And it’s another week of penetrating brains. This week Lauren Stone agreed to be probed. Lauren was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She is currently dividing her time between Seattle, WA, Los Angeles, CA, and Montreal, QC where she lives with her husband and their canine children Ralph and Olaf. In addition to writing, Lauren is an accomplished musical theatre actress garnering rave reviews in Los Angeles and Seattle. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from California State University, Long Beach in Fall 2011. She is currently applying to MFA programs.
Lauren is the one who compiled my book trailers. She’s a talented and always busy lady. Although we haven’t met in person “yet” she’s one of my besties. You’ll see why in a minute.
To the questions!
Renee: firmly believe that every author has a character she’s secretly in love with, whether it’s one of your own, or one created by another author. Give us a name, and tell us what makes him/her so fantastic?
Lauren: My favorite character I’ve ever written is from a screenplay I wrote several years ago, that will probably never be made. She is a sympathetic serial killer with borderline personality disorder. She is afraid of abandonment and so she taxidermies anything she loves that tries to leave her. She goes from being a sweet self-deprecating under-dog, to villain, to sympathetic victim. It really fucks with the readers head, because you end up feeling guilty for liking her, and that is why I love her. She is multi-faceted and becomes a real person rather than just another horror trope.
Purple prose is kind of annoying. All those heaving bosoms, moist caves, and gloriously pulsating love clubs can overwhelm a reader. Some authors can add purple and create a pretty cool effect, or they use it to add a bit of humor. Describe your favorite food in a purple way.
The moist, juicy, poitrine dessosse encapsulated, protected by a fine misting of flour, dredged in emulsified ovum of poultry dusted with iodine and freshly ground pepper noire, before doused in the perfectly plump bread crumb substitute of my people (PANKO), and fried in a shallow pan with two inches of roiling oil, set atop a mound of fleecy downy grains from a paddy then boiled to perfection, and coated with the savory mahogany alchemy of spices set into dehydrated cubes of Golden Curry, mountains of translucent yellow onions, crimson potatoes, and carrot pyramids, reminded me of winter. I love katsu-curry.
**That’s the first time purple prose has made my mouth water.**
Fantasy is a vast genre, so authors have a lot of inspiration for stories and characters. My personal favorites are gods and (yes, I’ll admit it) vampires. I could never write about werewolves and be perfectly happy, because I just don’t get the allure. If you were told you could never write about one type of character again (under penalty of torture, dismemberment and then death), which one would you throw off the cliff?
This is a literal sacrificial lamb? I think I could sacrifice writing about Stephanie Meyers Vampire mythology. Vampires as a genre staple will always be there because they are an embodiment of our fear of death and immortality. So, there will always be vampiric characters, but if I never have to see another story featuring a lovelorn teenager who just wants to get laid, but can’t because it’s wrong, and is in love with a vampire with built in body glitter, and that’s what makes him dangerous, arts and crafts herpes, I’m OK, with never having to use those character or archetypes again. I guess simpering teen, is the real character I want to destroy. I didn’t think this one out very well.
**Arts and crafts herpes—Stealing this.**
This one is easy: What author would you most like to spend time with (for whatever reason and no you don’t have to share the reason) and what would you ask him/her?
Christopher Moore. I love his brain. LAMB is the book I wish I wrote because it’s so good. We have a very large Christopher Moore collection in our house, I should actually probably finish reading them all.
**I must recommend you all check out Christopher Moore. Lauren’s right. His brain is fascinating.**
Writing routines are recommended by the “experts.” I have some things I always do before and while writing that help me focus. For example, there must be coffee and an ugly housecoat involved. Music is also important. What’s the most important (or strangest) part of your writing routine?
I am a pantser. And, I write in very different genres. For me, I love long hand for poetry and short fiction, for screenplay and novel I prefer my trusty laptop. Music is generally a given and Pandora is my saving grace. Certain channels get more play time depending on the genre I am writing in, but for the most part it’s Sarah Barellis and all the magic that comes up on her station, or Adelle. It is less about the content of the music and more about the meter and pace of the songs. I used to be a competitive swimmer and we would pump songs through the sound system to set our rhythm. It’s effectively the same for writing, it is there to keep you moving forward and to distract you from getting lost in the silence of your own mind, cause that’s where we all start screaming, what are you doing, no, that’s a terrible idea, you’re going to kill her? Why? Why? Why? Stop it what’s wrong with you you worthless piece of shit? Oh…I could really go for some Cheetos. And then you get up and eat Cheetos and watch chopped instead of writing.
