Author Q&A- Ted D. Berner

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Ted D. Berner, a new author who published his very first work as his debut novel! Read the interview below.
Ted D. Berner
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: Proof the Novel is the only thing I’ve written and I started in in 2010. It was about a four year project to do the research and get it to the first draft.
Q: What inspires you to write? Do you have a muse?
A: Lost ancient knowledge is what drives me the most. To see the megalithic stone structures scattered across the globe and to try and envision how they could possibly have been constructed with primitive technology is mind boggling if not unbelievable. Researching ancient legends and folklore along with ancient texts, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, seem to help connect the dots somewhat though, which fuels the fire in me even more.
 
Q: Tell me a bit about your debut novel, Proof the Novel. What was the original idea behind it?
A: A friend and co-worker pointed out the verse Genesis 6:4 in the Bible to me several years ago. Although I had already read the Bible, this verse must have slipped by me the first time, but piqued my interest this time around. Genesis 6:4 brings up when the Sons of God (fallen angels) took the daughters of men and had children which were known as the men of old… the men of renown. Further research into this topic reveals these half-breeds were of gigantic proportions and referenced all over the world in other stories. 
Q: What was the most challenging part of the writing process while working on Proof?
A: We have a ranch with thirty some miles of fence to maintain to keep the summer cows in, several acres of hay ground to deal with, along with the rest of the day to day activities that need to be attended to. Then, my other job of being an airline pilot, takes up several hours as well, so finding the time to be able to write was probably the most challenging part of writing Proof. Of course, the fact that I wasn’t a writer didn’t help either.
Q: How much ‘grunt work’ goes into your writing?
A: I spent more time researching for Proof the Novel than I did actually writing it. Although the editing process was rather lengthy (thank God for editors), I’m sure the hours I spent digging up facts from the ancient and not so ancient past far exceeded anything else. So even though there was quite a bit of ‘grunt work’ involved, it didn’t seem like work at all as the facts I stumbled upon were quite fascinating and made me want to go even deeper down that rabbit hole.
Q: Are you working on any writing projects currently? If so, what can you tell me about them?
A: Yes, I’m currently writing the sequel to Proof. I can’t say too much without giving away the story, but I can say I will reveal what the purpose of the Great Pyramid of Giza actually was. The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle will also be unveiled along with what the phenomenon of ghosts actually are as well.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: One thing I would like the world to know is, never stop questioning what happened eons ago to put all of what we know into motion. Something amazing happened and we are all blessed to be apart of it. I would also like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my work. Although it can be a little frustrating when someone reads in one or two days what it took me years to create, it is very rewarding at the same time. I would also like to thank you, Em, for taking the time to interview me… you are the best!
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Author Q&A- Thomas Fleet

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Thomas Fleet, a world building, fantasy writing author who recently published his debut novel, The War of the First Day! Read the interview below.

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Q: How long have you been writing?

A: My earliest relevant memory is from a Spanish class in high school. We were practicing conversation by discussing career choices, and when it was my turn, out popped “escritor” (or whatever the Spanish word for writer is).

I first wrote a complete story when I was 25. It lay dormant for a long time before being submission-ready. It’s about a woman in the 1600s who’s accused of being a witch and has no tools with which to save herself but her own wit. She has to figure out how to threaten, beg, seduce, or razzle-dazzle her way out of it.

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: There are two things that inspire me. One is just that cool idea or image that pops into your head. For example, there’s a witch in The War of the First Day who constantly has little copies of herself running around all over her. This ended up as the cover image. I don’t remember the origin of this idea. Where do images like that, or story ideas, come from? It’s a mystery, isn’t it?

The other thing that is inspiring is reading great fiction by other writers. A really innovative writer will blow open your conception of the possibilities of fiction. Jorge Louis Borges, with his “Fictions,” did that to me. Even if it doesn’t rise to that level, if it’s fun and capably executed, good fiction makes you want to hop back on the computer and start writing.

