Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Indie-Credible Authors With Laura Smith

Welcome to my second Indie-Credible Authors stop! Today I have the pleasure of hosting the author of It's Complicated, Laura Smith. For your enjoyment today, I have not only an interview with Laura, but a book review of her novel It's Complicated. There is also both an author sponsored giveaway and a tour-wide giveaway to enter down below. 
Make sure to check out all of the Indie-Credible Author Events!

Today Schedule for Indie-Credible

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen – Gabi @ Gabic Reads

About the Book
Title: It's Complicated
Author: Laura Smith
Series: Status Updates #1
Publisher: Playlist Fiction
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
There’s a reason Facebook has the relationship status, “It’s Complicated.” Follow four college roommates, Claire, Palmer, Hannah and Kat as they maneuver crushes, confusion, and the crisis when pushy boys go too far. Complicated as it is, these four friends will pull through, guided by the strength of their friendship and the power of God’s love.
 About the Author
Laura L. Smith loves God, her husband, her four children, writing and speaking. She writes real stories for real girls. Her books include It's Over, It's Complicated, Skinny, Hot, and Angry. She is a featured columnist at Choose Now Ministries and Playlist Fiction. Smith speaks at schools, churches and campuses around the country. Smith lives in the college town of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.
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If you would like to try on It’s Complicated for size, as well as sample several other fresh indie young adult fiction authors, download the Playlist Fiction Fall Sampler for free here 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Laura L. Smith loves God, her husband, her four children, writing and speaking. She writes real stories for real girls. Her books include It's Over, It's Complicated, Skinny, Hot, and Angry. She is a featured columnist at Choose Now Ministries and speaks at schools, churches and campuses around the country. Smith lives in the college town of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
As a kid I read everything I could get my hands on. I would check out piles of books from the library each month, and if I plowed through those, I’d just start pulling books off our bookshelves, often rereading the books I loved. When I was younger I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder. I always thought it was cool her name was Laura too, and it gave me hope that Lauras could be authors. C.S. Lewis and Madeline L’Engle showed me how to evolve characters and weave hope and faith into story. And of course I read all of the Nancy Drew mysteries. As I got older I read all of J.D. Salinger’s works and S.E. Hinton’s books. These stories drew me into the art of character development – how much each person has to share, how every individual has a story. It surprises a lot of people, but Anne Rice’s books also entranced me. Her descriptions were so beautiful. She made me want to travel to New Orleans and Paris and anywhere her Vampires went. She taught me the power of setting.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Finding a publisher for my first novel, Skinny, was a two year process. I had a writer friend who suggested I get out a piece of notebook paper and use each line to log submissions. She encouraged me to not give up on my project until every line of that paper was filled. I began researching houses who might be a good fit and networking whenever possible. In the end I met a gifted author, Bethany Pierce, who met her editor because they had both attended Miami University, which is also my alma mater and how I connected with Bethany. She put me in contact with her editor, who couldn’t use my manuscript, but recommended two other publishing houses who might be interested. I never heard back either way from one of those houses. The other one was NavPress who published my first three books.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or is it purely imagination?
My novel, It’s Complicated, tackles the topic of college relationships and date rape. Living in a college town, I am surrounded by college students and through my speaking engagements have had the pleasure of getting to know some amazing young people. It’s Complicated is a combination of events my friends and I experienced during our college years, things I observe around me at the University and stories students have shared with me. Specifically, several girls who had been date raped agreed to let me interview them, so I could tell this story authentically and accurately. It is not the story of any individual, but I wanted to maintain the integrity of common emotional themes and reactions that victims of sexual assault experience.

What project are you working on now?
I am currently writing the third book in The Status Updates series. It’s Complicated is the first book in this series. It’s Over is the second, and the third is slated to release in January.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
All four characters; Kat, Claire, Palmer and Hannah (college roommates) who appear in It’s Complicated will appear in all four books of this series. I have gotten so immersed in their characters. They have so much more they need to do and say and learn before I can get them out of my head.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
My biggest challenge of writing It’s Complicated was writing from four different points of view. Each main character gets her chance to be heard, and each of these girls has their own distinct personality. As I switched point of view from chapter to chapter, I had to be extremely cognizant of whose head I was in. I spent a lot of time during the editing phase, refining the individual girls’ voices.

What was your favorite chapter or part of the book to write and why?
That’s a difficult one. On any given day, a certain scene or dialogue might give me a thrill. Paris is one of my favorite places in the world, and writing the chapters set in Paris was great fun, as it allowed me to eat crepes and sit on the steps of Sacre Coeur all over again.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing. If you truly have the dream in your heart to write, then write. Write and write and write some more and then edit. Edit your work so many times that it shines, and then share it with a few trusted others. Take the advice they give you that resonates and edit again, and then send it out there. And keep sending it out over and over again, until every line on your piece of notebook paper is filled. Dreams take hard work, but they are absolutely worth it. Don’t let anybody stomp on your dreams.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Thank you for all of your support.

For fun, describe It’s Complicated in four words.
Soulful. Honest. Relevant. Real.

Thank you Laura for you wonderful interview, and anyone who grew up reading Nancy Drew is amazing in my book!

My Review of It's Complicated
It’s Complicated is a beautiful story about four girls getting ready to go off to college, and how they deal with the obstacles in their way. It’s Complicated is Christian Fiction, not something that I tend to read because if it is not written just right, to me it can sound too preachy or forced. That is definitely not the case with It’s Complicated. The story about the girls takes the focus of the story, their faith factors in but does not overshadow the story. 

The story is told from alternating views of all four girls, Hannah, Palmer, Claire, and Kat. All four of the girls share a dorm room and bond instantly to each other. As we begin to learn about each character, something life changing happens to one of the girls, and how they deal with it will shape their entire friendship. It’s Complicated is a powerful story, because it deals with real issues and gives them a voice through the characters. 

The surrounding and the characters are very well developed so developed they feel like real people at a real college, because the story is about girls finding themselves and their way through the college experience. With each girl having a completely separate personality, it is beautiful to see it come together and form a tight group of friends. 

Whether you are into Christian fiction or not, It’s Complicated is necessary read especially for those college bound. It is a beautiful insight into the anxiety and fear or moving away from the parents and trying to live for once on your own. I know that I liked It’s Complicated so much that I will be coming back for the next installment in the Status Updates series. 

**Unabridged Bookshelf received this book in exchange for an honest review**

First giveaway is the author sponsored giveaway for an eCopy of It's Complicated via a smashwords coupon. 

Now for the Tour-Wide Giveaway
with over $250 in prizes!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thank you for visiting Unabridged Bookshelf!

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