Today, I’d like to welcome Laurie Boris to my authorly hot seat. She’s the author of three other novels and several short stories. She is a self confessed grammar nerd who is keen not to let her writing clients go out of the door with the literary equivalent of lipstick on their teeth. I do hope that she is gentle enough to overlook any errors in this particular post … 🙂
It’s not easy to write a book about a subject that most people will shy away from instinctively. It’s even harder to write a book that despite those initial reactions and fears, draws you in and hooks you. Laurie has accomplished this with ease. Her characters are beautiful examples of the stresses and strains the impact family life and relationships when cancer appears on the doorstep. Each of the five main view points is catered for and each is as believable as the other, blending together to tell a tale that has its history in several lifetimes but is rooted only in one.
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
In reality, I come across as this shy, quiet, weird-aunty looking woman. But I am actually a teenager trapped in a fifty-year-old body. I love to make people laugh. It’s the first thing I try to do when I meet a new person.
What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?
I feel grateful and humbled to have had some wonderful reviews that have left me in tears. But my favourite is one I just found out about. In a Google search for something else, I discovered a video review of Drawing Breath (my second novel) done by a charming young woman. It was so sweet and spontaneous, and she sounded really taken with the characters and the story. I was moved to hear that my work can surprise and touch complete strangers in other countries. Yeah. I cried for a while. Then shared it with all my friends.
Are the names of your characters important to you?
Very important. A name gives the reader an image of who that character is—age, generation, geographical locale, culture, ethnicity—but as I write, the name also sets up an image and an expectation in my own head. For instance, my first book, The Joke’s on Me, included three generations of Jewish Americans. The grandmother is Sylvia, the daughters have taken modernized nicknames (Jude and Frankie) of their “traditional” names (Judith and Francine) and the grandson is Ethan. They each “fit” their generation and feel more realistic.
How did you choose a title for your book?
My first two books were fairly easy; they almost named themselves. But choosing the title for Don’t Tell Anyone was murderous. The working title was The C Word. Some of my early readers advised against it, because people might think it’s that “other” c-word and take offense. Also, it was in use on at least a half-dozen other books. So I brainstormed about two hundred possibilities. None of them did it for me. I was batting some ideas around with my husband and we both said, “Don’t Tell Anyone” at the same time. I figured that had to mean something.
Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
Ask my physical therapist, who is using the money I’ve paid him over the years to send his daughter to college. But seriously, most people don’t realize that writing is physical labor. Bodies don’t like sitting. Necks get stiff from all that staring at screens; backs get stiff from improper chairs.
If you don’t develop a system of regular stretching and exercise, and if you are careless with your workplace ergonomics, you could be in for a world of hurt. I used a dictation program for a couple of years when I had chronic tendonitis in my elbows from a poorly designed workstation.
Another occupational hazard is isolation. Which is ironic, because we spend our writing days with a throng of characters. I’ve learned that if I don’t pick my head up occasionally and talk to real people, I get quite depressed.
How do you remain sane while working?
That’s a tough one. Because basically, I’m doing an insane thing here. Trapped in a small, pink room for hours at a time, playing with imaginary people and listening to them talk to each other.
To ground myself, I take long walks, watch funny TV shows (The Big Bang Theory is my favourite), go to aqua fitness classes, make sure I eat and sleep well.
At certain times in the writing process, and while I’m editing other authors’ novels, I can be absent-minded and lost in the stories. I leave a trail of sticky-notes in my wake and never close my car doors with asking myself if I have the keys. And fortunately, I have a spouse who understands my insanity…most of the time.
Are you jealous of other writers?
Sometimes, yes. I suppose it’s a natural, human emotion (or I tell myself that it is.) I get a stab of it when a friend has a new release (new release envy!) or sells a ton. But it’s a destructive force, so I try to rein it in and turn it into something positive, such as more drive and energy to raise the bar on my writing, to keep going on the next book, or to learn better ways to promote.
Do you have any favourite resources you would like to share with our readers?
My favourite book on writing is Anne LaMott’s Bird by Bird. I try to reread it once a year or when I’m feeling frustrated. Two of her concepts in particular—embracing the lousy first draft and only focusing on a tiny window of the big picture at a time—have saved me. I also love John Gardiner’s The Art of Fiction. Online, I can’t get along without Google Translate, for the odd foreign phrase.
What is your favourite TV moment of all time?
This might be an American thing, but at the end of the finale of Newhart (comedian Bob Newhart’s second sitcom, where he is a Vermont innkeeper with a pretty blonde wife), he wakes up in bed with the brunette Suzanne Pleshette (his wife from his first sitcom, The Bob Newhart Show, where he plays a Chicago psychiatrist), and says that he had this weird dream that he owned an inn in Vermont. Then he muses how she would look as a blonde. It was hilarious; one of the most clever finales I’ve seen.
Where can you find out more about Laurie and buy her books?
You can also find her online in the following places:
- Twitter: @LaurieBoris
- Facebook: facebook.com/laurie.boris.author
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/4824645.Laurie_Boris
- Website: laurieboris.com/
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/