I'm the first to admit... I'm incredibly nosy! Which makes me especially thankful that so many incredible authors were willing to offer their time to participate in my November Author Interviews series.
Today we have Lauren Sweet with us, talking about her debut novel Aladdin's Samovar, and so much more.
Me: Hi, Lauren. Thanks so much for being with us today. I’ll begin with the question everyone wants to know: What are you writing now?
Lauren: I’m working on the second book in my series--comedic mysteries with a bit of romance--and a lot of attitude! In the first book, Aladdin’s Samovar, Amber Polaski buys an antique brass samovar that turns out to have a (very sexy) genie in it. She makes a wish to find her long-lost father, only to find that he’s on the run from the Mafia. People get shot at, shrink wrapped, and pounced on by a pack of Happy Puppies—and Amber is forced to defend herself against Mafia assassins with common household appliances. Plus, Jasper the genie turns out to be nuthin’ but trouble—in more ways than one!
In this next book, I’m developing some of the secondary characters from the first one—primarily Iggy, a homeless midget who’s been secretly living in the warehouse at the plastic bottle manufacturing plant where Amber works. He’s a former carnival performer, and drags Amber (and her genie) off to help him rescue a friend from his carnie days. There’s a murdered clown, buried treasure, a midget cowboy show, and a very scary ventriloquist’s dummy. Plus some more romance, and hopefully a lot of laughs!
Me: Okay, you have me laughing! I’m almost afraid to ask… How closely do your characters resemble you? (Any particular quirk?)
Lauren: Amber has a few bits and pieces of my life—she used to do gymnastics (which I did a little bit), and she works in a plastic bottle manufacturing plant, which I once did. The biggest thing we have in common is that we’re both very organized (especially about what everybody else should be doing), and we both kind of have a martyr complex about it. [“Do I have to tell you everything? Never mind—I’ll do it myself.” (Cue dramatic sigh here...)] Although with Amber, I’ve pretty much surrounded her with crazy people going off in all directions, so she probably has a right to feel martyred.
But she’s also much mouthier than I allow myself to be in real life. It’s always fun to write a character who says all the things the rest of us wish we could get away with saying. And of course, since I’m writing comedy, all that is exaggerated for humorous effect.
Me: You’re certainly selling me on your books! Sounds like too much fun. Do you ever wish you lived a character’s life (not just in your imagination)?
Lauren: I don’t think I wish for any of my characters’ lives. I spend all my time getting them into trouble! So their lives are pretty uncomfortable, which makes for fun reading, but would probably not be so much fun in real life.
Although I wouldn’t mind having a wildly sexy genie at my beck and call, even though the wishes he grants usually don’t turn out the way you expect. (You know those fairy tales. There’s always a catch…) For one thing, he’s always conjuring comfort food—pot roast, mac and cheese, chocolate chip cookies—mmmm.
Me: Great, now I’m hungry ;-). On a matter of utmost importance… Sunglasses (a particular fetish of mine): designer or drugstore cheapies? How many pairs are enough?
Lauren: I’m afraid I’m going to be a grave disappointment on this one—I almost never wear sunglasses! I’m probably going to end up blind in my old age from all the evil UV rays that are supposedly bombarding my poor unprotected eyes. Hopefully by then computers will be totally voice-activated, so I can still write…
Me: You’re right, I’m a tiny bit disappointed… but the mac-n-chees conjuring genie makes up for it a little bit. Speaking of appreciating the imagination of others, would you ever want to work on a combined project with your favorite author? If so, who?
Lauren: Most of my favorite authors write in completely different styles from me (like Diana Gabaldon, Anne Perry, and Dick Francis) and some of the others are dead (so that would be a problem). The other thing is that I’m kind of a control freak, so I don’t know how I would do with a collaboration. I usually can play nice with others, but not when it comes to writing that is going out in the world with my name on it. Then I’m pretty determined and driven (some might say stubborn and bossy).
Although, my Amber and Jasper series is written in a similar style to Janet Evanovich, who is another of my faves. I have to admit that putting Stephanie Plum and Diesel and Amber and Jasper all together on a case might be tempting!
Me: J.E. is one of my faves, too! I’ve found that readers really enjoy connecting with authors… what is one thing you want your fans to know about you that they may not already be aware of?
Lauren: One thing? Hmm. Well, I love solo road trips! I did a 2-month one in 1997—28 US states and two Canadian provinces—camping and exploring mostly on my own, though I did visit some friends and relatives along the way. I did another 3-week one in 2005, when I drove from NJ to Alaska to go to grad school. And lots of little ones in between. You meet the coolest people when you travel alone—people who wouldn’t approach you if you were with someone else.
I also started ice skating in my 30s. I do competitions now and then—routines complete with music, jumps and spins, and little spangly dresses. I’m absurdly proud of my medals. So that’s two things about me.
Me: Thanks so much for sharing with us today! You’re much more adventurous than I am, but I love ice skating – very cool! (and sparkly outfits, like vampires, are to die for).
Want to learn more about the fabulous Lauren Sweet? Be sure to check out her debut novel, Aladdin's Samovar! Or, visit her Amazon Author's page!
Thanks for stopping by!