Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Author Interview with Lauren Grimley Plus Giveaway!

Hello fellow readers!

Today I'm thrilled to be bringing you an interview with Lauren Grimley, author of Unforeseen. We'll jump right into the interview so that you can get to know Lauren better, and then there will also be a giveaway! The details are at the bottom of this post.

The Interview:

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? What was your "aha" moment?

Well, outside of a few attempts at acting and, heaven help us, singing, I’ve always wanted in one way or another to be a writer. In middle school I thought I’d be a poet. I had notebooks full of overly emotional, rhyming poems. Rereading them now, I think it was a miracle my parents never put me in therapy. Next I decided on journalism. I loved current events and was passionate about politics, so I thought it’d be a good fit. I was less than a semester into college when I realized it wasn’t. That was when I decided to go into education to share my passion for literature and writing that way. I never gave up the dream of becoming a writer, but it did get pushed aside during those first years in the classroom. So I guess my “aha” moment wasn’t deciding I wanted to write, but when I realized I was a ‘real’ writer. That didn’t happen until I held the first typed draft of my novel in my hands and realized, whoa, I just wrote a book.

Where did the inspiration for Unforeseen come from?

I had been reading many books in the genre, both adult and YA, so I suppose I had vampires on the brain. I shouldn’t have been surprised when I was totally blindsided on a run one evening and suddenly found Alex running along with me. But I was. Reading a genre is much different than creating your own story in that genre, but the ideas came fast and furious. My main character has a little of me in her, and some of my males were definitely inspired by the tough, but fun-loving males in J.R. Ward’s books. Overall, though, I loved creating a world with my own characters and my own spin on the vampire mythology.

Who is your favorite author?

I have to choose? I fall in love with different authors for different reasons. I love J. K. Rowling for capturing my imagination and making me fall in love with fantasy. I love Stephenie Meyer for easing me into the world of vampires and for reminding me how wonderfully stupid and intense first love can be. I love J. R. Ward for opening me up to reading and writing, though not well, love-making scenes. Basically, if an author teaches me something about writing or life, or if she can manage to make me forget about writing and life, I’ll fall in love faster than a fifteen year old.

 Do you have writing routine? A special pen, a certain type of music, time limits?

I listen to music before writing. Often I take a walk and listen to the playlists I create for my pieces while I plan the scene I’m going to write next. When I actually write, though, I prefer no distractions–no music, no television, no noise at all.  I require only my notebook and some green gel pens. I’m picky about the pens. I buy them in bulk and stash them away all over my house, my parent’s house where I spend my vacations, my school bag, my classroom. I’m never more than an arm’s length away from my green pens. Seems odd, but when you’re a lefty and you discover a smooth-writing pen with minimal smudging, you grip that puppy and don’t let go!

Do you enjoy edits/rewrites, or do you not like them?

I like those early rewrites, when you know what’s wrong and can attempt to fix it. Eventually, though, you hit a wall when you no longer know what needs work and what you’re just making worse. This summer I wrote a blog post comparing these final stages of revision to the seven circles of hell. I was probably being over-dramatic, but it’s my least favorite part of the process. Other than that, nailing the opening scene was and still is the hardest part of writing for me. There’s a lot of pressure knowing that you have about two pages to catch the attention of an agent, publisher, and eventually the reader, so those are probably the scenes I fuss over the most.

Which character in Unforeseen was your favorite to write and why?

I like to read and create characters with contradictions, so Sage and Rocky are at the top of my list. Sage comes to mind first because I love a fictional bad boy. He’s fun to write and hopefully to read because he’s scathing and surly and loves to give my MC Alex a hard time. His tone is very clear to me, so I can usually write his dialogue and thoughts without any trouble and I love developing his backstory. He gets most of the good one-liners in the series, but also gives Alex some of the best and most honest advice.

That said, I have a soft spot for Rocky. At only twenty-five, he’s the youngest of the male vampires and the closest in age to Alex. His lack of experience and position in the coven mirrors hers, so he quickly becomes a good friend to her at a time when she needs one most. Rocky might look like a menacing thug, but he’s a teddy bear at heart–a teddy bear with fangs, but still sweet.

 How do you come up with your character names?

Some of my names, mostly for minor characters, have no particular meaning. They are either just names I heard and liked or names I made up. Others, though, I chose for their meaning. Sage is the most obvious, I guess, but here are a few other examples:

  • Alexandra means protector/defender of man, which fits Alex’s role as foretold in the prophecy about her. It is also another name for Cassandra, the Greek prophetess whom no one would believe. Alex doesn’t prophesize (yet), but her judgment and decisions are doubted throughout the series.

  • Markus refers to the god of war, Mars, who was seen as second only to Jupiter, and was known for using military power to bring about peace. My Markus is the lead warrior, second only to the Regan, and definitely a character who wants to see an end to the violence.

  • Sylvester means wooded or wild, which certainly describes Rocky when he was younger and still went by this name. The name Rocky, of course, was given to him by Sage who liked the humor and appropriateness of it, given how Rocky ended up needing a new name to begin with.

What is the hardest part of being a writer?

Not being a writer. I love my teaching job, but I really wish I could be a full-time writer. I know from teaching that you only get better at something by doing it over and over again. I’ve had that experience with teaching and can look back and see how far I’ve come. Now I really want to be given that opportunity with my writing, too.

 When you're not writing, what are your other hobbies/passions?

When I’m not writing or teaching writing, which is my day job, I love being outside. I like to jog, cycle, lounge on the beach–anything outdoors. If I had more time and money, I’d also probably return to karate or take more boxing classes. There’s no better stress-relief than punching something. (I said something, not someone. I’m a pacifist; I promise!)

 Are you working on any new projects?

Unveiled, the second book in the series is with the publisher, so hopefully I’ll be doing the final revisions of that soon. For now though I’m writing book three and working on a related piece that’ll likely be novella length. It’s a compilation of loosely tied together short stories which each tell a tale of one of the other couples from the series. It stemmed from a scene I hated to cut from book three and is allowing me to explore some backstories that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to work into the books. I’m a backstory junkie, so I’m having a great time writing it.

Quick Fire round:

Coke or Pepsi? Coke, diet
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate, on everything
Rainy winter days or blazing hot summer days? neither, as a true New Englander I love a crisp fall day
Hard Copy or e-book? e-book, though, at the risk of sounding self-centered, I can’t wait to hold a paper copy of my own book in my hands
Favorite book? Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Last book you read? Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith.
What's a quote that inspires you? “Life’s not about waiting for the storms to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain!” by Vivian Greene, because I’m all about perspective and I like to splash in puddles.
What's your favorite comfort food? pizza and a glass of red wine

About the Book:

Publisher: Malachite Quills
Published: April 27th 2012
Buy The Book: AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords
The book is currently available in E-format and will be published in paperback October 10th
Add this book to your TBR shelf on Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

Alex was quite sure that "gifted" was a term which delusional parents applied to their strictly average children, that vampires were gorgeous dead guys in her eighth-grade girls' novels, and "Seers" was a middle schooler's misspelling of a department store famous for power tools. Teachers, however, don't know everything, and it’s Alex’s turn to be educated. 

Hoping just to clear her mind, Alex Crocker leaves work for a late night run across the small city of Bristol, Massachusetts. Instead she is dragged violently into a feud she never would have known existed. She quickly learns she’s being hunted for possessing a gift she never wanted, one that could kill her or provide her the power she’ll need to protect herself and those she cares for.

Despite her desire to maintain her independence, Alex quickly becomes tied to the Rectinatti vampires through bonds of friendship, loyalty, and most surprisingly, love. These bonds, coupled with the new knowledge that she is in grave danger are enough to make her want to stay, but it’s learning what is really at stake that drives her to fight.

Connect With Lauren:

Links to learn more about Lauren and her projects:

Personal website: http://www.laurengrimley.com

Twitter @legrimley:  http://twitter.com/ - !/legrimley

And now for the Giveaway!

Giveaway Rules:

3 lucky winners will each win an E-COPY of Unforeseen
This Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY
This giveaway will run until 12:01 EST on 10-24-12
Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond to their notification email before another winner is chosen.
You DO NOT have to be a follower of Melissa's Midnight Musings to enter. Anyone who does choose to follow is appreciated. :)
There are no mandatory entries, do as many or as few as you like.
All entries will be verified, any false entries will be removed.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Lauren Grimley said...

Thanks so much for having me, Melissa!

Melissas Midnight Musings said...

You're very welcome!