Book interview –Lauren K. Pomeroy
Odette – a Novel
Lauren K. Pomeroy, the author of ‘Odette – a Novel’ is visiting Terraverum and telling us a little more about her delightful book which is a charming retelling of Swan Lake.
Where did you get your inspiration for ‘Odette’?
Well I’ve always loved the story in general, the tragedy of Odette, the princess being kidnapped, or taken, being transformed into a Swan, and the Prince coming after her. The original plot has a more tragic ending, when the Prince falls in love with someone else, and Odette dies alone or kills herself, so I am glad that I changed that up slightly.
Tell us more about your book.
It’s hard to explain more without giving away too many details! First off, Odette covers a wide range of epic and fantastical elements – mainly of magic and transformation. There are a lot of different characters that change, in a way, and must cope with those changes – the way their human and transformed characteristics mesh together also, has been seamed together flawlessly. I think when reading those certain portions, and reading about Odette’s companions, you’ll be able to picture what they look like in your head.
Not only this, but there is also a very tight bond between Odette and Prince Gabriel that I wanted to carry throughout the story, and the pure human emotion of feeling powerless and hopeful all in the same breath when trying to save one another from certain disaster.
The story starts out with banishing the all-powerful sorcerer, Rothbart, who has been a terror in the lives of King Stephen and Queen Edythe – after making a threat on their lives, and the life of Prince Gabriel, a battle wages and ends in tragedy. The sorcerers life is then placed in the hands of King Wolfe, who due to fear of death, has never executed a criminal, and has a naïve sense that anyone can be changed for the greater good. However, on the day of the sorcerer’s banishment, he promises a vengeful return to take the life of the royals, and the throne for himself. After nearly twenty one years of banishment, Rothbart keeps his promise and evokes havoc on their children by awakening their past, and living again.
How much do your personal emotions and experiences affect your writing?
I think it depends on the topic and the story I am writing – for example, for this novel, as a retelling of a classic plot, it gave little room for me to dig out my own personal experiences and put them into the story. Though I will say, for any male lead role I have, there are some characteristics of my love in them – mainly chivalry, courage, and boldness, I do have a vision of my fiancé as my leading men for my stories. There is something about him that makes the character thrive more, and I believe since I see his personality and his actions on a daily basis, I can create a wider range for other stories that may enter my mind.
Is Odette a damsel in distress or very much able to hold her own?
She’s definitely a fighter – and normally, many of my heroines I write are warriors, vs. a damsel in distress. Again, it depends on the story, but a courageous, fearless woman is more my taste instead of someone who may crack under pressure – I normally want to explore the question of, How would we act in our final moments, against our enemies? And that is how I make my characters, because in the end, that’s truly what matters. They may all face their obstacle and choose to cower or hurdle over it – I think I also lost the “damsel in distress” kick, have a man save you from everything, ever since Twilight. I just can’t take it anymore, and even if I rewrite some classic Hans Christian Anderson story, or Grimm Fairy Tale, the ladies, princesses, and so forth will even then not follow the same pattern.
When did you start writing or have you always loved to write?
I started writing when I was eleven, and it was after watching movies like Braveheart, which is my favourite, and Gladiator, and with great, inspirational movies such as those, I found that they were the same types of stories I wanted to write. Everything else just continued on, and is now history.
Where are your books available from?
Amazon.com – “Odette: A Novel” is available on Kindle and Paperback currently, and I am looking for readers and reviewers! It got a 4 star editorial review and recently a 5 star editorial review – Here are the links:
How did you publish and how did you find that process?
I published through a self-publishing company partnered with Amazon, called Createspace – I found this to be the best publishing source, compared to sites like Lulu.com for example, because the books are far too expensive to make and then sell on top of it. For a book I can sell for 16.95$ on Createspace and Amazon, on Lulu.com is would have sold for 32$ – I don’t ever spend that much on a book, unless it’s an encyclopaedia, it’s just too much money in the end. I did try going through traditional literary agents to get through to Traditional Publishers, and the book was rejected 34 times, so I decided to return to doing it on my own, and self-publishing.
I absolutely love the cover for your book, where did the design come from?
