Name : Lauri Fern
Where are you from: New Jersey, but I have been living in Florida since 2011
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
I grew up in New Jersey and have a degree in Environmental Studies. I have been in the environmental consulting industry since graduating college in 2002. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend and our crazy rescued golden retriever, Karma. I also volunteer for a wildlife rescue.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Lauri: My debut young adult novel, A Life Interrupted, was set to release on 12/13/14, but since I am taking part in the big MKSP Book Bash, it was released early and is on sale for 99 cents from 11/27 through 12/1.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Lauri: I started writing for fun in 2005 when I was single and wanted a hobby. In 2012, I discovered the Master Koda Best Book Contest on Facebook and wrote A Life Interrupted with the intention of entering it into the contest.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Lauri: In 2012, when I started writing with the intent to publish.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Lauri: The contest inspired me to write, but I wanted to do something a little different. My volunteer work with the wildlife rescue and my experiences since moving to Florida were the inspiration behind the plot.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Lauri: Not a specific style, but I often find myself writing the easy parts of the story first – description, major plot points, etc. Then I go back and write the dialogue and emotional parts, which are always harder for me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Lauri: The title is 100% the result of my publisher’s brilliance. I had a working title of Footprints in the Sand, which is also the title of a popular poem. It wasn’t going to work and Kim at Master Koda Select Publishing started brainstorming ideas based on the premise of the book. She sent me four or five potential titles and A Life Interrupted jumped out at me right away. It was perfect.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Lauri: Definitely. There are a few little ones – the importance of family, finding oneself, change can be a good thing. But the big one is wildlife awareness. Humans are the cause of most, if not all, of the injuries that wildlife experience and we all need to realize how our actions affect the world around us. My main character, Sophie, learns about this as she finds an injured pelican on the beach and begins to volunteer at a rescue center.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Lauri: I would say all of it. It’s based on a teenager’s view of having her life uprooted, so there are the usual dramatizations caused by teenage angst, but the setting and events are entirely realistic.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Lauri: Absolutely. Mostly the wildlife aspects and the ways that Sophie discovers how fun Florida can be.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Lauri: I’m a huge Jane Austen fan, so her books really opened my eyes to how great the classics are. In a way, every book I’ve ever read has influenced me in some way – good, bad, or indifferent, they all make me think.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Lauri: Jane Carroll, author of the Bertha series. I met her in the Master Koda Facebook group and she has been an amazing supporter and mentor as I’ve struggled my way through the publishing process.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Lauri: Haha, funny you should ask. I started re-reading the Harry Potter series from the start a few weeks ago. I’m on the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and I’ve been getting my fair share of razzing from my boyfriend since this is about the fifth time I’ve read these books. I really enjoy them, though, and see something I missed before each time I read them.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Lauri: Definitely. Denise Ellyson, Jane Carroll, DeEtte Anderton, KD Emerson, and a long line of others. I read so much that I really need to write out a list of books and authors that I love.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Lauri: I’m currently working on the untitled sequel to A Life Interrupted.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Lauri: My boyfriend. He has been amazing in supporting things that make me happy.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Lauri: It certainly is a full-time job. It hasn’t reached career status for me yet, but maybe someday.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Lauri: I don’t like to second guess too much, but if I were to start it all over I would add more conflict.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Lauri: I enjoyed reading so much, and somehow I stumbled upon Harry Potter fan fiction. I went through a phase in my mid- 20s where that was all I read. I devoured it. So, I figured I would try my hand at writing it. It was really entertaining for a while, but eventually I lost interest and progressed to writing my own stuff.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Lauri: I am currently working on the sequel to my new release. It picks up a few months after where A Life Interrupted leaves off, so we see how Sophie adapts to her new school in Florida, her relationship progresses, and how her old friendships in NYC have changed. In addition, the wildlife rescue that she volunteers for suffers some financial setbacks and we see Sophie step up with confidence to organize fundraisers.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Lauri: Dialogue. I struggle with realistic dialogue in every piece I write. It’s my least favorite part. It takes a dozen tries to settle on dialogue that I’m okay with.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Lauri: I don’t have a favorite, but I adore Jane Austen and how she was able to create strong female characters.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Lauri: Not yet, but my full-time job as an environmental consultant requires travel all over Florida and many other parts of the US. I try to pick up a little about each place I travel just in case it will come in handy for a story.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Lauri: Jacqueline Cross with Master Koda Select Publishing did the cover for A Life Interrupted. She is amazing and I love her work.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Lauri: The dialogue. I struggled with nailing down teen-speak.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Lauri: That I can do anything I put my mind to as long as I sit my butt down and actually try.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Lauri: Forget all your fears and doubts and just write. Write until your eyes cross and your fingers start to hurt. Then write some more. You can turn a rough draft into a gem, but you can’t do anything with a blank page.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Lauri: Just that I hope you enjoy my work because without you, there would be no need for more books.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Lauri: I think it was The Fox and the Hound… I read it a million times as a little girl and it made me cry every single time.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Lauri: Everything. I have a really great sense of humor, but I’m also emotional. At certain times of the month, I cry at things that usually make me laugh. Oh, the joys of being a girl.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Lauri: I would love to meet the Dalai Lama for more reasons than I could list.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Lauri: That it wasn’t the wine that killed me. I love my red wine.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Lauri: Tons. I love to read, hang out with my boyfriend Tom and our pup Karma, kayaking, dragon boating, nature walks, binge-watch TV series, and volunteering at the wildlife rescue.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Lauri: I like dramas and crime shows, so right now I’m into Criminal Minds, Rookie Blue, Blue Bloods, Madam Secretary, Downton Abbey, and a bunch of others.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Lauri: I love seafood and pasta, but not necessarily together. My favorite color used to be blue, but now I love blue as well as pink, green, and black. For music, I switch it up sometimes, but my favorite is alternative rock. I love 30 Seconds to Mars.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Lauri: I would love to be a science teacher, but not in a traditional school. I’d love to teach science outdoors where kids could really see it for themselves. I did a little of that right after college when I was an outdoor education instructor and it was so much fun.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Lauri: My blog is http://islandkayaker.wordpress.com
About the Author:
Lauri Fern graduated from Richard Stockton College of NJ with a degree in Environmental Studies. She grew up in New Jersey and currently lives on Anna Maria Island in Florida with her boyfriend and their crazy rescued golden retriever named Karma. In her spare time, Lauri enjoys reading, kayaking, birding, and volunteering at the local wildlife rescue. Follow Lauri on social media