now that I think about it.

What can we eagerly anticipate from you next?

I have another YA novel coming out summer of 2014. Its working title is EASILY PERSUADED, but that could change before then. My editor's reading the rough draft now. Lots of work still ahead, but I think it will be a fun one.

Methinks it's a Persuasion retelling ;D

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Thank you so much to Claire for giving some absolutely amazing answers to our questions :) I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Trouble With Flirting–definitely one of my faces from year so far. Here's a little bit about it:

In this fun romance inspired by Jane Austen'sMansfield Park, Franny Pearson learns about the troubles that flirting can cause– and enjoys (almost) every second of it.

Franny Pearson never dreamed she'd be attending the prestigious Mansfield Summer Theater Program. And she's not, exactly. She's working for her aunt, the drama department's costume designer. But sewing her fingers to the bone does give her an opportunity to spend time with her crush, Alex Braverman. If only he were as taken with the girl hemming his trousers as he is with his new leading lady. When Harry Cartwright, a notorious flirt, shows more than a friendly interest in Franny, she figures it can't hurt to have a little fun. But why is Alex suddenly giving her those deep, meaningful looks? 
In this charming tale of mixed messages and romantic near-misses, one thing is clear: flirting might be more trouble than Franny ever expected.

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Thanks to Claire and HarperTeen, one lucky winner can win:

a copy of The Trouble With Flirting!

  • Open to US ONLY
  • This giveaway ends on the 31st of March, 2013
  • The winner has 48 hours to reply to the email or another winner shall be chosen
  • We are not responsible for any lost/damaged packages.

Enter in the Rafflecopter below:


  1. interview are great had a good read and the giveaways is also awesome

  2. I've Epic Fail and I loved every second of it.

  3. I haven't read any of her books yet, but I want to. And I loved the interview! "Contrary" interviewees are always fun. :D

  4. I haven't read any of her books, but would like to. I enjoyed reading the interview.


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