October 23, 2012

interview with the author of 'november surprise'

I'm pleased to welcome Laurel Osterkamp, author of November Surprise, to the blog, today for an interview. You can read an excerpt of the book here and my review here. Laurel, thanks for joining us.

Change the World: What kind of planning do you do before writing your books?
Laurel Osterkamp: Once I come up with a general idea I work on developing the characters. My novels are always character-based, with plot being secondary. Once I know who I’m writing about, I like to leave the events of the story up in the air. It’s more fun to be able to make discoveries as I’m writing the book.

CTW: How did you come up with the idea for this book?
LO: I have always been a political junkie, so I created a character that is even worse than I am! I thought, what could be more fun than writing a parallel between the changes in our times and the emotional growth of a woman, from the ages of 17 to 37? But at the base of it all, I’d put in a love story. I think I was taking my baby daughter for a walk when these thoughts ran through my mind.

CTW: What is the biggest lesson you learned while writing this book?
LO: The 2000 election was even more messed up than I had thought! I had to do a lot of research, and what I found out surprised me.

CTW: How do you keep your motivation up and going to write?
LO: For me, being motivated to write is easy, because I really enjoy it. I have more trouble staying motivated for the marketing side. I get very frustrated when my efforts don’t work.

CTW: What is the best writing advice you ever received?
LO: Commit to writing 500 words a day, every day, and in a few months you’ll have the first draft of a novel.

CTW: How about the worst?
LO: Honestly, I can’t think of anything. I like to take advice for what it’s worth, and if it doesn’t work for me, I disregard it pretty quickly.

CTW: What books would we find on your bookshelf?
LO: All the Harry Potters, the Hunger Games trilogy, lots of Emily Giffin, Jennifer Weiner, Curtis Sitenfield, Douglas Coupland, and Melissa Bank.

CTW: What's your favorite latest read?
LO: April and Oliver by Tess Callahan

CTW: What is up next for you and your writing career?
LO: Right now I’m focusing on writing a blog about Lucy and the 2012 election. I see it as a free, extended epilogue to November Surprise. Interested readers can find it at www.novembersurprises.blogspot.com.

After that, I plan to write my next novel, which will be inspired by my stint on a federal jury, and the television show Survivor.

CTW: Anything else you would like to share?
LO: Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog!

About the Author
Laurel Osterkamp was a comedy writer in Minneapolis before she began writing novels. Her first novel, Following My Toes, has been a Kindle best seller and won the 2008 Indie Excellence Award for Chick Lit. Starring in the Movie of My Life received honors in the 2011 Indie Excellence Awards for Chick Lit, and in the 2011 International Book Awards for Women's Fiction and Young Adult Lit. Both books are indie approved at indiereader.com. She currently teaches high school, and is working on her next book, which is inspired by her recent jury duty.

Connect with Laurel
Website: http://www.laurelosterkamp.com/
Blog: http://www.laurelosterkamp.blogspot.com/
Blog by "Lucy," which continues the story of November Surprise: http://www.novembersurprises.blogspot.com/

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