Laura’s debut novel, Alice Bliss, tells the story of a teenage girl whose beloved father is deployed to Iraq. It was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, earned a **** review from People magazine, was named one of the “Best Reads of the Summer” by Entertainment Weekly and one of the “Best Books of the Year” by School Library Journal.
While this was Laura’s first book, she’d spent twenty-five years writing for the theater. Her experience working with composers, directors and set designers meant she was a great collaborator. When we began, Laura told us there were two things she absolutely wanted on the site — a specific color of blue and an interesting typeface for the text. That done, we moved onto what would become the biggest challenge — the homepage. After much discussion and exchange of ideas, we all agreed that a single photograph was the best choice. But what photograph? Weeks went by as all three of us searched for the perfect photo. Nothing. Then Laura emailed us the photograph of a girl sitting atop a garden shed ……. it was Alice.
There have been several additions to the website since its launch. When Alice Bliss — a novel written for adult readers — began to be adopted by middle and high school teachers, a whole new section was added to the site that included a Teacher Resource Guide and a Sample Syllabus and Writing Assignment. The Book Club page was very straightforward when the site launched, but has since been greatly expanded by Laura herself.
Laura teaches playwriting at MIT, so we always joke with her that if she’s having technical problems with her site, all she needs to do is open her office door and grab the first student who walks by.