Monday, November 17, 2014

SOUTHERN NOVELS FROM AWARD WINNING AUTHOR LAUREN CLARK


Please help me welcome Lauren Clark to the blog. She is an award winning author who's agreed to share with us today.

CC: Tell us about growing up.

LC: I grew up in Akron, New York, a tiny suburb outside of Buffalo, NY. It’s a town of about 3,000 people and I attended a K-12 school. We were quite close to Canada and I spent a lot of time in Ontario when I was a child. I have two brothers, who are both now married. Each child in the family has two children, so my parents have 6 grandchildren.

I’m single and have two boys, 17 and 9. They are awesome and keep me grounded.

I was both a bookworm and a jock – Lol.  I played field hockey beginning in the 8th grade through my senior year. I also participated in soccer, swim team, softball (1 year) and cheerleading. I was also in the honor society, took as many AP courses as possible, and graduated in the top of my class.

CC:Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

LC: Right now, Sue Monk Kidd, JoJo Moyes, Chris Bohjalian, Sophie Kinsella, Emily Giffin, and Jennifer Weiner top the list. I also adore Rainbow Rowell, Veronica Roth, and Suzanne Collins. My tastes are so varied. One week it’s thrillers, the next week, sweet romance, the next dystopian.

CC: A lovely mix. Have you also read Sarah Addison Allen? What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

LC: I work full time, write, and go to graduate school these days, so anytime I’m not in front of a laptop or computer screen “doing work” I feel like it’s a little bit of an escape. That said, I do read on my iPhone, so I’m still relying on technology to “get away.”

My hobbies …. Running, wine night with girlfriends, reading. Collecting story ideas while I travel and visit friends and family.

CC: Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

LC: “Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft


“And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.”
Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing


CC: How long have you been writing?

LC: I’ve been writing in my current career (public relations, television reporter and anchor, web content manager) for almost 15 years. I’ve been writing fiction since 2009.

CC: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

LC: I prefer to write in the morning, in the solitude of my office, before everyone wakes up. I generally get up between 5 and 5:30 am, grab coffee, and write or edit for two hours. Of course, that continually makes me a few minutes late for work, but I think my boss has gotten used to the idea that he’s not dealing with a run of the mill employee. My goal is always better time management!

CC: Are you a plotter or a panzer?

LC: Definitely a plotter. I need a plan, and often write a few sentences on every chapter, mapping out the entire book before I begin writing the first word. Plotting everything, to the best of my ability, saves me time in the end. Certainly, there are times that the characters veer off and do their own thing, but I always come back to the main plan and stay relatively on course.

CC: Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

LC: I use real situations in my stories, does that count? It seems that I have all sorts of crazy things that happen to me on a daily basis (i.e. A greeter in Wal-Mart who wanted to buy my brand new iPhone. A grocery store check-out clerk who insisted that I buy Blue Bell vanilla ice cream instead of Breyers). I’ve used quite a few of those strange, but funny, incidences in Pie Girls and Dancing Naked in Dixie.

CC: Do you set daily writing goals?

LC: As far as writing goals, 2,000 words is a good day. I’m usually happy with 1,500, but it all depends on the chapter I’m working on. I love to complete a chapter in a sitting, so if it takes 1,650 words, I’m done! I try to write every day, Monday through Friday. Some weekends are too full of kids’ activities and social events, so it’s tough to squeeze in a few hours, but I try.

If I’m on deadline to revise a book, I’m very structured and methodical. I work out the number of pages to complete per day and pin the calendar to the fridge and set up reminders in Gmail.

CC: What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

LC: It’s my hope that my stories might give my readers a bit of escape from normal, every day life. I hope that they read my stories, lose themselves a little bit in the setting and characters, and laugh out loud at some of the funny situations my characters find themselves in.

CC: What long-term plans do you have for your career?

LC: I’m all about improving my skills as a writer. I’m a voracious reader of writing craft books – and adore James Scott Bell, Donald Maas, and other experts in the field. 

CC: Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

LC: In September, I landed a two-book deal with Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson. I couldn’t be more thrilled, and I have met a wonderful team of talented women who will be bringing my new suspense novel, “Center of Gravity,” to market in July 2015! Another novel will follow, and involves a sister betrayal storyline.  The books will be published under LAURA MCNEILL (my real name), as they wanted to reserve Lauren Clark for RomCom Fiction.

CC: Congratulations! What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

LC: Persevere. Don’t give up. Finish that “terrible, awful” first manuscript, even if you think it’s the worst piece of fiction you’ve ever read. There’s something completely satisfying in finishing an 80,000 word manuscript, and it teaches discipline and follow-through, which are necessary for a lengthy, successful writing career. 

CC: Share a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.

LC: I have an unrequited love affair with caramel desserts. For my birthday, my boys bought me a 7-layer caramel cake. It was divine. (And I did share with a dozen of my closest friends).

CC: Yum! I love caramel. Share something about you that would surprise or shock readers.

Surprise or shock?  Hmmm.  I have a tendency to lose things. My keys. My car in a gigantic parking lot. Today, it’s my wallet. Sigh. I need to invent an invisible tether to all things important to functioning as a person.

CC: Is your book a series?

LC: Nope. Not this one.

CC: Can you give readers a blurb about your book PIE GIRLS?

Princess, Southern belle, and spoiled-rotten social climber Searcy Roberts swore on a stack of Bibles she’d never return home to Fairhope, Alabama. After marrying her high school sweetheart and moving to Atlanta, Searcy embraces big-city life—Carrie Bradshaw style.

But now, Searcy has a teeny, tiny problem. Her husband’s had a mid-life crisis. He’s quit his job, cancelled her credit cards, and left her for another man.

Searcy returns to Fairhope, ready to lick her wounds. But when her mother falls ill, she’s is thrust into managing the family business—only to discover the beloved bakery is in danger of closing its doors forever.

Enlisting the help of the adorable bike store owner next door, an array of well-heeled customers, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Searcy hatches the plan of the century to save Pie Girls.


CC: How about an excerpt:

Thirty minutes later, I am decked from head to toe in the finest lingerie Saks Fifth Avenue has to offer. Wrapped in a lovely camel Armani overcoat, belted securely, I smooth the deep red cashmere scarf against my neck.

The sensation of wearing barely anything gives me a heady rush of power. The garter belt, slung low around my hips, allows a satisfying tug when I take a step. Silken stockings caress my legs, and Lucinda opted for a buttery-soft pair of black thigh-high boots to finish the outfit.

After smoothing and coaxing my hair into submission, Lucinda talks me into some lotion, and then a dusting of sparkly powder to highlight my d├ęcolletage. She wields a huge brush and swishes the iridescent flecks onto my skin with expert precision. The result is amazing.

“Perfect.” I blink at my reflection. My skin appears softer and luminous, almost flawless. The glow makes my eyes seem brighter, even in department store lighting.

“You look fabulous,” my personal shopper agrees. She steps back to survey her work and gives me a satisfied nod. “He won’t be able to help himself once he sees what’s under that overcoat.”

Lucinda squeezes my hand. “Good luck with everything. I think Alton will come to his senses.” She pauses and frowns. “He’d better.”

As for Pamela Pryor, she’d better watch out.

This is war. No price is too high.

I am going to win my husband back.

Where can readers find your books? (buy link)

 Kindle: http://amzn.to/X8rCq1
Nook: http://bit.ly/1pHBVuo
iBooks:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/pie-girls/id906182442?mt=11

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Thank you to the lovely readers who’ve championed my books, suggested them to friends, and gifted them to loved ones. I offer my sincere appreciation.


About Lauren Clark:
                                            
Lauren Clark writes contemporary Southern novels sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets. A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends.

She is the author of four award-winning novels, Dancing Naked in Dixie, Stay Tuned, Stardust Summer, and Pie Girls, as well as a short story, A Very Dixie Christmas, published in the Merry & Bright holiday collection. Lauren is a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association and the Mobile Writers Guild. Check out her website at www.laurenclarkbooks.com.

Website – http://www.laurenclarkbooks.com
Blog – http://www.laurenclarkbooks.com/blog
 Twitter - @LaurenClark_Bks
 Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lauren-Clark/235315706518284
 Pinterest - http://www.pinterest.com/laurenclarkbks/



5 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today

Rita said...

Great interview, I enjoyed reading it.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Lauren, thanks for sharing with readers. Best wishes for the future.

Lauren Clark said...

Caroline ~ Thank you for the opportunity to be featured on "A Writer's Life."

I really enjoyed the interview questions and appreciate the opportunity to tell your readers about PIE GIRLS <3

Lauren

Lauren Clark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.