Floral Park author Laurie Boyle Crompton, whose sixth novel a young adult rom-com titled Freaky in Fresno, hits shelves on Tuesday, Feb. 11. To celebrate the new book launch, Crompton will be at the Barnes & Noble in Carle Place at 7 p.m. with a reading, conversation and signing, which is free and open to the public.
Crompton recently answered questions from the Illustrated News about what inspired her to be a writer, the inspiration behind her new book and more.
Q: What inspired you to be a writer?
A: I was pretty shy in high school and always felt like I had my nose pressed against the window of popularity. One day my ninth grade English teacher asked me to come to the front of class and read an essay I’d written. He’d never asked anyone to read their work out loud before, and I was so nervous I nearly blacked out. After all, there were some very cool kids in that class. As I read my humorous piece, chuckles bubbled up in all the right places and when the whole class erupted in laughter at the funniest part, I felt like I’d just discovered my secret superpower. I’m still a bit on the shy side, but boy do I love making people laugh with my words.
Q: What was the process behind your newest book Freaky in Fresno?
A: Freaky in Fresno is my sixth young adult novel and I love to challenge myself with each new project I start. My last book, Pretty in Punxsutawney followed Andie as she relived her first day at a new high school over and over, a’ la Groundhog Day. I wanted to do something with cousins for this book and had the main characters already set in my mind. Lana is a popular beauty guru and Ricki is a total movie nerd and the two girls couldn’t be more opposite. Once I had the inspiration to give the book a body swap, a’ la Freaky Friday, I knew it was the story I wanted to write. Both books put completely new twists on classic themes while keeping the laughs coming, just like the movies.
Q: What can readers learn from your newest book?
A: Freaky in Fresno is all about the bonds we share with members of our family and how messy that can get when we don’t communicate with one another…and sometimes when we communicate too well. It also touches on the pressure that comes with Internet fame and how keeping anxiety hidden from friends and family robs them of the opportunity to help. Recognizing how much we need the support of loved ones can be a humbling, but powerful revelation and I love that Freaky in Fresno is a light, fun read that also touches on the deeper issue of mental health in a digital age.
Q: You have ties to Floral Park. What is your favorite thing about the village?
A: The Floral Park Library rocks. My kids were little when we first moved to the village and we spent so much time there in the picture book section. The workers are so friendly and helpful, and a number of them have been there as long as we have. Another thing to love about Floral Park is the town’s proximity to the city. I do freelance work all over Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan and love the easy commutes. Also, there are so many great restaurants in town.
Q: You were also a toy expert at one point. What was that job like?
A: Being a toy expert is every bit as much fun as that sounds. My office was lined with bookshelves that were packed to overflowing with all the newest toys for my review. Plus, walking around FAO Schwartz and Toy Fair were considered “working.”
Q: Are you working on any other books currently?
A: My next project hasn’t been announced just yet, but I can say it involves another magical element from a classic ’80s movie. I just love twisting familiar tropes around in unexpected ways so they’re completely fresh and modern. And, hey, if I can make a few of the cool kids laugh along the way, I’ve fulfilled my purpose in life.