Welcome back to Laurie Boris: Thank you for having me back!
Where are you from and where do you live now? I grew up in a small town about a hundred miles north of New York City. After leaving home for college and then five years in Boston, I decided to return to the Hudson Valley, and now I live right between the river and the Catskill Mountains. It’s a lovely piece of the world.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write fiction in a mix of genres ranging from comedy to women’s fiction to literary to romance. Every time I start writing a new novel, my father asks me what it’s about. Sometimes I don’t know in the beginning. I might say “magic,” or “baseball,” or “art,” and he’ll just smile at me and say, “I know you. It’s really going to be about relationships.” So, I guess I do have a few common themes after all.
Do you have a favourite character? If so why?Charlie Trager for the win! He’s been my favorite ever since I met him in Don’t Tell Anyone. There, he’s a secondary character dancing around his attraction to a very unavailable man. Charlie is sharp, witty, loyal to his friends, with many lovable flaws and a fondness for basketball, good scotch, and lost causes. I’m crazy about him and hope we have a few more stories together.
Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off?Ha! Oh, how I longed to. Reynaldo the Magnificent (the magician from A Sudden Gust of Gravity) was at first based on someone I met a long time ago. An evil part of me wanted to bring him in so I could kill him off. But then, as he developed and deepened and became his own person, I just couldn’t do it. That would have been me getting in the way of the story, and I don’t like doing that to my characters. Or my stories.
Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? It’s too easy for me to fall down the research rabbit hole when I find something interesting, and that leads me astray from the actual writing. So, I try not to do too much researching until I hit the second or third draft. Wikipedia and Google Earth are my main go-to sources. The book I’m currently writing depends a great deal on getting the details right, but I’m trying not to distract myself too much with research.
Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) Great characters are at the root of everything for me. I nurture them, talk to them, invite them to hang out with me and ply them with their favorite treats to get their secrets. The plot and the world-building all flows from what the characters tell me. Technically perfect (or as perfect as I can get it) comes last.
Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? Even though I’m an editor, I revise and self-edit to the extent that I can (after I get input from my critique group and beta-readers) and then call in the professionals for the final look. It’s so hard to edit your own work. Some authors are blessed with that ability, but I’m not one of them.
Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? It depends who is doing the viewing. I’m finding lately that readers care less about the distinction. A good story is a good story is a good story. Other authors and publishing professionals are the ones who seem to care about this more. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few traditionally published authors, and for the most part, they were open-minded about self-publishing. Some were clearly not on board with what I was doing—one even said I was committing “literary suicide.” Who knows? One day they might be coming to me for advice on how to get started.
What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? It makes me cringe a little when authors complain on public forums about a review or a reviewer. When I publish a book, I’ve made a choice to offer it up for public opinion, and I don’t get to intrude. But I do believe that reviews are important. They can help potential readers decide if a book is worth the investment of their time and money, because study after study points to “average reader” reviews being more trustworthy than paid reviews. And having a good number of reviews mean that I’m more likely to get good promotional opportunities, which can help me sell more books.
What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? Authors are usually voracious readers, so why are our opinions any less valid or desirable? I don’t buy the argument some try to make that authors shouldn’t post reviews of what they read, even if it’s in their own genres. As long as the review is based solely on the work and not on any other agenda.
Do you have a favourite movie? I’m a sucker for romantic comedies with sparky dialogue, ever since I saw The Philadelphia Story when I was a teenager. My all-time favorite at the moment is When Harry Met Sally. Brilliant writing, great casting, great comic timing.
Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing? I don’t think any experience is wasted, if you’re a writer. My career has mainly been in the creative departments of marketing, advertising, and publishing companies, and employees there don’t tend to stay in one place for too long. I’ve weathered the layoffs, buyouts, and occasional stints as a freelancer or temp worker. All these different opportunities have fed my writing in ways I never would have imagined. I covered a lot of zoning board meetings for the local newspaper, and I got to use that in a novel. I was a magician’s assistant, and I used that, too. I spent a few months working for a temp agency that hired roadies for rock bands. That was a lot of fun, and I haven’t found a place for that yet in my writing, but I’m sure I will at some point.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? Wendy Pini, co-creator of Elfquest, once sat in during a critique group session where I was reading a bit from my first novel, a story about a comic book writer. She offered me a job. Silly me, I turned her down, because I didn’t think I had enough experience. I often wonder why I did that.
Book links, website/blog and author links:
Mailing List: http://laurieboris.com/contact_laurie
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Laurie-Boris/e/B005I551QA
Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LaurieBoris