Writer Interview-Laurel S. Peterson

Tell me about your latest book.Do_You_Expect_Your_Art_to_Answer Cover

My latest book is a collection of poetry based on artwork: Do You Expect Your Art to Answer? (Futurecycle Press, 2017). My husband and I love to travel, and we look at a lot of art. The book documents my perceptions, interactions, and ideas about the works I’ve seen, including Chadri (burqas) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; a horse painting by Picasso in Madrid; and a handwoven Navajo rug in Santa Fe.

 

The book previous to that is a mystery novel, Shadow Notes (Barking Rain Press, 2016). Shadow Notes Cover compressedIt’s about a landscape architect, Clara Montague, with terrible mother issues, who has to come home after fifteen years away because she has a dream her mother is in trouble. A few days after her return, her mother is arrested for murder. Did she do it? And what does the mother’s history with the local politician have to do with anything? The book is set in wealthy Fairfield County, Connecticut, where it’s all about how shiny your new ___________ is.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently acting as my town’s poet laureate, in the second year of a two-year term. That’s the highest creative priority at the moment. I’m lucky to have a job teaching, so I get my summers off, which gives me space to write. I am working on a book of poems about piloting and the stars, what it means to float up there in the sky, and what it means to land. I’m also finishing my second mystery novel, which also features Clara, above. Given the number of projects I get myself involved in, I’m a little behind.

Who are your writing role models?

What an interesting question. I have writers I admire, but I’m not sure I ever thought of them as role models, even though they most assuredly are. I admire Sara Paretsky because she interweaves political issues with strong mysteries and an intelligent female P.I. I admire Sue Grafton for her incredible productivity, and for trying new forms and approaches in each of her Kinsey Millhone novels. I love poet Mark Doty for his language and his attempt to connect with life on a deeper level. I  love travel writer Colin Thubron for his gorgeous depictions of the world he’s walking through. I love poet Billy Collins for his wit, poet Claudia Rankine for making me think about race, mystery writer Jo Nesbo for scaring me half to death. And I love Jonathan Franzen for going on and on and on, because he challenges me to look more closely. So many wonderful writers out there to make me think about things in a new way.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?www.utechristinphotography.com

Balance? What’s that?  A friend of mine once commented that we were rarely in balance; it was more about getting into and out of it over and over, like a see saw. I tend to see my life more in those terms. I write a lot in the summer, from two to six hours a day, depending on where I am in a manuscript and how much work (play) there is to do in the garden. I can maintain a fairly regular writing schedule into early October, and then the college essays needing to be graded start to pile up.  I’ll write on and off until the end of the semester, and then write over the Christmas break, mostly in January and February, until the semester heats up again.  “People” say one is supposed to write every day, but I just don’t have the time or the mental space when the semester is busy.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

My husband is a Francophile, so we’ve visited France a number of times. We have family in Australia and Canada, and we love Central Coast California wineries. We also have a house in Vermont where we spend time on weekends and in the summer.  We live close to New York City, so we maintain memberships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art; we like films, hiking with our dog, botanical gardens, hosting dinner parties, reading (!), drinking coffee on the back deck on summer mornings, gardening… Life has so much beauty to offer, and we are so lucky to be in a place where we can enjoy it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t put off doing what you love, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Find things in the world that bring you joy. Listen, even to people with whom you don’t agree. Read things that make you cringe—in order to understand and to think. Never stop looking for something to challenge you. Act from love, rather than rage or fear.

And thank you so much, Susan, for hosting me on your beautiful blog. I am so honored to be here.

Come find me on Twitter @laurelwriter49, on Facebook or at my website: www.laurelpeterson.com.  Thanks for dropping by!

Can a Basket Save the World?

img_0426Whether you’re a glass half-full or half-empty type of person, most people would agree that there are many problems in the world.  Any attempts to solve the problems are sometimes overlooked in the ongoing debate as to cause or fault.  Sometimes our own daily challenges with life make it seem impossible to take on one more problem particularly one of global magnitude.

At a women’s retreat I agreed to contribute a prize for the raffle table and searched for a basket and items that would pair well with Ever After.  I had fun hunting for fairy tale-themed items suitable for a grown-up princess, a sparkly crown ornament, a coloring book filled with fairies and dragons, herbal tea and Godiva chocolate.  The wand proved to be elusive; all likely options were either too short or cheap looking. Then I found a glow stick topped with a butterfly and it was perfect.