The sheer range of possibilities in fantasy is energizing. Two recent examples of this are Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastards series, which follows the insane adventures of a gang of con artists in another world, and Lev Grossman’s Magicians series, which imagines what magic would actually be like in this world if brilliant twenty-somethings got their hands on it. They’re very different (and they’re both very fun).

Q: Tell me about your debut novel, The War of the First Day. What was the original idea behind it?

A: The novel is a fantasy novel about a war between two groups of witches. The idea is to combine pacing which (I hope) takes your breath away with intellectual and emotional themes that engage other parts of your brain. Action novels are all about ka-boom, obviously, but you need some emotional weight to ground the ka-boom.

Its genesis was a vignette in which a young woman wanders across a forbidden border and is captured by a witch. The witch tells her that as punishment for her transgression, she must kill or be killed. I became intensely interested – cough, obsessed, cough – with this vignette and reworked it again and again in my mind before writing it down. Later, that sequence of scenes was to develop into a core sequence in The War of the First Day. The book grew vastly around it, and the captor had her moral rough edges filed down somewhat, but it’s still the heart, in terms of the heroine’s internal conflict, of the novel.

How this got to be embedded in a war of extermination between rival camps of witches, I don’t remember. There’s that mystery again!

Another thing I wanted to do was to get back to the roots of the western world’s fairytales, but that goal sort of got tossed out the car window along the way. E.g., as one reviewer noted, the dialogue sounds fairly modern; it isn’t much like stereotypical fantasy novel dialogue. Ultimately the classic fairytale roots ended up in the setting: The area is roughly medieval politically and technologically, and a lot of it is northern climate with craggy rocks and lots of pine trees. It’s very witchy. I have a lot of affection for this classical fantasy setting and may return to it in the future.

Q: How much ‘grunt work’ goes into your writing?

A: A great thing about fantasy is that you get to make up your world. You could probably get away with very little grunt work, in terms of research, compared to, say, science fiction. Every now and then there’d be something that I’d want to not embarrass myself about, so I had to do a little research. Fortunately, my setting (although in the future) is roughly medieval-ish, and the medieval period in Europe had a pretty broad range of economic arrangements, building styles, weapons technologies, etc., so the writer has a lot to choose from.

I’m also helped by the fact that I’m story-oriented, not world building-oriented, so I don’t have detailed fictional languages, etc., to keep track of. My world building supports the story; beyond that it keeps out of the way.

Q: Are you currently working on any writing projects? If so, what can you tell me about them?

A: One of the many things I learned in the course of writing TWOTFD is that writing a good novel, one you put your heart, mind and soul into, is emotionally and intellectually exhausting! So the brief answer to your question is, a bunch of short stories! I am going to re-charge my batteries for a while before I start in on another novel.

About half of the stories are fantasy. The non-fantasy ones are all over the place: A crime story, a fanciful book review a la Borges or Stanislaw Lem, and a story about a person who house-sits for her vacationing neighbors and gets snoopy. You can play that sort of scenario for horror, as in the classic Bluebeard story, or, as I’m doing, just for amusement value. A short one, which I flung up on my web page instead of trying to get published, is a take on the classic “inertialess drive” from SF. What happens if you actually try to take the physics of that idea seriously?

Q: If you could become a character from any book, who would you be and why?

A: From *any* book, whoa! Hmm… Most stories that are entertaining drag the hero/heroine through some horrible times, so it wouldn’t really be fun to be them. But there certainly are lots of worlds that would interesting to take part in. For instance, the worlds of…

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman. You’d be one of a group of very smart people with magical powers. Also, you can go to R-rated Narnia if you want. ’Nuff said.

Illuminatus, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. I wouldn’t want to be Hagbard Celine, but hanging out with him would be great, because he’s creatively crazy. You get the sense that he might do anything at any moment, yet most of it actually has a purpose. He’s the owner and captain of a submarine made of gold, LOL.

Man to Hagbard: “You take yourself too seriously.”

Hagbard: “What do you mean? I own a yellow submarine; it’s straight out of a rock song.”

