Cycler Interview

Early last year, I got to read the unfinished manuscript of a book called Cycler, by Lauren McLaughlin. It was about a girl named Jill who has a problem: she changes into a boy four days a month.

Obviously, this isn’t the best way to go through puberty, what with all the identity issues and stuff. So with the help of her parents, she’s managed to keep her transformations hidden. In fact, she’s repressed her memories of being a boy to the point where her male self, Jack, has developed his own personality–and he’s very much a boy.

A boy who’s getting really tired of being hidden . . .

Needless to say, the book was really awesome, and I wound up blurbing it:

Artfully fractured and wickedly smart. A brilliant screwball comedy about love, self knowledge, and the secret identities inside all of us.

The book has taken a while to come out, as first novels do, and in the meantime I’ve become pals with Lauren and her husband Andrew. So now that Cycler is on shelves, I thought I would convene with her and do a quick IM interview.

Here’s our conversation, unedited and in its original IM-y format! (Argh, so many typos.) I’m on the right side and Lauren, for reasons that will soon be revealed, is the cat.

By the way, Lauren’s husband (Andrew, mentioned above) is a fashion photographer, and he did the photo for the cover:

You can buy Cycler at Powell’s, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon. Or at many fine real-life bookstores across the land!

If you have any questions of your own for Lauren, feel free to ask them in the comments, and I’ll see if she’ll answer them.

All best to everyone going back to school!

112 thoughts on “Cycler Interview

  1. Sounds fun. Actually similar to Ranma 1/2. Have you ever read it? It was a manga series that was popular in the 90s. It was a boy who changed into a girl when splashed with water.

  2. Hi Audrey-Sensei. That’s a brilliant idea. If you have any pull with old Westerfeld, why don’t you put in a good word for me. I’ve already written the screenplay for Cycler. Uglies would be a most excellent gig.

    Andrea-la, “swimtastical?” What fabtastic word.

    Kenzie-la, you’re not alone in suspecting that this book is about bicycles. But I did choose the title because the main character’s condition is a result of an atypical cycle. Plus, I like one word titles. They’re easy to remember.

    Hi Miranda, I was what they call a “gun-for-hire” in the film industry. I was hired to write, adapt, and/or rewrite movies for other people. Sometimes this meant doing nothing more than writing silly jokes for a ski comedy, but at times it meant taking the basic premise of a book or another screenplay and writing something brand new. The movies I had the biggest part in writing were Hypercube, Prisoner of Love, and Specimen. I was also a producer on the films Buffalo ’66 and American Psycho.

    Hi Grace. I have only belatedly been made aware of Ranma 1/2 as well as a whole host of other books about gender-switching. I am currently amassing a list of such books to read and Ranma 1/2 is at the top. It comes highly recommended.

  3. WONDERFUL interview and AWESOME sounding book. Can’t wait to read it. Scott and Lauren, thanks for posting the IM and answering questions.

    This thread has me totally jazzed about books and writing.

  4. Sound like a good book. ANyways I was so shocked to read about it because… well my cousin Aaron Mclaughlin just got married in July to a Lauren. So, now she is Lauren Mclaughlin. Oh, adn they love cats. Is there some connection? Or is that just really weird. Oh, and my question is are their names Jack and Jill because of the nursery rhyme or just because.

  5. Hi Shaylaluna. I think it’s a very strange coincidence. I will consider her my doppeldanger from now on. I hope she behaves! Jack is the one who named himself. In the beginning, before the cycling began, the protagonist was just an ordinary girl named Jill. But when the boy splintered off into a separate persona, he decided to name himself Jack. I liked the symmetry of those names as well as the reference to those two kids who went up a hill for some water and had a disastrous wipe out. It seemed appropriate to the story.

  6. Cha, that looks like an awesomelicious book! *Runs out and buys* Can’t wait to start reading it! ^^

    Non-related, but still pertinent question:

    Did anyone else notice how the Twilight peoples turned Victoria-James-Laurent into a MBWF?! Seriously! P’sha… That is not right… XD

  7. My sis told me about Cycler and your review and I was, like “Omigosh! Why hasn’t he posted about it yet!” I spoke too soon, I guess. But whatevs. And, holy, I just found out that this picture I submitted b/c my friend made me actually made it on corpus! I almost cried (although I basically cry about everything, but still). My picture sucks! Hehe!