Well, I actually created it, but I wanted something that said it all without the cover being too complex and messy. I think the sky, the forest, and having it all lay inside Odette’s silhouette I made, executes it perfectly.
Is this a story that has been in your mind for a long time or where did it come from?
This story was on my mind for a while, I kept doing research on copywriting and making sure I wasn’t at fault for any guidelines, but when I found Swan Lake was written in the late 1800’s, at that point in time a story is considered “free roam” because the publishing copyright expired the 70 years it is effective. After that, I knew that I had to write it, and one night I started writing out the prologue, and that was it.
Which authors inspire you the most and which books do you like to read?
The only authors I think I had in mind particularly were J.K. Rowling, and Christopher Paolini, one because of her success with her entire series, and the other for being a young author and being able to achieve the greatness he did. These two were true inspirations to me, and I want to ensure I can contend with authors like this, and am confident in that area.
Is there somewhere special where you enjoy writing?
Right now, not really – my cramped apartment is getting to me a little, but luckily I am in search for a home which I hope to build my own little oasis, with my own office, and home library, and I know I can get there but it takes time. I feel with more peace and quiet in a home, I’ll be able to work a little faster than normal.
What hobbies do you enjoy while not writing?
My schedule is very full as of right now. Aside from writing, I’m in my last year of school at the University of Phoenix, getting my bachelors in English, then I work full time as a Funding Specialist/Account Manager for an auto-finance company, and then with writing in the middle, house-hunting, I don’t have much time to do other things. I think once I graduate, that time will free up for me to start doing normal things like working out, or hiking.
Do you have any rituals or writing quirks?
I have to listen to film-score music when I write. I think it helps with me getting the emotion of the story down pat, instead of just free-writing in complete silence. Another writing quirk is I have to write out the full story outline by hand, which is normally the length of a full comp-book filled with specific scenes I think of, and bullet points, character description, names, ect. It ends up probably being about a 100-150 page outline.
Are you busy with another book at the moment?
I am, the title is still debatable, but I have a feeling it is going to be called “Garrett” which is a story that takes place from 1950-1965 in New York and Long Island. The story is centred on a family of four, which the father, and two sons (one being Garrett) are police officers to the city. They also have very close family friends, who are deeply involved with an underground mob, the leader being a man named Luther.
There is internal conflict when the father, and police chief, starts noticing more “flighty” behaviour from Luther, and decides to investigate – he and his sons end up walking in on a gun smuggling operation, outmanned indefinitely, and are let go, vowing to never speak a word of it and let Luther go to save their lives. However, Luther doesn’t buy it, and instructs his men to execute the entire family.
On the night of Dec 16th, 1950, the family of four is brutally murdered. Yet, Garrett, awakens from the massacre and when stepping outside their family home, into the cold snow of winter, there in the empty street is the black, flowing, smoky grimace of death – the dreaded Reaper.
Filled with hate, and anger, Death strikes a deal with Garrett – “You may take your revenge on the man who took your family, by taking his son. He will take over the mob, and you can end his life on Dec. 31st, 1964. In the meantime, you will live…but you will carry my face, and you must make people believe that I exist. If you do all that, you may come back, and live the life that was taken from you. If not, you’ll return with me…for a debt going unpaid.”
Garrett awakens, in a taped off, and condemned home – blood stained, and empty for him to dwell in. Though when he returns to his own world, he finds he’s instead come back exactly as death – a full skeleton, beneath his clothes. Garrett realizes the bargain with death is more than he asked for, and finds his task is going to be far more difficult than he ever anticipated. Yet he knows he must find a way, and ensure he saves the lives of others from a force stronger than Luther; he must save them from his own son.
What jewel of advice would you share with other upcoming writers?
To never give up, and write what you love, do not write what you think will sell, otherwise there’s no passion in it. You’re going to get knocked down from people all over the place, and I was maybe about 3 weeks ago, and it hurts – even to this day. But if I let the words of haters, and doubters get me down, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m not famous, not by any means, but I am a better writer, I am happier, and I choose to carry on continuing my dream until I achieve it. I encourage all writers to do the same.
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Thanks Lauren and best wishes for ‘Odette’ as well as future endeavors!