A Unique Situation With Author Lauren Baratz-Logsted

I’d like to introduce Lauren Baratz-Logsted. She’s one of the three co-authors of The Sisters 8 series.  Lauren has experienced two unique situations in the writing industry. One is writing with her husband and middle-grade daughter. The other you will read about later.  So grab a scone and a warm cup of tea and curl up for an interesting conversation!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 30 books for adults (The Thin Pink Line; Vertigo), teens (Crazy Beautiful; The Twin's Daughter; Little Women and Me) and children (the nine-book series The Sisters 8 which she created with her writer husband Greg Logsted and their daughter Jackie). Before becoming a published author, she was an independent bookseller, a PW reviewer, a freelance editor, a sort-of librarian and a window washer. You can read more about Lauren's life and work at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com, follow her on Twitter @LaurenBaratzL or visit the official Sisters 8 website at www.sisterseight.com.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 30 books for adults (The Thin Pink Line; Vertigo), teens (Crazy Beautiful; The Twin’s Daughter; Little Women and Me) and children (the nine-book series The Sisters 8 which she created with her writer husband Greg Logsted and their daughter Jackie). Before becoming a published author, she was an independent bookseller, a PW reviewer, a freelance editor, a sort-of librarian and a window washer. You can read more about Lauren’s life and work at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com, follow her on Twitter @LaurenBaratzL or visit the official Sisters 8 website at www.sisterseight.com.

Me:  Where did you get the concept for The Sisters 8  series?

Lauren:  In  December of 2006, when Jackie was still just six, we were visiting friends in  Crested Butte, Colorado, when a great blizzard hit that closed Denver Airport.  Our friends have no TV nor were there any other children around. This was fine  for the originally allotted time for the trip, but when the blizzard extended  our stay to 10 days, well, how many snow angels can a person make? Jackie had  always been proud of my career but never able to read any of the books because  they were for adults and teens. So, toward the end, to keep Jackie entertained,  I asked her what kind of book she’d like. Her: A book about sisters. Me: How  many sisters? Her: 8. (Trust me, she’d give a different answer today, having  gotten rather used to being the center of the universe.) Me: How old should they be? Her: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Me: That would be interesting, but what if we  made them something really rare like, say, octuplets? Before we knew it, my  husband Greg got into the act. We began brainstorming an entire book about  octuplets whose parents go missing one New Year’s Eve, leaving the eight  girls to solve the mystery of what happened to their parents while keeping the  rest of the world from realizing they’re living home alone. Our brainstorming  kept us entertained through the rest of of the trip and the long flight  back to Connecticut on Christmas Day. Jackie named all the sisters, I named the  cats, and Greg came up with all the crazy inventions like the talking  refrigerator and the flying watering can. Little did we know then that something  that started simply as a way to keep ourselves entertained would turn into a  nine-book series from a major publisher.

Me: That’s awesome. So can we call you the original Octomom? (just kidding, of course!) What role did each of you play in the writing process? And how was it to work together–fun, exciting, stressful?

Lauren:  When we got home from Colorado, just for fun I wrote the prologue and first  chapter. I read it to Greg and Jackie, and then we all discussed what  worked/didn’t work and what needed to happen next. That became the template for  the entire series. So I did the actual writing, but The Sisters 8 would not  exist without my co-creators. I can go through each book and see their  contributions to our invention and those contributions are massive. I think for  them it was always just fun and exciting – I’m the only one that would add  stressful! But that’s because I was the one who was responsible for keeping what  would eventually be over a thousand pages of continuous story in my brain. When  we were working on the series, sometimes we’d go out for what we called  “editorial brunches” to discuss things. But sometimes, the other two would be  throwing ideas at me so fast with me scribbling on napkins and I’d feel like  saying, “Can’t I eat my eggs first?” Still, despite the stresses of being “The  Pen” I wouldn’t change having done this for the world. Nothing in my writing  career has matched the joy of getting to work with my family on The Sisters 8  and I can’t imagine anything that ever will.

Me: I love that! There’s nothing more thrilling than to see children involved and excited about writing, books and creating.  Does your daughter, Jackie, aspire to be a writer as a career? 

Lauren:  Jackie is 13 now. She does enjoy writing, but she also enjoys acting and  singing, and she plays a mean electric guitar – all things that have guaranteed  well-paying careers with full benefits! She also likes shows about  house-flipping. Honestly, I have no idea what she’ll do for a career, and I  don’t think she does either, but whatever she chooses I suspect she’ll be good  at it and I hope she’ll be happy.

Me: It’s so hard to know what they’ll do. My daughter (and co-author) wants to go to the Olympics for archery. But it’s still fun to write together! It was hard facing rejections though.  Did your previous relationships with editors, agents and industry  professionals help ease concerns when working with a child author? Did  it require convincing or were they unconcerned (perhaps even excited) about working with Jackie?

Lauren:  I did have a prior relationship with our editor at Houghton Mifflin  Harcourt, Julia Richardson. She’d also been my editor at Simon & Schuster  where she’d bought three books from me and two from Greg. She’d even met Jackie  before. So, no, they were not concerned at all, only excited. When we went to  Boston to meet with everyone else at the company, they just loved Jackie, which  is an easy thing to do. She’s funny, bright, creative and easygoing, so what’s  not to love? A few months before the first two books came out, they had us do a  group book signing at the New England Independent Bookseller Association’s  annual conference. The night before, while out to dinner she talked me into  buying her a large stuffed lobster, which she put in front of her on the signing  table, signing books with a large feather pen she’d brought from home. People  just couldn’t stop smiling at her. And I do believe she was on to something.  Perhaps all authors should sign with stuffed lobsters. I know if Norman  Mailer were still alive, he’d be more accessible with one.