**Last time I ate Cheetos while writing, it was an orange powder nightmare. I did learn that I use the “n” key a lot.**
You find yourself stranded in a dark alley at night. Doesn’t matter how you got there, because it’s too late. You’re there. Shit’s happening. Focus! Okay, you have to make a decision. There is no escape. If you don’t decide, one of your loved ones gets it bad. Okay? We’re clear? Good. So, you’re confronted by a werewolf, a zombie, a demon, and a vampire. The only way out is to let one of these bad boys (or girls) turn you. Which do you choose? Why?
Oh, werewolf. I’m already a bitch three days out of the month anyway.
**Best answer to this question ever.**
That sentence best describes your work ethic? Seriously. Yes, I want to know. Mine? It’s all fun and games until you get an email. Because I’m easily distracted. Okay, now it’s your turn.
I work all the time, OCD, until it’s done. And then don’t touch it for two years or until there is a deadline. I have lots of stuff ready to be published just looking for an avenue. I’m a firm believer that you need to have a catalog, so that you can actually keep producing and sell work that exists while you are working on new things. Basically, I’m a squirrel.
Let’s pretend we live in a utopia, where everything’s awesome and we’re all perfect. How would we communicate in a perfect society?
We would piss money into each other’s mouths. Perfect is fucking boring. Perfect isn’t real, and perfect is a lovely little fairytale we tell ourselves so that we have hope in a desolate wilderness. But, you know what? Perfect is a dangerous lie. I don’t like this question, because I think we assume shit is perfect and then ignore all the heinous things we do to one another for “the greater good”. So, yeah. Someone else can go live in the cloud of farts known as utopia, I’d rather try and understand why the world allows horrible shit to happen. But, then, I am a pessimist who is having health problems and waiting on an MRI, so a little jaded this week, not going to lie.
**Have I told you I love you lately?**
Pennywise the Clown, Edward Cullen, Jessica Rabbit and the Fates walk into a bar. What happens next?
Edward Cullen falls down crying cause he is secretly afraid of Clowns. Jessica Rabbit gets free drinks from the Fates, signs an exclusive modeling contract, and Pennywise drinks a bottle of Talisker because all he ever wanted was to make people smile.
Writers are often labeled as weird, crazy or slightly strange, but we all know that’s not true. Still, it’s hard not to have some eccentricities when you spend so much time in your head. What’s one strange fact about yourself that readers might find a little crazy or odd?
I think I have an affinity for horror and swear words because I’ve taught children’s, musical theater, dance, and preschool for fifteen years. Being surrounded by children and forced to behave in a cheery manner amplifies the dark parts of your brain. Anytime you restrain yourself and are forced to adopt certain behaviors I think your subconscious wants to act out, and mine does that by creating fiction and turning sweet innocent stories into nightmares.
**So the children are to blame. This explains much.**
A strange man walks into your house. (It might happen) He’s wearing a wedding dress, which is covered in dirt and a mystery material that looks kind of like snot, but it’s blue, and he’s carrying a shovel with a bloody handle. What happens next?
“Hey, Honey. Do we have room in the fridge for twelve million blueberry muffins? That smurf wedding massacre was nuts.”
What genre do you prefer to write? Why? Is it different from the genre you enjoy reading?
I prefer short/flash fiction, because I am ADD sometimes, and screenplay/playwriting because I love dialog. I prefer to write dialog to narrative and find it to be more facile. I started as an actor and because I have read and performed more plays/scripts in the past twenty years than I have read books, I am far more familiar with the structure of how a dramatic work is crafted. Also, being an actor allows me to look at the work from that perspective as well as that of a writer. People say all the time that you have to read your genre to know how to write in it, and I agree to a certain extent, but I think you can’t discount our experiences with other forms of media and how it influences the way we write as individuals. I realized recently that I like non-fiction, never really thought of myself as a non-fiction reader, but whenever I pick up something to read for “fun” it’s non-fiction. I’m reading Stephen King’s On Writing right now, and my gym book used to be Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders. I have a list of novels sitting on my bookshelf that I keep saying I am going to read, but I never actually pick them up unless someone else directs me to do so. Where as I have willingly read 200 pages of Stephen King’s memoir in the last week. Never read any of his novels, we have 8 of them on that shelf, I’ve paid for them, mean to read them, haven’t done it. Seen all the movie remakes(actor-fail), but it is his memoir that I have gotten the farthest in. Just a weird thing I noticed. I also think that sometimes you aren’t ready to read certain books. Some books come to you when you need them, and in his memoir King talks about health scares and being in and out of the hospital and I think that has more to do with why I have been in the book with him than the fact that it is non-fiction. I hope Renee edits this cause I’m just kind of rambling and oversharing. It’s how I roll.
Ah, I always enjoy talking to Lauren. Writers, check out her publishing company here and the rest of you can find Lauren on Twitter and her blog. Oh, and she’s into film stuff too.