When I saw my basket among the raffle prizes I was stunned.  Four tables of baskets, gift certificates and original artwork lined completely lined one wall.  During breaks women “shopped” the raffle table, perusing their choices then distributing their raffle tickets for a chance to win their favorite prize. The raffle was held the final morning among much cheering. Thanks to some ingenuity and craft, a group of 60 women raised $1,700 for Awaken, a Reno non-profit  which has done so much to restore lives damaged by sex trafficking, a global problem with a local presence that is disturbingly close to home.

Faced with overwhelming odds, many people would hesitate at the idea of taking up a sword and charging off to face the world’s battles. Many of the world’s problems are complex and rarely solved with a quick solution. A basket may not be the right choice solving for all of the world’s problems, but it’s a good starting point for some of them.

A Tale of Two Talks

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With Ellen Hopkins after Microtalk event at Grassroots.

I recently attended two events featuring local writers.   Both intended to illuminate the journey of community movers and shakers in hopes of inspiring others.  While both events were well-attended only one was a success, the other a disappointment.

The flop was held at a trendy bar to a standing room only crowd.  A local author would interview four  Reno-well-knowns about their creative journey.  The main event was held in a room adjacent to the bar which was packed well before the event started.  Those at the bar could watch the interview unfold on the TV screen. While there’s nothing like watching a playoff game in a crowded bar, a talking head interview doesn’t have the same intensity.  I could have just have easily watched the same interview while settled in my favorite chair with better popcorn at home on a public access channel.

Adding to the disconnect our host gave such an in-depth introduction of his first speaker, that when she finally spoke it seemed like old news.  Or maybe it was the slow pacing of the Q&A format.  In any case, despite the fact that the saison on tap was delightful, I couldn’t stay for another speaker or even a second round.  I expect according to the bar receipts this event was a success, but in terms of human connection it was a failure.

The Microtalk event at Grassroots Books was a completely different story (not just because I had the chance to meet Ellen Hopkins-though that was a highlight for me).  The event was free, but required reservations which allowed Grassroots to gauge crowd control and adjust logistics if needed.

The speaker line-up featured  Molly Sheridan, from Desert Sky Adventures,  Rebekah Stetson of Urban Roots and NY Times Best Selling Author, Ellen Hopkins.  Their host gave a concise intro for each speaker. Each speaker had 15 minutes which allowed them to share their stories with time for questions from the audience.  With the speakers touching on such topics ranging from running in the Himalayas to organic farming to addiction’s impact on families –how could you not want to learn more?

The pacing of the event allowed plenty of time for audience members to chat with the speakers afterwards (and book signing). And for those longing for even more discussion, Grassroots hosted an after party off-site open to all.  I drove home after the Microtalk feeling engaged and inspired.  Sometimes the less is more approach is what works best.

Writer Interview-Stanalei Fletcher

Dead Reckoning (Northstar Security Series)

Tell me about your latest book.

Dead Reckoning is the second book in the Northstar Security Series. It tells the story of Kellee O’Neal, the daughter of Northstar’s director, who is missing after a devastating hurricane and how her father sends one of his best agents to locate her and protect her from an unknown threat. For readers who enjoy the series, this story offers more background into the Northstar Security Firm.

What’s next for you?

Next up, is Beyond Duty, book 3 in the Northstar Security Series. This story gives Northstar fans a look into the life the director’s son, Riley O’Neal, who is tapped for taking over the security firm someday.

Who are your writing role models?

When it comes to work ethic, I don’t know that anyone can top Nora Roberts. I love RaeAnne Thayne for pulling deep story emotion to the surface, when it comes to sheer enthusiasm for writing, I think Susan Elizabeth Phillips tops the list. And of course, Alistair MacLean for his unparalleled story-telling style.

 How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?

I have a full time job, plus we just added a new family member, so it’s been a busy start to the new year, already. But I have an established set of nights, plus most Saturdays that are set aside for my writing time. I do my best to stay committed to that schedule or I find my writing suffers.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

Does spending time with my husband count? We love to take drives and listen to audio stories. I used to train regularly in Aikido, a Japanese martial arts, but I’ve traded training time for writing time. I still love to watch training videos and martial arts movies and try to work out the techniques used. I also garden with my husband from spring to fall – planting, tending and harvesting. Fortunately, the garden isn’t huge, but it produces most of our best meals during the summer. And then there’s the grandkids, their baseball and football games. Typically, there are not enough hours in the day, however, I’d rather stay busy with more to do than less—it makes those moments when I can sit out on back porch during the summer watch the sunset all the more sweeter.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

If your readers enjoy a bit of action and suspense and romance, they might enjoy the stories from Northstar Security Series. Each book is written as a standalone and do not need to be read in order, although as I introduce characters from earlier books, they do make an appearance in subsequent stories.

