Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Q&A with Laura Spinella....and a giveaway!

1. Tell us about your newest release.

BEAUTIFUL DISASTER is a Southern set novel that poses this question: What would you risk for a love that is greater than honor or friendship or the passing of time? The book is women’s fiction with a heavy thread of romance. BEAUTIFUL DISASTER weaves the past and present, following Mia and Flynn’s passionate and complex story, a relationship that tests the boundaries between love and obsession—Well, at least that’s how Uber-author Diane Chamberlain described it.

2. Can you tell us a little about your favorite scene in the story?

Oh, gosh, a quiz and we’re only on question two! I have a couple, but like any honest love story it’s the moment of truth between characters that gets me every time. The scene occurs during a hospital visit, but I don’t want to give away too much by giving a direct answer. It’s a short exchange of dialogue that captures a pivotal moment between Mia and Flynn. I think it represents the pinnacle of tension and trust. After that, hopefully, the reader is on a bullet train bound for the ending.

3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I flunked fifth grade math. That sounds like a smart-mouth answer, but it’s kind of the truth. Not so many years after the fifth grade, I realized I couldn’t connect with things like math because my mind was too busy processing stories. In fact, my most prominent childhood memory is the endless time spent creating characters and situations and outcomes. Apparently, my brain is wired to follow a specific compass, I guess a writer’s compass, and that’s the direction I went.

4. Where do you get your information or ideas for your stories?

Great question. Characters always come first. For instance, with Flynn, the protagonist in BEAUTIFUL DISASTER, I sat down in my sunroom on a rainy Saturday to write, and he sat down next to me. It’s surreal when that happens, and it doesn’t happen with every character. Most of them take time to get to know. Flynn was the exception to the rule, dropping in on me just as he does in the book. If we’re talking about facts, I don’t mind doing my research. For this book I interviewed a Special Ops marine, ICU nurse, and a holistic designer—my son’s Taekwondo instructor even choreographed a fight scene for me. I find that most people are willing to share their area of expertise. You just have to be a little bold, but polite, and ask. Overall ideas for a novel begin with a what if premise that grows as the story develops. What if you were a fugitive on the run, for a crime you didn’t commit, and you happened to meet the love of your life? What if a dozen years later you find out she’s married to somebody else? That’s a problem. Where do those ideas come from? I haven’t a clue.

5. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I don’t know that I have a quirk. I probably have a lot of bad habits that you’d find on page one of any good writing manual. I’m ridiculously regimented about my writing, which involves hot tea, warming up with the last chapter before writing anything new, and biting my thumbnail when contemplating intense plot twists. Also, if I’m not writing away by 7:30 a.m. the day is basically shot. Uh, I guess I do have a few quirks.

6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

There are no bad ideas. There are ideas that need work, ideas that need to ferment in drawer, ideas that spark a character for a book you may not write for another two years. Before agents and editors enter the scene, you’re a one-woman show: CEO, middle management, publicist, IT department, copy editor, janitorial staff, etc… and you have to value every idea. I’ve learned something huge from each book I’ve written, perhaps more from the ones that didn’t make it to a store shelf. And here’s the brilliant thing about that: there’s no rule that says you can’t apply what you’ve learned to the books that didn’t make it. That alone can spark new life into an old idea.

7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?

Different authors have influenced me along the way; a lot of it is age relevant. For the last decade or so, I’ve been a big Jodi Picoult fan. In my opinion, she’s a writer’s writer. But I also read around, there’s something to gain from every book. I wasn’t terribly savvy about connecting with other authors before BEAUTIFUL DISASTER. After a book is published, you quickly learn about getting on board with social media. It’s critical for a debut author. It’s time consuming, but it’s free! I’ve wised up in that regard, though I think I’m still, by nature, a solitary writer. My non-author friends were invaluable during the process and I’m lucky to still have them around! They’re all on the acknowledgement page, a small token of my appreciation for the hours of whining, brainstorming, dead ends, reading, and rereading they endured.

8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?

The tag line around here is BEAUTIFUL DISASTER is like the fourth child in our home—and the one that often gets the most attention. Okay, I just called my 22-year old daughter in to answer this question: “Not everyone can say their mom is a published author. It’s definitely a conversation starter. After all the time and work she’s invested we’re very glad to see the book in stores. It’s kind of cool.” --Megan Spinella

9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?

See the kids who came before BEAUTIFUL DISASTER! I still have my job freelancing for an area newspaper, so that takes a chunk of my time. Of course I read, we travel when we can, I love historic places—which is interesting because I couldn’t imagine writing a historical novel. I’m a bit of a sports fanatic (I think because it’s so removed from the solitary writer thing) but only for my teams. You can always find me dressed in my red and black, barking like a nut, on Georgia football Saturdays, GO DAWGS! I’m also a proud, card carrying member of Red Sox Nation and a diehard Pats fan.

10. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing wise?

THE IT FACTOR—Aidan Royce appears to have it all, including rock star fame. But he’s never forgotten Isabel Lang, the girl from home, the one who left him on their wedding night in Las Vegas. It mirrors the passion and tempo of BEAUTIFUL DISASTER, but the characters and story couldn’t be more different. As soon as I finish this interview, I’m back to work on it and hope to complete the draft in the next few weeks.

11. How can readers connect with you online?

You can always visit my website, http://www.lauraspinella.net/ . There’s my blog, Ticket to Write, upcoming events, an excerpt from BEAUTIFUL DISASTER, contact info, all the usual author website suspects. I’m also on Facebook where I try to keep a pithy dialogue of posts going. Of course, the more friends, the pithier the comments! http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=538269154  I blog at the Girlfriends Book Club http://girlfriendbooks.blogspot.com/  and just signed on at The Stiletto Gang as a regular blogger, http://thestilettogang.blogspot.com/ . I have upcoming guest blogs here and there; the links will be posted on my site.


Learn more by visiting Laura's website by clicking here

And a treat for readers....Laura is giving away to  one lucky reader an unsigned copy of her book.

Leave a comment or question and you'll be entered to win a copy!


Momof1DD said...

Sounds interesting..and I see its your debut novel..congrats!! Hope you have many, many more! Enter me in for the giveaway please. TY!


debbie said...

I enjoyed the interview. I was wondering how long it took you to write it?

Laura Spinella said...

Thanks for the comments. How long to write BD? Well, depends on how you look at it. I wrote the rough draft in six weeks. But it took six years to get to publication! That includes many revisions, two different agents, and a lot of determination! Great question, that's for asking!!

Karielle Stephanie said...

Hi Laura! Beautiful Disaster looks like a wonderful book. I look forward to reading it! :)

thestephanieloves [at]gmail[dot] com

Estella said...


Beautiful disaster sounds like a great read!

Laura Spinella said...

Thanks for stopping by, ladies! I hope you get a chance to read BEAUTIFUL DISASTER!

Martha Lawson said...

Great interview! THe book looks really good, and i look forward to reading it. Good luck.

follow on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Izzy said...

congrats on the release, The book sounds great. Loved the interview too!

bradunwanted at yahoo . com

Karen H said...

I don't read much women's fiction but your latest book sounds wonderful. I'd love to read it.

Laura Spinella said...

Thanks all! The interview was fun, glad you enjoyed it! Karen H, maybe Mia & Flynn can win you over! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Emily said...

What a great interview. I really enjoyed getting to know you better Laura!

Emily (fantasizesgam at Gmail dot com)