Dark is the Sun, by Phillip Jose Farmer. A crazy SF book set billions of years from now in which evolution has created tons of weird animals and plants, and remnants of high-tech civilizations are left strewn around to be used or abused by the current inhabitants. A setting in which anything could happen. It would be hair-raising to live in this environment, but you’d never be bored. Come to think of it, maybe I’d just stay home watch the documentary on Animal Planet.

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: Good fiction proceeds from who the writer is. If you’re a left-brained person who likes action novels, write like a left-brained person who likes action novels. If you’re a right-brained person who is entranced by the possibilities of meta-fiction, then you should nevertheless write like a like a left-brained person who likes action novels. No, just kidding! Write like a right-brained person who is entranced by the possibilities of meta-fiction.

And if you are made to do this, you’ll make your own contribution. You’ll look at the world of fiction and think, why is everyone else ignoring this thing that they could be doing with fiction? That’s the thing you should do.

Find Thomas Online:

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Author Q&A- Ian Jackson

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing I. D. Jackson, the author of Deadly Determination and Dead Charming. He is currently working on his next novel, so if you haven’t read his books yet, now is the time to catch up!

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Q: When did you start writing?

A: I began writing as a child. Whenever we had people around my parents would wheel me out as the ‘party trick’ and ask their friends to come up with a character and a situation and I would be expected to create a fascinating story on the spot…I was about 6 they tell me! My first books were adventure stories written when I was about 10 and passed among my friends and family – unfortunately none survive, but I can still see and ‘feel’ them in my mind…. yes, I’m strange!

Q: What inspires you to write? Do you have a muse?

A: You know what I don’t, but probably should. Psychology and human nature fires my imagination to write.

Q: Tell me about your books Deadly Determination and Dead Charming. What were the original ideas behind them?

A: My interests lie in psychology and I’ve always been fascinated how seemingly normal people can be affected by an event or perhaps another person in their lives which then drives them on to commit heinous crimes. A germ of a story began emerging in my mind that eventually went on to become my first novel, Dead Charming which was greeted with critical acclaim. Deadly Determination is the second book (not a sequel) and carries through these themes. Both novels are crime thrillers with a twist that will take the readers breath away.

Q: How much ‘grunt work’ went on behind the scenes of writing your novel?

A: Many hours of research as well as interviews with detectives, coroners and some criminals – fascinating stuff.

Q: You have written articles for magazines such as Concept and Style Guide. How is this process different than that of writing a book?

A: When I wrote for magazines and newspapers it was a job to be completed, whereas now I get to write about things I’m interested in – thrilling crime!

Q: Did your days as a local magazine and sports program publisher help you in your quest to publish your novels?

A: Surprisingly not – the contacts I have through publishing magazines are completely different to novel writing and literary agents – like chalk and cheese really.

Q: What is some advice that you wish you had received when you began writing?

A: Start pitching your book as soon as you’ve written the first three chapters and have a tight synopsis ready for the rest – literary agents and publishers only want to see the first three chapters anyway and will base their decision on your writing style and the synopsis of the book.

Q: How has becoming a published author changed your life? Has it always been your goal?

A: My life hasn’t particularly changed as such. I love the fact that I have two books in print, but it wasn’t one of my ambitions as a young man.

Q: You got married to your wife, Susie, not to long ago. Has she read your books? Does she like them?

A: Yes, she has. She helps me as I go through reading chapters and commenting on characters and plot-lines. I think she enjoys the creative process and she says she likes the books…but then she has to really!

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: Labels are dangerous and anyone can work to improve their psychological imbalances, however severe they are. I believe in redemption for everyone when they are ready and I hope that readers identify with, and even feel sympathy for, some of my darker characters.

Find Ian Online:

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Author Q&A- Candra Baguley

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Candra Baguley. Her debut novel, The Grey Ones, is  available now! Read the interview below.

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. I loved telling stories and had such an active imagination that writing came natural for me.

