Laura Ruby is doing double-duty these days, with a YA novel, Good Girls, that came out this fall, and a book of interconnected stories aimed at slightly older readers due to pop on January 4. The latter is I'm Not Julia Roberts—and we burger-flippers can totally relate, because we are not Julia Roberts either. Not even close. Laura's book is a funny-but-wrenching read about a group of families trying to cope with life in the wake of divorce. Sound familiar? You'll want to pick it up. Laura recently bared her soul in our pop quiz ...and requested to have a pizza named in her honor rather than the traditional burger! We do love a rebel...
Who is your favorite writer that most people have never heard of?
Matt Ruff. In 1988, when he was in his early 20s, he wrote Fool on the Hill — which is this insane, fabulous fantasy set on the campus of Cornell University. It has everything: randy sprites, evil rats, religious dogs, cynical cats, kick-ass chicks, writers, dragons, Tolkien, Shakespeare, and a mysterious guy named Mr. Sunshine who seems to be orchestrating the whole thing with the help of a band of typing monkeys. Big fun.
And just a few years ago, Ruff released Set This House in Order, which is a brilliant, complex, moving love story about a man with multiple personality disorder who meets a woman with multiple personality disorder. Very different from his first book, more serious, more tragic, but just as amazing.
What kid or teen books rocked your world growing up?
One of my favorite books was Allegra Maud Goldman by Edith Konecky. It was absolutely hilarious; I read it over and over again. I'm not sure if it's in print anymore, but it should be.
I was also fond of Judy Blume's Deenie and, of course, Forever. Lois Duncan's Summer of Fear and Lois Lowry's Summer to Die. I adored The Outsiders and The Catcher in the Rye. In high school, I devoured everything Stephen King ever wrote, but I also loved reading the plays Waiting for Godot (Beckett) and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Stoppard).
Describe your ideal place to write.
My office, which is a total wreck, but I love it. It's got hundreds of books (for reading when one should be writing). It's got two computers (for internet surfing and song downloads). It's got a window (for daydreaming). And it's got two cats (for much needed writing advice).
Your life is a TV series. Name the theme song, one event that would be on the "best of" episode, and one that would be on the blooper reel.
Best of: Meeting the husband in New Orleans. In a bar. On Bourbon Street. (I swear no beads were involved). We danced to a funk band till the wee hours of the morning and then talked children's books. And yes, it was as perfect as it sounds.
Blooper: His name was Paul. And that's all I'm saying.
Burger-flippers want to know: have you ever had a job that required you to wear a geeky uniform? Details, please!
In college, I was a waitress at a place called "Stuff Yer Face" which required a T-shirt with the words "Stuff Yer Face" scrawled across the chest. And yeah, the frat boys had a field day with that one.
We'd like to name a burger in your honor. What kind of fixins should it have?
Highly unorthodox, Laura...but for you, anything!