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Author Interview: Lauren Lynne

December 20, 2016

This is the third interview in my series of Author Interviews. And boy, this one was fun, we packed a lot in here. Pull up a chair, sit back and relax. Enjoy reading.

Introducing Lauren Lynne, author of The Secret Watcher Series.

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There are five books in the Secret Watchers series.

Visions, Whispers, Insights, Perceptions & Destiny

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Imagine if you will a junk shop, or at least that’s my first impression when I enter. Everything smells a bit musty and greasy though everything looks clean. I run my fingers across the top of the counter – no dust. It smells like boys in here!

I have a strange feeling as I walked inside. I didn’t want to mention it but you know that feeling you get when you know something is going to happen? Weird right? Two chairs have been pulled up to a spot by the wall…

Hi Lauren, so good of you to give us your time today.

First up, tell us a bit about yourself.

I do have a “day” job. I have taken a step away from teaching the last couple of years and I’m using my education background in a new way. I work for Dassault Systemes as part of their education department doing technical writing reviews of the education content they create. My schedule is… well, not scheduled. I work from home, so if I need to help out my parents or kids I’m available to do that. I can also squeeze in book signings and school visits. In my free time, I write, do research, hike, take pictures, garden, bake, and read. I keep telling myself that I need a schedule or a plan, then something else comes up and I think… maybe tomorrow. I do like a certain amount of routine, but I guess I love flexibility more.

Gosh, what free time? You are amazing.

Now, tell me about your writing…

I am mostly a seat of my pants kind of writer. I do some planning, but I don’t have charts and graphs all over my office. I have a big idea when I start, then I write scenes as they come to me, and finally I weave them together. I’m looking forward to a time when I can spend more time writing because I have more ideas going than I have time to develop right now. Regardless, I write them all down so I can come back to them later. Lately, I’ve been leaping around among a bunch of story ideas. I know that I need to buckle down and focus on one so that I’ll have a book ready for 2018.

What age were you when you started?

I did not write any published works until Visions in 2012 though I was writing stories when I was in elementary school.

Ha! Me too. How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I never thought of myself as a writer. I was always a pleaser by nature and so, often as a young person, writing ideas were given to me and were nothing I was interested in. I don’t enjoy writing what other people tell me to. I discovered along the way that when I’m left to my own devices I can create some interesting stuff and I have a really good time doing it. I am an only child, so I have a big imagination – I’ve just finally put it to good use.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Oh, my gosh! I was totally into Nancy Drew! The thought of a young girl solving mysteries was enthralling. I also loved the Little House on the Prairie series. I wonder if they didn’t speak to me because one of my grandmothers grew up on the Kansas prairie in a sod house. I always loved hearing the stories of her childhood.    

Oh me too, I was a big Nancy Drew girl. Your favorite book as an adult?

I like to read Janet Evanovich because I laugh out loud when I read her books. Her Stephanie Plum character is my favorite. I also like Victoria Laurie. She writes Abby Cooper Psychic Eye and the Ghost Hunter series. Maybe though, my true favorites are the Harry Potter and the Hunger Games series because I have read them several times.

I have never laughed so hard on the train than I did with a Janet Evanovich book!

Tell me a bit about the Watcher Series? How did you come up with the idea?

I first had the crazy notion of writing a book because I had extra time on my hands and I am not one to just sit around. I was watching a movie and I was not pleased with the choices the protagonist made. I thought – I would do that differently, so I sat down and started writing and changing that character’s life to make it a better life than the cards he was dealt in the other author’s story. I also wanted to help 5th through 12th-grade boys to find a story that would draw them in and keep them captive to the end of the book. In 2012, my boys were a junior in high school and an 8th grader so they were a perfect age to draw data from. We talked about our favorite books and how to make this story different from what was out there.

Many boys in middle school feel like they just don’t fit. What a challenging age it is – to be between a child and an adult – you are neither and both all at once. You are discovering who you are in a world that is often telling you what you should do. I targeted Jacob Black from Twilight as my face, I gave him a new name, background, and abilities, then off I went. I created a boy with the potential to do amazing things just like I have seen in my own boys, their friends, and so many of my students.

I gave Owen the ability to see bad things that had happened to people in visions so that he could make the world a better place. He would be able to sense darkness and be drawn to it as the defender of the weak and innocent. He would come to know evil so that he could stand against it. This boy, who doesn’t believe in himself, finds that he is the guardian, the watcher, and protector who must fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. Owen quickly learns that even though his own dad doesn’t believe in him and what he can do, others not only believe but also support him. He learns that he must choose his path, as we all must. There’s nothing like some angst and drama to build up our passion for a character and Owen is surrounded by plenty of both.  