Me: Too cute! I’m keeping that idea in my back pocket!  So, The Sisters 8 series is traditionally published, but your Hat City series is  self published, correct? Tell us a bit about that experience.

Lauren:  The sad truth about traditional publishing is that even when something is  successful on some measures and The Sisters 8 has sold 200,000 copies, it still  can be not enough and the publisher has no plans to do more at this time. And  yet, every day, I receive emails from kids – and parents, grandparents, teachers  and librarians – telling me they love the series, sometimes even that they hated  reading before discovering the books, and that they want more. If it were up to  me, we’d be writing The Sisters 8 forever – and The Brothers 8! – and it’s  immensely gratifying to think that something we originally did for  ourselves has turned into a source of joy for so many. But it’s also been  heart-breaking, having all these kids who want more and not being able to give  it to them. So I decided to start a new series and publish it on my own. How  it’s different: everything is on me, which makes it tremendously scary and  tremendously wonderful all at the same time.


Me:  One last question:  Pistachio ice cream or lemon bars? Skittles or Dove chocolate? Elves and fairies or the creature from the black lagoon? (Okay, that was more than one…)

Lauren:  Greg is a huge fan of pistachios but in nearly 30 years together, I don’t  think I’ve ever seen him eat pistachio ice cream, and I can’t remember any of us eating lemon bars. Greg and Jackie are both Skittles and Dove chocolate, while  I’m just Dove. We are all elves and fairies and The Creature from The  Black Lagoon.

Me:  I think we’d get along famously! Thanks for joining us here today, Lauren!

Lauren has offered to give away not one, not two, not three but four (yes, FOUR) books in The Sisters 8 series!  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and leave a blog post comment and maybe you’ll be the lucky winner of the following four books! (open to U.S. only, please)

A rather large problem has befallen the Huit girls. (Sisters, actually. Octuplets to be exact.) One particular New Year’s Eve, the girls wait for their mommy to bring them hot chocolate and their daddy to return with more wood for the fire. But they don’t. Mommy and Daddy, that is. They’re gone. Poof! Maybe dead—no one knows for sure.
You must see the problem here. Eight little girls on their own, no mommy or daddy to take care of them. This is not a good thing.
So now these little girls, must take care of themselves. Get to school, cook the meals, feed the cats (eight of them, too), and pay the bills. They can’t ask for help, oh no. Any self-respecting adult would surely call in social services, and those well-meaning people would have to split them up. After losing their parents, being split up would be completely unbearable.
At the same time, the question remains:What happened to Mommy and Daddy? The Sisters Eight (as they are called, affectionately and otherwise) are determined to find out. Luckily, they do seem to have someone or something helping them. Notes keep appearing behind a loose brick in the fireplace.
It’s a good old-fashioned mystery with missing (or dead) parents, nosy neighbors, talking refrigerators, foul-smelling fruitcake (is there any other kind?), and even a little magic. Eight little girls, eight cats, and one big mystery—let the fun begin!





a Rafflecopter giveaway


Amie Borst and her middle-grade dauther, Bethanie, write fairy tales with a twist. Their first book in the Scarily Ever Laughter series, Cinderskella, debuts October 2013! You can find them at www.facebook.com/AmieAndBethanieBorst

  1. I’ve got 4 girls, so we’re halfway to being sisters 8 already!! 😉 Sounds like a fun series!!

  2. This sounds like it would be right uo my Daughter’s alley. I might even sneak a read too!

  3. So looking forward to introducing these to my granddaughters!

  4. Wow – I love the “story behind the story”! This sound like entertaining books. I’ll have to look for them!

  5. Sisters 8 is extremely popular in my library. I hadn’t realized you wrote it with your daughter – amazingly cool!

  6. I’d love these for my daughter!

  7. Oh I remember the sister 8. I read some when I first started reading MG. 🙂

  8. How cool that you wrote a MG book with your MG daughter, and I love that you got your husband into it too! My girl is only 10 months, but maybe she and I can make a plot clock date (with the amazingly talented writing coach Joyce Sweeney) in a few years. Loved THE THIN PINK LINE! Glad to see MG from you too!

    My tweet link, which i should’ve entered to rafflecopter: (insert blonde joke here) https://twitter.com/kkarsnerclarke/status/337665897621757952

  9. I teach school and I would love to have these in my classroom. They would love reading them. Thanks for the chance. I love books that are so imaginative.

  10. What a fun story for the origin of a series so many patrons here were asking for!

  11. I shared on facebook;0

  12. Awesome interview, Lauren! I love your story of how you came up with the eight sisters. I wanna get snowed in!!

  13. Well, I live in Canada, so can’t participate..too bad because I absolutely would love to read these books. I’ve seen The Sisters 8 series at my library and they are a must read for me…they look fabulous. LOVE the origin of the idea and brainstorming.

    Great great interview. This author seems very genuine and nice (in addition to be successful!). Imagine what the 3 of you can create if you ever get snowed-in again in future! 🙂