Jen: Today we welcome Lauren Layne to Romancing the Book. Lauren, will you share a short bio with us?
Lauren: Lauren Layne used to work in e-commerce. She wore cute shoes and real-person clothes like an adult.
Then she was like, NOPE, changed into her pajamas and started writing romance novels. She believes in sarcasm, weekday happy hours, and happily ever after.
Jen: Tell us a little about your newest release.
Lauren: My newest release is Made for You, second in my Best Mistake series. It’s an enemies-to-lovers tale with a dash of yearning, unrequited love. It’s a little bit different for me in that I set it in the suburbs of the Seattle area (usually I write “big city” romances), and I think the setting gives it a very “real” feeling. I’ll confess, it’s one of my favorites 🙂
Here’s a short excerpt:
He locked his eyes on hers, telling her the truth for the first time in a long time. “Don’t you ever get tired of fighting, Brynny?”
He kept his tone light, but she must have read the intensity in his gaze because her blue eyes went slightly wide. “Do you?”
I don’t mind the squabbling. I just want more. But it was too soon. She still looked like a wary cat
ready to call her stupid boyfriend at the first sign of her being turned on. And he knew he could turn her on. Easily. Her eyes kept moving to his lips and her pupils were dilated.
She wanted him. She’d wanted him when she he’d kissed her in the driveway last week, and when he’d rubbed against her in the kitchen this morning, and she wanted him now.
But she wouldn’t take him. Not until she’d gotten rid of Jimmy what’s-his-name. If he kissed her now, she’d hate him. Hate herself for liking it when she was supposed to be loyal to an absent boyfriend.
He allowed himself one more lingering touch of his fingers on her palm. Just enough to remind her of what it had been like with them. Enough to have her sucking in her breath and springing away from him.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Lauren: I was definitely one of those kids that claimed to “love to write,” although I can’t say I was writing stories about Buddy the Cat, or whoever at age six. It was more like I was one of those dorks who would get so excited whenever a teacher would assign a paper at the end of the semester instead of an exam. I always knew that I loved expressing thoughts in words, but the idea to make a career out of it didn’t really occur to me until my early-twenties. I’d been a longtime reader of romance, and was starting to realize that I didn’t find my current career all that fulfilling. I sort of put the two sentiments together and decided to try writing a romance novel. The first couple attempts were brutal, and I quit for a year or two. But it called me back, and when I was twenty-seven, I sat down to write one “for real.”
My “call” story is pretty standard in that I didn’t get noticed in a contest, or through a random Starbucks meeting with an editor. I followed the classic path to the later. I finished my book. Edited the crap out of it. Wrote a query letter. Queried. Got rejected. Wrote another query letter (better this time), and Nicole Resciniti responded asking to see the full. Two days later, I had an agent! She sold Only With You to Grand Central Publishing fairly soon after she and I started working together.
Jen: Are you a plotter or a panster?
Lauren: The short answer: plotter. I find that I write so much faster/better when I know where I’m going. That being said, I have written two books without any kind of outline. They were just the type of story that appeared in my head “fully formed” and I just sort of went with it, because I didn’t want to risk creating an artificial writer’s block by forcing the story into an outline. But for the most part, I’m very organized and methodical with my process. Scene outlines, storyboards, character sketches … the whole works.
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Lauren: Like most authors, some of my best ideas come to me while in shower, which is annoying as all heck. And yes, I have been known to turn off the water and grab a towel and dash to my phone or notebook with a head full of shampoo because an idea was too good to lose. The rest of the time, I rely pretty heavily on Evernote. I love that I can jot something using the app on my phone when I’m at the grocery store, and then have it right there on my computer when I sit down to write next. There’s no “where’s my notebook?” or “what the heck did I do with that post-it note?”
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book? Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, a new contract or a release?
Lauren: This isn’t a completely straight forward answer, because the first book I wrote/sold wasn’t actually the first one to get published. So the book that readers know as my “debut” is actually the third book that I sold. But ultimately, it didn’t matter. I found I was just find celebrating the heck out of first published novel, regardless of which novel it was! My husband and I actually went to Las Vegas the week it came out. It was a joint celebration of his 30th and my “published debut,” and it was fabulous.
As for celebrating releases and sales since then, I confess I’m not always great about celebrating the wins. The releases have been coming fast and furious lately (I’ll have 7 books released in 2015!) so I definitely have to make an effort to ensure I don’t let it become “old hat.” My default is to always keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge … that way even if the day is crazy busy, or if I’m trying to celebrate release of one book while finishing up on a deadline for another, I can always take the time to shut my laptop, and have a glass of bubbly.
Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Lauren: Smart. Sassy. Sweet.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Lauren: Spring of 2015 will bring the next installments of two of my other series; the fourth in my Stiletto series (think Sex and the City meets Cosmopolitan magazine) comes out March 3rd. It’s called The Trouble With Love, and features two people with a past who’ve long thought they’re over each other … and they they become neighbors. And then in April, I have Crushed, the next in my Redemption series. The Redemption series features new adult retellings of classic stories and/or fairy tales, and Crushed is particularly fun as it’s a retelling of The Ugly Duckling!