I’m absolutely thrilled to welcome Lauren Rico to #TeamMoe and BookEnds. You all know I’ve been anxious to grow my romance list and I cannot think of a better addition to the team! Plus she writes things set in the classical music world (not EVERYTHING but still) — and it set my little violinist heart a sing-in’! So now, come meet Lauren in her own words!!
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?
My day job is a classical music radio host. I record shows for SiriusXM as well as several radio stations around the country. Now, thanks to the miracles of modern technology, I’m able to do the majority of my work from home and on a flexible schedule. So I’m seriously lucky in that I can write pretty much every day if I want, whenever I want.
I do tend to try and get out of the house when I write. When I’m home, all I can think about is how I need to plan dinner or balance the checkbook or something like that. I seem to have the best luck at Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera. They seem to be especially fertile environments for my creativity. Maybe it’s the coffee??
Why did you choose the genre you’ve chosen?
I didn’t. I never set out to be a writer at all…let alone a romance writer. I just had a story and I started to write it. By the time I was done, I had a cross-genre romantic/thriller trilogy. After that, my editor asked me if I could go a little lighter on the thriller and heavier on the romance. Now I’ve got two different romance series under contract. But who knows what’ll be next? I go where the story and the characters take me.
What is the hardest part about writing Romance?
For me, it’s the balancing act between keeping it real…but still a little magical. If we wanted to read books about our everyday relationships, it’d be about doing the laundry, putting down the toilet seat and snoring. We’ve all got enough of the every-day in our lives. That’s why romance is such a nice respite. It’s a reminder of how amazing love can be—especially in the beginning.
But it’s also got to be believable. Readers can smell a contrived plot or character a mile away. It needs to be believable because we all want to believe it could happen…maybe even to us.
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
What’s the last book you read?
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood with my book group.
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?
A beach house in the Hamptons with an office/balcony overlooking the Atlantic. The sound of the waves…the smell of the salt water… yeah, I think I could do some really good writing in an environment like that. Maybe even take my laptop out onto my chaise lounge on the beach!
What’s your favorite piece of writing advice you’ve received?
What’s interesting about this is that it was actually negative advice. When I was working on my first book, Reverie, I’d posted on a forum asking how much sex was too much for a mainstream novel. I mentioned that I sometimes used Fifty Shades as a reference for what was acceptable. If she could write that word, so could I. If she could be that graphic, so could I.
But then Some Nastypants know-it-all wrote back saying that FSoG was an anomaly and I shouldn’t compare my book to it in any way… because it was the exception to the rule.
My first thought was, “Why can’t I be the exception to the rule?”
The answer to that is that I can.
So, whenever I’m feeling frustrated or not good enough or whatever, I think of that guy deciding that I could never be anything special…and (mentally) I tell him where he can stick it. Because I can be anything.
Just. Watch. Me.
Plotter or pantster?
Plotster. Meaning I’m somewhere in the middle… when I get the idea for a new storyline, I usually know right away where I want to begin—so I just jump into the first two or three chapters. By the time I’m done with those, I have an idea of some of the major plot points—maybe even how I want the book to end. They go up on a whiteboard in my office, serving as a roadmap that I may or may not follow.
See what I mean? Plotster.
Synopses, love them or hate ‘em?
Indifferent. I used to hate them when I didn’t know how to write them. I never could get the correct length— I either told too much of the story or not enough. Some of them were like thirty pages long. I’ve gotten much better at identifying the most important actions that drive the plot and most of my synopses are down to about four pages. Which my editor is very thankful for.
Do you have a writing playlist or a vision board? If so, what’s on them?
Yes…well, the playlist is a little eclectic and it depends on what I’m writing. I like to set stories in the world of classical music and when I do that, J.S. Bach is right at the top of my list. If I need something powerful…and maybe a little depressing, Adele’s my go-to girl. Lately that song “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur makes me run to my laptop so I can write about this guy who sings “For a minute I was stone cold sober, I pulled you closer to my chest.” I mean, how do you NOT fall in love with a guy who thinks that after holding your hair for you while you were throwing up?
I do have a vision board. I’ve had them for years at different points in my life.
The last one had to do with me finding and agent and publishing my first book. Well, check and check on that one. So on the most recent one I’ve declared myself to be a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with a movie deal for my trilogy, doing book signings all over the world. Go big or go home, right?
Just. Watch. Me.
Do you get inspiration from any TV shows or movies? If so, which ones?
For my latest series, The Whisky Sisters, I definitely drew inspiration from a show that a lot of folks are too young to recall—Northern Exposure. It was a fish-out-of –water comedy/drama/romance about a NYC doctor who goes to practice in a tiny town in rural Alaska in exchange for repayment of his student loans. My version is a good bit different, but I loved this idea of the quirky, hearty locals and the city slicker who shows up and feels as if he’s just stepped into an episode of the Twilight Zone.
Drink of choice when writing? When not writing?
Just your basic decaf Lipton will do quite well, thank you very much! Everything’s better after a cup of tea.
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
The idea that I’m not in this alone anymore. When I couldn’t get an agent the first time around, I believed enough in my book to self-pub. But good god was that a steep learning curve! I mean, I made out fine, but it was hard…and the truth is that you don’t know what you don’t know.
So, now that I’ve got Moe and the rest of the BookEnds family in my corner, I can breathe a sigh of relief. I sleep better at night knowing I don’t have to do it all by myself anymore. I’m a very lucky girl.
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
After trying to find an agent for a year with no luck, I went the self-pub route. I found a good editor to help my books be as professional as they could be. It wasn’t long before I was picked up by a small publisher. Now, five books later, I’ve got Moe Ferrara and BookEnds in my corner, helping me to plot the rest of my career.
The moral of the story here is DO NOT give up. Things don’t always happen in the order they should or the timeframe you’d like…and there can be a lot of tears and disappointments along the way. But hold tight to your dream and, in the meantime, make your story the very best it can be and keep writing.
If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?
I’m a big fan of Nelson DeMille. We both live on Long Island and I keep hoping to run into him at the Stop and Shop or something. Unfortunately, no DeMille spottings…yet!