Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Usually I’m the one doing the interview, today the shoe’s on the other foot thanks to Erin McCole Cupp, author and blogger extraordinaire at Will Write For Tomato Pie. If you’ve been wanting to know a bit more about me and my novel, A World Such as Heaven Intended, here’s your chance…

7QT: INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR AMANDA LAUER

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Welcome to Seven Quick Takes Friday, hosted by the lovely and talented Jennifer over at Conversion Diary  Jess at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Remember when I reviewed this book?

The author of A World Such as Heaven Intended has stopped by the tomato pie shop to have a little chat with us.  Let’s welcome Amanda Lauer!

ALauer-headshotAn avid reader and history buff since childhood, Amanda Lauer fulfilled a lifelong goal with the publication of her debut novel, A World Such as Heaven Intended. Lauer learned the technical aspects of writing as a proofreader in the insurance, newspaper and collegiate arenas. Over the last ten years she has had more than twelve-hundred articles published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. Lauer is the co-author of Celebrate Appleton, A 150th Birthday Photo Album, and contributed to the books Expressions of ITP…Inside Stories, and Living Virtuously — Keeping Your Heart and Home. In addition to her writing career, Lauer is involved in the health and wellness industry, striving to spread the message of true health — physical, mental and financial. Residents of northeast Wisconsin, Lauer and her husband John have been married thirty-three years. They are involved in their church and community and in their spare time travel for business and pleasure, play golf, run, bike, read, and further their education in the area of personal development. They are the proud parents of four young adult children, have a son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and are grandparents to one grandson.

And now, without further ado, here’s all you ever wanted to know about Amanda Lauer and A World Such as Heaven Intended!

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Tell us about your most recent work.  How did the idea come to you?  How long did it take you from start to publication? 
My debut novel, A World Such as Heaven Intended, was released October, 2014. I’m a freelance writer by trade and one of my jobs is writing for local newspapers. I had written an article about a family’s Civil War memorabilia and the gentleman told me the story of his great-great-great uncle’s experiences in the Civil War and I thought it could be the basis for an excellent book someday. An acquaintance of mine was working on a book herself and she challenged me to write one chapter of a book each month and we’d get together and copyedit each other’s manuscripts over coffee. So it took two years to write the book, then two years to find a publisher. In that time frame, I only queried twelve publishers because our daughter was a Make-A-Wish Child, so most of my energy was spent caring for her. About a year ago I queried Full Quiver Publishing and was offered a contract earlier this year. In total it was about a six-year process.
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Idea, research, editing, design…What was your favorite part of working on this project? What was your least favorite? 
My favorite part of working on this project was writing the dialogue between the main two characters, Amara and Nathan. I was literally laughing out loud as I wrote some of the lines and at times crying when the conversations got deeper. I also really enjoyed researching and learning more about the Civil War. I’m a history buff and it was fascinating delving further into this subject. My least favorite part was all the revisions. I realize now that every bit of feedback that I got made helped turned this book from a good story to a fantastic novel but it was a little disheartening at times. One particularly harsh criticism about the book literally had me walk away from the project for nine months; it was daunting considering what had to be reworked. But again, it made it the book it is today.
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Tell us about how this work came to reach us:  did you go the self-publishing route or did you contract with a publisher?  What was that like? 
From day one I was determined to go the traditional route and find a publisher who believed in this work as much as I did. While I could have done self-publishing since I am also a copy editor and proofreader, I never pursued that seriously. I had thought about getting an agent at one point, but did not want to put the time and energy into that endeavor either. By the grace of God, my book made its way into the hands of Ellen Gable Hrkach of Full Quiver Publishing. She is a fantastic publisher and editor, and her insight really brought this book to life.  Plus her husband James did an outstanding job creating the book cover. If this book turns out to be a million seller someday, I will have that team to thank!
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What other things in your life do you juggle in order to keep at your writing?  How’s that working out for you?
In addition to working on novels, I write for the Green Bay Diocese newspaper The Compass, I write for The Business News, I proofread for Saint Norbert College, I do product testing for a local personal product manufacturing corporation, I write product reviews online, I do commercial acting and modeling, and I own my own business that promotes true health — financial, mental and physical (www.KangenWisconsin.com). There’s never a dull moment around here, but I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone, I thank God every day because I’m so blessed with all these opportunities.
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Setting, characters, plot, mood, tone… What would you describe as your greatest strength as a writer?
My greatest strength as a writer is the technical aspects of writing. Years of proofreading other people’s works helped me to figure out the mechanics of writing so I feel that I see the big picture and attend very closely to details. I do love writing dialogue, especially lines that reflect my sense of humor!
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Conversely, if you could change one thing about your writing style, what would it be and why? 
Having worked in the newspaper arena for many years, my writing is very concise. We are generally limited to 800 words per story. I would love to be able to enhance my work more with descriptive wording but that just isn’t my style at this point.
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Lastly, where can we find your work, a. k. a. give you our hard earned cash? 
My book is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Thanks for your support!
Thank you, Amanda, for chatting with us!  Now, readers, go pick up your copy of A World Such as Heaven Intended!