Have you always wanted to write YA fantasy?

Nah, I wanted to be an ice skater, thank you, Dorothy Hamill. Then I wanted to be an engineer because my dad, uncle, and both my grandfathers were – I was overly practical for a middle schooler. I was good at science, especially biology so instead of being an electrical or mechanical engineer I would be a biomedical engineer, I decided in high school. I soon discovered that physics, inorganic chemistry, and physiology were not my passions, so after trying engineering and then pharmacy for a year each, I fell into the profession I swore I’d never go into… teaching. I discovered that I love to work with young minds excited to learn. Three degrees in education later, I finally found writing. It’s the best therapy I’ve ever had. Someday I hope to write full time. I still love working with eager minds but I don’t love teaching them in batches of 35 to 42. You just can’t give them all what they need and the strain of trying is exhausting.

Tell me about it! (Yup, I was once a teacher too… didn’t last long though.) J

Was Owen based on anyone you know?

Hee, hee, hee. Yep!  Owen is a little bit Harry Potter, a dash of Percy Jackson, and a touch of Alex Rider. Add a splash of Jacob Black and then a great big dollop of my boys and some of my favorite students. He is everyone and no one in particular. My younger son loves to joke that he doesn’t need to read the Secret Watcher series because he’s already lived it though he has read many early drafts, as has my older son and a few of their friends. What Owen says and how he says it, is just what my boys say. I steal shamelessly from their spoken words on a regular basis.

What was your writing process?

I start with an idea. Next, I write a scene or a character description. Then I think about what the end point of the story will be and what the big problem is. Next, I start working on the big plot points and what the character needs to go through to solve their end problem. Finally, I blend all the pieces together. Sometimes I change the order of the scenes, feeling that something needs to happen sooner or later in the storyline, but often, the story flows out of me in a linear fashion.

How long did it take to write each book of the five?

In the early days, I was subbing and my school district was laying off teachers and using them as subs, so I suddenly had time on my hands. I turned all that extra energy into writing. Today, I am much slower. It takes me a year or so to turn out a book because I have so little time to write. When my boys were little, I thought that life would slow down when they got older; boy was I wrong! Time seems to slip through my fingers like wet watermelon seeds in summer. I am very much looking forward to a time in life where more writing can happen.

Okay, here is a tough question for you… Which is your favorite out of the five Secret Watcher books?

You’re right, that is tough. There is something that I love about each of them. I believe I am growing as a writer. My first book will always have a special place in my heart like your first love, but book five is my favorite. Owen has come so far and gone through so much – you can really see who he is and who he will be.

Who is your favorite character from the Watcher series?

Well, Owen of course. He is tough, brave, strong, and imperfect. He gets angry and loves people deeply. He has a big heart and integrity. Marlo runs a close second. He is super dear to my heart as the lovable nerd in the story. Marlo is an only child like I am, so he throws out these bits of strangely adult advice for his age. As a little kid, I often felt more comfortable conversing with adults so I truly “get” Marlo. He is also a big part of the comic relief. Marlo is courageous enough to stand up to Owen when he needs it.

Now I happen to know you have a new series that you are writing, can you give us a hint about Book One?

You are adorable, Miss Laurie! Would you like to know how she knows about this project? She volunteered to be an early reader for my very first leap into a new genre. Laurie is monstrously brave! She was also incredibly helpful because she was drawn to things that no one else had noticed and I will be eternally grateful to her and her wonderful eye for how things should come together for a reader.

This book began with a nightmare – no, really! I got up in the middle of the night and began writing about it instead of rolling over and trying to go back to sleep. I finally ran out of words as the sun was just kissing the horizon. The Recalcitrant Project is a young adult dystopian novel. It is the story of Elise Andrek, a seventeen-year-old student in a society where things look lovely but have gone very wrong. Her almost photographic memory leads her to realize that what the government tells its citizens is not what they are really doing. Elise has trained her whole life to be part of the technology division and she has become amazingly skilled at solving system glitches and building game scenarios. Because of this gift, she is soon seeing glimpses of the underside of society – the things the government does not want its citizens to know.

