For the month of February, I wanted to feature a few of my fellow authors and asked if they would be willing to give me an interview. Lauren Greene, is the first in my series. Please welcome her.
Lauren, thank you so much for joining me.
J-Can you tell our audience a little about yourself?
L-I was raised in Alabama, where I attended multiple schools, public and private, and was basically a rebel. I went away to college in Washington D.C. and studied International Relations and Spanish. After a few years living up there, I moved back to Alabama where I now work in the banking industry. I’m married and have three children. Besides writing, I also love to read, workout, and spend time with my friends and family.
J-Ooh, a fellow Spanish speaker. I didn’t know that. Cool. What genre do you write and why?
L-I actually write multiple genres. I write women’s fiction, southern literature, and thrillers. The “why” is hard to explain. Through women’s fiction, or most of my writing for that matter, I ask myself questions about relationships and life that are unanswerable. I delve into why things are the way they are, and I try to find answers to those little pesky questions about life. I also explore issues in my life through my writing.
J-When did you start writing?
L-I started writing when I was seven years old. I used to sit up in my room and fill pages and pages of notebooks with stories. They were mostly unfinished. I was terminally afraid of letting other people read my works, and I had an intense fear of criticism, so for a long time I wouldn’t let anyone read what I wrote.
J-I think there are a great many writers who share that fear as well. But it looks like you are pushing past it. What books have you published?
Here’s a summary:
Kaia Hart seems to have it all: a career as a successful architect, two perfect children, and a handsome husband, Patrick, but she’s haunted by an accident in her past. On a business call, one day, she’s surprised to find Asher, her once-love, has moved to town and will be working with her. In “No Turning Back,” Kaia faces nightmares from her past and big decisions about her future, as the two worlds seem to collide. Will Kaia give up everything for Asher, or will she find comfort in the arms of Patrick?
J-Okay, while I go add that to my Goodreads list, tell me, what is a typical day or week like for you? How do you find time to write?
L-I have a busy life. I wake up every morning at 5:15, have a cup of coffee, and I sit in my blue easy chair to write. After that, I drop my kids at school, go to my day job at the bank, shuttle children everywhere in the afternoons, and come home for dinner and few hours of quiet time. Some nights, I work on my social media presence, writing and editing, but other nights I just read or watch TV. I make sure I use that hour in the morning towards writing. Setting a goal has really made me find the time to write, even though it’s limited.
J-That is amazing. What a great way to make time for yourself. I wish I was a morning person, but I always stay in bed until the last possible moment. What are you reading right now?
L-I’m actually reading several books right now. The first is a non-fiction called “Boys on the Boat” by Daniel James Brown, about a crew team’s quest for gold at the 1936 Olympics. The second is an ARC by Jim Heskett called “Reagan’s Ashes,” about a young woman who has lost her father and hikes into the Rocky Mountains to spread his ashes.
J-That is one of the great things about being a writer…knowing other writers who have ARCs. What are you working on next?
L-I’m currently working on a thriller about a young girl named Lana Oliver who moves from Boston to a small town in Alabama. She meets a boy who seems like the quintessential high school rebel, but in reality he’s a sociopath. Throughout the novel, Lana ignores the signs of Gideon’s mental illness, instead she falls for his charismatic personality as she’s drawn deeper and deeper into his web of deceit. I’m about halfway through this novel.
J-Oh, that sounds very interesting. Can’t wait to hear more about it as you get further along. Are you traditionally published, self-published, or with a vanity press? Why?
L-I’m self-published. I mainly chose self-publishing to get myself out there. When I finished “No Turning Back,” almost three years ago I queried some agents only to get multiple rejections. I know this is a process, but being a newbie author it was hard for me to take. I put the book aside, and I waited. This year, one of my good friends suggested self-publishing as a way to “get my foot in the door,” with agents. I took her suggestion, and I set a goal to have the book available for January 31, 2015 (my release date).
J-Congratulations. I think self-publishing is a great way to go. I love the freedom in it. It’s a big responsibility, but I like having the control over my work and timeline. So, do you use experiences from your own life in your writing or does it all come from your imagination?
L-Yes, I draw on my own life when I write. I use places I’ve lived (Alabama and D.C.). I also draw on experiences. For instance, “No Turning Back” incorporates the idea of unrequited love, and I drew on a painful experience from my college days for a lot of those feelings that Kaia had in the book.
J-What is your favorite curse word?
L-I rarely curse, but I love the word “Fuck.”
J-Go big or go home, huh. Do you plot or outline when writing?
L-I am not a plotter. I’m a pantser. That said, I do sometimes decide where the story is going and jot it down on a piece of scratch paper. I usually do this to try to “contain” my characters from destroying what I had in mind for the ending. It sometimes works, and it sometimes doesn’t.
J-Do you listen to music when writing? Name three songs on your current playlist?
L-Yes. I listen to a variety of music. “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails. “Crystallize” by Lindsey Stirling and “Bird Song” by The Wailin’ Jennys
J-Nice, I love music while writing. Are you a cat or dog person?
L-Both. I have a cat named Ritz who I’ve had for sixteen years. Unfortunately, he has to live outside because my middle son is allergic. We also have a little puppy dog, Skippy, who is a Jack Russell mixed with “who the hell knows,” and he’s a ball of energy!
J-If you had your choice of writing retreat would you choose, a. Villa in Italy, b. Cabin in the woods, c. English estate in Derbyshire (think Pemberly) d. Beach house in the Virgin Islands
L-B. Cabin in the woods, with a glass of wine and some folk music playing!
J-Tell us a funny story about you that we can’t find on your bio.
L-I have alopecia, and I’ve suffered from it since I was kid. In first or second grade, I wore a wig to cover up the bald spots that wove a path through my hair. One day, we had a substitute teacher. I was in the corner working on something with this little boy name Darryl, and he grabbed my shoulder to tell me something causing my wig to fall off. This little girl named Rebecca shouted, “Lauren’s head is falling off!” A horrified hush descended upon the room, and I was mortified. The substitute did not know what to do, so she put my wig in a paper bag to send it home with me. Funny now, not so funny then!
Thank you so much, Lauren, for joining me today. It has been a pleasure getting to know you a little better.
You can find Lauren online at all the links below.
You can find me online at http://www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com