I have met so many new writers both online and in the flesh this week, I love it! Today I have romance writer, Laurie Larsen joining me from across the pond, so please give her a fabulous UK welcome!
1) What is your writing routine?
I’m one of those writers with a day job, in fact a very demanding day job, and oh yeah, I have two kids too. So my writing routine is loose and flexible. However, I have found that when I’m motivated and determined to write, I find the time … somehow. Generally I commit to writing three pages a day (about 750 words). If I do that every day, I can complete a first draft in six months or so. That allows me to go back and revise, and even with down time in the middle, I can still complete a book a year.
2) Which author/s inspire you to write?
My favorite author of all time is Pat Conroy, the best-selling southern author of The Great Santini, Lords of Discipline and Prince of Tides, among others. I don’t know why, but his writing speaks to me, moves me. In fact, as I’m doing this interview, his book, My Losing Season sits on my bed stand, a place marker about 120 pages in. I believe this is my third time through it. Although I’ve never met him, he’s graced me with several email responses when I’ve gotten the courage up to write him. That’s what generous writers do for each other. His books and personal emails uplift me and keep me writing. In my own small way, I make an effort to do that for other writers as well.
3) Which is your favorite romance subgenre to read? To write?
I think I love straight contemporary romance the most. I occasionally enjoy a suspense or a mystery to solve, but I connect best with everyday life, with just a touch of worse-case scenario. It’s what I enjoy reading, as well as writing.
4) How do you deal with criticism/rejection?
I try to be mature and professional and not get offended by negative criticism. But let’s face it, no matter how long we’ve been doing this, there’s a little bit of “don’t call my baby ugly” in all of us! The best way to handle either criticism or rejection is to force yourself to step away from the piece. Put some time and distance between the writing of it and the critique, so that it isn’t so fresh. Then, consider the feedback objectively. Be determined that it will help you, not hurt you. Consider the source – if it’s someone you trust or respect, then you know you can receive it as an attempt to improve the piece, make it better. Then determine if you agree with it. If you don’t, then leave it. If you do, then make the changes and move on. The worst thing a rejection can do is make you question your talent or your ability to work in this business. Keep writing.
5) What do you expect from an editor?
The best editor/author partnership is when the editor loves the manuscript as much as the author does! Or at least, likes it a lot. If I’m lucky enough to get an editor who admires the manuscript, I expect him/her to work with me to make it even better. Their feedback may require edits or even rewrites. I also expect her to consider my input when I have a different idea than hers. I expect to treat her as a professional, and I expect her to treat me like one, unless I give her some reason to doubt my professionalism. As a team, we’ll make this the best book it can be!
6) Tell me about your latest release
I’d love to! My latest book is Inner Diva, a contemporary romance featuring quiet, reserved Monica, a theater manager who dreams of being in the spotlight, and Carlos, a handsome Hispanic man who’s trying to put his priorities in order after a past of violence and lost love. Carlos’ little sister Luisa brings the two of them together when Monica becomes her mentor through the Big Sisters organization, much to Carlos’ disapproval. No one in their right mind would put these two “opposites” together, but love doesn’t always strike when it makes sense. As their love grows, only they can help each other realize their dreams.
7) Tease us with a blurb or short excerpt
Monica lurched forward and bumped her shoulder into his chest. He caught her, pulling her close. “What the…?” Then he saw it – a kid missed the Frisbee thrown at him, and it had sailed into Monica’s back, knocking her off balance.
“Sorry!” The kid trotted up, grabbed the plastic disc and raced off with it.
Leaving the two of them planted on the top of the picnic table, him holding
onto her like there was no tomorrow, and her looking up expectantly, her lips
less than an inch from his. He really should release her. But when
God, or whoever else was looking out for him, handed him an opportunity like
this, he wasn’t about to let it pass without …
He lowered his head and brushed his lips gently over hers. He pulled back just enough to catch her startled gaze and then covered her mouth firmly with his. He had no idea how she’d react and frankly, at this moment he didn’t care. He’d been thinking about this woman non-stop, and he needed to get her out of his mind. Maybe if he made a move on her and she slapped him or pushed him away, it would give him the impetus to walk away and not look back. Emboldened, he deepened the kiss, twisting his neck to get a better angle on her lips and closed his eyes so he could concentrate on the feel of his lips on hers – the full, gorgeous lips he’d been dreaming about all week.
But if he was expecting resistance, it didn’t come. Monica returned the kiss, seemed to have no intentions of stopping it. He cupped her cheek with his hand and let his fingers trail over her satin-soft face.
As a reward, he heard a faint moan come from deep in her throat. The warmth their joined lips generated seared through him, heating them in the midst of the brisk evening air. She surprised him with her response – she wasn’t modest or shy. She gripped his shirt with her gloved fingers, pulling him closer. Still conjoined, she ripped off a glove and returned her bare
fingers to the spot where his shirt collar exposed his neck.
He shivered at the skin-on-skin contact and broke his hold on her lips just long enough to place a kiss on her cheek and her eyelid before returning to the sweet heat of her mouth. She caressed his neck, her fingers moving softly over his skin in small circles and a shot of heated desire plummeted directly to his groin. He shuddered at the intensity of it and she pushed his collar
away and moved her hand further into his shirt to caress his collarbone.
Now it was his turn to groan and the sound seemed to encourage her to make the kiss deeper, reaching for more contact, more warmth, more heat. He was not a stranger to kissing, but this was no ordinary kiss. And no ordinary woman.
Suddenly, she gasped and pulled away. She scooted back, her breath coming in ragged pants. She lifted her hand – those same fingers that had driven him crazy with their meanderings – and pushed the hair out of her face. “I’m sorry,” she murmured. “I don’t know …”
He shook his head. “I’m not. I’m not sorry at all.”
She stood, her hands holding her head as if to ward off a headache. “I can’t believe I … I didn’t mean …”
He jumped off the table and put his hands on her shoulders. “Don’t worry. I started it.”
She looked away, avoiding his eyes. Luisa ran up, ready to leave. Monica turned her back to him, put her arm on Luisa’s shoulder and walked a few steps away.
So much for getting her out of his mind. No, now she was branded there.
8) Which is your favorite character in the book? Why?
I have to admit I have a crush on Carlos. I wrote this book when Mario Lopez was competing in Dancing With the Stars. He was hot in those tight costumes and the healthy sheen from working up a sweat. Mario is who I visualized as I created Carlos. And I’m really happy with the picture of Carlos on the book cover – yum!
9) What are you working on right now?
I’m switching gears away from contemporary romance, and I’m working on an inspirational women’s fiction. The heroine is a middle-aged teacher whose husband serves her divorce papers on the same day her daughter calls with the great news that she’s been accepted for a summer internship in Paris! Her whole life is falling apart, and how on earth will she get through her endless, lonely summer? She decides to take a road trip and see where inspiration leads her. Little does she know, despite feeling useless and unneeded, this summer turns into one of the best of her life because God uses her unique skills and talents to help others and make a difference in their lives.
10) Your biggest piece of advice to aspiring novelists?
Do what you do, and don’t let the craziness of this business get you down. Write because you love to write. Follow your dream and enjoy every second.
11) Where can readers find you?
Best place to get me is at my website: www.authorlaurielarsen.com
Thanks for having me today!!
Great excerpt, Laurie! I have to say I have complete cover envy - it is beautiful! Who was the artist? I love giving a shout-out to the many talented artists who work on our books. Okay, over to you guys for questions and comments...