Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Introducing Andrea Laurence

Today I'm joined by fellow Harlequin Desire Author Andrea Laurence. I met Andrea at the RWA convention in New York City in 2011. I can honestly say she was the very first person to treat me like a rock star. And that, sadly, it only lasted for about three minutes before we figured out that we were very much alike. So, welcome to the Authorial Moms blog, Andrea! Tell us a little about yourself.

The awesome Andrea Laurence
Thanks for inviting me over. Where to start... Well, first I'll admit I'm not a mom. To humans at least. My house is overrun with animals – 3 dogs, two cats and a boyfriend who makes a bigger mess than the other five. I live in Alabama, where I work by day for an Army contractor and work by night as an author of seductive romance for Harlequin Desire. What else? I like to bake. I'm always on a diet. And I love shoes. That about covers it.

What do you write? How many books have you written/published? How old are they?

My tagline is "Seductive Romance... With a Twist." The genre may vary from contemporary to paranormal to suspense, but you'll always get a sensual romance and a little bit of quirkiness, usually from my untraditional characters or plots. My first book with Desire comes out April 3rd and it's called WHAT LIES BENEATH. The second book, MORE THAN HE EXPECTED, will be out in July of this year. I'm very excited to share these stories with everyone.

Tell me about a typical day.

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I get up at 4:30. No joke. My boyfriend does 12-hour shift work, so I get up and make his breakfast, care for the animals, pack his lunch, then fall back in bed until about 6:30. From there, it's a mad dash to work, where I spend my day as a process improvement analyst for a software program. I roll back into my driveway about 5 that evening, make dinner, and collapse into my writing chair with my laptop. The rest of my evening is spent sitting there either writing, revising, promoting, or talking to someone about any of those things. Then I get up and I do it again.

When did you start writing? What was your journey to publication like?

I remember writing my first "book" in second grade. While other kids wrote about a dog, I wrote a family melodrama. In 10th grade, my short story turned into a mini-Intrigue with a sadistic serial killer and a psychic heroine. In college, I wrote my first real book, a YA about fairies that will hide under the bed forever. I got serious in 2004. I joined RWA, got involved in my local chapter and things took off from there. Uh... well, not so much. It took me eight years to sell after that, but I wrote 10 more books, learned a lot about writing and the business, and made great connections with industry people. I was on 'the edge' of selling for quite a long time. I almost quit at least twice. But my friends encouraged me to keep at it and eventually, I found the right project with the right editor at the right time.

Tell us about your pets. How many? What kinds? How cute are they?

First, the cats...I have a grouchy Maine Coon runt named Jell-o and a Blue Russian named Knight (pronounced Kuh-nigg-itt.  It's a Monty Python thing.) I've had them both twelve years, so the girls are getting old. Then I have a beagle/chow mutt named Licorice, who's 7 and a bulldog named Buddy. He's 6. My most recent and aggravating addition is a giant Siberian Husky named Shadow. He's beautiful, really. He has huge, ice blue eyes. And he sheds like you would not believe. He's three and such a big puppy.  If you ever find a typo in one of my books, it's because he put his head on the keyboard.

Becoming an author means having a public persona. How do you combine your regular life with the demands of a public life?

On a day to day private basis, it really just blurs together. I stop writing to make dinner, put a load of clothes in the dryer, etc. In terms of a public life as a "writer, "I sort of treat my writer self as an alter ego, a la Bruce Wayne and Batman. I wear different clothes, different shoes, do my hair differently... There's a line between the two parts of my identity. I'm an introvert, so creating this other person helps me come out of my shell.

Most Moms I know have a limited amount of free time. Give me a few reasons why they should dedicate some of that time to your characters. What’s in it for us?

Books are an escape, whether they're mine or someone else's. It’s a chance to lose yourself in the feelings of new love, get wrapped up in the glamour of high society life, and experience a happily ever after every time they pick up a book. I promise my heroes will never leave their socks on the floor or dishes in the sink. I think a woman needs that, especially a busy mom.

Let’s have a little fun with fill-in-the-blanks. “The floor of my kitchen is so ___ you can ___ it.”

The floor of my kitchen is so well-guarded by a hungry bulldog, you can drop something and never know it. Seriously. He's swallowed it before you can stop him and probably has forgotten he even ate anything. He's on a constant mission to obtain food. Poor little guy was a scrawny stray when we found him and he's made up for it ever since.

