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Ask An Author, Win A Book Corner > AC: Laura Spinella of Beautiful Disaster (July 11- July 13)

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message 1: by Fran, Moderator (new)

Fran | 10992 comments Laura Spinella, a Romance author; will be joining us for a Q&A and book giveaway on July 11 - July 13, 2011.


Meet Laura: I grew up on Long Island in the 1970s, the daughter of 1940's parents. I was fortunate to have older sisters. They were more convincing in the part, following rules, politics, and parental advice. I bucked the system. I wanted to be a singer, devastated to learn I couldn’t carry a tune in a trough. Instead, I wrote. This was something I had an aptitude for, something that pressed boundaries, and I liked that. Looking back, my pedestrian childhood was probably a good thing, having spent more time making up stories than anything else.

Life picked up pace as I went off to college, outlining the imprint for Beautiful Disaster, though I wouldn’t write the novel for another twenty years. I attended the University of Georgia where I fell in love with a boy, a friend, and the South. It fashioned me into a chameleon of sorts. The North is home, but that evocative place changed me, giving me license and a classroom far beyond J-school where they actually did give me a degree. I’ve kept the friend and the South close, the boy not making the journey. That, too, is a good thing. If it hadn’t happened exactly that way I would have never been privy to Mia and Flynn’s story.

I fell into a freelance career, writing for magazines, newspapers—even penning a column for a while. Eventually, I knew I’d write a novel. I knew it like you know your shoe size or that despite very brown eyes your baby’s will stay perfectly blue. This is my corny segue to the present where I did marry a blue-eyed man whose generosity has afforded me many things, including the time to write. In addition to Matt and me, there are three exceptional children, two dogs, and one super-size cat, the lives of which take place in a 100-year old house outside Boston.




http://www.lauraspinella.net




Book: Beautiful Disaster by Laura Spinella




Giveaway: 1 print copy of Beautiful Disaster. Open to both US and Canadian Residents.


message 2: by Rossy (new)

Rossy (naughtybookjunkie) | 2192 comments Welcome Laura, it's a pleasure to have you with us!

I hope you enjoy your time with our members; and good luck to you all!

GUIDELINES FOR AUTHOR AND PARTICIPANTS: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...

Members, if you can please write the questions in bold; it would be easier for her to know that you have asked a questions and less chance that it will be missed. Thanks!


message 3: by Teri (new)

Teri Jackson (terbear) | 208 comments Welcome Laura

1.What was your favorite author when you were younger?

2.what Is your favorite book right now if you can choose.


message 4: by Robin (new)

Robin  (robinorr2) | 50 comments Wow Laura, what a pleasure it is to have you here with us. Your book sounds like a real hit and I have added it to my to be read list. I can't wait to read it. As I read the synopsis, I was thinking that it sounds a bit like my young adulthood and its serious angst with various boyfriends and a love I thought would never die. About 10 boyfriends later, 2 husbands, (only one of them an ex) and I am happy to say life is stable. I do love to read stories like this though. :)

My question is this:

Why did it take you 20 years to finish your novel? Did life get in the way? Do you have some other ideas for novels in the works?


message 5: by Joyce (new)

Joyce | 4 comments Hi Laura,

What is the greatest hardship when writing a novel?


message 6: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Smith (countrysunset) | 39 comments Good Morning Laura,

What is the best piece of advice you could give to another up and coming author?

Have a really wonderful day!



message 7: by Dee (new)

Dee Bibb (BibbD) | 21 comments Laura...thank you for joining us!

During your childhood, what types of stories did you write?


message 8: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Rossy wrote: "Welcome Laura, it's a pleasure to have you with us!

I hope you enjoy your time with our members; and good luck to you all!

GUIDELINES FOR AUTHOR AND PARTICIPANTS: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/s..."


Good Morning! It's so great to be here! Thank you to RRC for having me. This is quite a thrill! I'm looking forward to chatting with everyone!!


message 9: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Teri wrote: "Welcome Laura

1.What was your favorite author when you were younger?

2.what Is your favorite book right now if you can choose."


Teri, My favorite books as a kid, hands down, were the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House Series. I absolutely loved them! They were probably a lot more influence than I even realize. I think it's where my "roots" to storytelling can be traced.


Oh, gosh, favorite book right now... I will devour anything by Jodi Picoult! A lesser known book of hers, MERCY, is one of my all time favorites. She's an incredible storyteller, but I have to say it's her writing and use of language that really draws me in.


message 10: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Robin O wrote: "Wow Laura, what a pleasure it is to have you here with us. Your book sounds like a real hit and I have added it to my to be read list. I can't wait to read it. As I read the synopsis, I was thinki..."

