Please join me in welcoming YA author Lauren Cude for today's Finding Fiction Friday segment! First, I'll let her introduce herself ...
I went the university route and picked up three very expensive pieces of paper. This led to the traditional stream of office jobs and eventually found me working as a project manager. I quite enjoyed that actually, but decided it was time for a change. In a complete turnover I leased a farm and opened a horseback riding school. My time is now spent riding, writing and teaching. It’s slightly crazy, but all kinds of fun.
Lauren, talk to us a bit about your journey in writing. What made you decide to write and eventually to try to publish?
Several years ago I took a break from being an adult and went south for the winter to focus on horseback riding. I started writing a blog at the request of those at home who wanted to live vicariously. When I returned, a friend challenged me to participate in #fridayflash – which now a large group of writers, was then fairly small. The challenge was to write a story under 1000 words and post on Friday. The group was exceptionally welcoming and the writing continued.
We know what your bio says. Tell us one thing about yourself that you think might surprise us.
My life is always a surprise – even to those who know me. I’m known for making complete random changes just to keep life interesting. There are too many amazing opportunities in this world to settle for being less than impassioned.
Do you remember what it was like, the feeling you had when you learned your first book was out there in the world?
It was very much like the day I found out I was accepted to the university program I wanted. Excitement, disbelief, and terror all warring with each other. It’s a powerful feeling.
Tell us a bit about your first book, “Beyond the Wall”. What can the readers expect?
Beyond the Wall is a young adult fantasy novel. My main character, Jezina, has grown up wanting to know what exists beyond her isolated village. One night a visitor comes to the village and Jezina takes the opportunity to escape the town she'd known and discover a world beyond her imagining. Struggling to know where to turn in a world of friends, wizards, dragons, and others, Jezina must find the strength and wisdom to discover where she truly belongs.
If there is one character you’ve written or are writing that you would really like people to meet, who would it be and from what book?
From Beyond the Wall, I’d love to meet the professor. I’m not sure I’d actually like him, but I think he’d be an interesting character to meet. From my upcoming work – Lissa, my main character, is a riot. I think she’d be a lot of fun to meet.
On the extreme other end, Casey, a character from one I’ve written but not published yet, is absolutely terrifying and I’d really rather not run into her. At least, not if she were having a bad day.
What do you have coming up next? Is it a sequel or something new?
I’m really excited about the next one; it’s in the editing phase now. It’s in the same genre, but not a sequel. It’s going to be the first in a series though, and its sequel is now in progress. I really enjoy several of the characters in this one so quite looking forward to it.
What other ideas do you have bouncing around in your head?
I have one in progress that’s of the crime-fiction genre. First draft is done, but now it’s on hold until I have a few more of the YA fantasy out. This one will attract a very different audience, so I’m holding it back for the moment.
What about being published and the book industry in general has most surprised you?
The amount of support from others in the industry. I’m still slightly overwhelmed by how helpful and supportive other writers are. People I’d never met, who had no reason to help, went out of their way to help me get going and cheered me on after Beyond the Wall was actually real. They answered questions about everything from finding an editor and cover artist to how one goes about publishing and marketing. I found a whole new group of friends from this experience. It was amazing.
What other things besides writing do you have going on that keep you busy?
I own and run a horseback riding school, so that consumes most of my time.
To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one. Here they go!
- What is your favorite word? Really?
- What is your least favorite word? Can’t.
- What turns you on? Romance. Of the old fashioned sappy variety. It’ll make me roll my eyes, but I’ll fall for it every time.
- What turns you off? Ignorance. In any form.
- What sound or noise do you love? My text ringtone
- What sound or noise do you hate? My text ringtone
- What is your favorite curse word? Frig. I don’t even know if that counts, but I use it all the time and it amuses me to no end.
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? There’s not enough space or time for all the professions I’d like to attempt. Any form of academics or research would be amazing, in pretty well any discipline. More active careers - I’d love to learn to be a pilot. Or maybe a deep sea diver. Or any of the other professions you thought would be cool when you were five.
- What profession would you not like to do? Telemarketing. I don’t like annoying people, I really dislike sales, and I avoid calling people whenever possible. Combining the three pretty much makes for my nightmare profession.
- If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Welcome back.
- What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? That depends who’s doing the asking…
Lauren, thanks so much for spending time with us. Can you let us know where to follow you, and where we can go to purchase your work?
Beyond the Wall – paperback
Ebook version available for Kobo and Kindle in their respective stores, and almost all other formats at Smashwords.
Rudy and Trish are the main characters in our two published short stories in the "Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness" anthologies. You can get to know them as well as get 23 other great stories! Here's where you can find them: