I am fortunate enough to have met the lovely Lauren McKellar in person, during my school’s week of work experience. Today she’s on my blog to talk about her novel, Finding Home. There is also a giveaway down the bottom. And without further ado, here’s my interview with Lauren!
1) How long have you been working on Finding Home?
I worked on Finding Home for about 18 months. I wrote the first draft in a month, then embarked upon extensive rewrites, with breaks in between. So, it took a while!
2) Finding Home originally had another name. How did you come up with the new title, and was it a hard thing for you to have it changed?
It was. I didn’t really want to change the name, but another contemporary romance Young Adult book came out with the same title, and I knew it would have been that much harder to try and generate interest in it if there was already an existing product in the same genre. I actually changed it before it got picked up by Escape Publishing, which I think made a difference to how I dealt with it. Also, I changed the name before I really thought anyone would ever read it except for me. I really didn’t think anyone would ever like it enough to publish, so I didn’t really mind what it was called. And then, wham, bam, published, ma’am, it all happened, and I was too excited by the prospect of someone liking the story that I’d all but forgotten about the name change.
3) What advice do you have for Aussie writers?
I’d advise Aussie writers to network. With the internet closing the borders internationally, we’re closer than ever before; and us Aussies have to stick together! Whether you’re after tax advice on your release, or just someone to chat about the difference between Aussie and Americanisms, other Aussie writers rock! We should all hang out. I would also advise Aussie writers, the same as I would advise any writers: write things. And show them to people. Trust me, if someone wanted to publish something I wrote, I’m sure they’ll be interested in your things, too.
4) Is there any music you listened to while writing Finding Home? You know, I went through a really weird time where I could only write in complete and utter silence while I was writing this book. I went in the quiet carriage on the train, I would hole myself up in my bedroom so no noise could penetrate in the evenings when my partner was watching TV, and I’d even wear earplugs if distant noise got too loud. Having said that, I totally spooked myself. I was an idiot! Now, I’ve written a few other manuscripts, and I realize I am totally capable of writing to music. Sometimes I even choose certain music to listen to, in order to get me in the mood *cough-Taylor Swift-cough*.
5) What was the best part of your journey with this book? The best part was the people I met. I had some awesome beta partners, both of whom I have been lucky enough to meet in person. They both taught me so much about writing, and I even went on to start a group blog with one of them (Aussie Owned and Read). That was definitely a highlight for me.
6) And finally, what’s next for you? Do you think you’ll continue to write YA?
I have a second release, The Problem With Crazy, coming out in 2014. It’s an upper YA, or NA, if you will (the lead character is eighteen). I’m going to self-publish it, so that will be an exciting journey for me and I can’t wait to go on it!
Lauren McKellar is a writer and reader of Young and New Adult books. Her debut novel Finding Home is out now, and can be bought from all your usual eBook sites (extensive links available here; Amazon listed below). She also works as a freelance editor for novels for all age groups and you can chat to her on twitter or facebook any time you’d like.
About Finding Home Moody, atmospheric, and just a little bit punk, Finding Home takes contemporary YA to a new level of grit… When Amy’s mum dies, the last thing she expects is to be kicked off her dad’s music tour all the way to her Aunt Lou in a depressing hole of a seaside town. But it’s okay — Amy learned how to cope with the best, and soon finds a hard-drinking, party-loving crowd to help ease the pain. The only solace is her music class, but even there she can’t seem to keep it together, sabotaging her grade and her one chance at a meaningful relationship. It takes a hard truth from her only friend before Amy realises that she has to come to terms with her past, before she destroys her future.