Today, The Solitary Bookworm welcomes Laurel Osterkamp author of November Surprise, Campaign Promise, Starring in The Movie of my Life, Looking for Ward, and Following my Toes. Without further ado, Laurel Osterkamp everybody!
The Solitary Bookworm: Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?
Laurel Osterkamp: Definitely! Lucy, the main character, even states the theme towards the end. “It’s our history that brought us to this point, and it’s made us who we are.” Since the whole book is about finding parallels between Lucy’s personal dramas and the country’s public dramas, I think that’s pretty fitting.
TSB: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
LO: I have a writing group where we share our work and give each other feedback. They always tease me about the lack of setting in my books, and when I actually describe the setting, they tease me for that too! I forget to provide details, so that’s something I really need to work on.
TSB: How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
LO: I’ve written three full length novels: Following My Toes, Starring in the Movie of My Life, and November Surprise.
Also, two novellas: Looking for Ward and Campaign Promises I think my favorite is a tie between Starring in the Movie of My Life and November Surprise. I really pushed myself and discovered new things about my writing while working on both of them, but in different ways.
TSB: If you had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?
LO: That’s hard. Whoever plays Lucy has to come off as smart, pretty without realizing it, and believable from the ages of 17 to 37. Perhaps Gennifer Goodwin.
TSB: When did you begin writing?
LO: I’ve been writing things for fun, like journals and short stories, for as long as I can remember. I started writing sketch comedy about 15 years ago, and my first book, Following My Toes, was written about eight years ago.
TSB: How long did it take to complete your first book?
LO: The first draft took about six months, but all the revisions took well over a year. I guess all total, it was around two years.
TSB: Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?
LO: Oh, sure. There are tons. Today I’ll mention Jennifer Weiner. She’s very prolific, and I love how she helped to redefine the romantic heroine. Good in Bed was one of the first “chick lit” novels with a flawed main character, who was beautiful and strong in her own way.
TSB: What is your favorite part of the writing process?
LO: Probably revisions. By that time I know the characters and the story arc really well, and I can work on refining the details and making it as perfect as possible. The challenge can be a lot of fun.
TSB: Describe your latest book in 4 words.
LO: Awesome political love story!
TSB: Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?
LO: I have a blog written in Lucy’s voice about the current election and her marriage to Monty. It’s fun to continue their story. You can read it at http://novembersurprises.blogspot.com
This spring I was on a federal jury, and of course the whole time I was thinking about how I could use the experience for my next novel. I have some ideas, so that’s what my next book will be about. Since it’s going to be fiction, I can make jury duty much more exciting than it actually was!
Laurel Osterkam is hosting a giveaway for $30 Amazon gift card. Want to know the details?
- Comment on this post to get 1 entry.
- Purchase November Surprise (link indicated below) and forward your receipts to firstname.lastname@example.org for additional 10 entries.
Winner will be chosen on Oct 12th. Good luck!
Title: November Surprise
Publisher: PMI Books
Date Published: 8/2012
Purchase Links: Amazon
For Lucy Jones, the distinction between love and politics is hazy at best. Both can be all-consuming, and either can lead to a heart-breaking loss or an exhilarating win. Whatever the case, if you’re seen as a loser, you probably are one. Lucy first learns this lesson in 1988, when she’s a shy girl, battling a high school bully and rooting for Dukakis. Through the years Lucy will experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as she makes the choices that define her. Meanwhile, she also struggles to define her relationship with Monty, who comes in and out of her life like the changes in public opinion. Is Monty simply a one-night stand, a kindred spirit, or the love of her life? And by 2008, can he offer her a change to believe in?
Over the course of twenty years and six presidential elections, Lucy grows and adjusts with the times. Filled with snarky political and pop-culture references, November Surprise is about the journey we take to believe in a candidate, in love, and in ourselves.
November Surprise is a companion piece to Campaign Promises, which is free on Amazon. They can be read in either order. Both have a liberal slant.
Monty and I have been dancing together all evening. The slow songs are the best, but we also do the Macarena and even the Chicken Dance. I can’t stop laughing the entire time I’m quacking my hands.
Jack and his new wife, Petra, have fed each other cake. Petra has thrown her bouquet, and all the toasts have been given. The night is winding down, and Monty leads me off the dance floor.
“I’m really glad neither of us had dates,” he says.
“Yeah, me too.” My heart beats just a little bit faster than normal.
“And I’m sorry about earlier. Hitting on you like that. It was clumsy. Will you forgive me?” His face is flushed and his tie is loosened. I’m sure I’ve noticed before how good looking he is, but this is the first time I’ve let myself appreciate it.
“There’s nothing to forgive.” I look around, make sure nobody is watching, and then I stand on my tip-toes and plant a kiss on his cheek. When he doesn’t flinch or pull away, I give him the barest whisper of a kiss on the lips.
It’s all the encouragement he needs.
With a conspiratorial smile, he takes my hand and leads me outside the reception hall. I follow willingly.
When we get to a dark, hidden spot, he wraps his arms around my waist and kisses me deeply. I can feel it everywhere, my entire body is tingling, my knees are weak, and I’m sure that at any moment, my heart will explode.
I don’t want him to stop. But he does.
“Where are you staying tonight?” he asks.
“I was going to drive back to my parents’ house.”
“Hmm…” he leans in and kisses me some more. I press up against him like I can’t get close enough. He tilts his head back ever so slightly, so he can talk.
“That’s a long drive. Do you want to stay with me, instead?”
“You have a hotel room?”
“It’s close to the airport,” he whispers. “I fly back to New York really early tomorrow.” Then he baby kisses my eyes, nose, and chin.
I don’t answer immediately. I’m trying to steady my breathing. “So you can make a clean get away?”
“It’s not like that.” he smiles. “And you haven’t even said yes, yet.” But he knows I’m going to. “You can’t ever tell Jack,” I say.
“He just got married, Lucy. Do you really think he’ll care?”
I rub my hands down his back and across the taut muscles in his arms. “I never had sex with him, and we dated for months. If he finds out you and I had a one night stand…”
Monty cuts me off with another kiss. “I promise I’ll never tell him,” he murmurs, between kisses.
We make out a few seconds more, but our kissing is interrupted when I’m consumed with a fit of giggles.
“What’s so funny?” Monty asks.
I shake my head. “Sorry. It just occurred to me. I’m about to do it with the homecoming king.”
Monty chuckles. “Does that turn you on?”
“Yeah,” I admit. “Kind of. Is that okay?”
He kisses my neck. I tilt my head back and sigh in pleasure.
“Are you kidding?” His lips are a mere centimeter from my skin as he mumbles, and his arms tighten around me even more. “If I had known, I would have worn my crown.”
Now we’re both laughing.
“You know this isn’t the sort of thing I usually do…”
He raises his face so he’s looking me in the eye. “I know,” he says, and he smiles. Crinkles form around his green eyes, and I feel a moment of panic. There’s no way I’m casual enough to be with him for just one night.
“Let’s make it special, okay?” He reaches down and clasps my hand, and I let him lead me somewhere, again. This time, I follow him to the parking lot. Tonight, I’d follow him anywhere.
Laurel Osterkamp was a comedy writer in Minneapolis before she began writing novels. Her first novel, Following My Toes, has been a Kindle best seller and won the 2008 Indie Excellence Award for Chick Lit. Starring in the Movie of My Life received honors in the 2011 Indie Excellence Awards for Chick Lit, and in the 2011 International Book Awards for Women’s Fiction and Young Adult Lit. Both books are indie approved at indiereader.com. She currently teaches high school, and is working on her next book, which is inspired by her recent jury duty.