The details of Lauren's first book are:
Title: Longing for Kayla
Genre: contemporary menage
Words: 23,000 words
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Date Published: July 2010
After dumping her boyfriend during her birthday ski weekend, Kayla runs to the two men she can count on, her best friends, Jesse and Chris. Reckless and hurt, she throws caution to the wind and confesses her deepest fantasy—to be with two men at once.
Jesse and Chris have shared women before, but Kayla is not like other women. She knows them better than they know themselves. But what she doesn’t know is that Jesse has a forbidden fantasy of his own. When she discovers it, she encourages Jesse to go after what he wants with Chris in the bedroom, opening a whole new world to the three of them.
In love with Kayla for as long as he can remember, Chris is excited to finally have her, but he never expected to desire both of his friends. He’s straight. How the hell can he want Jesse as well? With everything changing, can these friends move beyond what they’ve known and find a way to build on the newfound love between them?
Go here to find out more about Longing For Kayla!
OK, so let's get to the meaty stuff!
How would you describe what you write?Sexy contemporary alright maybe steamy contemporary since the books are pretty hot.Typically m/f but my Ellora's Cave release kind of went a slightly different direction and is a m/m/f story.
LOL, what’s your writing process in a nutshell?
I tend to be a huge plotter. Before I ever sit down to write I know how the book is going to play out roughly and I certainly have the end all figured out, but even though I have it plotted sometimes the words don't flow on the page as well as I'd like so I tend to jump around. When a scene isn't flowing I table it and move to the next one and usually when I get that one down it becomes easier to go back and write the previous one. Although I have it plotted out sometimes when I jump to another scene the dialogue takes me in a slightly different direction than I had originally planned. The end result is still the same but it played out slightly differently which is part of the fun I think. The characters kind of had a mind of their own even though I thought I had them all figured out.
What has your submission history looked like? Rejections? Manuscripts written? Number of years ‘seriously writing’, etc?
I started seriously writing about a year and a half ago. I have a couple of finished manuscripts that I have never actually submitted anywhere, although my plan is to change that. I've reworked one and am in the process of submitting it and the other one still needs work LOL I have been incredibly fortunate so far in my path to publication. A little over a year ago, I saw a contest that Freya's Bower was offering. I'd never submitted anything before, in fact the whole idea terrified me but somehow a contest seemed less threatening for whatever reason so I entered. And I won. Since then I feel like I have learned a lot and hopefully that's reflected in my work. I certainly see it when I look at those 2 completed books that haven't been submitted. LOL.
How did you pick your publisher?
Like I said I picked my first publisher because of the contest and I knew a couple of authors who really liked their editors there. I picked Ellora's Cave because it has an amazing reputation and it was my go to place for books that I enjoyed reading for pleasure so it kind of seemed like my dream publisher.
So, what’s your ‘call’ story?
I entered a pitch contest that my now editor at Ellora's Cave was doing and I won. To say I was thrilled is putting it mildly. She emailed me to say I'd won the pitch and since my story was a novella I could send her the whole book instead of just the first three chapters. When I saw an email in my inbox from her less than a week later, my stomach sunk. Since she had gotten back to me so quickly I was sure it was a rejection letter and I was terrified to open it. But I put on my big girl panties and opened up the email, but instead of a rejection she said she loved the story. Holy smokes did I scream. My husband was at work so I couldn't call him, so I immediately picked up the phone and called my parents who had recently retired, talked their ears off. Then when my husband got home I jumped around some more. LOL
Did you have an agent when you sold? Now?
No, I didn't have an agent then and I still don't.
What’s it like working with a publisher and editor? Are revisions really as bad as you hear?
So far I haven't found the process to be nearly as painful as I've heard. I've been really lucky with my editors and they seem to enjoy my voice and don't want to change that, so they absolutely offer suggestions that I have to admit make the book so much stronger but it's still my voice which is nice. My books wouldn't be nearly as strong without my editors. I think a great editor can fine tune a book, taking an alright or even a good story and make it great.
How did you feel the first time you saw your cover? How much input did you have? It was really exciting to see my name on the cover of a book. The amount of input I've had on the covers varies from publisher to publisher, some I've had a lot of input others not quite as much but each time it's fantastic to see my name on the cover.
What was release day like for you?
Exciting and terrifying. It's always amazing to have a book released. It's thrilling and fantastic but also somewhat terrifying, there's always the fear that the book won't do as well as you'd hoped or that someone won't like it.
How did you market your book?
The promotion end of things I am still trying to learn. I did the yahoo groups, I also guest blogged on several websites. I have my twitter and facebook accounts although I'm still learning how utilize that to it's fullest potential since I'm not overly chatty. I know I still have a lot to learn about the promotion end of things and what works and what doesn't work. I'm not naturally overly extroverted so talking about myself a lot took a bit of practice.
What’s the most surprising thing you learned during the publishing process?
I think how long it takes for things to happen was a bit of a shock. I never realized how slow the print process was when I first started looking. E-publishing is considerably quicker than print. Like I said I've been incredibly lucky and winning the pitch contest really fast tracked things because I was on my editor's desk right away rather than having to go through the normal channels.
What do you think were the factors that got you published?
What do you think were the factors that got you published?
Hard work, determination and I think being open to helpful criticism has been really beneficial. When my critique partners read my stuff and are a bit harsh or have lots of comments rather than getting my nose out of joint, I look at it for what it is, help. Sometimes it's hard to see what's missing in your own work because you can see it all so clearly in your mind but that doesn't mean it looks that way to an outsider.
What’s your 5 year plan look like?
I am planning to continue to write erotica, I'm really enjoying the e-publishing process but I would also like to try my hand at print publishing as well. So far I've mostly focused on novellas and I'd like to write and submit some full length books as well.
So, what’s next for you?
When the woman of your dreams only sees you as her geeky neighbor, sometimes you have to go to extremes.
Computer nerd, Dylan Crane has been in love with Erin since she moved next door two years ago. Unfortunately, she’s never seen him as anything other than her best friend--until one afternoon when her world flips upside down and everything changes.
Erin Sharp learns firsthand just how sexy a man with a brain can be. She already loved Dylan, her friend, but as their relationship evolves, she wonders if she could finally have it all.
When her career ambitions get in the way of their relationship, Erin has to decide what matters most to her – getting the job she always wanted, or the man she needs and desires.
What’s the best advice you can impart to writers aspiring to be published?
Don't let fear hold you back from going after what you want. Write, write, write, the more you write the more you will figure out what your voice is and what style suits you. Also I think it's really important to read a lot in the genre that you plan to write. It gives you a real feel for the different publisher's and what works, but it also will give you a real feel for whether that is comfortable for you or not. Just because a genre is hot doesn't mean it fits your voice so I think it's important to write what you like. And I guess find a critique partner, someone who will be honest with you about what's working and what's not.
To find out more about Lauren, check her out on the web:
Group blog: http://passionatereads.com/
Thank you so much for having me as a guest today, Kaily.
Lauren, thank YOU so much for your frank and open discussion!