Monday, February 20, 2012

On Writing Author Interview: Laurie Boris

To avoid pre-conceived notions which can sometimes be connected with certain genres, the number of books published and/or an author's appearance, none of that information will be revealed until the bottom of the interview.   So pour a cup of coffee, have a seat, and check out this interview - see how much, or how little, you have in common with this published author.

What is your favorite part of being a writer?
I love disappearing into a universe of characters and following them around. Everything else—pain, injuries, rejection—falls away and I’m in bliss.

What is your least favorite part?
Walking away from it to take care of the other things in my life. When I worked full-time out of the house, I would get so sad when my writing time was over, and I had to put on my pantyhose and heels and get in the car. I felt like I was being wrenched away. Also, I’m not too wild about writing the synopsis. It’s like trying to make a stone lactate.

Name one obstacle you’ve had to overcome.
I have occasional hand pain…occupational hazard. So I now dictate much of my writing. The program doesn’t always understand me, which has led to some amusing misinterpretations.

Is there a specific part of your writing you’re working on to improve?
I’m working to bring place in more as a character. I love novels that are so lush with setting you can practically smell the bougainvillea. Pat Conroy and Joyce Carol Oates do this so well.

What part of your writing makes you particularly proud?
I’ve been told my dialogue is spot-on and snappy. I think that comes from listening to the way people talk. Why not - I’ve been eavesdropping for years!

What does your favorite main character have in common with you?
We are both snarky, with crazy hair and little tolerance for authority.

Do you do a lot of research for your projects or do you only write about what you already know?
A little of both. I let my subconscious and the characters tell the story, and I research after the first draft to fill in and expand. Oddly, I’ve found that I’m about 80% spot-on the first time. Guess I’ve absorbed more than I know!

How do you use the internet for your writing?
I go to “Mama Google” to research facts. I’m involved with several online writing groups, and I ask for suggestions when I’m stuck. I also go to Grammar Girl when I have a brain freeze and can’t remember when to use “lay” or “lie.”

If you’ve won any awards for your writing, what impact do you think that has had? 
They’ve spurred me on to write more and better. Nothing like positive reinforcement!

What one marketing tool have you had good success with?
Social media (especially Facebook and Twitter) have been kind. They’re great places to build a community, get the word out when I have an event or new release, or to tease interest with a quote or link to a sample.

What good writing habits have you developed that you think would be helpful to someone starting out?
Daily practice, even if it’s just a few minutes. Do something consistently. Be fierce about protecting your writing time and “train” the people in your life to respect it.

Do you have any bad writing habits that you’d advise writers to avoid?
The flip side of my great marketing tools…spending too much time on social media! I adore my online friends, but Facebook and Twitter can be addictive. Really eats up the writing time if I’m not disciplined.

Do you have any strange writing habits?
I simply cannot start writing until I’ve made an animal sacrifice to my muse and my blood caffeine/sugar level is at an optimal balance. Just kidding. I have a few quirks. I need total silence to write. My husband works at home, with the TV on, and if he’s making too much noise, I’ll use earplugs. Also, I don’t like too much clutter behind my computer. My whole room is a ridiculous mess, but the area just behind the computer is nearly bare. Pink walls. And a plush penguin. I collect them.

When you’re not writing, do you read, and if so, what?
I am addicted to reading, so I’m always reading something. My favorites are historical fiction, literary fiction, and comic romances.

What are you trying to accomplish with/through your writing?
It’s the only activity that I seriously, truly, completely love doing. Even the sucky parts. I can’t imagine not having this outlet in my life. I think I was put here to tell other people’s stories. Story is the glue that binds us and helps us understand each other. I also love to entertain and make people laugh.

What words of wisdom do you have for young writers?
Try not to be too hard on yourself. We all have to start somewhere, and you might have to write a lot of crap before you find your own voice. If you are serious about writing, find a writing group. Not only will this help you improve your writing, it will help you learn how to take criticism gracefully and productively. You’ll also learn how to help other writers with their work. It’s really great to have support, and to learn how to reciprocate when another writer helps you.

What advice do you have for someone looking to get published?
Don’t give up. The rejections will get easier to take. But don’t start the publication process until your manuscript is as good and as polished as you can make it. If you can’t afford a professional editor or proofreader, find a writer with good grammar and/or editing chops (remember, you’ve been supporting those other writers in your critique groups?) and offer to trade. It can really hurt your credibility send your baby out into the world with poor grammar, misspellings, and factual errors.

Any thoughts on what this author writes?  How many books published?  Here's a little more information about the author...
How many published books are to your credit?  Two.

Do you have an agent?   No.

Are you self-published?  One of my books is.

How many different companies have you published with?  One.

How long have you been writing?   About 25 years.

Do you write full-time? If not, what is your other job? And how do you balance work/writing?
I work part-time as a freelance writer, and part-time on my own writing. Finding a balance has been difficult. Since I write best first thing in the morning, that’s when I do the fiction, whether it’s mine or for a client. I divide up my other tasks by day parts that suit my energy. I have fibromyalgia, which is very well controlled, but I still need to pace myself. I don’t have kids or pets, and for the most part, my husband is self-perpetuating (and very supportive) so I can pretty easily make time to write and ignore the housework.

So, any thoughts?  Here's the full scoop:

In Author Laurie Boris’ own words:  I've always been fascinated with words. As a toddler, I scrawled them on my sheets with crayon. As a young child, I nabbed encyclopedia volumes off the shelves and taught myself how to read. I wrote for my high school literary magazine and newspaper, and while I embarked on a career as a graphic designer after college, I still kept a journal and grabbed any opportunity to write on the job. On a break between assignments, I renewed my love for fiction, and wrote a bunch of horribly bad short stories. Eventually, I got better, got published, won a couple of awards, and started to write a novel on a dare from my husband. I showed him–I completed that one and wrote eight more. When I'm not writing, I like to cook, read, and watch baseball—not necessarily in that order, and in varying combinations.

Laurie’s titles include:  The Joke’s on Me: contemporary novel with romantic subplot; and Drawing Breath: literary novel in serial installments 

You can find Author Laurie Boris’ books available for order from your favorite flesh-and-blood bookstore or at, Barnes & Noble, or the 4RV Publishing web site.

THE FUTURE What are you working on now?
The continuing story of Drawing Breath, and The C Word, a novel that began as a NaNoWriMo project. That’s all I can say for now. According to my lawyers.

Anything else about being a writer that you’d like to share?
Writing can be maddening. You’ll get characters who won’t behave, plot threads that won’t tie, sudden brain freezes, and loads of rejection and criticism. It’s all part of the process, though, and I LOVE it. A thick hide and a sense of humor help.

You can learn more about Author Laurie Boris on her website:

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