 

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: I get inspired by movies, books, myths and legends, the news, etc. For instance, Red Dawn and Walking Dead were two big inspirations for The Grey Ones. I don’t have a muse, but I do look up to other authors.

 

Q: Tell me about your book The Grey Ones. What was the original idea behind it?

28177330A: The Grey Ones is about a family searching for others to help them fight back against the monstrous aliens that have killed most of mankind. The original idea was going to be focused on a short story, which is now known as the first and second chapter.

 

Q: How did you decide what your aliens (Grey Ones) would look like? Did you base them off of something?

A: The Grey Ones were actually designed in accordance with the idea of them living inside their planet. I wanted them to be a scary twist to a classic alien.

 

Q: The Grey Ones is a trilogy. Do you know what is going to happen next, or are you figuring it out as you go along?

A: I planned the trilogy before I sat down and began the first book. I know the major details, but the rest I figure out along the way.

 

Q: How much preparation goes into your writing? Is there a lot of ‘grunt work’?

A: There’s a lot of prep before I begin writing. For The Grey Ones I was studying some Latin, researching aliens and myths, researching other books to make sure mine isn’t the same, and I was constantly thinking and writing little notes down about it.

 

Q: What advice do you wish you received when you began writing?

A: Hm.. Probably how to balance reading, writing, and family – along with everything else. I’m a mom so it can be difficult to juggle the daily tasks.

 

Q: If you could be one of your characters, who would you be and why?

A: Isabelle. She’s strong, brave, a great mom, and she’s a feminist. I consider myself those things too, but Isabelle actually gets out there and proves herself in a way I wish I could.

 

Q: What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career so far? What have you done to overcome it?

A: My biggest writing challenge is and was my own insecurities of sharing my work. I believe I have overcome that for the most part by self-publishing and being an Indy author. It forced me to believe in my work and myself.

 

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: At least 10% of The Grey Ones royalties will be donated to the pediatric cancer research at Primary Children’s Hospital. This cause is very important to me and my family and that is why I chose it. You don’t know courage until you see the families and warriors fighting cancer every day.

Find Candra Online:

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Goodreads

Amazon

 

Author Q&A- Rose Montague

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing and amazing author named Rose Montague. She is coffee, chocolate, and wine lover, as well as an amazing writer. If you haven’t read her books, you are missing out big time. Read the interview below.
Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
A: I experimented with writing when I was a teenager and even submitted a few short stories. It never went anywhere and I didn’t try again for a long time but I love to read and I kept that up. Four years ago I decided it was time to write my first novel and was fortunate to see Jade published in 2013.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: I get most of my story ideas when I am half asleep. Sometimes I remember to write them down and sometimes they are forgotten. Most of my writing is done in the early hours of the morning, well before sunrise.
Q: Tell me about your series Norma Jean’s School of Witchery. What was the original idea behind it?
25116933A: You know that SNL skit with Christopher Walken demanding more cowbell? I was writing Jane, the sequel to Jade and my beta reader, Hans Markus kept saying we need more Jewel. Jewel was a young teen witch who helped Jade, Jane, & Jill. The more cowbell, more Jewel eventually led me to spin off a new series featuring Jewel and Norma Jean’s School of Witchery was born.
Q: What makes your witches different than other witches in books and movies. What did you base their powers off of?
A: My goal was a Harry Potter style school for older teens with more romance and more of the things teens think about. One of my reviewers said it “Makes Hogwarts seem like a play school”. I like that quote. Magic is not hidden in the world of Norma Jean’s and the setting is in the United States. There is a ton of action to go with that romance.
Q: You have also written Jade and the sequel, Jane. Tell me a little about these. What inspired them?
18820229A: Jade is an action paranormal mystery with a little romance on the side. I loved writing this one because of the mystery and I drop clues here and there than most readers don’t catch until the mystery or surprise is revealed. The biggest mystery is Jade herself. That was so much fun. My main goal in writing is to have fun writing fun books to read. Jade is the prime example of that. Jane is more of a roller coaster ride of a road trip, packed with enough action to fill three books. I can only describe it as a war. There is a wedding, and a funeral. Both were a ton of fun to write. The wedding of Jade & Jane is my favorite scene in that series.
Q: What is the strangest place you have ever come up with an idea?
A: Usually when eating or drinking. A word search of Jade will show coffee mentioned 20 times, espresso 11, wine 39 (LOL), & chocolate 13. If you like those things you will love Jade.
Q: Which of your characters is most like you and in what way? Which is least like you?
A: I would like to think that Jewel is most like me. She doesn’t hesitate when it’s time for a decision to be made. She goes 100 percent constantly. She values friendship and she knows what is right and wrong. She doesn’t second guess herself even when the result of her decision does not turn out exactly like she wanted.
Q: If you could be a character in any movie, who would it be and why?
A: I like Selene from the underworld series.
Q: What are some of your favorite books? What about them do you like?
A: I love urban fantasy and young adult reads. My favorite authors are Jim Butcher, Faith Hunter, Ilona Andrews, & Patricial Briggs. My favorite book is Sunshine by Robin Mckinley.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: My books are a lot of fun but it’s not all fun and games. There are some life lessons and messages in my books. I wrote a blog post about this here if you are interested in finding out more….
Find Rose Online:

