We welcome today Lauren Baratz-Logsted to talk with us about her writing career and her latest young adult release, Little Women and Me.
Hello, Lauren! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?
Lauren: I'd been an independent bookseller for 11 years in 1994 when I decided to quit my day job to take a chance on myself as a writer. It took me nearly eight more years - during which I wrote seven books, went through three agents, and held down as many as four part-time jobs at once - before, on my own, I sold the sixth book I'd written to Red Dress Ink. That book was THE THIN PINK LINE, a dark comedy about a crazy Londoner who fakes an entire pregnancy. It was published in 10 countries, received a starred Kirkus review - the first at that time for any book from any Harlequin imprint - and was optioned for a film.
How exciting! Now, readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.
Lauren: In the years I was trying to get published, I used to get up and start writing between 2:30 and 4:30 in the morning. Now my schedule is more civilized. I start working when my daughter gets on the bus at 7 in the morning and work pretty much straight through until she comes home at 4.'
Please tell us about your novel, LITTLE WOMEN AND ME, and what we can expect from your characters.
Lauren: It's about a 14-year-old contemporary teen named Emily March who gets sucked into the classic Louisa May Alcott novel. Once there, she discovers that the rest of the characters treat her as if she's been there all along - she becomes a fifth March sister - and she also realizes that if she ever wants to get back out again, she's going to have to change something pretty major about the book. The original characters from the Alcott book should be familiar to readers of Little Women although now they're seen through the prism of Emily's vision. As for Emily herself, well, she can be a little bit annoying! She starts out self-absorbed and boy-obsessed. But that's one of the fun things about writing fiction: creating difficult characters and watching them change and grow.
What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Lauren: The eighth book in THE SISTERS EIGHT series for young readers that I created with my husband and daughter recently came out, and next year the ninth and final book will be released.
Outside of that, I'm doing an adult ebook, THE BROMAGNET, about a 33-year-old man who's the ultimate man's man. He's also been best man at eight weddings but never the groom and what he really wants is true love. So when he meets a woman he thinks might be the one, he hides his usual sports-loving, beer-loving tendencies in the hopes of winning her heart.
Would you like to close with a writing tip?
Lauren: It's in every writer's best interest to adopt The Five-Minute Rule. What's that, you ask? It's the rule that states that no matter what happens - rejection, of which there can be a lot in a writer's life; poor reviews; rave reviews; you name it - you take five minutes to feel whatever you feel...and then you get back to work. It's the only way to keep focused on the most important thing - the writing - in what is always going to be a roller-coaster life if you've chosen to be a writer. Of course, if the good news is that you've sold a book, I'll let you take more than five minutes to celebrate.
That's great advice, Lauren, thank you!
So for our readers! Lauren has kindly offered to send a signed copy of LITTLE WOMEN AND ME to a commenter who lives inside the U.S. The winner will be chosen on Monday, November 28th and announced here. In order to be entered, simply leave us a comment telling us the name of any character in Louisa May Alcott's book, Little Women. (Hint: the March sisters are Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy) . Best of luck to all, and thanks again to Lauren for joining us!
--UPDATE--I am extending this contest to Tuesday, November 29th, so there's still time to enter!