Hi Robin,

From your lips... thank you for the kind words, and what a great question. I didn't sit down to write a novel until I was almost 40! I always knew I would write a book, but I honestly didn't feel like I knew enough about life before that. When you write a book you have to make so many decisions: plot, character, themes... I just wasn't ready. At some point, the light came on and away I went. BEAUTIFUL DISASTER is actually the second of five books, though it's the first to make it to publication. The rough draft of BEAUTIFUL DISASTER took six weeks. But it took six years, and numerous revisions, to see on bookstore shelves, and here on Goodreads! (-;

I've just turned in the draft for my next book, THE IT FACTOR! So, fingers crossed, we'll see what happens!


message 11: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Sakura wrote: "Hi Laura,

What is the greatest hardship when writing a novel?"


Hi Sakura,

Thanks for stopping by! By far, the greatest hardship is the time it takes away from other things, namely your family. Writing is a solitary occupation, and it's fine to spend six or eight hours a day dedicated to it. However, it's so hard to walk away from a story when you're knee-deep into it. I might be at my son's soccer game, but my mind is a few lightyears away, deciding how exactly how things will turn out for my protagonist. Well, soccer is probably an unfair example... my mind really drifts during soccer matches!


message 12: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Tracy wrote: "Good Morning Laura,

What is the best piece of advice you could give to another up and coming author?

Have a really wonderful day!"


Hi Tracy,

Hope it's a great morning where you are! Best advice... Hmm, I was going to say something cliche, like, "Don't give up..." But as an aspiring author, I hated it when people used to say that to me! I would say the best specific advice is that when you find someone whose opinion is of value, perhaps a literary agent or really good critique partner, sink your teeth in and hang onto every word! The hard part is finding that person who knows what they're talking about. I had lots of well meaning advice during BD's road to publication, but it was my agent who had the words of wisdom that finally made it all click!

Best of luck with your writing, Tracy!! And, of course, don't give up!!


message 13: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Dee wrote: "Laura...thank you for joining us!

During your childhood, what types of stories did you write?"


Hi Dee,

Thank you so much for having me, and arranging this chat!

Actually, you ask an interesting question b/c I used to get in a great deal of trouble with my stories as a kid! Book reports were the method of the day back then. I'd read the book, but in my report I'd totally change up the ending or rewrite the plot! I'd say the handwriting was on the wall at that point--so was many a D on a book report! (Bonus points for imagination! D for the class) As I got a little older, I wrote a lot of plays. Many of them were based on real people. It took a lot of years to learn to develop characters on my own. To this day, I have one of those plays swims around in the back of my head, thinking it might make a good book!


message 14: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7316 comments hi Laura - thanks for joining us - I loved Beautiful Disaster.

how do you come up with the idea for the conflict between the main characters? (my friends laugh because I said I loved the book and yet the characters drove me nuts ;)


message 15: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Hi Dee,

So glad to hear that you loved BEAUTIFUL DISASTER! In my experience, what if's lead to the best conflicts. What if you met your soul mate but circumstance drove you apart? What if he turned up 12 years later, after you'd moved on with your life, but knew that you felt no different. What if you learned that the circumstance which ended the relationship wasn't what you thought?
And so on...
I think conflict is a natural progression of circumstance. Of course, not every idea is a keeper, which is what leads to revision, revision, revision. But if you start with a solid premise and believe in your characters, they'll, naturally, take you to the conflict.


message 16: by Teri (new)

Teri Jackson (terbear) | 208 comments How do you come up the ideas to your books?


message 17: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Hi Teri,

Ideas come from everywhere: music, people I meet, pieces of situations I might encounter, thin air... there's no one formula, at least not for me. In fact, BEAUTIFUL DISASTER jelled in my head for years. When I was a student at the University of Georgia, I did have a brief encounter with a stranger who asked if he could buy me a beer. (This is actually how Mia & Flynn meet in the book) I declined, but I never forgot it. Maybe because it reflected my lack of a social life! But, actually, it brought me back to the what if premise of the unknown. What if I had said yes... Well, Mia doesn't say yes either, not in that moment, but her meeting with Flynn does did turn into kismet. And so it goes...


message 18: by Teri (new)

Teri Jackson (terbear) | 208 comments Aw I see that's cool

What is your favorite place to be when your write?


message 19: by Laura (last edited Jul 11, 2011 06:53PM) (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Best case scenario, I'm kind of religous about writing in my sunroom, though it gets hot as... well, it gets hot in there this time of year. But I can/will write wherever need be. My daugher was ill for a number of years (she's fine now!) and I wrote the bulk of BEAUTIFUL DISASTER'S revisions on the floor of Children's Hospital. So as long as the words are flowing, I can work in almost any location.


message 20: by Fran, Moderator (new)

Fran | 10992 comments Welcome Laura!

