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We sat down with R.E. Lauder, the author of the debut novel, Laurendria, to discuss what literary interests sparked the creativity behind the story of Laurendria. And to seek insight into the mind that created this new world we at Silver Amethyst Publishing are eager to share with you.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
My spouse and I have four children. I am currently seeking a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. I have always loved to write poetry. When I was little my sister would often be scared at night and I would make up stories to help her sleep. That’s when I learned that creating stories could help people in real ways.
2. Is there a book that inspired you to be a writer or that has a particular influence on the characters you create today?
Yes, when I was 8 or 9 I read through all of The Chronicles of Narnia books and the idea of entering a world so unlike ours but with so many parallels just stuck with me. The magic was just awesome! And Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre had everything, it had love, mental health, torture, hardships. Jane Eyre is still everything to me!
3. What authors do you currently find inspiring?
That’s a really hard question. There are so many wonderful writers. I think any author that can take their own life story and make it inspiring to others, people who are willing to be vulnerable, are the real heroes.
4. How did your current novel, Laurendria, come to be?
I think sometimes we have instances in our lives where we feel like we are going crazy. So Laurendria was birthed both as an escape from my own craziness and a place where we accept that life itself is crazy. But we’ve been given the power to overcome the crazy with love and compassion.
5. Tell us a little bit about Laurendria.
Laurendria is actually about a woman who is very pragmatic and determined to do the right thing, even when she is wrong. She finds out that she is wrong about a lot of things and ends up in a realm called Laurendria where the apathy in that place is even greater than the apathy here. In some ways it’s a dystopian world because even though it’s ethereal and beautiful, it contains a dystopian state of emotion. Because everyone there has such apathy. It’s sort of a look into what we, as humans, are headed toward in many ways.
6. How long did it take you to write and edit Laurendria?
About seven years. My family had a lot of life packed into those seven years, we moved around a lot, we had a lot of challenges and victories. In those seven years, we became foster and adoptive parents. So while the book was something that I loved and it was a priority in my heart, life just kept happening and the book got last place.
7. What was a challenge you faced in writing Laurendria? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge of creating anything is the question: "Is this original enough, is this creative enough, is this interesting enough?" When you finally accept that there is nothing new under the sun, and this book may not be interesting enough for everyone, but in the moment that you are writing it, it is an escape from reality and that is exactly what a book is suppose to be. And so in that, it has a purpose. All the rest doesn’t matter because in that moment the book is fulfilling its purpose.
8. Is there anything you would you have done differently, if you could do it again?
I would have made more space for the book in the seven years that it took to write it. I would have afforded it the time and the effort that I didn’t seem to have. But on the other hand, I like that the me from seven years ago got to start writing it, and the me now got to finish it. Because the trajectory of the book is different from how I originally had it in my head. The book wrote itself in many ways because it took seven years to write.
9. Who is your favorite character in your book?
I really love Myfannwy. She's one of the leprechaun people who is sort of everyone’s mother. Everyone comes to her with their problems and she is a very wise and mature person because she has had to be. She is a very steady and constant figure when everything in the world is chaos. I think the world needs more of that.
10. What are you working on now?
Right now I am working on my thesis for my masters program, the second volume in the Laurendria series, and I am also working on creating a trauma journal. I hope the journal helps people who have experienced trauma that just need to get the words out but maybe can’t with their mouths yet. Trauma affects the way we speak when we relive our past trauma, so sometimes we have to see the words on paper before we can vocalize them. And I hope the journal empowers people to do that.
11. What is the best piece of advice you would give to new authors?
I think it is ok to look at your art, book, music, etc. the way you would your child. As someone who has four children, there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for my children. Therefore, the same should be true of my book. You shouldn’t let rejection from publishers, literary agents, etc. stop you from believing in your story, or at least seeking help in making your story all that you want it to be.
12. How can people connect with you?
Truly the best way to connect with me is to read my book because my book is a huge piece of me. When an author puts a book out it is a sign of vulnerability so I think every time that we read one, we are connecting with the authors. But on a more practical level, people can follow me on Twitter at @RELauder.