Author Q&A- T P Keane

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the most interesting authors out there; T P Keane! She is getting ready to publish The Paladins of Naretia, her debut novel!

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A; I suppose I’ve been writing all my life. As a child, I was never a really good student. In fact, I wouldn’t be amiss at saying that I was probably one of the worst. That was somewhat of a confidence stomper. But I loved stories, and I would often imagine my new worlds and adventures while I lay in bed at night. It wasn’t until I had my two children, and started telling them the adventures I dreamed, that I began to write them down.

 

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: I have many muses. Every time I pick up a work of art by a great author, and see how he/she has twisted words and descriptions to not only describe the world I’ve been plunged into, but also the atmosphere. It’s something I’m trying very hard to emulate, but I’m not sure I’ve gotten it down yet. Most recently, I’ve been reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by NK Jemisin. I have to say, that is as close to perfection as I ever hope to become.

 

Q: You are the middle child of seven children! What was it like growing up with that many siblings? How close are you in age?

A: Growing up with six other brothers and sisters and be described in two words, loud and constant. Thankfully I was subject to the “middle-child syndrome” where often I would be forgotten, or paid very little attention to. But that only applied to my parents, who were too busy running around after a multitude of diaper-wearing monsters that were only content when they were dismantling the house from the ground up. It was tough going for my parents, and I often wondered how my mother did it all. Most of us, with the exception of the eldest, were only a year to two years apart.

 

Q: You fell back in love with storytelling when you began telling your two children bedtime stories. Did these stories spawn the birth of your upcoming book, The Paladins of Naretia?

A: The stories I told my kids were more quirky, odd-ball tales of green elephants with ten wings and a perpetual need to fart. While those kinds of stories weren’t the seeds for The Paladins of Naretia, they were the stirrings that began my need, my want, to create a world properly. I wanted to explore my talent, or lack thereof, in story-telling, regardless of my inability to spell (thank God for spellcheck). It has also just occurred to me that if this all flops on its face, I can blame them.

 

Q: Tell me about The Paladins of Naretia. What went on behind the scenes of creating such an amazing book?

