Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing and presenting an excerpt from author Britt Laux. She also wrote a guest blog post for me about Healing through Reading and Writing, so definitely check that out! Britt has published two books, Summer at Enid’s and All Things New. Without further ado, let’s learn more about Britt and her writing and life journey up to this point.
1. What has your writing journey been like so far?
I started writing at a really young age. I used to fully illustrate my stories in crayon, keeping notebooks full of them. As I got older, most of my writing was for school, and I fell away from writing for fun.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to finally go all in and write a book – my first novel, All Things New. Since then, I’ve tried to stay consistent and learn as much as I can about the self-publishing industry and recently started my own indie imprint called Magic and Moons Press.
2. You’re a mom of three (so am I!), so how do you balance everything? Do you have any tips or strategies that other creative moms and dads out there could use?
My cheeky answer is always “Cereal for dinner”. My serious answer is that we all work as a team to make sure I get my work done. My kids are getting a bit older (6, 9 and 11) so we clean the house together every Sunday to free up some time during the week.
My main tip is to make your needs known. Sometimes we like our partners and families to be mind readers and anticipate our needs (like a mom) but it doesn’t always work like that. Having a serious conversation about finding a balance can go a long way.
3. What is your process of writing, from idea to draft to revisions and publishing?
When I get an idea, I start with a notebook. I jot down the main idea and details, then flesh out characters. Once I have an idea of who I’m working with, I start to plot an outline – usually just the main points I know need to happen.
I’m a mix of a plotter and pantser, so I like to let the first draft take me where it will. With my current WIP, I did my first and second drafts simultaneously. I wrote a more detailed post about my process on my Magic and Moons website, but the short version is that after I drafted a few chapters, I would rewrite immediately into the second draft. It helped me keep track of all the little changes I knew I wanted to make.
One I’m ready for a third draft, I start typing. My first two are done by hand to keep that creative feel. That’s the file I will edit going forward, until I’m happy with it.
I have used Amazon’s publishing service in the past, but now that I have my own imprint, I’ll be switching to IngramSpark.
4. What are some of the struggles and drawbacks of writing contemporary fiction (using modern technology, transportation, etc.)?
My first two books are contemporary, while my new book is a dystopian sci-fi/fantasy set in the future. Both have unique challenges when considering technology, transportation, etc.
I will say I prefer contemporary, because it’s easy to write what you know. My first book was set in a town very much like my own, she used a basic cell phone for texting, drove an old car… All very easy to work with. My second book was set way out in the woods with limited technology, so that was super easy.
I think the real drawbacks come when you’re creating your own world and technology, like with my current book. You have to make sure to stay consistent, and know your creation inside and out.
5. Summer at Enid’s looks like there are some strong female relationships that are explored between three generations. What can you share about writing female relationships in today’s society?
I love strong female characters. Both of my first two books have them, and my current series will as well. I think we need more female main characters, handled the right way.
Female friendships are vital to our health. We need our girlfriends! I think that gets portrayed poorly in a lot of mainstream media. Yes, we can be catty, but strong females don’t always have to butt heads.
We can build each other up and support all of the ladies.
6. Your books feature clean romance, what are some lessons you’ve learned about writing romance that you can share with others looking to write them or incorporate romantic plot lines in their books?
I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer this, but I’ll give it a shot.
For me, romance needs to be realistic. A common theme in romance novels is unrealistic relationships and intimate encounters (multiple all-nighters, etc.). I also get really tired of the “I love you so much, but actually only express it sexually” theme.
Romance is about the little things. Pouring someone coffee when they get up. Checking in to see how they’re feeling. Being there for them when they’re having a hard time. It makes me think of those ‘Yeah, sex is great but have you ever…’ memes. Sex isn’t the only aspect of romance.
I keep my books fairly clean for that reason. We like steam and that rush of attraction, but deep down we’re craving more than that.
7. Do you have any unique writing quirks or habits?
I actually asked my husband to help me answer this one! One quirk is that I chew on my lips while I concentrate – reading or writing. I also tap my fingers on the edge of the computer when I’m thinking over a scene and drive everyone crazy.
I also have a lucky dictionary. It’s a Webster’s Vest Pocket Dictionary I stole from my mom as a kid that’s older than I am. I rarely use it now, thanks to Google, but it has to be close by.
8. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I would just say to anyone just starting out on this journey, self-publishing or hoping to query, make sure you find your village. It takes a village to write a book and do the story justice. Seek out editors, formatters, cover designers – the people that can help you polish your book until it shines.
And if you can’t afford to hire these things out, ask questions. Do your research. This is essential to avoiding rookie mistakes that make your work look sloppy and unfinished.
(I’m a stickler for this – as indie writers especially, we have to be sure we’re putting our best foot forward, or it reflects badly on our fellow indies.)
Excerpt from Summer at Enid’s
In the last few days I’ve down a lot of crazy things. I quit my job. Left my boyfriend. Fiancé. Deposited most of my possessions in a storage unit. And now I’ve driven almost five hours to stay with my grandmother, who may or may not be totally insane. When I called, Grandma was happy to invite me to stay with her for a while. She said it was serendipitous, as she needs an extra hand around the house. I would be doing her a favor, she insisted. My mother was seething that I turned to Grandma instead of her. I don’t know that they’ve even spoken much in the last couple of years. She acted like I was betraying her. Maybe I am. I could very well be that spiteful.