Name: Lauren Klever
Where are you from? Milwaukie, Oregon US
A little about yourself i.e. your education, Family life, etc.
I grew up in Milwaukie, Oregon, the Pacific Northwest region of the United States – think tall Douglas firs, moderate temperatures, more clouds than sun and lush green. When I was a kid there was a decent sized field behind us where I spent hours playing and swinging on the tire swing my dad hung from a big old apple tree. I grew up an only child so my parents found lots of activities for me like swimming lessons, downhill skiing and Girl Scouts. I started my first book in elementary school and may someday revisit that idea. I’ve always had a big imagination, now I’m just putting it to better use.
I love learning. It’s part of the reason I became a teacher. It also shows when you look at my transcripts! I have two Masters degrees and both are in education. I realized the other day that nearly half my life has been spent as a student.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Lauren: I just published my third book in The Secret Watchers series. (Insights)
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Lauren: I’ve always been a bit of a writer. I only dug in my heels when someone else picked what I would write.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Lauren: I didn’t take my writing at all seriously until I was in college.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Lauren: Books and movies motivate me to tell stories. I think about how I would do it differently or a completely new idea will jump into my head.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Lauren: I love to write in the first person and really get inside a character’s head.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Lauren: I thought about the feel of the book, the cover and the title. I wrote down several and discussed them with a few people. Once the series title and title for the first book were set then we moved on to make each subsequent title match its storyline.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Lauren: Buried in my series is the theme that you should listen to your heart and try to be the best you, you can be.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Lauren: Throw out the special abilities of my secret watchers and the rest of the book feels real. It takes place locally in current day. The teenagers talk like kids around here do and they do real things.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Lauren: Truly it is a blend of my imagination and real people in my life. When Owen talks about how something feels – that comes from me.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Lauren: I’m not sure which books have influenced my life. I don’t enjoy reading deep though- provoking books because I’ve had to read so many for school. When I sit down to read now, it is either the news or a purely for fun kind of book.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would have to say J. K. Rowling because I have read her Harry Potter series three or four times and I can’t say that about any other author.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Lauren: To Catch a Leaf by Kate Collins and Roast Mortem by Cleo Coyle.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Lauren: I have started to focus on young adult and indie authors. I’m really paying attention to D.C. and C. Michael McGannon. They write the Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters series and are working on a card game to go with the books. How amazing is that?
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Lauren: I’m working on my Secret Watchers series. Books one through three are published and I’m still writing four and five.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Lauren: My friends have been incredible. I have had several beta read for me and some of them even shared with their family members. I now have community members who beta read as well. It is such an honor to have folks I barely know wanting to help with my work!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Lauren: Absolutely. Right now I have to have another job to pay the bills but I truly believe that if I keep working hard and keep improving on my craft that one day I can write full time.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Lauren: I am pleased with the final draft. After the initial write, we went through it about twenty times before I submitted it for publication. It feeds right into books four and five and through all twenty some revisions the storyline stayed virtually the same.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Lauren: Back in about third grade (around nine years old) a teacher put a writing prompt up on the chalkboard about dolphins. It was the first time I was actually sad when writing time ended.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Lauren: I’m working on book four of my Secret Watchers series. My protagonist is about to turn seventeen and his life has become a living nightmare. Dark watchers are trying to recruit him and they don’t mind killing a few of his friends to get to him. Owen tries to keep his watcher gift a secret and appear to be a normal teenager. I guess it’s kind of a Karate Kid meets Percy Jackson kind of feel.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Lauren: My biggest challenge is finding enough time to write, take care of my family, and market my work. I really need an assistant so that I can focus on my writing in every spare moment but I not even paying me yet.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Lauren: J.K. Rowling is my favorite. When I read her books I get sucked into Harry’s world and into his head. I can imagine what it would be like to be a wizard.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Lauren: Not yet. The farthest I’ve had to drive is about twenty miles. Maybe someday I’ll get to come see you and do a book signing in your town!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Lauren: BookBaby. They work with self-publishers and can do cover art and convert Word files to eReaders. Once that’s done they release it to eleven retailers. It makes my life a whole lot easier.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Lauren: Most often I have a hard time getting the ideas down fast enough. I have notebooks full of past and present work as well as future ideas.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Lauren: I have always been a big reader of fiction so I felt good about my idea and what a fictional piece should look like but I knew nothing about the publishing piece. I still consider myself a work in progress but now the learning curve isn’t quite as steep.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
My best advice to new writers is to make lots of connections and join groups on social media. There are a few sharks out there but most people are very helpful and friendly. You can ask questions and several people will answer you. You can collect all the advice and make your own decisions.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Lauren: I appreciate each and every one of you! I hope that my work makes you feel and lets you escape for a little while.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Lauren: I like to work in my yard and go on hikes around the Pacific Northwest with my camera so that I can shoot pictures of the scenery. As I mentioned before I love to read. I also enjoy action adventure films. Doing any of those with my family makes my day complete.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Lauren: When it comes to film, I love all things action adventure. I still work along with my writing so I don’t make much time for TV, but my oldest son did get me hooked on Once Upon a Time. Over a week we watched the whole first season! Season three is due out this fall. I hope I get to squeeze in season two before it starts.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music?
Lauren: When it comes to food, I’m pretty eclectic. As for colors I love deep rich jewel tones and music… I usually listen to pop but I also like some country, a bit of grunge, symphonic metal, folk and believe it or not some pirate metal which is my younger son’s latest passion.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Lauren: I would want to have my own classroom. I will be working half time at our local elementary teaching science to fourth and fifth graders this fall. I get a bit of both worlds that way!
Thank you so much Fiona! Keep in touch!!!