Friday, March 27, 2020

Interview with Author Minette Lauren

As soon as Minette was old enough to write, she composed a play in one act called The Love of Seth and Beth, inspired by the movie, Gone With the Wind. Undeterred by the play's questionable success, Minette has been in love with writing ever since. Growing up in a small town outside of New Orleans, Louisiana, fueled a lot of Minette's creative endeavors. She travels often and takes advantage of any place with a view that inspires her to write. Minette now resides in Texas, where she loves to write outdoors by her pool, with her five furry writing muses. Besides her menagerie of tail-wagging pooches, Minette also has a loving husband, three turtles, and four parrots to keep her company. Together, they make all of her dreams come true.  

Question: What is the title and genre of your novel?  Why did you select them?

Answer: My Hot in Magnolia Series, Cupcakes and Kisses, Five-Alarm Kisses, and Double Trouble Kisses, are all romantic comedies (rom-coms). Cupcakes is about forty-year-old, Melvina Banks, a talented baker who runs her father’s diner. She is known around Magnolia for her delicious cupcakes and other baked treats. Melvina has given up on men but she dreams of having her very own bakery. While pursuing her dream, she attracts two very hot, eligible bachelors. All of a sudden, she has some big decisions to make!


Question:   What inspired this novel? How did it come about?

Answer: I was at an RWA convention with a lot of other wonderfully inspiring writers. As I was blow-drying my hair at the hotel, I tweaked my back and I thought of a funny scene to write. That scene grew into a series based in Magnolia, TX.

Question:  Could you tell us a little bit about the heroine and/or hero of your novel?

Answer:  In Five-Alarm Kisses, book 2 in the Hot in Magnolia Series, Nina Salas is a feisty, Texan with Latin American heritage. She’s just lost everything she owns in a fire and has moved to Magnolia to pick up the pieces. There, she runs into a handsome fireman, Raphe Nash, who she deems off limits. Devilishly handsome and Captain of the local firehouse, Raphe is a risk to Nina’s fragile heart. Raphe is also running away. A firefighter based in Houston, Raphe almost lost his life in a five-alarm fire. He recently moved to Magnolia to be closer to his family and try to get back on track. Nina completely upends his life.

Question:   Can you tell us about some of your other published novels or work?

Answer:  I also write women’s fiction. Race for the Sun, the first novel in my Soul Watcher Series, won a national reader’s choice award. The second book in the series is complete and ready for release, but my marketing gal is trying to convince me to pitch it to an agent as a separate YA series because the main characters are teenage sisters. She’s excited about the coming of age content and its cinematic potential.

Question:   What are you working on now?

Answer:  I always have something to write about, but I’m not allowing myself to start another book until I complete a few life tasks, like settling my mother’s estate. I recently lost my mom and family always comes first. When I’m ready to start writing again, I’m sure I’ll be torn between which series to continue. All my characters call out to me, especially late at night when I should be sleeping. The break from writing seems odd since I’ve been writing non-stop for the past year, but it also gives me some time to take a breath and plan out what’s next. Five-Alarm Kisses was written in fifty-one days and Double Trouble Kisses was written in fifty-four days. I like to plan the time to write when I know I won’t be interrupted. Losing our home in Hurricane Harvey derailed Cupcakes and Kisses for a year. The book was almost forgotten. Since then, I try to hold myself accountable for all the pages that I commit to when I begin a new book.

Question:   What made you start writing?

Answer: I’ve always created scenarios in my head. I started seriously in my early twenties but gave it up at the first rejection. I started again in my thirties, and then quit before finally tucking in and really giving it a try in my early forties. That’s when I finally started listening to my writing muse. I admit the publishing world can be daunting at times. I sometimes wonder why I keep at this, but the truth is, I can’t stop writing. It’s in my blood.

Question:   What advice would you offer to those who are currently writing novels?

Answer: Never let a rejection letter define you as a writer. Opinions vary and you may get a better response from someone else. Listen to your critics. You can learn a lot from what people don’t like, but don’t let it crush your spirit. Write for yourself, ignore what’s selling. The story should be inside you, bursting its way onto the page. Hold yourself accountable for what goals you set down. If you promise to write one-hundred words a day, do it!

Question:  Where and when will readers be able to obtain your novel?

Answer: Since I said good-bye to my publisher last July, I have taken back all the rights to my books. Everything is finding its way back to print, but this time only on Amazon. I am a part of Kindle Unlimited, so readers who belong to KDP can read my books for free. My eBooks are only $2.99, and they are also available in print on Amazon. The audible books for my Hot in Magnolia Series are being recorded right now and should be available by April/May.


Questions or comments for Minette are most welcome!

24 comments:

  1. Hi Minette and Jacqueline,
    I'm surprised no mention was made of Sins of the Sister. It's an excellent thriller. Minette, you and Zoe were an excellent team. While I'm not into rom-com, you motivated me to write a sci-fi comedy about time travel--alas, the rom might be much less than the com for some rom-com readers.
    This is an excellent interview, from both the interviewer and interviewee standpoint. Keep up the good work, both of you. You brightened my day today.
    r/Steve

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    1. Thank you so much Steven. I love the books I have written with co-writer and friend Zoe Tasia. Sins of the Sister was just re-released a few weeks ago. After leaving our publisher, we decided to go at it on our own. We will republish all our books in time. Self publishing is great, but like everything else in the publishing world, it takes time. I have decided to focus on romance and Zoe is focusing on fantasy. Our co-writing was a wonderful way to break into the business. I look forward to your space comedy. I'm a fan of the movie, Guardians of the Galaxy! You brightened my day too! Minette Lauren

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  2. All your characters call out to you. Well, that must be why, Minette, they seem so real. No wonder you can't stop writing. And I hope you never do. I agree with Steven that SINS OF THE SISTERS is a great read. I recommend it especially now when we can all use an escape so powerful that it makes our walls disappear.

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    1. Thanks so much for your support, June. It's a tough time for everyone and sales were down for the last few months because of the COVID19. I'm so happy things picked up again as Five-Alarm Kisses was released. I think people might return to reading after this event. They will have drained all their Amazon and Netflix shows and will be eager for something new. My Hot in Magnolia series is full of laughs and Sins of the Sister is a psychological thriller.

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  3. Two of my favorite authors in one interview! Thanks for sharing so many of the details about your writing and inspiration, Minette. I love the image of a story, bursting its way onto the page. Best wishes to you both.

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    1. Thanks Saralyn! So glad to be here today. The life of a writer can be solitary, but I look forward to those moments where new characters introduce themselves and entertain me. I thought up one this morning and can't wait to write about her. I'm sure you know just how that feels;)

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  4. GREAT interview ladies!
    So sorry to hear about your mom...mine passed in 2014 ;-(
    Wishing you the best of luck and God's blessings with your writing - your books sound wonderful
    PamT

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  5. Thank you, Pamela. It's been tough losing my mom and best friend. I'm sorry for your loss as well. Writers are fueled by emotions, even the sad ones. Race for the Sun, was inspired by a real life problem between myself and my sister. It was great therapy to write about the issue between us through my story about a flawed guardian angel. That title will re-release next month.

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  6. I have been following this Author; she brings characters to life in such a unique and fun way; the writing is crisp and the character development great; some of her humorous scenes will have you laughing to tears; she has written some great comedy but also a great thought-provoking book (Race for The Sun); and yes indeed Sins of the Sister was a true page turner thriller

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, BBantana. I enjoy writing rom-com and women's fiction. Comedy comes natural to me because I love to laugh. I do enjoy a good mystery from time to time and I'm very happy that Sins of the Sister is back up on Amazon. Thanks for your support!

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  7. Wow. I'm heading off to Amazon to check on your book list! The interview, besides making me envy your writing speed, was full of good information. We all need to recognize that life intervenes and we must deal with it, but by keeping writing we're honoring those we've lost and our muses.

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    1. Thanks so much, Kathy. I think a great deal of writers are putting their skills to use right now. What a perfect time to be writing and escaping the real world. It has fueled my imagination about a heroine trapped someplace great and how she seizes the moment. Thanks for checking out my books. Best wishes to you.

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  8. I love your books - your characters are real, funny, so engaging and your stories are so much fun to read. Can't wait for the next book!

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  9. Thanks so much for commenting Joanna. I love that you love my characters. I miss them after a book is finished. It's one of the reason I love series, I get to revisit them from time to time. My favorite side-character is Rosie! She is a hoot!

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  10. If your books are as enjoyable as the interview - my reading list just grew. Much continued success! dk

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  11. Thanks for stopping by, dkchristi! I'm super glad you enjoyed the interview. It was fun to answer Jacqueline's questions about writing. I truly love spinning fun stories to entertain readers. I hope you will enjoy my books.

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  12. Lauren, I've become familiar with your books from the time I joined Black Opal Books and during that period when you were still involved with them I always appreciated your obvious enthusiasm for not only your writing and characters, but life itself. And this creates a synergistic dynamic that no doubt highlights what you bring to your stories. I'm not involved with series books and there is a certain envy for having those characters call out to you even while trying to get to sleep. That's great that you have made them part of your psyche and continued good luck with your future inspirations. And Jacqueline, a good interview requires knowing your audience and asking the right questions to maintain interest and flow. Well done, both of you.

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    1. Thank you, Keith! We both appreciate your comments.

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    3. Thanks, Keith, for your inspiring comment. I loved that Black Opal Books gave me my first publishing opportunity as Minette Lauren and with my co-writer as Zari Reede. I learned a lot about how much hard work goes into a manuscript after it's written. I'm still learning in the self publishing stage and I love every minute of it. I do miss the family feeling you get with a publisher and all the connections made with others, like the ones who've commented today, but there are always pluses with any new experience. I feel like I am looking at a bright new future where I am holding the reins. Thanks again for saying hello!

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  13. Thank you, Jacqueline, for having me on your blog today. This has been great fun and inspiring. Best to you and your wonderful stories!

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  14. I too enjoyed the interview. (Jacqueline, the second link worked.) Minette, I understand the excitement as you change publishing platforms. I have a novella coming out as an ebook with a new publisher and am very excited.

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    1. Patricia,
      Thank you so much for commenting. Congrats on your new publisher. I thought I would be overwhelmed by self publishing, and figured I would end up looking for a new publisher, but I really like seeing real time sales and knowing what marketing tactics are working. That being said, it does take some initial investment. I just love knowing I have control over when my stories come out. I was advised to find an agent for my YA series, but alas, I just don't think I have the patience to wait. It's exciting any way you decide to publish. Holding your book in your hand is truly a gratifying feeling. Best wishes for your books!

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