Saturday, July 3, 2010
An Interview with Rising Star, Laura Whitcomb
Pigeonholing Laura as an author of ‘Young Adult Fiction’ in the paranormal/fantasy genre is a misnomer committed by those who have not read her work, though that is the bookstore shelf where a seeker will find her.
In reality, she is an artist. The English language is her brush, and the blank page her canvas. She paints a mural of love and how nothing - be it time, distance, or even death – can wither our need for it, or prevent us from finding it.
That constant theme is the basis for her second novel, THE FETCH, as well.
If you believe in love, if you long for love, if you seek love, I urge you to read the unforgettable works of Laura Whitcomb. http://www.laurawhitcomb.com/
Q) What was the defining moment or event that sparked the desire to become a published author?
A) There wasn't an exact moment. I always wanted to be a writer. When I was three my mother let me dictate stories to her. I remember in elementary school hoping that a story I was writing about a witch would be on display in the children's section of the library someday. I probably wanted to write books because we had so many books around our house and because I was read to every night when I was little. What could be a better job?
Q) Your life transformed from “this” (this needs to be done now, this needs to be done next…) to “dis” (disorganized, discombobulated, ‘dis’ ain’t gonna happen) with the birth of your son. Congratulations by the way. He, obviously, and rightfully so, holds your heart and occupies a place in your every thought. How will he affect your writing? Will he influence the themes and paths of future novels?
Q) Writers write about what they know. You pen tales of love. But your tales incorporate emotions spanning the void between life and death. Where does that inspiration come from?
A) That's hard to answer. I'm a romantic, so I enjoy spending time in a love story. And I've loved tales of the supernatural since early childhood. As a storyteller, I've probably been inspired, and influenced, by tales I read or heard or watched through the years. Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Daphne du Maurier's REBECCA, Henry James' TURN OF THE SCREW, etc.
Q) Youth and innocence play a part in your works. What is it about the pre-twenties age group that draws out of you the desire to use that assemblage as the basis for your main characters?
A) I actually didn't start out to write SLANT as a YA novel. My agent sent the manuscript to both adult and YA editors. But when it sold as a teen book, it made perfect sense. The ghosts are trapped in the world of teenagers and have to deal with those teenage problems, limits, challenges. Also, being a teen is a little like being a ghost -- you feel invisible and powerless at times. You want to be seen for who you really are. Often you are drifting in the margins of life, heavy with emotions and passions unexpressed, waiting for that one person who can truly understood you to look you in the eyes and love you.
Q) What advice can you give to a struggling writer trying to become published? (Feel free to plug your ‘how to’ books here)
A) Well, yes, I did co-author YOUR FIRST NOVEL with my agent Ann Rittenberg and a couple years later I wrote NOVEL SHORTCUTS -- there's plenty of useful advice in those books, but the short answer is . . . read a lot, practice writing a lot, read the kind of books you want to write and read writers you admire. Rewrite and refine your manuscript until you love every part of every page. Get an agent rather than sending your work directly to publishers. Research the agents you query before you write to them. Make your query letter no more than one page long -- make sure that it tells the agent who the story's about, the setting (place and time), and what the main problem of the book is. Don't wait to sell the first book before you start writing your next one. (You'll just keep getting better and better.) And don't give up.