In what way have you turned into your mother? How are you coping with it?

Wow... that's one I try not to think too much about, but honestly, I am very much my mother. I sing all the time. Some real songs. Some silly things. I have an answer for everything even if I don't really know the answer. People also come to me for advice a lot. I wish I could cook like my mother. Unfortunately, I didn't get that gene passed on to me.

What’s up next for you?

As always, I'm a busy girl. I'm going to be at the Romantic Times Conference this April, so if you're in the Chicago area, you can come see me. My next book, MORE THAN HE EXPECTED, will be out in July and I will be at the RWA Nationals Conference in Anaheim. In 2013, I'm kicking off a new series based around four foster brothers with a dark secret. The first book will be out in January.  

Where can we find you and your books online?

My website is  You can find me on my blog, The Writing Playground, Facebook and Twitter, too. My books are available most anywhere fine books are sold, but even after their release month, you can get them on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Thanks, Andrea! Readers, do you have a question for Andrea? I, for one, can't wait to find out about that family of foster brothers!


Kat Cantrell said...

Hi Andrea! (*waves at Sarah*) I think it's interesting that you do left-brain stuff at work and then have to be creative at night. I was a functional analyst before I quit work but I never had a hard time switching between the two - do you?

Can't wait to meet you at the RWA conference!

pjk said...

Hey Andrea!
I really like the way you said you treat your writer self as an alter ego. Makes a lot of sense.

I am so glad your friends kept encouraging you to keep writing:)

Can't wait to read "What Lies Beneath". Sounds hot!

Melissa Cutler said...

Great interview, Andrea. My favorite question was about how you've turned into your mom. I think we can all relate to the moment we realize we've done that, even in some small ways no one else would notice.

Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...

Kat - I don't have trouble. In school, I was good at math/science stuff and english/art stuff. My favorite things blend the two, like website designs or doing newsletters and things at work.

I think it helps with my schedule since I use one part during the day and one part at night. Maybe I'm less fatigued that way. Or not. I can always use a nap!

Glad you're coming to Anaheim! I'll definitely see you there.

Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...

pjk - It's funny that authors have to be such public personalities when most of us are introverts at heart. We live in our heads, mostly. Then, once we sell, a switch is supposed to flip. Pretending to be someone else is what helps me along.

I'm glad my friends encouraged me to keep writing, too!

Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...

Melissa - I think turning into our mothers is inevitable. Especially once you have kids. You can't help the words slipping from your mouth that you *swore* you'd never say. :)

Fortunately, my mom is a great lady. I'd do well to turn into her. Of course, I'm meaner than she is, so who knows what will happen...

BW said...

Hi Andrea,

I love hearing about your animals. Any chance that you may place them in one of your books someday?


Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...

BW - I've heard my editor loves dogs, so using mine would be great, but it's hard to get animals into a Desire. I'd like to try. One of my foster brothers is a bit of a hermit, so he'd be the perfect candidate for a pet so he wouldn't be lonely. And he, unlike myself, can afford a maid to clean up all the dog hair. :)

Sarah M. Anderson said...

Great questions, everyone! Keep them coming!

Mary Dieterich said...

Hi Andrea!

"What Lies Beneath" sounds like a good read. Congratulations on your first book.

What are your paranormal stories about?

Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...

Mary - I currently don't have any published paranormals, but what I've written are sort of a lighter, quirky paranormal in the style of maybe MaryJanice Davidson, Vicki Lewis Thompson or Darynda Jones. My favorite involves a Sumerian sex goddess and a kleptomaniac. :) I would love to get those out into the world, but I have so many Desires to write. Hopefully, soon!

Thanks for visiting!

Laurie G said...

It was interesting learning about your hectic schedule. I'm amazed that you can still function in the evenings...maybe writing is your way to escape and wind down.

I love DESIRES. I'm looking forward to reading your two books. Congrats!

Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...

Laurie G - thanks for visiting today. Admittedly, there are nights where I just can't write. Not happening. So I try to write mostly on the weekends and focus on editing, revising, promotion and such on weekdays. If I'm up for it, great, but sometimes not.

And after a long binge of working, sometimes I spend an entire Saturday sitting on the couch watching the History Channel or the Food Network and accomplish nothing. I feel guilty, but my brain has reached its limit!

bn100 said...

Congratulations on the book! I enjoyed the interview.