Lawrence Tabak: Author of "In Real Life"

Save 50% on graphic novels, statues & more!
Lawrence Tabak is the author of the soon to be released Young Adult book "In Real Life". He was born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa and has since lived on both coasts before settling down not far from his roots in Madison, Wisconsin. He attended Northwestern University for two years before transferring to the University of Iowa to focus on writing. Lawrence graduated with degrees in English and General Science and while hanging around Iowa City picked up an MA in English.

After reading "In Real Life" I was very excited to have read such a well written and just amazing book. The story and the characters were just superb. I'm not really into Young Adult fiction, but this a book that I would highly recommend because it doesn't talk down to the reader, it is relatable on many levels, and is a great ride from start to finish. I had the pleasure of being able to interview the author, Lawrence Tabak, and was able to gain some insight into what went into the making of this story.

  • Was writing something you've always dreamed of doing or was it something you fell into?

While always an avid reader I don’t remember spending any time at all as a child dreaming of becoming a writer. I had wonderful teachers who were encouraging, starting in high school and then in college, when I started writing more seriously. I began writing and selling nonfiction while still in college and even though I had sold a couple of short stories, stayed with that focus for many years. Over the years I've published hundreds of magazine features and essays, including stories in the in-flight magazines for American and United, Fast Company, and The Atlantic Monthly. Only when my own kids were teenagers did I return to writing fiction.

  • What is your background as far as gaming goes?

What did the sort of kids who are attracted to computer gaming do before computers? We played board games. We were particularly enamored with the strategy games from Avalon Hill, like D-Day, which had many of the same elements of today’s computer strategy games. Since my kids were fascinated by computer games as soon as they became available, I joined their experience, playing games like Lemmings and Simant with them. As they graduated into the more complex modern games, I became more of a spectator than participant.

  • Was the majority of the pro gaming experience mainly from what your sons went through or did you seek out other sources as well?

With serious gamers right in my house I didn't have to go far to get a sense of the scene. However, my background in nonfiction and feature writing made it a natural to do as much research as possible. As part of this process I had some extensive interviews with some older, more advanced gamers.

  • At what ages did your sons go pro?

My older son Josh is the one with professional gaming experience. He really ramped up his gaming in his senior year of college. He was only one course short of graduation in his second semester and found time to rise to top of the Heroes of Newerth competitive scene. That resulted in an invitation to join the SKgaming HON team.

  • What were some of the challenges/obstacles you had as a parent of pro gamers?

While it wasn't so much the pro side of the gaming that was an issue, I think seeking balance is an issue for many kids with obsessive interests or pursuits, whether it be gymnastics or chess or anime. As a writer I was very much concerned that my two boys find time to learn to enjoy the deep pleasures of reading. My wife and I are also very active physically and wanted the boys to have a similar outlet. Both were competitive tennis players who played high school varsity.

  • Did you travel a lot with your sons or were they like Seth mainly on their own?

Both of my sons were very much involved in Magic the Gathering and we've taken them to tournaments all over the country. At the time Magic had a national junior championship with a highly competitive qualifying structure. We ended up traveling to the national championships in Orlando, San Diego and Kansas City. Since then we've arranged at least one family reunion around a Magic Pro Tour event, where both of my sons participated. So we've been supportive of their interests and pursuits.

  • How much traveling outside the U.S. have you done? Where?

I’m not much of a world traveler although I’ve done a tour of Israel and have made a more visit to London and Paris.

  • Did you face similar language barrier issues as Seth did?

As someone with a low threshold for embarrassment, my sputtering French was a constant source of chagrin in the time we spend in Paris. People kept saying that the French appreciated the effort, but I’m not sure appreciate is the right word.

  • Did your childhood resemble Seth's in any way?

Not in the specifics, but in the universal struggle between the powerful urge to fit in and equally powerful need to believe in our own exceptionalism.

  • How did you come up with Hannah's character?

It’s commonplace to note that girls typically mature faster than boys physically. It’s also my experience that they often do so emotionally and intellectually as well. Hannah is way ahead of Seth in many ways, yet they are clearly kindred spirits.

  • The romance between Seth and Hannah felt more like memory than a work of fiction. Did you have similar romances yourself?

Not in specifics, but certainly in spirit.

  • Any plans for another book or a continuation of this book?

I've been actively writing other books before and since the completion of In Real Life, although there is nothing currently in the publishing queue. No current plans to continue this story, although it is conceivable.

  • If you had the option of turning this book into a TV series or a movie which would you prefer?

Do you have any contacts in Hollywood? I’m all for either.

Be sure to check out the book which is available through Amazon or your local book retailer.

   Playasia - Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more