Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lauren Roedy Vaughn

Lauren Roedy Vaughn is an award-winning educator who has spent twenty years teaching English to high school students with language-based learning disabilities. Vaughn lives with her husband in Los Angeles, where she is an avid yogini and Big Lebowski nut.

Her new, debut novel is OCD, The Dude, and Me. From Vaughn's Q & A with Briana at Pages Unbound:

How has teaching high school English influenced your approach to writing a young adult novel?

For better or for worse, I’ve never left school. Once I was finished being a student, I became a teacher, so the world of school is part of my external and internal life, and it inspires my writing life. When I was a student, I was one of those weird people that loved to write essays; I loved the challenge of it and the process of writing multiple drafts until it felt complete. No surprise I became an English teacher. For twenty years, I’ve taught students who struggle in school. I love this diverse student population. They are original, brave, and misunderstood. Their needs are often subtle but significant because their emotional lives are involved. Young people spend the bulk of their time in school, so when they have school issues, that can damage their entire sense of self. (Imagine something you aren’t good at. Now imagine your whole life centered around that daunting activity. Alas. You’d need large doses of tenacity and courage to keep going.) When students are dealing with learning disabilities, they do not wear their struggles on the outside—they are not obviously “disabled.” Lots and lots of students have learning issues, many not identified, and they benefit from individual attention to get the most out of school. I think every student could benefit from more individualized care while in school, but that is a long and different conversation. Many learning disabled students possess extraordinary creativity and other gifts that need nurturing. Throughout my career, I saw how the simple act of caring about students, paying attention to them, made a difference. I am interested in my students, in all their quirks and all their struggles; that interest shows up in my writing. Teaching English also taught me to be patient with the writing process, as it applied to my students and to me. Not everyone enjoys writing; many of my students became very anxious each time a paper was assigned. I learned to be very respectful of the difficult but beautiful act of writing. Anyone who writes (from a student to a novelist) is...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Lauren Roedy Vaughn's website.

Writers Read: Lauren Roedy Vaughn.

The Page 69 Test: OCD, The Dude, and Me.

My Book, The Movie: OCD, the Dude, and Me.

--Marshal Zeringue