A: I could tell you the plot and the characters behind it, but that can be read on the cover of the book. Behind the scenes, however, is a completely different story. While Olórin, an aged wizard, is set the task of saving the29354761 kingdom by also saving his adopted son from his real father, the dark god Dantet, this isn’t the crux of the story. The Paladins of Naretia is about love. It examines, on three fronts, the bravery and destructiveness that love can bring. Firstly, we have the broken love between Dantet and Edwina, the two ruling gods. They are the divorced parents, if you will, caught up in the hatred of each other and using their children, the people of Naretia, as pawns. Secondly, we have the false love between Olórin and his adopted son, Aramus, who he hopes against all odds will have inherited some humanity from his mother’s side. But Aramus, like Dantet, is incapable of truly loving anything. In the end, Olórin must face the truth of what this means. Our third, but not last, portrayal of love, is true love. Through the novel, we begin to hope, to pray, that Aramus falls in love with the tyrannical queen, Aria, who must put aside her demons to help them. Olórin hopes that love between them would help Aramus stay away from the darkness. But there is only one true love in The Paladins of Naretia, and that is between Aria and her seven-year-old brother Pearan. Her love for him is unconditional and fearless. In the end she will make the ultimate sacrifice to save his life.

 

Q: If you could go back to when you first began writing, what would you tell yourself?

A: Read more, examine how other authors convey their meaning and believe in yourself.

 

Q: If you could be any one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

A: Superficially, I would like to be Aramus, because I would love the ability to fly. But truthfully, I thing I would like to be Sudia, an elf who is half-turned and fighting for her life and for a cure. She intrigues me. Although she is not a main character in the book, she will play a bigger role in the subsequent books and I can’t wait to see how she, a grey-elf, will end up being the moral compass.

 

Q: What is your absolute favorite book? Why?

A: I have so many. I love John Green’s Fault in our Stars, because it is such a heart-warming and breaking story. I also love Ransom Riggs because of the way he uses old photos to spin a tale in Ms Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children. Although I have many authors I love to read, I’m slowly becoming an uber-fan of NK Jeminsin, purely because of his skill… and maybe because it’s an awesome story.

 

Q: You have lived in several places. What has been your favorite so far? What makes that place special?

A: I’ve lived and worked in Ireland, UK and in USA. It’s been a wonderful experience to get the opportunity to not just visit each of them, but become part of them. There are certain aspects of each that I both loved and disliked, but for the most part, they bring their own unique cultural and social differences… which is fodder for my books, of course.

 

While I was born in Ireland, and it has many of my family and friends, I’ve never been a fan of the weather. Too much rain and grey skies for me. The States has yielded many more friends and I’ve loved the snowy winters and hot summers of New England. But the UK has always held a special place in my heart. I can’t really explain why, but something inside of me keeps drawing me back to the UK and we may very well end up settling there again.

 

Q: What is one thing you want the world to know?

A: That if I can do it, so can they. Anyone who knew me as a child, would have never thought that I would publish a book. I would never have thought it either, but my love of story-telling is like breathing to me. It’s something I have to do. So, if I can get around my inability to spell, my lack of experience, the little voice in my head telling me to “not be so stupid and don’t embarrass yourself,” then so can anyone. Self-belief is crucial to following your dreams no matter what they are.

 

You can find T P Keane online:

Website: www.tpkeane.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009366060306

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TPKeaneauthor

Amazon book link: http://www.amazon.com/Paladins-Naretia-Book-one-ebook/dp/B01AYC44ZU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455206850&sr=8-1&keywords=the+paladins+of+naretia

Facebook book release party: https://www.facebook.com/events/988671311200675/

Author Q&A- Lauren Saft

I had the honor of interviewing one of my favorite authors today; Lauren Saft! Her debut novel, Those Girls, is one of my all time favorite reads. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you get on that right away! Lauren is also an awesome person, and is definitely an author to watch!

 

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: I suppose I’ve been writing since high school, or possibly even before that. I have always taken to writing, and have written stories since I learned how to write. I was on my high school newspaper, and always enjoyed the creative writing aspects of high school English classes. I wrote for my college newspaper, and pursued creative writing workshops as an undergrad. I’m not sure I can articulate why I started, it’s just something that I was always naturally driven to do!

I think truly, what drove (drives) me to write was the fact that I love to talk, and writing was a way for me to get out everything I had to say without interruption 🙂

Q: What inspires you to write? Do you have a muse?

