Today I'm super excited to welcome the lovely Laura Kenyon to my blog for an author interview and some exciting news about her books!
Tell us a bit about your writing – How long have you been writing? How many books have you written and in what genres?
As soon as I graduated from college in 2005, I started working as a journalist at a community newspaper. I loved writing the features, meeting the people (talk about character inspiration!), and even the crazy deadline-day adrenaline. But as odd as this might sound, I was always far more interested in the stories forming in my head than in politics and municipal budget meetings. And I had SO many stories in my head.
So after five years, I left to write my first novel. That one's still sitting in a box. Then I wrote my second, Desperately Ever After, which I published (yay!) in February. It is women's fiction, humorous, with a little bit of fantasy sprinkled in. It's the first in a series that takes our most beloved fairy tale princesses, makes them the best of friends in a world loosely based on New York City, and picks up several years after their so-called "happily ever after." The sequel, Damsels in Distress, comes out this August -- and I can't wait!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Probably the first time I ever read a book!
Where is your favourite spot in which to write? Garden? Study? Kitchen table? In bed?
I have an office in my house with a little nook for my desk and a bed for my dog Shadow at my feet. (He keeps me sane.) That’s my favorite spot when it's cold or drab out, which in New England is the vast majority of the year. But when summer finally arrives ... and I can bring my laptop outside and toss Shadow tennis balls from the deck ... there's nowhere else I'd rather be!
Do you plan a plot out in great detail before writing or start with the basics and let the book evolve that way?
I usually start with a basic outline, which MIGHT (for the most part, if I'm lucky) last through the first draft. But by the time I come back to revise, the characters have usually come so alive in my head that they've taken over. I wind up rewriting entire plotlines because they've taken control. And when that happens, there's only so much I can do! A few years ago, I thought it was ridiculous when authors described their characters as real people with minds of their own; but now that I’ve experienced it, I can verify that it's true ... and it's really quite amazing!
Who is your favourite character from all the books you have written and why?
I love this question! Rapunzel was hands down the most FUN character to write. She is spunky, witty, and tough as nails on the outside, but inside she’s locked away all these vulnerabilities stemming from her past. But Belle's character really burrowed into my heart—completely by surprise!
Initially, her role in Desperately Ever After was supposed to be rather minor. She was meek and timid, and she let her “beast” husband walk all over her ... so I didn’t like her very much. But as things progressed, she blossomed into this really strong, independent woman who (at least I think) is now the star of the series. It’s been so rewarding watching her grow—and so cool knowing that while I'm doing the typing, she’s calling the shots!
Is there such a thing as an average writing day for you and if so what is it?
Sit with the intention of typing for hours. Get distracted. Open Word document. Decide I need more coffee. Type a few sentences. Check email. Type a bit more. Check Twitter. Take Shadow for a walk. Write more ... It pretty much goes like that all day.
What is your favourite book of all time?
I've got a definite top four: The Giver, by Lois Lowry; To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald; and Eat, Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. While I also love Jane Austen and Allie Larkin and all the Harry Potter books, these four burrowed deep into my psyche and have stuck with me in ways I can't even describe. They each own a little part of my life philosophy now, and I hope everyone gets a chance to read them at least once!
What is your favourite film of all time?
While I am a huge fan of the huge action epics (Lord of the Rings, for example), if I could only choose one movie to watch for the rest of my life, it would have to be Love Actually. That movie has it all—humor, romance, and even Christmas!
Advice to aspiring novelists?
First and foremost, if you truly believe in your writing, don't give up. If everyone stopped trying after one or two rejections, there would be no such thing as a published novelist at all. But at the same time, don't be so confident about your work that you don't listen to criticism from those who have the power to make something of it. I went through so many revisions with Desperately Ever After that the final products hardly bears any resemblance to the version that first went out to the big publishing houses.
Which brings me to my second bit of advice. Be sure that your manuscript is ready when it goes out to publishers. Even if your agent says it is, keep in mind that you only get ONE SHOT at them ... no matter how much you change the work later on. If they looked at it once, they won't look at it again. And while I understand that, it can be pretty tragic for an author
But finally, don't let all the negatives drag you down. Remember to celebrate too! If you haven't found an agent yet, celebrate that you actually wrote a book—something so many people talk about but never do. Celebrate the fact that you got an agent, even if it didn't lead to a contract with one of the Big Five. If you got a crappy review, celebrate all the good ones. Just keep on going.
A bit about Desperately Ever After:
**One part Sex and the City. Two parts Desperate Housewives. Three parts Brothers Grimm.**
Imagine what might happen if our most beloved fairy tale princesses were the best of friends and had the dreams, dilemmas, and libidos of the modern woman. How would their stories unfold after the wedding bells stopped ringing? Set in a fictional realm based on New York City, Desperately Ever After sprinkles women’s fiction with elements of fantasy, and encourages readers to rethink everything they know about happily ever after.
Years after turning her husband from beast back to man and becoming his queen, Belle finds out she’s finally going to have a child. But before she can announce the wondrous news, she catches him cheating and watches her fairy tale go up in flames. Turning to her friends for the strength to land with grace, she realizes she’s not the only one at a crossroads:
Cinderella, a mother of four drowning in royal duties, is facing her 30th birthday and questioning everything she’s done (or hasn’t) with her life.
Rapunzel, a sex-crazed socialite and one-woman powerhouse, is on a self-destructive quest to make up for 20 years locked away in a tower.
Penelopea, an outsider with a mother-in-law from hell, is harboring a secret that could ruin everything at any moment.
Together, these women rescue each other from life's trials with laughter, wine, and a scandalous new take on "happily ever after." A 2014 NIEA Chick-Lit finalist, the novel is fundamentally about group of friends coming to terms with how their lives have turned out. They just happen to live in castles.
'DESPERATELY EVER AFTER' AND LAURA'S OTHER 'BOOK DAMSELS IN DISTRESS' ARE BOTH ON SALE TODAY (April 17th 2015) AT JUST 99P - GRAB YOUR COPIES ON AMAZON:
Find out more about Laura: