Friday, 11 December 2015

Interview - Lauralyn Aaron

Today's Friday Interview features NaNoWriMo winning author Lauralyn Aaron. 2015 was her first year attempting NaNoWriMo. Lauralyn is also the mother of emerging storywriter Felicity Aaron who inspired her to sit down and write her NaNovel.

Author bio: Lauralyn Aaron proves her insanity by homeschooling her five children, who fortunately seem to be turning out to be decent human beings despite their crazy mom. She studied Political Science at the University of Utah back in the dark ages (or at least the '90's), where she met her husband, Norman. Since then, she's been busy dealing with all the fun of motherhood from diapers to chauffeur duty to trying to convince her daughters that algebra will actually be useful to them someday. In her spare time (ha), she loves to read anything she can get her hands on, resorting to the shampoo bottle or cereal box if there's nothing else handy. Of course, smart phones have made that kind of reading fairly obsolete these days as there's always something better on Facebook than what's on the back of the cereal box.

Yes, she's all that and more. Lauralyn was kind enough to share her journey and thoughts with me for Romance Spinners. 

HWK: Congratulations, you won your first NaNoWriMo! What motivated you to give it a go?

LA: Well, I've had an idea (my only idea for a novel) in mind for a few years. My brainstorming process has been lengthy to say the least. What finally got me to do it was teaching a literature and writing class for homeschooled students. Since I was encouraging them to do NaNoWriMo, I needed to lead by example. We had several write-ins at my house, which made it all more fun for all of us.

HWK: What would you like to tell us about your novel? What inspired you to this story?

LA: Like I said, this idea has been floating around for a while now. One thing I suggested to the homeschooled student was to use a classic story or fairy tale and retell it from a different point of view. With that in mind, the trusty "brainstorming in the shower" scenario came into play.

One day I just started thinking about Sleeping Beauty and how everyone in the castle fell asleep with her, but not everyone in the castle had their whole family there. What about families that were split with some working at the castle while others lived elsewhere? So that's where it started. If I'm honest, I felt inspired to write this story because it was the first time I had a viable story idea, but I've always wanted to write a book.

HWK: I love that idea because it touches upon the human experience of those who were left behind. Can I convince you to let me read it some day?

You've always loved literature, especially classics like Anne of Green Gables. What draws you to these books?

LA: I learned to love reading from my mother, who has been known to read while washing dishes, while folding laundry, while walking--basically any repetitive task is an excuse to read.

As a reader, I'm very character driven. A book doesn't need to have a super exciting plot for me to love it as long as I love the characters. I will say that writing does matter to me, but if the characters are relatable and the writing is good, that's all I need.

Older books like Anne of Green Gables are great because the slower pace often allows for the reader to feel close to the characters. Anne, in fact, was my best friend in seventh grade. Socially, those middle school years were rough, and Anne went everywhere with me. I think I read the entire series five or six times in one year. On the flip side, a book like Divergent, which was an absolute page-turner, was not a favorite for me because I didn't like Tris much.

I still love classics. Jane Austen and Charles Dickens are amazing. When it comes to mysteries, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and Rex Stout are favorites. The only genre that I think is better in more modern reading is fantasy/sci fi. You may want to unfriend me on FB for saying this, but I've never been a big fan of Tolkien or Asimov.

HWK: Fear not for abandonment. I prefer a lighter style of fiction.

LA: Incidentally, I'm impressed that you remembered this about me after so many years...unless you refreshed your memory by Facebook stalking me, in which case, I'm not so impressed.

HWK: (I thought it was you stalking me…) Actually, my remembering that detail is a bit convoluted. I once wrote (and subsequently had published) a story where a couple met through an online group called “Kindred Hearts”. I got the name of the group from a similar one you once belonged to. Every time I glance through that anthology, I sometimes think of you.

How do you believe reading benefits the human race?

LA: Other than the obvious fact that we can pass on knowledge through reading, there are a couple of major benefits:

When we read, we learn that we're not alone in our experiences. Every time a character in a novel goes through an emotion or experience that we relate to, we feel that someone understands how we feel.

At the same time, reading helps us understand experiences and feelings that we haven't gone through. It gives us the chance to see the world through a different point of view. For me, part of being a more mature person is realizing that I can like someone even when we don't agree on things, even when they do things I honestly disapprove of. That is a gift that stories can give us because in real life, we rarely get to see things so thoroughly from the other person's point of view.

LA: 5. Preach it! If you could convince the world of ANYTHING, what would it be?

LA: Be nice.

That's it. I am so tired of how angry and judgmental and critical the world feels. If we would all just try to be a bit kinder instead of being so worried about scoring a witty comment or convincing someone of our political views, things would be better. We don't have to always agree in order to be respectful to each other, so...let's just be nice. (Says the political science major.)

HWK: Normally I post links, cover art and a blurb to an author's book. As you're not marketing at the moment, is there any other web site that you would like me to link to instead?

LA: One person who has been really inspirational to me in writing is my daughter, Felicity. She has loved writing stories since she was ten or eleven. She won her first 50,000 NaNo at the age of thirteen. Dealbreaker is a story she wrote a couple of years ago based on the prompt "In 1500 words or less, write a story in which love is dangerous." 

HWK: [reads...]  Ohmigosh! You guys have got to read this.

No, seriously. Stop right now and go read this story. It's only a thousand words or so. You will not regret reading this beautifully bittersweet tale.

Many thanks to NaNoWriMo-winning author Lauralyn Aaron for being suckered into willing to be interviewed for Romance Spinners. Remember folks, it doesn't matter if you're published or not. If you're writing novels, you're an author.

And a quick mention for Friday Interviews starting in January and February: The Candy Hearts Romance series is coming out from The Wild Rose Press and I've got a handful of my fellow Candy Hearts authors lined up for your edification and entertainment.

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