Coffee Time Romance & More

 

 

 

 

Welcome, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Laurie Larsen for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions for Coffee Time Romance.

How did you come up with the storyline for Momentary Lapse?

I love writing about everyday situations with a twist of worst case scenario. Situations that, ninety nine times out of a hundred, turn out perfectly fine. It's that 1% I'm going after. An inspiration for my story was the bestselling novel, The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Do you remember that book? A woman goes to her class reunion with her three young children, leaves the older one in charge while she goes to stand in line to register, and when she comes back, her child is gone. He was kidnapped right from under her nose, in front of thousands of people. When she made the decision to go register for the reunion, she had no reason to think her life would change drastically because of that decision. That's the kind of impact I was going for with Momentary Lapse. In my book, Lydia is a struggling single mother of two of the most challenging children I could think of. Being the sole caretaker and breadwinner doesn't come easily for Lydia. She makes a decision that ultimately puts Angela, her seven-year-old daughter, in danger, and the whole book is about recovering from that mistake, and getting her life back to normal.

You say it took you 14 months to write Momentary Lapse, why?

Yes, fourteen months of writing, and readers have told me they've read the book in a single day. ARGH! I generally take about a year to write a book. Probably because I'm scattered in so many different ways. I have a full time career that takes up the lions’ share of my time -- at least 40 hours a week. Then I'm Mom to two very busy boys, and I often find myself playing taxi driver, cheerleader, homework checker, etc, during my evenings. If I can snatch an hour away for myself to go up to my computer room and get some productive writing done, I consider myself lucky! Fourteen months of grabbing an hour here and there, and we've got Momentary Lapse!

Did you base Lydia and Officer Bob on people you know or are they fiction?

They are both completely fiction. As I got to know Lydia in particular, over the course of writing the book, I felt like she was real, but no, all out of my imagination.

Did you base the characters Angela and Markie on children you know?

God help my children if they were like Angela and Markie. Fortunately, my own children are a little better behaved, and better adjusted! :) Angela is precocious beyond her years -- she's seven going on seventeen. She rolls her eyes at her mom and gives Lydia the feeling that Angela should rightfully be the one in charge. She's constantly making Lydia second-guess her decisions, and as you see in the book, Angela has a devious side -- she knows the effect she has on her mother, and uses it to get what she wants. Markie is a one-child tornado -- he rips through a room, leaving a path of destruction. Markie is the combination of every kid I know who is a whirlwind of activity, the ultimate in self-centered three-year-old behavior. He's a trip. But no, I'm thankful to say my own boys didn't hold a candle to Markie when they were three.

Will you be writing another story with Angela and Markie in it?

No, I think Angela and Markie's stories have been told. (Although Markie as a teenager -- getting his driver's license! Hmmm, that opens up a wealth of opportunities for storylines!) But I did write another manuscript featuring a character from Momentary Lapse -- the social worker, Lisa Carle, who gets assigned to Lydia's case and has a fairly minor role in this book, gets her own story in my manuscript (yet to be published), Keeper by Surprise. I'm searching for a publisher for that one, and I'm taking my time because it's my favorite book that I've written yet, and I want to find just the right house for it. Once it's published I'll let you know, and any fans of Momentary Lapse can look for it!

Do your characters jump out at you and say write about me?

As I'm mulling over a book idea in its early stages, I usually begin with the main characters. At first they're just generalizations -- as in, Lydia is a frazzled single mom struggling to deal with day to day life, when she makes a decision that affects the fabric of her life for a long time to come. Okay -- good start for a character, but then it's time to get to know Lydia. What is she like? If I were to bump into her at the grocery store, how would I recognize her? What would I say to her? And what would she say back to me? At that point I turn up the heat on my story building, and I start getting to know the character. Once I feel like they have some legs and personality of their own, then I start the writing. I wrote Momentary in first person, from Lydia's point of view. So far, no other book I've written has begged to be written in first person, but this one definitely did. For some reason, it was Lydia who needed to tell this story directly. I love to read first person narratives, and I sure had a good time writing this one.

How do you feel when one of your books is published and released?

Elated! Justified for putting in all the hard work. Recognized. Excited. And then paranoid. As in, going through the book word for word making sure that none of those pesky typos got through. My book has to be PERFECT! It has my name on it! And then, a deeper sense of paranoia -- what if it's crap? What if I fooled the editor, and this book slipped through and now everyone who reads it will hate it? Then the good reviews start to come in, and I'm back to elated! No, really, there's nothing like it. Knowing that this story that you put your heart and soul into, is now recognized as a piece of work worth publishing, and people out there that I don't even know will read it and form an opinion, it's just a kick!

Do you try to get more than one hour a day writing in, if you can or do you have a strict writing schedule?

I try to write a minimum of one hour a day. If my hour is up, and my creativity is still flowing, and no one is pounding down the door, I go for more. But I tend to shut down after 90 minutes or so anyway. Unfortunately, there are often days when I don't even get my hour in, and that frustrates me because one day missed means another day added onto the back end until it's finished. I teach a workshop called, "Superwoman: Making Time for your Writing Career When You Can't Quit Your Day job." I give all kinds of tips about time management, prioritization of your activities, etc., so you can find that time to write among all your other responsibilities. Sometimes I think I need to go back and take my own class. :)

Have you ever had Writers’ Block?

Yes, I do get Writer's Block occasionally, and it's miserable. Sitting there at the computer staring at a blank page and blinking cursor, wishing you could write something...and nothing comes. But in my case, it's usually because I haven't plotted well enough. If I don't know what's supposed to happen, I can't very well write it, now can I? So I only sit there a little while before I pull out my chapter-by-chapter outline and find out what the problem is. Usually I need to think of a scene that illustrates the story line I've outlined. The outline isn't visual enough and I'm stumped. The whole "show, don't tell" thing. But once I get that problem figured out, it's usually clear sailing until the next gap in my outline.

Do you have any upcoming projects?

I have two manuscripts that are completed but not yet published. I'm actively searching for publishing homes for them right now, so hopefully I'll have news of a new release soon. The first one is Legacy of Lies, an adoption mix-up story about a woman who decides to search for the daughter she gave up for adoption twenty-five years ago. Only the father of the baby knows that he never allowed the baby to be given up, he took the baby home and raised her without telling the mother -- breaking a few laws in the process. So this search for her daughter is going to shake a few things up in not only her life, but his, and the daughter's! The other one is Keeper by Surprise, the book I mentioned before, and that story features a college student whose world is shaken when his parents are killed in a car accident, and their will names him guardian of his three younger siblings.

What stories do you have out now?

Momentary Lapse is my second book -- my first book, released in October 2000, is Whispers of the Heart -- the story of a woman who's got it all -- a great career, the perfect marriage -- until the love of her life dies suddenly. When a second chance at love comes around in the form of a family friend -- will she take it? And at what price?

What encouraging words would you give to other aspiring authors if you could?

Never give up, and enjoy the journey. Don't measure your success in writing by the size of the publisher, or the amount of the advance you get. It's all about the writing. Love the time you spend in creation, and the publication and release is just icing on the cake.

On behalf of Coffee Time Romance please thank Laurie Larsen for chatting with us and good luck on the publisher hunting!

Sheryl
Interviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

 

 

 

 

 

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