Monday 8 October 2012


What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Laura Schaefer. I was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and I live in Madison, Wisconsin now.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I had a million different ideas about what I wanted to be all throughout my childhood--fashion designer, Disney CEO, museum curator. I got serious about writing in college when I started doing book reviews for my student newspaper and interned at a publishing company.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
After I started getting paid for my freelance writing work after college, over ten years ago now.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Yes, it took about three years.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Not now, but I did tend bar for many years at night to make ends meet.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My latest YA novella is called The Forever Contract. It's a dystopian tale about whether it's better to live as an avatar in paradise or as a person in a world with a lot of suffering.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I do both. My publisher is Simon & Schuster and I also own my own publishing company called Planet Explorers Publishing.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Depends on the book. Usually about a year, but I finished The Forever Contract very quickly because it's a shorter work.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
The hardest for me to write was Notes to Self because I did a TON of research about traumatic brain injuries before I began writing.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I plan to write more YA and MG titles as well as an eclectic collection of non-fiction works, including more travel guidebooks for kids.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I like to write in almost total silence at home in my loft, or at a coffeeshop with ambient noise. I tend to write in the morning, but sometimes if I do an evening session, I find I'm more creative at that time. I like to keep routines, but break them once in a while just to keep things interesting.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
Yes, I have several readers: my husband, my best friend, and another good friend who is a screenwriter.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
All the time. I find it is one of the best ways to build buzz about a new book.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes, I check and read reviews obsessively!

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Definitely not. I want to learn from the critiques I receive.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I write the book and then choose a title.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I generally just use names that I like.

How do you market/promote your books?
Usually by reaching out to book bloggers, doing occasional giveaways or freebie download days, and by interacting with readers on Twitter.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
positive word-of-mouth

What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
I like to take really long walks and listen to NPR podcasts while I'm walking. I also enjoy good food, so I find eating at restaurants very relaxing.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
Hard to pick one favorite, but here are several near the top of my list at the moment: The Hunger Games, I Capture the Castle, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and The Night Circus

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer?
I think it's possible. They did a nice job with The Hunger Games and Harry Potter.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I'm currently reading a steampunk novel called All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen. It's hardback.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No, but I think most people will soon own an e-reader or tablet computer. It's just very convenient.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
Yes, I've always been a huge reader, ever since I was a little kid.

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
My mom read The Secret Garden to me when I was little, so it'll always have a special place on my shelf.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Write what you enjoy reading and try to do a little every day. 

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
Yes, I write under my own name for children, middle grade, and for non-fiction works. I write under the name Avery Sawyer for edgier YA.

Where can readers follow you?

Your blog details?

Your web site ?

Your facebook page?

Your Goodreads author page?

Your Twitter details?

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