Thank you Susan for opening your blog and sharing your audience today. I enjoyed my visit.

Dead Reckoning Blurb:

Egan Maddox isn’t sure he’s the right man for the job when Northstar director, Byron O’Neal, asks him to find his missing daughter and protect her from an unknown danger. Egan’s never shaken off his attraction to Kellee O’Neal and hiding away with her, could be more than trouble than this former Navy SEAL can handle.

Kellee is lost, with no memory, and believes someone wants to hurt her. When Egan appears and seems to know her, he convinces her she’ll be safe with him. As her memories resurface, she turns to Egan for comfort, and her youthful crush transforms into a womanly passion she can’t deny.

With the Russian Mafia closing in, Kellee learns her entire life has been a lie. How can her love for Egan be enough to help her navigate the murky waters of her past and prove that her heritage doesn’t matter as much as the woman she’s become?

Buy-links:

The Wild Rose Press –ebook

Amazon.com

Barnes and Noble

iBook/iTunes

http://stanaleifletcher.com/

 

Coming Attractions

SW Ever After KindleEver After is currently on sale as a Kindle Countdown title until February 14th at 12:00AM PST and we have some fun posts in the works this week.

Curious about what happens at a TED event? Check out my February 9th post.

Do you love romantic intrigue? Stop by when Stanalei Fletcher chats about her latest release on February 13th.

Ever After

Roz Parker is worried by her husband’s moodiness and frequent trips to the gym. Is Dave on the treadmill or simply running around?

While her husband is away on business, Eden Jones discovers that their accounts have been completely wiped out. Will Alan return or has he disappeared along with all of their money?

In the face of crisis two childhood friends re-ignite their friendship and discover which magic truly lasts.

Writer Interview-Mary Frame

Mary EB

Tell me about your latest book.  Imperfectly Criminal is a New Adult Romantic Comedy with a dash of murder/mystery. It’s a companion novel to my first book, Imperfect Chemistry.

Freya Morgan thought it would be a great idea to hire the bad boy on campus to beat up her douchebag ex-boyfriend after he cheated on her and treated her like crap. Fast forward a few months, and the bad boy she hired is in trouble and it’s sort of her fault. After all, she started the trend of all the ladies on campus hiring him to do their dirty work. Now, two of the boys he was hired to beat are dead and he’s the prime suspect.

What’s next for you? Good question. If you find out, let me know 😛 actually, I am working (i.e. struggling) on a novella to go along with the two books in the Imperfect Series. However, ever since I finished Imperfectly Criminal, I’ve been bouncing around from one idea to another, without anything sticking. Hopefully, I can get rid of the bookish ADD and get something accomplished soon!

Who are your writing role models? That’s a very good question! I seriously love pretty much every writer I’ve ever met. I’ve been lucky that I know a lot of talented and uber-supportive writers. I love Colleen Hoover because she’s so successful, and yet so classy and definitely pays it forward to other writers.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life? Writing is like anything else: if you really want to do it, you find the time. I think it starts with knowing when you work best. I’m most clearheaded in the morning, so I get up early and write before work. But, I know other writers who are night owls, and they are able to bang out words after they work or their tasks are done for the day.

Also it’s very easy to multitask. I bring my lap top with me when I have to go to the doctor’s office, DMV, or anywhere else that I’ll be hanging around with not much to do. Half of the battle when you’re writing is working through plot lines or character arcs, which I do in my head when I’m at the gym, in the shower, doing chores around the house, driving, etc. I have a notepad app on my phone that I use when I want to jot something down to remember, and there are pens and notepads all over my house. Gotta love technology.

What are your other passions outside of writing? I minored in dance in college, and I still love it even though I haven’t been able to do it in a while. I also love cooking, camping, and hanging out with my crazy monster children.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? Both Imperfect Chemistry and Imperfectly Criminal are available in both ebook and paperback format. They are both stand-alone novels, but feature mutual characters. I love writing books that make people laugh, and creating characters that have unique voices. I also LOVE hearing from readers, so please don’t be shy and drop me a line! maryframeauthor@gmail.com

Find my blog at http://marewolf.blogspot.com

Imperfectly Criminal Buy Links:

Amazon:
B&N:
Smashwords:
Kobo:

Imperfect Chemistry Buy Links:

Amazon:

B&N:

Smashwords:

Kobo: