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Jeri’s Book Attic, Author
Interview 
– Lauren Smith –

 

 
1)      What is the first book you read that
comes to mind? Why is it so important to you?
 
a.      
Cat’s
Cake by Richard Fowler. It’s one of the first books my mother read to me as a
child that I really remember being read to. What resonated most with me about
the story was that this Chef Cat is baking a cake and a whole cast of
characters sneak in to his kitchen to add ingredients they would want into the
cake. At the end of the book the cake tastes rather terrible. What I learned
from the story is how secondary characters and their desires can affect the
path of a story. Even as a young child, I was learning and focusing on what
good stories have. In the case of Cat’s Cake, it’s secondary characters.
 
2)      How much of you and/or your
surroundings is a part of your stories? Is the influence based on a conscious
decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself in one of your characters
and it wasn’t planned?
 
a.      
My
stories are mostly fantasy in that the events and people in the stories are
entirely from my imagination. Some people write what they know, even personally
into a story, but I really prefer to explore new characters and new
surroundings. I love the challenge of trying to write about places I’ve never
lived and men and women that aren’t like anyone I know. However, I sometimes
put a trait or two, or a small detail here and there into a character or story
when it fits. An example would be in my story The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall,
the hero tells the heroine how he learned to dance and it was how my dad told
me he was taught to dance.
 
3)      What genre is the most intimidating
when you think about writing in it? Explain why!
 
a.      
If
we’re talking about the Romance Genre, I think the subgenre that most
intimidates me is historical romance set in the highlands. I specialize in
writing Regency set romances, but anything consider “highlander” romances with
men in kilts and running around with swords is incredibly intimidating. I would
love to write a story like this, but the research to get the story right would
take a lot of time to do and given my day job as an attorney, I can’t afford
the time to research it. 
 
4)      In your opinion, what is the most
important feature a book needs to have?
 
a.      
Character.
I mean this in two related ways. A book itself should have character in that
the book should make you remember it, like a good movie, or a song. You can’t
get it out of your head. And one of the best ways a book can do this is to have
strong characters like the hero and heroine. A writer should make their
characters strong, loveable, human and compelling. If a book has those type of
characters, then that is a book which will capture a reader’s heart. 
 
5)      What is the most difficult part of
writing a book, (including the preparations and after-publication-process)?
 
a.      
The
most difficult part is probably editing. You’re mentally sort of done with the
book and you want to move onto to the next project but you can’t. You have to
be willing to work on the book all over and change anything that your editor
says you need to.
 
6)      If you had the chance to influence
the questions people ask you in interviews, what question is the most annoying
and you would love to never hear again? What question would you really like to
answer that you have not been asked yet, and what is your answer to that
question?
 
a.      
I
think the most irritating question is probably ‘Where did you get the idea for
this book?’ I tend to write and I don’t always know where the story comes from,
it just hits me. I think that’s probably more annoying to answer because I
don’t have an answer and it doesn’t really tell the audience anything about the
book when I have no ready answer. I think a question I would love to answer
that no one really asks me is “What is your favorite part of the story? Or What
were you trying to show through your characters?” I love to talk about what I
am thinking as I write and what I’m trying to accomplish. In the case of my
book The Gilded Cage, I really sought to focus on two characters, Fenn and
Hayden who are both a reverse fish out of the water and a fish out of the water
story line. Fenn, an heir to a fortune and a Long Island high society family he
didn’t grow up with and doesn’t remember due to a childhood trauma and injury
is now a poor bullrider in Colorado, and Hayden who grew up in luxury on Long
Island in Fenn’s childhood world of opulence and decadence. There was a lot of
wonderful character development I was able to play with while writing these two
seemingly different characters who weren’t actually that different come
together.
 
7)      Name three characteristics of your
writing style that are important yet different from other authors. 
 
a.      
I
write in almost all different subgenres of romance: Contemporary, historical,
modern gothic, and paranormal, yet my writing style doesn’t differ all that
much. Many writers when they change subgenres, their style changes too much and
they lose readers.
 
b.     
My
style also tends to be a little more haunting, lyrical and literary than other
romances in some ways because I never read romances when I was growing up. My writing
influences were very literary and I read a lot of gothic romances and high
fantasy novels. 
 
c.      
I
also love teasing the readers with hints of fairy tale connections or
metaphors. I am obsessed with fairy tales and can’t help but write them into my
stories, even in small ways.
 
8)      What do you want tell your readers
at the end of this interview? 
 
a.      
I
hope that readers will check out The Gilded Cage, it’s not your average erotic
romance. It’s a powerful story about family, dreams, and real love about two
people and the friends that help them come together. It’s not just a love
story, it’s an emotional and exciting adventure story too.

Merken