I also grew up on Long Island in the 70's (still here actually).

Do you have any plans to use Long Island as the setting for a future novel?


message 21: by Teri (new)

Teri Jackson (terbear) | 208 comments I'm glad your daughter is doing well

What would be your dream Vacation?


message 22: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Hi Fran,

Oh, see your comment immediately set me off on a, "What if we actually met on Long Island years ago... What if you now lived next door to my best friend from high school..." The next thing you know, it's part of a book! lol

I'll probably end up using Long Island within a plot at some point. Oddly, it hasn't come up yet! I've lived up and down the East Coast, so that's given me a fairly broad piece of real estate in which to set a story. The Eastern Shore of Maryland, Boston, and, of course, the South have all been hot spots so far. The characters generally lend themselves to the setting, so it's just a matter of my imagination meeting the folks from Long Island!


message 23: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Teri wrote: "I'm glad your daughter is doing well

What would be your dream Vacation?"


Teri wrote: "I'm glad your daughter is doing well

What would be your dream Vacation?"


Thanks, Teri, she is fantastic, will start her sophomore year of college next month!

That's a tough one! I'm not a great vacationer. My husband travels a lot with his job, so I've kind of vicariously seen the world--or, actually, done laundry from all around it. I love historical things, so I wouldn't mind visiting Europe. On the other hand, I've always thought a California vacation would be a great escape for an East Coast kind of girl!


message 24: by Fran, Moderator (new)

Fran | 10992 comments Laura wrote: "Hi Fran,

Oh, see your comment immediately set me off on a, "What if we actually met on Long Island years ago... What if you now lived next door to my best friend from high school..." The next th..."



Actually...according to your blog, you grew up in the same town as one of my closest friends from college. Long Island has a lot of people crammed into not a lot of space; if you chat with someone from there long enough you will usually find someone in common :)

Which do find more difficult- writing smaller pieces for magazines and newspapers or a novel? What was the feeling like when you had your first piece published?


message 25: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) The novel is far more difficult simply because of its size and complexity. There's such a terrific margin for error when you're writing a book. I've had the same newspaper gig for the past six years, and I have to say that some days, I'm very happy to retreat to the world of short deadlines and finite word counts!

Gosh, that first published piece was so long ago, just after the invention of the modern printing press, if I recall (-; Overall, I've never really marveled over seeing my name in print. I'm much more satisfied if an editor compliments what I'm doing or I hear from a reader who loved BEAUTIFUL DISASTER. The first published pieces I do remember are poems my local LI paper(Suffolk County News) ran. I was in high school, and I do recall being pretty excited about that.


message 26: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (iandssmom) | 5 comments I'm thoroughly excited to here you have a new book in the works since I loved Beautiful Disaster so much!!!
Reading through this has lead to my question.

You said this was one of 5 books and I'm wondering if you had all the choice in the world would it have been the first one you would have wanted published or does one of the other ones have a special place in your heart?


message 27: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) What a great question, Shannon, thanks for asking! They all have a special place for different reasons. Interestingly, they also have one thing in common: a flawed "hero" for lack of a better word. Of course, I'd love to see them all on a bookstore shelf, but you have to be realistic. Out of the five books, BEAUTIFUL DISASTER was the one I always suspected would sell first. It's certainly the one I put the most work into. I'd love to go back and rewrite my first effort, DAMAGED GOODS. I think it has a lot of potential, and I've learned so much over the years, I could spend months applying what I know now!


message 28: by Rossy (new)

Rossy (naughtybookjunkie) | 2192 comments Laura, i have to tell you i was intrigued by the blurb of your book. But it was actually your bio in your profile here, that really had me wanting to read your book badly.

Having lived in the South for some time, are you interested or already planning on writing a Southern story? If so, anything in particular that sparks your imagination?


message 29: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Hi Rossy,

BEAUTIFUL DISASTER does take place in Athens, GA! So, for a few reasons, it may grab your imagination.

My latest effort, THE IT FACTOR, takes place in Alabama and Boston, but it's not as integral to the plot as it is in BD. Geographically, if the author truly loves a setting, I think that comes through in the writing. I hope that's the case for BD. I really connect with Athens, so, hopefully, that's captured in the story. I also love Boston, where I live now, so that really worked for parts of THE IT FACTOR.

