Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to rub elbows with several multi-published authors, some one-time authors like me, and some aspiring authors. For two days! I left my family (on my wedding anniversary, no less!), and drove up to a state park in TN where were all meeting. We had a lovely meet-and-greet dinner Monday night and then two days of sessions that covered everything from cutting the fluff in our manuscripts, to building worlds, to marketing the finished project. I almost didn't want to come home.
One of the best parts was actually not winning the contest associated with the retreat. The not winning part was a little disappointing, but the feedback on the bits of my story they had read, priceless. So, over the next few weeks, I am going through that manuscript AGAIN and polishing up even more. Then, I AM going to send it to a publisher to see if I can get it in your hands sooner rather than later. I know quite a few of you are waiting impatiently for another book from me. Thanks for believing I can do it.
I came away from this retreat renewed and full of ideas and methods I can hopefully start to use as I continue writing and editing. The people were amazing, and I am glad to say I made several new friends that I am already looking forward to seeing again next year. The classes were helpful. And the view from my hotel room balcony ... well, just see for yourself!
So, while I have made more writer friends since becoming a writer, some of my writer friends have been friends longer than they've been writers. Does that make sense? Today, I want to introduce you to my friend from college, Lauren Orbison. She's a sweetheart with a love of children's literature that has taken her to writing stories of that kind. I thoroughly enjoyed her first book, "Tortellini," and highly recommend it to any of you with young elementary kids in your family. I've loved rekindling our friendship over the last few years, and now get to share her with you! Here's our interview:
When did you first decide you wanted to be an author?
I wanted to be an author when I was in high school. I thought maybe if I wrote enough that I
would be good enough to someday be a professional and get paid for my writing. I used role-
playing as my main form of writing so that I wouldn’t be alone during the writing. But I
remember my very first piece of solo material was dreadful Star Wars fanfiction, which
fortunately never saw the light of day because I didn’t post it online back then. There wasn’t a
place to post it at the time.
Your children's book, "Tortellini," is so cute. Is there a reason you wanted to write for children instead of adults? What led you to children's literature?
It didn’t start out as a children’s story. It started out as a couple of blog posts. I intended to do an
anthology of A-Z for dragons. Authors are frequently told to blog but I wanted to blog about
something else besides writing and my writing habits. So I started with A. I’d been reading the
Artemis Fowl series at the time and the name Alphonse was a false alias he used. I liked the
name and thought it would be perfect for my dragon. However, I always have loved children’s
literature. It is difficult to find clean reading material for Christians. That age group is still fairly
safe for reading. There’s a whole essay on How Tortellini Came to Be that I wrote because of
this question. [Insert link]
While I have to argue that it is getting easier and easier to find more clean Christian books, I understand why you felt that way in the past. I have felt that way from time to time, too. Especially when it comes to fantasy stories.
Where did you come up with your ideas for the recipes in your book? Not everyone would have thought to use tortoises as tortellini shells.
I bounce ideas off my husband I think he was the one who suggested both the tortoise shells and
the raw tiger as appropriate dragon food.
Don't you love having someone to bounce ideas off of? Is there anything you're working on right now? Any ideas for more dragon books? Ever thought of doing something besides children's books?
Our next book is a collaborative effort my husband and I have written called "The Principal Who
Hated Broccoli." It is based on an actual trip to the store that happened in reality when I was
babysitting for my neighbor’s daughter and we took her with us to the grocery store. I thought it
amusing enough at the time that when I got home I wrote the entire first draft.
As far as ideas, they’re so rampant in my head right now and it’s like attempting to put together
several jigsaw puzzles at once when you don’t even have all the pieces to know what it is going
to look like when you finish. I have everything from dragon books to fantasy short series related
stuff in my head.
My writing process annoys my husband because I change things around so much. “Write the
book already!” He says. But it’s not that simple.
I have to outline a book in full for me to be able to finish it. I like to find the plot holes before
I’m several thousand words in and realize I have no plot ( which is part of what’s going on right
now with a couple of my works in progress).
I am right there with you on the ideas in your head! I have several stories fighting for attention right now, too. And my husband also doesn't always understand my writing process. Ha!
On a more personal note, doess your missing chromosome make it harder for you to be able to be an author?
Yes it is harder! Sitting still is harder. Concentrating is harder. Writing when I’m sick is hard
because it’s always hard to concentrate when you’re sick and your head is in a fog of mind-
numbing mucous. And I get sick a little more than most people, especially in the fall/winter
Man, that doesn't sound fun at all!
Okay, I always ask my authors to leave us with one fun random fact that not many
people know about you. Whatcha got?
I absolutely cannot stand cream cheese in a dessert. I know, it’s blasphemy for women not to like
cream cheese but I don’t. At least not this way. I’m fine with it in a savory dish or as an
ingredient in a cake or dip. But don’t spread it over my bagel! I’ll have to set my dragons on you.
Believe it or not, you're not the only friend I have who has an aversion to cream cheese. Just means more for me! Thanks for stopping by today, Lauren. This has been fun!
Want to know more about Lauren and her book(s)? Check out the information below.
Lauren Orbison is an independent author residing in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and a furry sidekick. She is missing a small portion of her 22nd chromosome and offers a $50 reward if you find it. Her mutant superpowers include befriending dragons, writing down her observations, and talking until people's ears fall off. Tortellini is her first published book, though she plans to have more out shortly. You can visit her website at www.laurenorbison.com .
This is a place for me to tell you about what I'm writing, talk about the process or where some of my ideas came from, or even have other authors come in and talk about their books.
Authors I Love to Read (in no particular order)