Carol Mathers: born a sickly child, in a home fraught with undercurrents that threaten to sweep away any chance she might have for a normal life. Now in her mid-thirties, she's a highly sought-after IT guru in St. Louis. She has built a great life for herself with her partner, Alexandria, even though the two face prejudice as lesbians, and as an interracial couple -fighting tragedy and sometimes, finding triumph. During her tumultuous life, Carol discovers that she has acquired AIDS as a result of a childhood transfusion from the dark period of time before AIDS was widely known... or understood, not even by the medical profession. Now, the two women face even more obstacles, prejudice, and a strange, new life as AIDS patients. Carol learns just how much her chaotic past has affected her, and how she can never really escape it, even as she tries to move on with her life. An unexpected event creates even more pain and tragedy in Carol's life, and causes her to wonder about the meaning of and purpose of her own life... or if there is any purpose at all...
LLOYD: Okay! Welcome again everybody! Now if everybody can take your seats we’ll get right down to business. Lauren is currently on tour and has graciously consented to talk about herself and her new novel with us. I am very honored to have Ms. Harvey here to inaugurate my new blog. She has already been a guest blogger on numerous sites and has appeared as featured guest on Blog Talk Radio. It is my pleasure to welcome the amazing Lauren E. Harvey to the Creative Artists Kettle!
Free MP3 Download
LAUREN: Thank you so much, Lloyd! It is an absolute honor to be here! I must admit that I find it interesting you used the word “forgiveness” as an adjective for Imperfect. As a reader, where did forgiveness come into play for you in the story?
LLOYD: The first instance was demonstrated by Alex when she had to put up with Carol’s crazy work schedule and practically felt ignored which almost broke up the relationship. But they continuously worked at building their relationship throughout the story. The second instance was when Alex was dying and Carol felt so bad about infecting her with the disease. But she [Alex] never blamed Carol for it. I must add that you have an amazing gift for skillfully drawing the reader emotionally into the story. I really would like to commend you for that.
Getting back to you, Lauren, your biography says that you have been around the world. Have your journeys influenced your writing?
LAUREN: Absolutely! I think it is pretty difficult NOT to have different people, cultures and locations affect us and our craft.
LLOYD: Besides hugging the West Coast, has there been anywhere else in the country that has been particularly appealing to you?
LAUREN: Yes, I do love the West coast. I miss Vegas and LA. But I’m quite happy living in the country now. J I literally live in a county where the cows out-number the people! LOL. Kind of strange for a Philly girl, but it’s a great place to live. And of course, good ol’ Philadelphia, PA is a good place to be! J
LLOYD: Taking it to a worldly level, has there been anywhere in the world that has been especially memorable?
LAUREN: Scotland was simply amazing. I felt so at home there. I had experiences that literally changed my life. The most incredible journey of my life.
LLOYD: How were you inspired to write?
LAUREN: It varies. I am very visual, though. Often I am inspired by a face, or a location, or a color, or anything that I happen to see.
LLOYD: Were there anyone in particular that inspired you to become a writer?
LAUREN: My now 90+ year old grandparents have always been incredibly supportive of my writing endeavors, as has my whole family. I am truly blessed to have them cheering me on and keeping me inspired. J
LLOYD: Tell us about your writing processes. I am particularly curious about the wine, Kleenex, and empty box of chocolates. What, for instance, helps you re-ignite the creative processes when you are stumped?
LAUREN: Not to sound like an alcoholic, but I do live a good glass of wine! I get very involved emotionally in my stories, so tissues are a necessity. As for the chocolates, I’m just a chocoholic! LOL.
Music is an incredible aid in my writing process. If I’m writing an intense scene, I’m blasting some scary/intense (often in minor keys) music. If I’m writing a sad part, you can be sure the songs that make you cry are playing in the background.
I really try to take cues from everything I experience: sights, music, experiences at work. I try to absorb it all and then integrate it into my writing.
LLOYD: Tell us a little about Imperfect.
LAUREN: Imperfect is the life story of a woman named Carol Mathers. Try as she might, her life is far from ideal. Though she has an incredible relationship with her partner, Alex, they must fight prejudice, racism, sexism, ignorance and hatred. These battles increase when they discover they have acquired AIDS as a result of a blood transfusion Carol received in the early 1980s.
Carol struggles to find the meaning and purpose of her life when it has been so wrought with pain and sadness.
This is not like anything you’ve ever read before. Imperfect is tragic and touching; sad and sweet. It will make you think. This book is sure to touch your heart and change your mind.
LLOYD: What influenced you to write in the genre of Imperfect?
LAUREN: Contemporary LGBT fiction is pretty much based on how I live my life. I write based on my experiences, as well as people I know and love. As reflective as my writing is, it is also very deep and emotional.
LLOYD: Do you like writing in this genre? In others?
LAUREN: I do because it is simple. It comes easily to me. I do, however, like to challenge myself as well and write suspense/thriller stories.
LLOYD: What were your goals for writing Imperfect?
LAUREN: Imperfect was my first full-length novel. So creating it was a goal in and of itself. As was writing a book that would really touch the reader. Hopefully I accomplished that second goal as well as I had hoped!
LLOYD: Did you encounter any obstacles during the publishing process?
LAUREN: Not during publication, but that is because I have an incredible publisher: Vanilla Heart Publishing! J
LLOYD: Are you reflected in any of the characters?
LAUREN: I am. Carol reflects my insecurities and self-blame; Alex reflects my needs for attention (though I hope I am not as extreme as she is! LOL).
LLOYD: What is your ultimate goal as a writer?
LAUREN: To create books and stories that deeply touch readers – logically, emotionally, and even spiritually.
LLOYD: Do you have any other works in progress that you could tell us about?
LAUREN: Well, Impeccable, the sequel to Imperfect is slated for release this fall. Needless to say, I am VERY excited about that! As well, I have some other smaller projects I am tinkering with. I try to keep myself busy and write as much as I can. Even if it doesn’t go anywhere. J
LLOYD: Finally, what advice would you impart to an aspiring writer?
LAUREN: Persist. Persistence is key in making it in this business. Persist in editing your piece until it shines. Persist in querying publishers until you find the right one. Persist in promotions to keep increasing your sales. Never give up.
For more about on Lauren, visit her website at:
To purchase the new trade paperback edition of Imperfect, visit the book’s website at Vanilla Heart Publishing: http://www.vanillaheartbooksandauthors.com/VHP_Bookstore.html
LLOYD: Thank you very much for this delightful conversation, Lauren! Best of luck with your book and your tour!
LAUREN: Thank you so much, Lloyd! It was a pleasure being here. Thank you for being such a great host! It was an absolutely delightful experience!
LLOYD: Thank you very much to my wonderful audience for visiting today. Please feel free to leave comments or questions for Lauren below. In the meantime, peace!http://youtu.be/n8FM8nyy_Fk