Sometimes, you just connect with a place and it sticks with you, the way it smells, the people you meet there, the way of life. In turn, that lends itself to imagination.


message 30: by Teri (new)

Teri Jackson (terbear) | 208 comments How many hours would you say you write a day?


message 31: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Teri wrote: " How many hours would you say you write a day?"

Good Morning Teri,

Best case scenario, I spend six or seven hours writing. If I get a running start, I'm typing away by 7:00 a.m., I'm definitely a morning writer. Usually by early afternoon I'm out of steam. The trick is to write when you sit and not edit what's already there!


message 32: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7316 comments Laura - you are making me want to read The It Factor now!! lol!!


message 33: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Dee wrote: "Laura - you are making me want to read The It Factor now!! lol!!"

Thanks, Dee! Please address any pleas for another book to the nice folks at Penguin, maybe we can move that along!!


message 34: by Teri (new)

Teri Jackson (terbear) | 208 comments Good morning Laura,

Wow that's alot lol

If you could have lunch with one of your characters in BEAUTIFUL DISASTER who would it be and why?


message 35: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Teri wrote: "Good morning Laura,

Wow that's alot lol

If you could have lunch with one of your characters in BEAUTIFUL DISASTER who would it be and why?"


OK, Teri, you win for the question that's the most fun!

I think I'd have lunch with Michael, Mia's husband. I know all the other characters inside and out, but I always felt like I had questions for Michael. That or maybe I'd like to point out to him that winning isn't everything, and assure him that Mia was NOT the right girl for him! Of course, we'd probably have lunch a year or so after the book's end, in which case he'd bring along the love of his life, a corporate lawyer who triple majored in philosphy and engineering, after medaling in the Olympics and winning her state beauty pageant!


message 36: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7316 comments do you ever see yourself revisiting any of the characters in Beautiful Disaster - Roxanne or Michael maybe?


message 37: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Dee wrote: "do you ever see yourself revisiting any of the characters in Beautiful Disaster - Roxanne or Michael maybe?"

Hi Dee,

You mean like in another book? Probably not. Roxanne and Michael were important components to Mia and Flynn's story, but I don't see them as stand alone characters. Besides, they'd come with all that baggage! I'd much rather invest in new characters; it's exciting when I meet one who energizes me as much as Mia and Flynn.


message 38: by Teri (last edited Jul 13, 2011 10:42AM) (new)

Teri Jackson (terbear) | 208 comments haha Yay it took me awhile to think up that question

How many book would you say you own?


message 39: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Probably not as many as you'd think. I'm not a collector of books and I frequent my library quite often. I just counted over my head here in my study, 25, but that's one shelf. I do have a stack of favorites (including those Laura Ingalls Wilder books) tucked in the top of my closet. Actually, since I've gotten a Nook, I've really moved toward downloading. I have about 30 titles there.

How many do you have?


message 40: by Teri (last edited Jul 13, 2011 12:56PM) (new)

Teri Jackson (terbear) | 208 comments I own 38 and I too go to the library XD
My sis tell me the only reason I buy books is because I cant find them at the library haha


message 41: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Teri wrote: "I own 38 and I too go to the library XD
My sis tell me the only reason I buy books is because I cant find them at the library haha"


Lol, that's much of the reason I buy them--that or just so intrigued I can't wait for the library!


message 42: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7316 comments wow...I feel like a hoarder next to you guys...I probably have close to 1000 in my house....when I moved last time, over half of my allowable weight was books


message 43: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) I just can't stand the clutter. Every year our library has huge donation/sale, and that's where the discards go! But 1000 is a LOT of books!


message 44: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7316 comments yeah, I can't part with books...lol! I probably should clean out...lol!


message 45: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by to ask a question! It really was a lot of fun! I picked a winner, completely at random, and Sakura has won a copy of BEAUTIFUL DISASTER!!

Thanks again for the opportunity to visit with you all and share a little of my book!! Hope everyone has a fabulous summer!!

Laura


message 46: by Teri (new)

Teri Jackson (terbear) | 208 comments oh congrats Sakura ^-^

And thank you for sharing your book with us Laura <3


message 47: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Thank you, Teri! You really asked some great questions and kept the ball rolling! I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me!!


message 48: by Fran, Moderator (new)

Fran | 10992 comments Congrats Sakura!

And thank you so much for joining us Laura- it was great to chat with you!


message 49: by Laura (new)

Laura Spinella (lspinella) Anytime!! I had great time chatting with all of you!! Happy reading!!


message 50: by Joyce (new)

Joyce | 4 comments I just received my book, the cover is beautiful.
I can't wait to begin reading after I finish my current novel.
Thank you Laura!


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