It’s my turn in the interview-go-round, and I hit the jackpot in getting to interview the multi-talented, multi-busy Ms Lauren McKellar. And why not! As one of the creators of this blog, and a genuinely gorgeous person, she’s already a star, but she’s also an author of amazing fiction, an editor and a new mum of the cutest and most determined distraction ever created – her gorgeous new baby boy.
Mind boggling, right? That’s exactly what I thought, and though I felt guilty adding to her pressures, I couldn’t wait to see what kept her going. Let’s have a look at what she had to say…
Lauren, you’re a such a busy lady and yet a very prolific author – what drives you each day to keep your career on track?
I just love writing! I always have, ever since I begged my parents to buy me blank lined notebooks when I was seven so I could write my stories down.
Now, with a three-month-old bub, writing time is a little harder to come by, but I find doing something, even just five minutes a day, actually helps keep me sane. It reminds me I’m still me, not just this totally consumed and in love mama!
Welcome to the MamaLove Club! It’s the Never-ending-story! But there’s another love we know about as well. You not only won the cover lottery – aren’t they the coolest covers!! – but your love for YA and NA shows in your beautiful stories . How you would describe the books you write. Is there a common denominator? Conscious or subconscious.
There definitely is! My little tagline is “Romance reads that make you feel”, but to be more specific, I think I write issue-driven pieces. When I was eighteen, my father passed away from cancer, and growing up, I’d always suffered from anxiety and low self-esteem. I think that’s why all my books deal with issues like that that many teens deal with.
Isn’t it wonderful that, from your own adversities, you can give faith to others through your books. And speaking of those books: Do you have a typical working day? Or a typical process for completing each novel?
My typical process is write the novel, delete it, and write it again. Or that’s how it feels sometimes! I definitely write best when I’m sticking to a daily goal. If I stop writing for a few weeks, I find it harder to get back into.
With that in mind – and maybe this is a version of the next-pretty-thing syndrome – but what’s your writing kryptonite? What’s the one thing you avoid when creating? Or that you know might send you off the rails?
I’m pretty cruisy. I don’t know if I have a kryptonite as such—I used to find it hard to write if I was reading a similar genre, but since I’m an editor as well as an author, I often don’t have much choice in what I read! I’ve got to say that if I’m really tired, I find it hard to create—but if I’m really, really tired, I end up writing some pretty okay stuff. Aside from that, my newborn child is kind of like my kryptonite, because keeping him alive requires a lot of work!
What do you consider to be the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Definitely the self-doubt. Constantly questioning yourself and wondering if you’re good enough and if people hate your work.
I saw this question somewhere else and it intrigued me – so I’m posing it to you: What’s the best money you’ve spent as an author? What’s been your most valuable investment?
What a great question! I’m going to say my membership in the RWA. I say this because not only of the inspirational conference sessions I’ve attended, but also the fabulous authors I’ve met and networked with.
Oh, and my laptop. Because der.
Ha! Der indeed. 😉 So, the ugly ‘P’ word. How much time do you set aside to promo and what’s your best advice?
Gosh, promo is hard! I never set aside enough time, and each release I promise myself I’ll do more! In an ideal world I’d do an hour a week. My best advice is to learn from others and find something that works for you. There are so many free courses out there, and great podcasts and seminars—Self-Publishing Formula 101, to give an example—and I think you can get a lot from those about how to achieve maximum reach for your spend.
The Talented Lauren McKellar – what does the future hold? Are there other things you secretly want to write? Other genres that call you in the night? I guess if it wasn’t YA/NA what would it be?
I’ve recently written some adult books, and I’ve really enjoyed my venture into being a grown-up! I can’t see myself ever straying from contemporary though—I have so much respect for everyone who writes spec fic, and historical, but it’s just not for me.
The Private Lauren McKellar – share with us something no one else knows about you? My kidneys are in the wrong place for example. How about you? ☺
Oh, really? That’s very cool! If we’re talking medical anomalies, I have an extra vertebrae in my neck and my elbows hyper-extend. It’s not really a secret, though. I’m pretty open. Secrets aren’t really my thing.
Finally as authors we are also avid readers. You’re stuck on an island with one book – indefinitely. You’ll have to read it over and over. What would you wish it to be?
It’s not YA or NA, but Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes is a book that will always make me laugh and cry—so I figure it’d be a good choice to give me a full spectrum of emotions.
Thank you so much Lauren! It was indeed a pleasure and my only regret is that we don’t have more time and space. I could have chatted for hours!
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Kaz Delaney has published 72 novels for kids, teens & adults over a 20 year period, many of them published in several languages. Thirteen are YA novels and every one features a romance. Her latest is The Reluctant Jillaroo, Allen & Unwin, 2016 . She is repped by JDM Management.