Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Interview & Giveaway: Author Lauren Hunter

Yep, Week 6 of our AUTHOR OF THE WEEK Feature is well and truly underway. Crazy I know!
We hope you've already had chance to check out our review of Lauren's The Coffee Shop; it really is a very enjoyable and different paranormal read.

What we have now, which is one of my favourite parts, is our author interview with a rafflecopter giveaway just after! I love author interviews, as it really helps to give an insight into their world, their inspiration. It really is a fascinating place!

So please, enjoy getting to know Lauren that little bit better. Enjoy.
1.     Tell us a bit about yourself.

Okay, ‘a bit about yourself.’ ; )
 Not much to tell really, other than I am working to get my writing published. My novels and short stories are being contracted for publication, and I hope to continue on that same path.

2.     What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book? I don’t know if I would say I was inspired. I always enjoyed writing poetry and short stories, so this was the next logical step. The first novel, a paranormal family saga, was just an idea that came to me one day, as do all my ideas. I worked on it on and off over the years, and finally finished it.

3.     How did you come up with the idea for your novel ‘The Coffee Shop’?

You know, that was a weird experience. I had planned to start writing a horror novel that morning. I had been thinking about it for a while and had it all plotted out. I decided that would be my next project, as soon as I finished the one I was working on. But the moment I woke up that morning this idea literally popped into my head. I recalled a story I had heard a long time ago and I immediately thought how it would make a really good novel. I then started having all these ideas about how to tweak it, and by the time I sat down at the computer that morning I was all ready to go. Nineteen days later I had completed it at eighty-five thousand words. That’s the thing about my ideas; they come to me out of no where, and at all times. I have to write them down, flesh them out, and put them in a folder of future projects.

4.     How are you the same/different from your main character(s)?

I would say most, if not all writers, draw upon personal life experiences when they write. Whether it was something that happened to them directly, or something they witnessed or were around. So any one character may be comprised of bits and pieces of any number of experiences from our own lives, along with a healthy dose of imagination mixed in. I admit to doing this, incorporating something that happened to me, or something I witnessed at some point in my life.

 5.     Describe Derrick & then Annie in five words each.

With Derrick it’s interesting, before Annie he was confident, self-assured, driven, focused, pretty much a loner. But when he meets and gets to know Annie it’s like he becomes another man. Even he is not sure why his confidence and self-assuredness wanes, his focus becomes blurred, and his ability to judge situations is lost. Of course what is happening within his life, just then, only adds to all the uncertainty.

I’d like to use single words but it wouldn’t describe what I am trying to convey accurately.
Annie: Reserved, guarded, shy, fun loving, enjoys the simple things in life.

6.     Is ‘The Coffee Shop’ a stand alone or part of a series? Why?

Initially, it was to be a stand alone work, but I have come up with an idea for a sequel, and have about 13k written so far. I always write books as stand alone. It is only afterwards that I may see an opportunity to take it further, but not necessarily with all my books.

7.     What’s your favourite genre as a writer and a reader? What draws you to these genres?

I am all over the place on both. I love so many different genres or authors. I initially wanted to write horror, as I enjoyed Stephen King so much, but I found ideas coming to me from other genres as well. Under Lauren Hunter I write romance based novels. I have already written the paranormal romance, and a Regency trilogy is yet to come out. But I also have ideas for ghost, angel, contemporary, and time travel. Under another pseudonym I have written a sci-fi, have two horror/mystery short stories already published, with another to come. I am half way through writing a horror novel, have started a medieval fantasy, and the sequel to The Coffee Shop is actually more of a paranormal thriller, with a little romance.

As to what I read, there too I am all over the place. I love Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Sparks, Austen, Plato, Poe, Homer, Nietzsche, the Brontes, Byron, Keats and so on. There are so many I am not listing here. My likes are very eclectic both in reading and writing.

8.     What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That the ideas never stop coming. I wonder if they’ll stop one day, or dwindle down to nothing over time. But that hasn’t happened yet. As I am writing the story more ideas will come about how to make the story work, or make it more interesting. I will have one of those AHA! moments when you figure out exactly how you can make something work, or make it work even better than originally planned, such as an interesting twist.

9.     Have you ever done anything strange or weird in the name of research?

Not on purpose. But I do have some life experiences that I can most definitely draw on for my characters, some really awful and some really wonderful. For example, I was in Japan and there are all kinds of jobs, like teaching and so on. I knew people that were making good money doing the oddest things.

There was this position as a hostess. It consisted of just talking to people in a club. In some places they may even buy you meals etc. Anyway, someone convinced me this was a great idea. It was a pretty simple job. So I tried it. You have to understand I never go to clubs or bars, and the only time I did go was when my underage cousin dragged me there, like Annie in the story, and I hated it.

So, I go, and talk. Turns out trying to come up with something interesting to say all night long is more difficult than you may think. Being around people when they are drinking makes me very uncomfortable, because I know they can turn into something you would never expect. I was so painfully uncomfortable that I walked up to the boss and told her I can’t do this. I left and never came back, not even to pick up my pay for the one day I worked there. The employer is responsible for providing their employees with transportation if they work past the trains running. Well they didn’t. I had to sit there until 5 am so I could catch the train home. But I was able to observe the people and the environment, and what it’s like from a hostess’s perspective. That would not have been something I would have done in the name of research. If I can observe from outside the circumstance, then maybe I would. But it’s not the same as experiencing it first hand, unfortunately.

  10. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

When I am deep into a story, I write from the moment I get up until I can’t stay awake any more. I can’t wait to get to it, and hate to stop. The ideas can literally gush forth one after the other and you get so excited and inspired by what is happening with your characters, and where the story is headed, that it’s all you can think about. It’s a lot like being in the middle of reading a book you love, you can’t put it down.

11. Do you have any writing rituals?

Not really, other than needing it to be dead silent. I am not one of those people that can zone out what is going on around them. Every sound or movement is a distraction. So I usually write in the middle of the night when I am guaranteed no interruptions and no sound at all.

12. How do you market your book(s)?

There are many ways, but what may work well for another may not work well for you. There are factors you also have to take into account, for example, timing. Something may work well if you time it right. I’ve tried different things like participating in multi-author giveaways, handing out bookmarks, buying ads, doing guest blogs and interviews, setting up reviews with reviewers, and so on.   

13. What book are you reading now?

I love books about the paranormal. I have a good number of nonfiction books that discuss cases and facts. I find them fascinating, so I am working my way through that pile.

14. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Pretty much what has been said time and again, don’t give up. Keep reading, and learning, and writing. Join writer’s groups, take classes and workshops, and polish, polish, polish. Use beta groups. Then send it out into the world and keep going until you find a publisher that wants your books.

15. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I just want to thank them for their support and kind words. To know that you can share your work with others and have someone else appreciate it is everything to a writer.

I would like to thank Lauren for taking the time out to be interviewed for Bex 'n' Books. There's a part two coming up in the next few days, plus a blog about her new release The Promise.

Stalker Links:

The Coffee Shop Purchase Links:
Musa Amazon USAmazon UK / Amazon GermanyAmazon FranceAmazon Italy / Bookstrand All RomanceSmashwords /   B&NKobo /  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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