Monday, August 13, 2012

Author August: An Interview with Laura Hughes

Since I have been laying low writing, lately.  Tomorrow is my long promised update about me and my projects.  But today we are graced with presence of the lovely and talented Laura Hughes.  Laura was kind enough to share her thoughts and wisdom with us, along with an excerpt from her current work in progress. 

1.      What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?

Wow. I don't remember. Are we supposed to remember stuff from when we're ten? I have a vague memory of fourth grade, and learning about Florida and the Everglades, but other than that, not much. I know I read a TON of nonfiction that year, to write a massive report on the Everglades. I know I was fascinated with the local wildlife, especially after my dad chased a couple of panthers out of our yard. It was probably a book about the Glades, or the local birds.

2.      Do you think your early reading habits influenced what you write now?

Perhaps, since half of my WIP takes place in and around the Everglades! Gee, I never really thought about that before. I suppose it's true. Huh.

3.      What character have you had a “book character crush” on?

Too many to recount here. The current book character crush is probably Harry Dresden. Poor tormented soul. I just want to take him on vacation someplace quiet for a while. He really needs a vacation.

4.      Which of your characters do you feel the most kinship with, and why?

Probably my main character, Thalia. She's sort of like me in a lot of ways, and sort of what I wish I could be in others. She's a little less worried about the little things than I am. I wish I could learn to let go of the unimportant details as well as she can. Then again, I'm relieved as heck that I don't have her problems! I'm just a plain old human being, after all, and most of the folks in the world are content to quietly ignore me. Thalia, on the other hand, draws a lot of unwanted attention. Being a shapeshifter is bad enough, but if they knew she was really a dragon, she wouldn't have much to worry about for very long.

5.      Do you listen to music when you write or do you need silence?

I used to require silence, but then I started training myself to ignore background noise while I write. I wanted the atmosphere of music, but I didn't want to be distracted. Now, I don't even mind having the TV on the background. I don't even hear it anymore half the time.

6.      Do you plot out your stories or let your characters drag you on their adventure?

When I start writing I always know where the story will end up. I have no idea what route the characters will take to get there. I mostly let them lead the way. I've tried plotting before, but I find myself stuffing every possible detail into the outline, which sort of defeats the purpose of outlining. My outlines tend to resemble finished novels, so I don't bother with them.

7.      It can be hard to feel like a “legitimate” author when you first start writing.  When did you first call yourself a “writer” and not feel like a fraud?

When I got my first rejection letter. Seriously.

8.      Are you publishing traditionally or indie, and what nudged you in that direction?

I'm querying agents, so I guess traditional. I think I'm mainly looking for just one publishing professional to give my work their stamp of approval. That would definitely be the thing that canceled any lingering feeling that I'm a fraud!

9.      What part of writing is hardest for you?

The Murky Middle. This is the part of the novel where I start second guessing everything I've written to that point. It's usually where I start skipping around, editing and changing things, instead of plowing through the rest of the story before I bring out the red pencil. This is where I start doubting myself, and doubt is really unhealthy in writers.

10.  What is your currently work in progress about?

Here's a short blurb of the novel I'm querying, Running Down the Dragon:

Shapeshifters have been allowed to stay in the U.S. in exchange for their loyalty to the government. They use their skills to handle military operations and criminal investigations that are beyond the abilities of the human soldiers and cops they work with.
Thalia Drake has been hiding her true identity to blend in with the shapeshifters. Dragons are able to become any animal they choose, and Thalia has spent the last six hundred years living as a werewolf. If anyone knew she was really a dragon, the shifters could lose everything. Her mother's disastrous and fatal attempt to convince the world that dragons were a force for good only convinced Thalia that it was safest for everyone to keep her secret forever.
When a murder investigation uncovers a serious threat to shifters, and an ancient dragon relic, Thalia's first instinct is to stop the killer at any cost. Revealing the truth could prevent a shifter genocide, but it's equally likely to doom them to her mother's fate. History is repeating itself, and Thalia must unravel the killer's motives before she crosses a line that could turn the entire world against her.

I'm editing the follow-up novel to this one in preparation to send it to the Critique Partners of Infinite Gloriousness. I started writing a third novel in the series, but it's mired in that Murky Middle at the moment. Between polishing the first novel, and editing the second, I figured I had enough on my plate at the moment!

Find out more about Laura, and join her in her journey here:

Tumblr: I occasionally reblog things I like, but not very often. Just a warning.
Facebook: One more warning, I haven't really done anything with this page yet, but it exists! Now I have to figure out what to do with it...