It is with great pleasure that I welcome Lauri J Owen to my blog, author of fantasy romance_Fallen Embers_, the first in the Embers Series. Tell us a little bit about yourself please.
I am an Alaskan civil rights attorney, mother of a 7-year-old, and companion to several rescued cats. I spent the majority of my life in Idaho, a mostly rural northwestern state, but fell in love with Alaska after I moved here to practice law in 2006. The people are as magnificent as the majestic mountains that cradle and humble us, and I am ever amazed by both.
You've just had your first trip to the UK - how did you find it?
I really enjoyed my trip to the UK, and found myself utterly charmed by the people I met, people that, in large, are not so different from the people I've met in the US. Driving on the left managed to tie my stomach in knots nearly every time, but the chance to take in the rolling, green, quiet countryside made it worth every stitch. I found I love British tea, and British chocolate, and I enjoyed shopping at Tesco, but I couldn't bring myself to love the dressing used for salads. lol.
What inspires/inspired you to write?
During my adult years, I've written a great deal of nonfiction, and published some of it, but I didn't think I could write fiction, and, frankly, writing stories never really crossed my mind. About a year and a half ago, my younger sister, who has written fiction since she was a pre-teen, encouraged me to write a story that had been rolling around my head for more than a decade. It took some convincing on her part, but once I started, I literally could not stop, and since then, writing has become an obsession. Even when I'm not writing, I am thinking about my story -- the characters, the alternate Alaska -- and I am wanting to give them the fullness of life they beg from me. I read voraciously, but when I am actually writing, I can't. I don't know why. It's like, maybe, the reading was trying to fill the hole, but never quite could, and now that I am writing, it's exactly what I need. And when I write, I do little else, and finish the first draft in about a month. And yes; I also work full time.
How many rejections did you have before being published?
Oh, I gave up counting the rejections long before they stopped coming. Many. Many, many, many, as I am sure all authors receive. It's tough -- very tough.
You're published by Pearlsong Press. What are the worst and best things about being published?
The worst part of being published is that, like most all else, it's not enough. You think, naively, that once you find a publisher, all your worries are over, and you can just sit back and write. Ha, ha, ha. The truth is that there is a lot to do once a publisher buys a book, nearly all publicity-related, and that takes as much time and imagination, and often more, than the writing itself. It can be even more challenging if you're not naturally a people person, someone who loves interacting with all kinds of people and who feels compelled to strike up conversations and always be soft-selling your book. The best things, to me, about being published include that I know that people all over the world have and will enjoy my story, and I hope that they will take something valuable from my characters, and my story.
If you had the power of time travel, is there anything you would go back and change? Why/why not?
In the past, I often longed from the depths of my very soul that I could go back and avert some of the mistakes that I've made, but the truth is that I don't wish that anymore. Not at all. And the reason I don't is largely due to a lesson I learned from a story, which is itself an epiphany, I think. The story I mean is the episode titled "Tapestry" of _Star Trek: The Next Generation_. In that episode, Q sends Captain Picard back in time, back to just before an incident that Picard has regretted his entire life. Predictably, Picard chooses differently, but - and less predictably - Picard's entire life from that time forward changes. Substantially. He may have avoided a brutal fight, one that resulted in a knife in his heart, but he has been transformed into a risk-avoider, a product of his choices. A safer man, one less tortured, but one less bold -- and less brave as well. One who doesn't have the strength, and the power, to become a captain. The lesson, to me, was that while we may deeply regret, and even agonize over, the past, and our stupidity, those threads weave us into the persons we become. We cannot be who we are, good and bad, without them. And if I am worthwhile, and good, and compassionate, and empathetic, and other good things, then it is, in part, due to all the choices I made, good and bad. And so.
Any tips for aspiring authors?
If you have a story to tell, write. Take a chance. But keep in mind that it is work, the same as anything else that is worthwhile. Regardless of how trite it sounds, writing demands both blood and time. You must dedicate yourself to it. Make sacrifices for it. But don't fear it. Your first draft is going to be horrible, and you will laugh, or cry, or both when it is finished. But that's where it starts. You learn by doing. Read as much as you can in as many genres as you can interest yourself because a lot of what works will be in your head, even if you can't articulate exacts. Read, write, edit, and don't give up.
Some questions for fun: Chocolate or cheese?
A tough decision, but if I have to pick one, I'll take cheese
Riddick, Wolverine or Eric?
I love strong, tortured warrior men, and you have presented me with the devil's own choice. Frankly, and truly, I don't know if I can pick one between these three. I am madly in love with them all.
What super-power would you choose?
Ugh! I don't know! I would want super strength, and immortality, and maybe control over the elements. And wisdom. I don't need X-ray vision, or an icy ray, or telekinesis, or invisibility, or a mad sense of humor, or omnipotence. I would be an avenger - that much is certain.
_Feet of Clay_ by Terry Pratchett. That book sums up what matters most to me very profoundly, but then so do all of the Sam Vimes books.
Favourite genre and why?
Sci fi and fantasy, mixed with a healthy dose of romance, are what I find meaningful. Life is hard, and sad, and there simply isn't enough justice to go around. In this genre mix, things can be better because we imagine them so. In them, we get those second chances we would give anything - everything - for. In them, we can dream of righteousness, and learn the power of love, and making things better, and in the books I love, the good people always win. In short, this genre mix provides the perfect setting for larger imaginings, ones to grow those ideas that matter most, and in them, we can build formulas to make the world a better place.
Fushia - the color of utterly passionate love.
Upcoming news and plans for the future?
Book Two in the Embers Series, _Blowing Embers_, will be released in the summer of 2011. Within the month, I will begin writing book three, and I imagine there will be many before this series finishes. Katharine Kerr is one of the authors I most admire, and while I someday hope to emulate her skill, I believe I am lucky enough, or doomed, depending on your point of view, to write as prolifically as she does.
One final note: I have to give an enormous amount of credit to my two readers, the two persons who edit my books and provide both encouragement and feedback on not just nuts and bolts, but on what works and what doesn't, and the truth is that my books would be far less compelling, far less of everything, without their input. They deserve flashy medals, and trumpeting accolades, as they both do it,and do it well, for free.
Lauri, thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions and the best of luck with your writing. If you'd like to know more about Lauri, her books and keep up-to-date with the latest news, releases and her monthly book contest, you can visit her at her website here,
on her blog here or on her Facebook page here or follow on twitter @laurijowen.
Potential cover for _Blowing Embers_, book two in the series and due for release in summer 2011.
Potential book cover for _Rising Embers_, book three.
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