Lockhart has a doctorate in English literature from Columbia University. Her field was 19th-century British novel. In 2013 she chaired the committee on Young People’s Literature for the National Book Awards. She currently teaches creative writing at Hamline University’s low-residency MFA program in Writing for Children.
She is the author of We Were Liars, Fly on the Wall, Dramarama, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and the Ruby Oliver quartet: The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys, and Real Live Boyfriends. How to Be Bad was co-written with Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski.
Disreputable History was a Printz Award honor book, a finalist for the National Book Award, and recipient of the Cybils Award for best young adult novel. We Were Liars is a New York Times bestseller. It won the Goodreads Choice Award and was Amazon’s #1 YA novel of 2014.
-Emily, if you were not a writer, what would you do for a living?
I’d be a baker. Same job in some ways: you get up early and make things for other people to consume. Some things you make just give pleasure. Some are sustenance.
-We were liars is the novel that more success brought to you, is it the novel you feel more proud about?
I feel grateful for the success of it, but I’m equally proud of my other novels. I worked just as hard on them.
-After this success, are your previous novels being more read and popular too?
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks has found a lot more readers, but not the others as much. Disreputable History is the most similar to Liars. That is, it was until Genuine Fraud.
-How was the experience of bringing the novel WWL to the cinema? At which level were you participating?
The film is in very early days, so there hasn’t been anything much to do!
-If you were one of the liars which one of them would do you prefer to be? Why?
I would be Cadence. You know what happens to the rest of them.
-Where do you think is the success of the novel in the sense that it is considered a young adult novel but the fact is that a lot of adults read it and love it too?
Smart marketing. My publisher worked hard to reach adult readers too!
-The process of writing does it energize or exhaust you?
Exhausts. But I love my job.
-What do you recommend to young people who dream about being a writer?
Read as widely as you can. Read outside your comfort zone. Feed your mind so you have more in it to offer.
-What is your opinion about writer´s schools and mentoring programes? Do you think that writing is something that you can learn?
I definitely think writing is a craft you can learn. I don’t believe in talent.
But MFA programs are worth it only if you can spare the money or if teaching is part of what you want to do. Otherwise you can take classes, read how-to books or find a writers group.
-And the last question: in our blog we believe that one day one book appears in your life and everything can change. What was this book for you?
I don’t agree with you! I think there are many books throughout one’s life that can contribute over time to a person’s makeup. But one book that changed my thinking as a teenager was The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. It was so hysterically funny, and genre-bending, and imaginative. I hadn’t known a book could be like that.