About this same time, the government decides to kill two birds with one stone. They decided to quiet the Recalcitrants who are starting to rise up against the government and get rid of Elise, the girl who knows too much, by running her year group through a whole different kind of school culminating activity. Instead of proving what they have learned in the workplace, the students are dumped in the underground caverns where those who are not part of society eke out a living. When they don’t die fast enough from traps and hardship, the black-uniformed Public Safety personnel are released for some live target practice. The government wants her dead and the Recalcitrants want her to build a system for them. Elise wields more power than she even knows or understands, yet she knows that she doesn’t want any group to hold too much power so that they could control others. Elise believes that each person should be in charge of themselves.  

Thank you for those kind words Lauren! A dream? Seriously? That is very cool… then again, what a creepy dream! I have to say… I am REALLY looking forward to this one coming out. Word up people, keep an eye out for the Recalcitrant Project. Do let me know when the cover is revealed Lauren.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book?

To quote the Nike company… “Just do it!”  I know that the more you write the better you get. Dig in and write something – anything, just get started. Here are some tips from my website.

1) Carry a notebook and pen wherever you go! You never know when an idea will strike.

2) Be outgoing and friendly – even if you’re not!  Put your best face forward to the public. It may sound weird but it’s the first step to being able to talk about your book.

3) Build a website and add new content as often as you can with the goal of once or twice a week. I have not been good at this part this last year. If I have free time, I’m writing.

4) Learn social media.

5) Schedule some writing time. Try not to spend more time on social media than you do on your writing. All the articles I’ve read say that the best thing you can do is write more books.

6) If Tip 3 had you feeling over whelmed… breathe. Ask someone to do a guest post, ask to repost an article you like, or interview a fellow author.

7) It’s okay to let it all go and just write! After all, the more you publish the better your books sell. (Most articles I’ve read suggest that writing more and marketing less is just fine!)

Thank you for your time today Lauren.

 

Wow, that was fun. I’m happy to get out of that little back room though. There were all sorts of exercise equipment and tape – like boxers use on their hands. And that sweaty boy smell. Phew! Funny, that strange feeling is back. I glance over my shoulder…

 

A bit about Lauren

I’m author Lauren Lynne.  The good side of growing up is that you can write whatever you want.  The downside… now I can’t read it without my glasses!  I have the soul of an adventurer but when it comes to actual danger, I’m timid.  I must be an armchair adventure hound since I’m drawn to suspense, intrigue, and action when it comes to reading, writing, and film. 

I spent my childhood in Milwaukie, Oregon and I’m a graduate of both Oregon State University and Portland State University with degrees in education.  I’ve been passionate about reading my whole life, but my professional writing is a more recent adventure.  For my sons and my students, I wrote The Secret Watchers series.  I do plan to revisit the children’s book I began back in 2003 and the fantasy novel I started back in 1990 when I was a student at Oregon State.  There are also two different middle grade stories in various stages of completion waiting for my attention.  Writing for young people is a perfect fit. I love to teach young people and I am, after all, a big kid at heart. I still brainstorm with my boys who have grown into adults during my writing career. 

When I’m not writing, I can be found spending time with my family, working with students, reading, gardening, baking, or hiking around Mt. Hood, the Columbia River Gorge or the Oregon Coast with my camera. 

Some of my favorite reads over the years have been:  Nancy Drew, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, Victoria Laurie’s Ghost Hunters and Abby Cooper Psychic Eye, cozy mysteries, Little House on the Prairie, Dragonlance, Heralds of Valdemar, and Alex Rider.  All of these have had their part in inspiring me to write and publish The Secret Watchers series and my future works.  My wish is that readers have nearly as much fun reading them as I’ve had writing them.  If you’re from the Pacific Northwest, you may recognize several of the locations that Owen and some of my other characters visit. 

You can find Lauren at http://laurenlynneauthor.com/

Facebook http://facebook.com/LaurenLynneAuthor

Twitter http://Twitter.com/LLynneAuthor

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5808133.Lauren_Lynne

Pinterest  http://www.pinterest.com/laurenlynneYA/

Add me to your circles http://plus.google.com/+LaurenLynne/about

Email LaurenLynneAuthor@gmail.com                                 

LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/pub/lauren-walker/4a/3/bb4

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtts8vMLY9fFREf8HRY6nbQ

 

If you would like to read any of my reviews of Lauren’s Watcher series go to any of the below links

Visions, Whispers, Insights, Perceptions, Destiny

and look out for The Recalcitrant Project

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7 Comments
  1. Super interview, Laurie. Good to get to know Lauren a bit better.

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