Laura Taylor Namey: “I’ve always used books and stories to escape heartache or stressful situations”

5 Questions With...

Laura Taylor Namey

[Note From Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora Dominguez got the opportunity to interview author Laura Taylor namey and ask her five(ish) questions. Taylor’s novel The Library of Lost Things is out now!]

Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?

Laura: I’ve always used books and stories to escape heartache or stressful situations. In story plotting, I posed the question to myself, what if there was a girl who did this, but at a deeper and more sweeping level? What would that look like? Darcy Wells and her world grew from there. Her abilities and the way she uses literature, as more than an escape, but as her distinct way into the world, grew and expended until it was time to write her on page one. 

What character do you most relate to and why?

Oh this one is easy! Darcy’s half Mexican, half Cuban best friend, Marisol is a mash-up of me and my personality (I’m Cuban American) and my Mexican best friend, Marisol is a fellow foodie, and is rarely without her signature leather jacket. She was so fun to write and I love the loyal friendship between Darcy and Marisol.

Why do you feel books with powerful and relatable characters are so popular and have such a voice right now?

Speaking within the YA community and YA books, teens want to see themselves in stories. They want to see their struggles, cultures, situations, and relationships. Following a relatable character through a tough character arc can impart a sense of hope. 

I am so pleased and encouraged by many of the stories that have recently been published, and many coming out in the next couple of years. Younger readers don’t only want to be entertained, they want to feel seen.

Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from the read.

Darcy’s home life and family situation is difficult and often frustrating. Darcy lives with a mother who is a hoarder and compulsive shopper. She loves her mother so much, in fact she is the only person in Mom’s life who hasn’t abandoned her. Still, Darcy has felt shame since she was little. She feels it’s easier to become “invisible” than try to reconcile and show the “messy” parts of her life and family. She’s often so pressed that books become more than an escape: they turn into an emotional obsession. This results in a high school senior who has lived out many milestone moments within pages, within the happy endings of other book heroines.

When her mother’s disorder escalates, and when a new, more involved apartment manager shows up and a lease renewal looms, Darcy’s home is in jeopardy. Her relationship with her mother is strung on a tightrope. Darcy realizes she must leave the comfort of her home library before she loses her mom forever. 

Yet, it’s not just a hoarding mother who needs new coping strategies. With the help of her best friend, Marisol, Darcy sees all of the things she’s lost to hoarding and sacrificed to hiding. She tries to leave the pages and live her life, not Jane Eyre’s. Not Elizabeth Bennet’s. Even if it’s messy. 

What’s next for you in the book world?

My sophomore novel, A CUBAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO SWEATERS AND STARS is coming fall 2020. It’s the story of a teen Miami Cuban bakery heiress. She’s sent to her distant family’s English inn the summer after graduation to heal from devastating loss. Cue the disruption of all her best laid plans, and unexpected friendships, love, and heart-wrenching choices.

Who is your favorite writer right now and why?

I devoured Nina Moreno’s Don’t Date Rosa Santos and she’s an auto-buy for me. I can’t wait for her next book. I love her Cuban rom-coms with characters that leap off the page and wonderful storytelling.

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