1. How long have you been writing?
Let’s see . . . since grade one when they made me. Okay, all joking aside, I’m not really joking. In grade school we would be required to write a story every week. I remember in grade four the teacher would always read my story out to the class. I have no idea why she always liked mine. *shrugs* I do recall this boy saying out loud, for the entire class to hear: ‘Not again!’ The fact that my teachers chose my poems and stories to read out led me to think they must be okay, if the teacher thinks so. So I always had the idea in the back of my head, way back there where it echoes. But when all other avenues of career never seemed to pan out, I eventually came back to the idea of writing novels. I worked on my first story, on an off, over the years. Did finish it. Did it long hand. God! The idea of transferring it over to the computer . . . Just occurred to me I can’t finish this question as the answer overlaps other questions here. God, as I write this I have been up for 26 hours, and when I do that I keep forgetting my mom is dead. For the briefest of moments everything feels good, and normal, and right, and then I remember, and it all feels wrong again. But I digress . . . I do that a lot.
2. Are you published and if so, how long have you been a published author? If not, what’s your plan?
At present I have five novels, a Regency trilogy, a paranormal romance, a science fiction, and one horror short story, accepted for publication. But nothing has been released yet. And yes, you did read those correctly. And yes I can’t make up my frickin’ mind as to which genre to write in. My ideas are going off in so many directions that it’s all I can do to keep up. If I’m not careful I’ll wind up leaving myself behind. I guess I should mention these are all with ebook publishers. At present I will continue to submit to ebook publishers.
3. Which route did you choose for becoming published, the traditional route, with an agent, the “indie” route, going directly to the publishers yourself, or deciding to self-publish?
I considered the pros and cons of agents. They will polish your work so your best foot is put forward, they will get your mss. to publishers that won’t accept unagented (is that a word?) material, they will get your ms. to the editor to actually look at, or at least increase your odds of being read by an editor. But they may have many clients, so just how much time can they devote to you, just one of many authors at their agency, and then there is the percent they take, obviously a trade off for all described above. Then again, finding a good one, that actually knows what they are doing, and works hard for you.
So, I just went the other route. I read a book about how to be your own agent, and then went to the library and signed out the Writer’s Market for this year. I carefully read through all the publishers in my genre, made a list, and put it in order of choice. And then started sending off my submissions as per their guidelines.
4. How long did it take you to write your first novel?
The VERY first one I worked on it on and off for years. I then wrote my 120K (it’s now 115K after a revision) sci-fi in four weeks. My first Regency took longer than that, can’t remember how long. My second took about six weeks. But the last two, my 50K third regency, took just under a month, and my 85K paranormal romance, was written in 19 days. And you’re wondering why the heck I am telling you about all the others, when the question was for just the first? Because this is my interview, and I want to! *holds breath and stomps foot* I guess what I am saying is, I am shocked I was able to write those last two books at all. I had just started the third Regency romance when my mom died while on vacation. After that I didn’t think I could write, but I buried myself in it. As long as I was writing, I wasn’t thinking about it.
5. How long did it take you to publish it?
I haven’t tried to get the first one published yet. I was sending the sci-fi out to prospective publishers and then two romances at the same time.
6. How many times did it get rejected before it got published?
The sci-fi . . . sent to three big name publishers. The first one wasn’t interested but asked to see other work, I’m pretty sure they say that to everyone. The next one, never heard back from them. Does that count as a rejection? They must have lost it. I did send them an email, but they never responded to that either. The third, that I will remark on in worst rejection. After that I sent to three at the same time, with one accepting. BUT my romance got picked up first. I sent to a long list of publishers that accepted simultaneous submissions, and within a few hours I received a request to see the full ms. Then in 9 days it was accepted.
7. Describe your worst rejection letter.
I had just started a medieval fantasy, had just finished the research and was nicely fleshing out this chapter right in the middle, don’t know why I started in the middle, when I received this letter, I won’t say who from, but anyone that has received one from them will recognize it. It stated that, and it is burned into my memory for life, in order to publish a first time author their work has to be truly exceptional, and this isn’t. Yep, you are probably thinking now what I was thinking then. Reading those words killed all creativity in me and I instantly stopped writing, and didn’t write for years after that. There was no reason for them to say that in the way that they did. They could have said, we’re not interested, or this isn’t what we are looking for just now, or we are going to pass, or something like that. Yes I would have been disappointed, but I would have shrugged it off and kept on. But this? This got unnecessarily personal and nasty. Also, I don’t need to hear what ‘they’ think is wrong with it. I am not going to completely rewrite my story to suit someone else’s idea of how it should be. That would no longer be ‘my’ story. It would be their version of my story. So I figured I would just keep sending it until someone liked it the way ‘I’ wrote it. Yep, I am digressing again . . . hang me up by my thumbs!
8. Describe the best news you ever got in your writing life and how it felt.
I have had numerous poems published and received an editor’s choice award, and was asked to submit a poem for publications several times. But I would have to say that receiving my first acceptance for one of my novels would have to be it. It was like, am I reading this correctly? They actually liked it? And want to publish it? That is a feeling only another author can understand. That I can only experience that once . . . *sighs and smiles*
9. What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got?
I better not say, because they might be reading this. *looks over shoulder*
10. Now, tell us the best.
During that period, when my creativity was killed (and I know there are people out there that will say, that is part of this business, get over it and move on, why don’t ya?!) my mom was constantly encouraging me to go back to writing. That she is not here to experience this with me now, pains me profoundly. That I cannot share all aspects of this with her, for her to see my first book come out. I had written a dedication to her and my dad in my first regency. It was to be a surprise, thanking them for their encouragement and for believing in me. I never told her about it. When I sat at her bedside, while she lay dying, I did tell her. I can only hope she heard me.
11. What’s the one thing you would want an aspiring writer to take away from your personal path to publication?
I think this has been voiced by others already. Never give up. You will probably get rejections, and they will hurt. Hopefully, you will be able to brush yourself off and keep on going.
Reach Lauren here: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLaurenHunterMy Blog: http://laurenhunter-1.blogspot.com/
The Coffee Shop
Coming October 14, 2011, under the Thalia imprint from Musa Publishing
From the moment Derrick Sloane and Annie Maddock met there was an instant connection. They date for five months, growing closer every day.
Only Derrick wakes up to discover the entire five month relationship was nothing more than a dream. Or was it? For when he goes to the coffee shop who should be there but Annie, just as in his dream. Derrick soon realizes he was seeing a relationship with Annie five months into the future. That night the dream continues right where it left off, five months in the future, but his meeting with Annie that day has altered the timeline. Every day he spends with Annie, he continues to alter the timeline of his future. Although Derrick tries desperately to put everything back to the way it was in his dream, every attempt just makes it worse.
And when he is shown two alternate timelines, he must now make the most difficult decision of his life.
Lauren is always pleased to meet new fans and to help and assist new authors....I should know. I'm one of those new authors she befriended! Get in contact with her via facebook or over at her blog. You'll be making a friend for life! Just be prepared to be stunned by her energy....the woman has bucketloads!
MORE BOOKS COMING SOON
From a Distance Coming Nov. 18, 2011 under the Aurora imprint from Musa Publishing
Sarah's Story Coming Soon under the Aurora imprint from Musa Publishing
Mine Own Heart Coming Soon under the Aurora imprint from Musa Publishing
Horror Short Story
Laura by E. H. James Coming soon under the Urania imprint from Musa Publishing