Have you read Stay Tuned by Lauren Clark? It won the WritersType First Chapter Competition in October 2011, was in the top 5 Finalist for the 2012 BookBundlz “The Book Pick” contest and was awarded the 2nd place in the 2012 ROYAL DRAGONFLY ebook Awards. What an accomplishment! I bring you an interview with the author, Lauren Clark and her upcoming book Dancing Naked in Dixie.
Lauren: I’ve always loved writing and books, but the six years I spent as an anchor and a reporter were NOT what I’d planned on. I was working as a PR coordinator for a hospital when I met the General Manager of WWNY-TV. At the time, she was looking for a health reporter and she was willing to let me take a shot at it. I ended up loving it, and took a full-time job at the station soon after. After a few years of doing the 2 am – 10 am shift as the morning anchor at WTVY, I decided that I wanted to stay home with my kids. It was then that I began to look seriously at writing fiction.
Me: How did you decide about writing contemporary women fiction and not something else?
Lauren: I love a strong, flawed female protagonist, someone with a career, interests, and friends. She likes the idea of love, but isn’t necessarily waiting around to be rescued by Prince Charming. Contemporary women’s fiction appeals to me because it mirrors real life and should transport readers to a new place or situation (the Deep South, behind the scenes in a newsroom). If I can inject some humor along the way, even better!
Me: Is there anything you need in order to write? (a place, food item etc.)
Lauren: I really have to have my flavored coffee, my macbook, and a quiet place to work. I’m such a social person and love catching up with friends, so it’s easy for me to ‘lose’ a few hours surfing the Internet or posting on Facebook and Twitter. The local library is ideal — I have to shut off my cell phone and I don’t have the Internet password!
Me: Your new book Dancing Naked in Dixie is releasing soon (May 21). Tell us about it.
Lauren: It’s really a story about a girl who finds happiness where she least expects it. Julia Sullivan is about to be fired from her job as a travel writer, but gets one last chance to prove herself. She’s sent to Eufaula, Alabama (kicking and screaming) to cover the annual historic Pilgrimage. Julia winds up getting herself tangled up in family issues, city development projects, and a number of other crises. In the end, the experience changes her life.
Me: You are a library geek. How many books do you read a week/month? What is the last book you read?
Lauren: I love the library. I really love all libraries. The solitude appeals to me, as does being surrounded by thousands of books! I read at least 4 or 5 books a month. I just finished James Patterson’s Guilty Wives and Cindy Roesel’s Viewer Discretion Advised (another TV reporter/behind the scenes novel).
Me: What is one book you think everyone should read?
Lauren: Gosh. I absolutely adore Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper. I loved the ending, I actually cried, and I thought that Picoult did a masterful job with the changing POVs. I have to say that The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd is also one of my favs, as it is set in the South and embraces diversity and friendship between women. And I have to add The Poisonwood Bible.
Me: Who is your favorite author?
Lauren: Sophie Kinsella. I love her. She makes me laugh out loud.
Me: What after Dancing Naked in Dixie? Any other Work in Progress?
Lauren: I am researching for my next novel, The Pie Lab, which is a real restaurant in Greensboro, Alabama. This story will follow a girl who’s gone off to a big city (like Atlanta or New York) and vows NEVER to come home. She’s forced to return to Greensboro, though, when her romantic relationship falls apart. Since she’s burned a lot of bridges, it will be interesting to see how she makes amends.
The Pie Lab, as a business, is a great concept, as it offers on-the-job training and the owners are very active in the community. Added bonus…the pies are delicious! The Pie Lab has been featured in Southern Living and The New York Times.
Me: How do you react to a bad review?
Lauren: Bad reviews are never easy to read, but criticism and rejection come with the territory. Every single writer deals with it. I’m careful to look very hard at the comment or suggestion, learn what I can from it, and move on to the next page or next project.
Me: Tips for upcoming writers?
Lauren: Tenacity and Optimism. There’s no substitute for doing the hard work. It can take years to develop an idea, write it all down, revise, and then revise again!
It’s really a complicated game that involves skill, hard work, luck, and timing. I’m a very positive person, and even I find that being an author is a daunting business. You have to love books, love writing even more, and be willing to look for the silver lining in the darkest of clouds. I consider myself so fortunate to have found a supportive group of fellow authors, bloggers, and readers that keep a smile on my face and a put a little magic into every single day.
Me: What is your favorite quote?
Lauren: Words are a lens to focus one’s mind. – Ayn Rand
Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.
With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she’s offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage.
Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia’s story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?
Dancing Naked in Dixie – Goodreads | Amazon
3 ebooks of Dancing Naked in Dixie (in epub and mobi formats)
Open to everyone (must be a blog follower).
Runs from May 12 – May 20
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