Wednesday, 6 July 2011

A Chat with Author Laurel Osterkamp

I know I've been quiet again for the past week or so.  Been busy again. I hope all of my blogger friends in the USA had a happy fourth of July! And to my friends in Canada, hope you all had an exciting celebration of Canada Day!!!

As promised, I am back with another blog interview with the lovely author, Laurel Osterkamp.  Check it out how she attempted to get published by a mainstream publisher and how she grew impatient but ended up happy to be independently publishing her own books.  I've enjoyed this interview and learned a lot from Laurel.  I hope you enjoy it, too, and pick a thing or two!

Hello, Laurel, welcome to my blog! I am very pleased to have you with me today! 
Len: What was your job before you became a writer?
Laurel Osterkamp (LO) - Actually, my primary job right now is as a high school teacher. But my dream is to one day make enough money from writing that I can focus only on that.
Do you remember the first writing piece you’ve written?
LO - When I was little I wanted to be an actress, so I wrote a lot of plays. I remember writing something about three girls at boarding school. I’m sure it was God-awful!
What was your first published work? (Was it a short story, an essay, a poem?)
LO - Well, maybe this doesn’t count, but my writing obsession began when the comedy sketches I wrote were performed. I used to do comedy-improvisation, and I began to enjoy writing for the groups I performed with more than actually performing with them. Then I did an adaptation of GlenGarryGlenRoss, called GwenHairyGwenGloss, and it was set in a beauty parlor with an all female cast. It got a lot of attention, and it was loads of fun!
What was your first published novel?
LO - Following My Toes
(Find out more about Laurel's books on her Blog -
Did you struggle to get published? Can you tell us your experience on getting published?
LO - I made an attempt to get published by a mainstream publisher, but when it didn’t work out right away I grew impatient. I also had an agent agree to take me on, only to never hear from her again! Now I’m happy to be independently published, because the industry is changing so quickly with the emergence of e-readers. So much more is possible now, and it’s nice be in control of certain decisions, like pricing. 
Do you want it quiet when you write or do you prefer some kind of music in the background to help you concentrate?
LO - I love to listen to music. I often make itune playlists to coincide with the theme or story of whatever I’m working on.
(Thank you, Laurel, for sharing with us a photo of your work space!)

Let’s talk about your latest novel, Starring in the Movie of my Life – how long ago was it when you began to write this novel?
LO - Gosh – I guess it’s been about five years!
Can you tell us about Starring in the Movie of my Life?  What is it about?
LO - To put it simply, it’s about two very different women who want to be saved by the same man. Ultimately, they have to learn how to save themselves.
Did you have to research to write the story?
LO - I read some articles by men about how women propelled them to cheat on their significant other. That’s how I crafted Melody’s “five step plan” to lure Nate away from Samantha.
How did you create your characters?  Are they real people?
LO - I usually start by giving them a heroic quality, like being extremely compassionate or a survivor. Sometimes I’ll think of friends or family to help inspire these characters, but ultimately they’re always fictional.
Do you see yourself in any of your characters in this particular novel you’ve written?
LO - Not so much. I realized when I was done writing Starring in the Movie of My Life that Melody and Samantha are total opposites… the ying to each other’s yang. I share qualities with both of them, but I’m also very different from each of them too.
Do you have a favourite character in Starring in the Movie of my Life?
LO - I love Samantha and Melody equally. Even though a lot of readers think Melody is a bad person, I respect her strength and intelligence. So choosing which one I like better would be like choosing between my children. Ha ha. That’s silly, isn’t it?
(Len: I agree, Laurel.  It is.)
Are you working on any other projects right now?  If so, can you tell us about them?
LO - I’m working on a novella that will hopefully be available soon. It’s about a girl/woman who loves political campaigns. Four different occasions in her life are visited: the prom, a wedding, a funeral, and a baby shower. It’s called Campaign Promises.
(Len:  Sounds another interesting story, Laurel!)
Do you have any tips to share with aspiring writers out there on how to get published?
LO - Only this: Remember that the industry is changing more and more every day. There is no easy route, and there are pros and cons to whichever path you decide to take. Figure out which path is right for you, and don’t give up when you’re confronted with obstacles, because you will be!
Thank you very much, Laurel.  It’s been a pleasure to have you on my blog. Do you have anything else to add?
LO - Len, thanks so much for having me!
It has been a pleasure, Laurel.  Thank you for your time.  To all my writer/blogger friends, I invite you all to visit Laurel's Blog - please click HERE.

She also has a blog tour!  You can check all participating bloggers on Chicklit Plus Blog Tours promoting her latest novel, Starring in the Movie of my Life, don't miss it, please click HERE.


Theresa Milstein said...

Laurel, I like listening to music when I write too.

Good luck with your books and your upcoming novella.

Old Kitty said...

Thank you Len for such a fab intro and interview with Laurel Osterkamp! I love her advice highlighted in brown. Such wise wise words! I love the idea of Starring in the Movie of My Life and the research that went into it - men made to cheat by their significant others! WOW!

I wish her all the best with her writing, her novels and the novella! Take care

Anonymous said...

Its great to meet you, Laurel. Hope you can get to that point where you can make a living off writing. Best wishes to your success!

Hilary said...

Hi Len and Laurel .. such an interesting read .. and that you started out writing comedy sketches ..

Also good to learn your process to publication .. and how much you learnt in the process ..

Thanks Len for the introduction .. both of you have good weeks ... Hilary

Misha said...

I enjoyed this interview. I'm seriously starting to feel the changes in the industry, because I'm coming to that point in my writing where I have to decide where I'm going with my book.

Best of luck, Laurel! :-)

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Having read this and then seen the give away in my google reader I popped over to enter only to find it has disappeared. I wonder what the problem is all well never mind :(

Talli Roland said...

Great interview, ladies! I'm impatient, too, so I can totally relate to what Laurel says.

Lauren F. Boyd said...

This is helpful information - thank you for this interview!

And thanks, Len, for connecting with me on Facebook and for becoming a Follower on my blog! It's nice to meet you! I have bookmarked your blog and will come back often!

Thanks again!