Beginning a Second Novel Today!

It’s super exciting to watch the process as my novel is being rolled out to the mass market. First came the launch on Kindle via Amazon. Every step of the way this book has been looked over with a fine-toothed comb. Consequently, there have been more tweaks than I ever could have imagined are possible. Of course, the more eyes that look at this, the more things are caught. Last Friday I received the proof copy in the mail. It’s really hard to describe the feeling holding the book in your hands that you’ve been working on for six years and seeing your name on the cover and the spine of the book. Yowza!

I was instructed to read the book over the weekend and see if there were any last fixes that needed to be made. I live for deadlines so consequently I scheduled the reading session starting late Sunday afternoon. In the meantime, I got a private message on Facebook from a gentleman who read the book and really enjoyed it. He had one question about the final page of the story. Without looking at the copy, I explained how things turned out and could set up the book for a possible sequel.

It took about seven hours to go through the book and find those minute details that needed addressing. Around midnight Sunday I got to the last page and stopped dead in my tracks. There was one word wrong that completely would change how the story was wrapped up. No wonder that gentleman was confused! I sent a panicked e-mail to my publisher and she assured me if it was just a typo, they’d let it slide until the next round of printing. This was much more than a typo! Talk about throwing a monkey wrench in the works! “Stop the presses” was no longer an expression you hear in the movies, it was literally what we had to do.

That threw the timing of everything off because we weren’t able to order copies of the book that day for the book launches in November. Thankfully everything was able to be fixed and the book went to press on October 29. This turned out to be the perfect day for printing to be begin. This is the note I got from my publisher late that day: “I spent a long time today going through this final proof and approved it this evening on the Feast of Blessed Maria Restituta (rather than waiting until Saturday). Blessed Maria was a martyr and beheaded by the Nazis, but her feisty spirit reminds me of Amara and…we can ask for Blessed Maria’s intercession for the success of your book!” Wow! To top it off, Blessed Maria was a nurse just like our heroine. Talk about divine intervention!

A World Such as Heaven Intended has been in the hands of beta readers and other folks for the last month or so with the hope that people will like it enough to write positive reviews on Amazon. So far, so good. After 10 reviews, we’re still at 5 stars! Even better news is the book is moving up in rank on Amazon as more people are purchasing copies for their Kindles. Heading to the topper-most of the popper-most. (Beatles fans should get this…)

Anyhow, someone read the book earlier this month and sent me a message asking when the sequel would be available. The picture below shows the expression on my face when I read her note…

Jinlge all the way

 

Apparently I need to get writing. Once again, providence has stepped in. Today is November 1, or as my fellow writing friends know, it’s the first day of Nanowrimo or National Novel Writing Month. Writers around the world are encouraged to write a 50,000-word novel between today and November 30. That’s 1,667 words per day in case anyone’s counting. In my estimation that’s a good 2 hours of writing per day. Seeing as I have so much free time on my hands, I signed up. Here’s the deal… I have two sequels on the drawing board for A World Such as Heaven Intended but both are quite labor-intensive in the research department. So I’m starting a completely different project, a young adult novel set in 1974 that centers on the topic of bullying and a young girl’s experience as the victim of a bully and how the issue is resolved in an unexpected way.

Guess it’s time to get writing! I’ll keep you in the loop and let you know how the manuscript is progressing!