A: Oh man, the world inspires me! My friends, my family, funny things I see on the street or at work, trends I notice, the plethora of social habits that make me angry, and the few that bring me joy. I don’t have one particular muse, but if I’ve ever met you, loved you, seen you at a Starbucks, odds are something of you will make its way into my writing.

Q: What was the original idea behind your book Those Girls?

A: Those Girls was originally (and largely still is) a spoof about me and my best friends 18249315and what we were like in high school. The story is 100% fiction, but much of it is a sort of satirical account our experience at an all-girls school in a bougie suburb.

The three perspective structure of Those Girls was meant to be a commentary on what seems to be a pervading culture of self-absorption and narcissism. I’ve always been extremely amused by the fact that so many people only seem to see the world through their own eyes, only feel what happens directly to them, and have little to no concept of (or interest in) how their actions impact others. I think high school is a particularly apt breeding ground for this way of thinking, so I wanted to initiate a conversation on the subject of self-involvement and how destructive it can be.

Q: Which one of the girls in Those Girls are you most like, Alex, Mollie, or Veronica?

A: I am definitely the most like Alex (especially outwardly), but Mollie and Veronica are definitely within me as well. I am all of them, all of them are me, and at the same time — none of them are me or any one person — they are characters I invented; so while there are aspects of me in all of them, they are fictional amalgamations of traits necessary to move my plot forward.

Q: What is one thing visitors don’t know about your home town of Philadelphia?

A: That it’s totally awesome! That it’s got everything New York’s got, but it’s cheaper, prettier, cleaner, the people are nicer, and the cheesesteaks are for tourists.

Q: Tell me about the time you met the Olsen Twins! What was that like? Are you a big fan?

A: Oh my god, I am THE BIGGEST FAN. I have been intrigued and enamored with them since their Full House days; they’re like a real life “Truman Show” (do you even know what that is or are you too young?!) They were basically Hollywood’s children, have been in the spotlight since before they were old enough to conceive of having a choice. They were told what to eat, what to wear, what to say, what movies to be in, had not even one minute of their childhood that was not curated, controlled, and observed, and now they’re like these amazing tiny little billionaire style icons, and I just am fascinated by their evolution.

Anyway, oh yeah — when I met them: I was working at Penguin when they did a book with them, and I literally had a phone-tree set up to let me know when they were in the building. One day, I got the call, and I sprinted from my desk to the conference room with a copy of their coffee table book in hand, and, sweating, I got them both to sign it.

Ashley smiled at me. Mary-Kate did not.

Q: Are you currently working on a writing project? If so, can you tell me about it?

A: I am! Unfortunately, it’s taking me a lot longer than I’d like to finish it, but it’s another YA novel, about two seventeen-year-old aspiring artists who spend a summer in New York in search of experience, inspiration, and the stylish creative mystique of Andy Warhol and his Superstars.

It will hopefully be on shelves in Spring 2018.

Q: You have worked in many different areas such as retail, childcare, and TV production. What has been your favorite job so far and why?

A: I suppose TV production, which is what I do now when I’m not writing books, has been my favorite. I’d been weened weaving stories together with words, and it’s been an interesting challenge to combine my training in aural story telling with the task of visual storytelling. When I think about a scene for a show I’m producing, I think about the things I’d describe to establish a sense of place if I were writing a chapter in a book, but instead of writing the words, I shoot (or choose) the images.

Waitressing had its fun moments too. Retail was by far the worst.

Q: If you could give advice to high-school you, what would you say?

A: DON’T CARE SO MUCH WHAT PEOPLE THINK. Focus more on developing a skill, gaining useful knowledge (like how taxes and insurance work), and less on what your friends are doing and thinking.

Also, you’re not fat.

Q: What is something that you want the world to know about you?

A: That I’m here! That I write books that are meant to be funny and true and make you uncomfortable and make you laugh and make you cringe, and make you feel not ashamed by your most shameful moments. I want the world to know that if you’re into imperfect people being imperfect in an imperfect world — my books are here for you.

You can find Lauren Saft online:

Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Amazon