Get to Know Lauren Zutavern Better:

What drew you to write in your genre?

I love to read in most genres, but I found my voice in middle grade contemporary fiction--maybe because in my daily life I am surrounded by middle graders, or because as adults we are all recovering from our own childhood. Either way writing middle grade and fun and always enlightening as I discover characters and their conflicts.


What other genre would you like to write in?


I love young adult fiction!


What are your most influential books/favorite authors?


This sounds like a cheesy answer, but any book or author I read influences me. Sometimes I read for fun and sometimes I read to study a genre or style. Whether I remember a specific line or scene or emotion (or even when I think I don’t remember anything), all the books and authors inform my experience and my writing.


What do you think makes a story memorable?


A memorable story for me comes from how I relate to it. I remember if a story made me feel something.


What do you think is essential in a classroom?


A positive and encouraging place to take risks is essential for a thriving class and classroom. On an individual level, the willingness to learn, to try, and to listen makes all the difference. This is forged through an attitude as a learner. We are always perfect as we do this—sometimes we need to step away and think and consider. But the willingness makes all the difference.


What did you learn from your favorite and/or best teacher?


A lot. But one specific thing I’ve learned (that I didn’t understand at the time) is that there is so much more to writing than getting the words on the paper. You have to be willing and ready to tackle the “much more.”


What makes for the most "success" in student?


The willingness to learn and a desire to change your skill level. Listening to feedback from others is so very necessary (though admittedly listening is hard--as writers, we have so much to say).


How did you come to teach at The Writer's Path?

Ha! I don’t remember completely. After EXIT STRATEGY, my middle grade book, came out into the world, I joined in with the awesome instructors of The Writer’s Path. I am so thankful for that. Teaching with this program is honestly one of the best parts of my job as an author. I am so thankful for this program—as a learner and an instructor!