  8. I read that whole interview! The book definitely sounds original and creative, and I’m very excited to see if it’s at the library for me to borrow.

    At first it reminded me of this manga I read once, “Instant Teen: Just Add Nuts”, but I’m not sure why since that was about a…ten year old girl, I believe, who turns seventeen whenever she eats some nuts that a professor gave her. And she has this whole other secret identity…

    Anyway, the book sounds awesome, I want to read it now!

  9. Audrey-Sensei
    I actually love both “Heroes” and “A Beautiful Mind” Both are amazing! Yes I understand that haveing two different sides is different then what happes to Nikki in Heroes or Russel Crowe’s character in A Beautiful mind. I kind of worded that post weirdly sry about that. But yeah all really cool things!

  10. oooo
    THANK YOU for this interview! I was recently looking at the YA section at borders, and I was really disappointed. It seems like YA books have been changing, and I’m not sure if I like that. Maybe it’s just the covers that bug me… either way, I am SO going to pick this book up!

  11. Omg, yes Lauren! I will use my all-powerful influence over Scott(/John Davis?) to put you on this project.

    (ha! i wish. i guess i’ll just hope he reads this and someone takes it into consideration)

    Because I’ll totally make the Top 100 😉

  12. HEY SCOTT!! So i was so bored that i went right out and bought Cycler. And boy was i pissed! How could they treat Jack like that?! He’s human you can’t lock him away in a cage! I hated how the mother seemed to side so much with Jill, personally i happen to agree with Jack on most everything, and i’m a girl!! I know if i were in that situation i would want to make peace with Jack and let him live his life for the four days he has it! It’s all the poor kid gets, so give him a break already will yah! Anywho i’m ecstatic about the idea of a sequel and a Movie?!! I say HELL YES!! That would be wicked awesome!! So just wanted to thank you for the GREAT recommendation and tell you YOU’RE THE BEST!! Also give lauren a heads up that personally i couldn’t stand Jill or her mother, I much prefer Jack in all his unglorified ways, and he seemed spot on for a guy. Completely realistic. And i must say i think i know guys pretty well. Oh by the way who are you voting for? Personally i don’t like anyone we’ve got up. I don’t think any of them are right for our presidency. Also I have a feeling you’re just like Jack. Which is totally cool since he was like the best character in the whole book.

  13. just click on her name (everyone in blue has a link to their website).

    Oh no, Kiran-la! you brought up politics!!!!! *evil music plays in background* not smart… all i have to say, is this will be one interesting election…

    Because I’ll totally make the Top 100 😉

  14. i have to get up EARLY for school…like, six fifteen. the only connection i had to that early world was my little sibbies, who can get up at like, five thirty and be HAPPY. creepy huh?
    and fallen: hehe. but the truth is, i get outta school later than you do. so you’ll be rubbing that into my face later on. sigh.

  15. I have to get up at 6.30am Mon-Fri for school. We are expected to reach school by 7.25am for the assembly which involves singing the national anthem and saying the pledge.

    The book sounds cool! I think I will look out for it’s release. =D Maybe I will buy it or borrow it from the local library. Haha~

    I had never used that software which Mr Westerfeld used…it doesn’t look familiar to me. It’s MSN for me.

    ~\(=^0^=)/ ~

  16. Hi Liset. I’m curious as to what you find changing in the YA section. I’m new to the field myself so I’d love your take on this.

    Kiran, you are a defender of justice and should embrace this aspect of yourself. I think it’s fantastic that you empathized so deeply with Jack. (So did I, by the way). In some ways, I think Jill’s unjust behavior represents the casual cruelty it’s so easy to resort to in one’s quest for acceptance and conformity. Although I can sympathize with her plight as well. I love when readers feel something deeply. Thanks for letting me know!

