Lauren Bjorkman didn't plan to write a novel about LGBT teens. My Invented Life (Henry Holt, 2009), her newly-published debut for young adults, just kind of happened that way.
It all started with a high school reunion.
"A few months before, someone started a pre-reunion forum online," Bjorkman tells. "A bunch of my classmates came out on it. I followed everyone’s stories with enthusiasm because I’m always interested in the lives of others – yes, I’m nosy – and no one was 'out' publicly during high school."
After speaking with her gay classmates before and during the reunion, their memories of their school-age experiences stayed with her. Says Bjorkman, "[They] wouldn’t leave me alone—like a haunting, really—until I realized I had to write a book with LGBT characters."
She also tossed in a high school production of Shakespeare's As You Like It, a myriad of mistaken identities, and an hilariously unreliable narrator to create her fresh, fast-paced, and near-farcical tale.
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