  17. geez, i want to go to Walden’s and check this book out! and if they don’t have it there, then it’s B&N! I read the review on Jill’s mom gives Jack porn?! creepy! and weird. >.> yeah, i want to check out this book, i can’t wait till next week when we go! XO

  18. Guy you guys are lucky! I have to get up at 5:30 monday-friday!
    Can’t wait till I get paid and get the book!

  19. dude! i’m so mad! i went to barnes and noble to buy cycler and guess what? it’s out of stock. of course, thanks guys… borders is all the way across town, there’s no way i’ll have time to go there.

    stupid people.

    Because I’ll totally make the Top 100 😉

  20. Hi there Audrey-Sensei…

    I could sort of understand your feeling.

    Well, I had tried to find the UGLIES Boxed Set in Borders but they said that they don’t have it and they are not sure if they are going to order it anytime soon…’s been almost a year after it’s release and they are not going to order it?! O.o

    And Borders store I had been to is the biggest store in my country….

    Kinokuniya has it but…if I buy it at Borders, I could use my brother’s gift card to get it. That way, I don’t have to spend a single cent! =P

    P.S [Fallen] My brother has to get up at 5.30am for school too! Thank goodness I don’t have to wake up so early in the morning!

    +-+miko kagome+-+

  21. I actually understand what Liset means. All the YA books in the stores are pretty much about braty rich popular girls with a lot of drama. Its almost impossible to find a good book now with a good story. The YA section of the stores make me mad, so i’m happy I picked up the uglies that one day. And my entire AP english class is reading cycler for a book report this month. We read So Yesterday last year.

  22. That sounds like an awesome book…i should go get it once i’m done with the last of the tales of the Otori….

  23. Hi Miranda. Thanks for your feedback on the YA section. Very interesting. I’d love to know what your AP English class has to say about Cycler. I hope it inspires some interesting discussion. Let your teacher and fellow students know I’d love to hear their thoughts and I’d be happy to answer their questions.

  24. Also as a general note to anyone looking for Cycler in bookstores, as of now you won’t find it on the shelves in Barnes and Noble although you can order it from them. Barnes and Noble has decided it’s too controversial for them. It is available at Borders and most other bookstores.

  25. Read interview…..good grammar ^.^
    anyway sounds like a great book! imma go buy it! 😀
    btw lauren, wats it like knoing scott personally? and how do you ever manage to finish a novel? i tried to start one i have about nine pages from about 5 years of work b/c every time i go back to look at it again….it sucks…xP

  26. Hi John-boiii. I’m not sure how to describe what it’s like knowing Scott personally, but if you were to combine Christmas, wikipedia, and an excellent road trip, you’d be getting close.

    I think the secret to finishing a novel is obsession.

  27. woow, i think that that book sounds really good, i was laughing at some parts, but i liked it a lot. Cycler is now on my book’s to read list.

  28. Hey Lauren, my AP English class so far likes the book. Of course the most annoying boy in my class only looks at the cover. They all think it is really interesting and are happy that I picked the book again. I was wondering if you have or are going to have your own website so we don’t have to keep using scotts. I feel bad. Scott rocks!

  29. Love the interview, although before reading it I wasn’t sure use of such propper grammer on IM existed, lol. It sounds like a really good book, tacking it on to my mental book-list. Sucks that my English requirements get in the way of my book-list, and because this is fantasy, and I’m using that for Twilight (I always read a book before movie!), not sure if I can. Well, it might be sci-fi…wait, wouldn’t be much better, I’m saving that for Bogus to Bubby! Drat. I’ll probably just read it on the sly and not tell my teacher or log it or whatever. Besides, not only do we need our teachers permission to read a book, but we have to bring it to school everyday. I personally love the abstract view which the cover brings to the situation, but I’m not sure I’d love to walk around class with it, lol. I can’t believe Barns and Nobles called it too controversial. How many books on politics, or global warming, or the Holocaust are sold there? They even had a Gary Soto book there (WORST book I was ever forced to read)!And yet they ban a YA novel. Oh well, I prefer Borders, any way.

  30. Hi PrettyxMindedxRusty. You need your teacher’s permission to read a book? Even at home? Am I missing part of the story here? Just curious.

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