Last week I was invited to interview the very talented Lara Morgan while she was in town on her book tour. Lara is the author of The Rosie Black Chronicles, the first book in the series, Genesis was released last year (see our review here), with the second book, Equinox, due out in November this year.
Check out our chat below, followed by some shots from her signing at Dymocks on George st in the city (Sydney). That outting coincided with the Water For Elephants premiere, with crews setting up barricades and fans setting up camp just around the corner to reserve the best vantage point for Robert Pattinson’s red carpet arrival (oh and Reese Witherspoon was there too…but that fans were basically there for Rob, sorry Reese). The city was insane…
You’re in Sydney for 3 days for the book tour, with today being your last day. Have you done a book tour before?
No, actually, this is my first time at getting driven around by people who I called minions yesterday. One of the kids at one of the talks asked, “who are those people?” and I said, “oh they’re my minions” and they were like, “what’s minions mean?” [laughs]
Have you done a book signing before?
I have done signings before, for when my first book came out, Awakening, which is a fantasy book, and I did a few signings for that and I’ve done a few for Rosie Black as well.
It’s kind of surreal, because you know, I feel like those books belong to someone else, even though I am one now [an author]. I’ve got a special bookshelf for them at home, where I have the twins fantasy books [Twins of Saranthium series], plus the international versions, it’s come out in German now which is awesome even though I can’t read it [laughs], plus Rosie Black is up there as well. If I’m ever having a bad day it’s nice to look at them and see that I actually am an author, I call myself that now, so it’s a pretty cool feeling.
I had looked around other review sites such as Goodreads, and Rosie Black has been really well received, lots of 4 or 5 star reviews. Were you ever surprised by that reaction?
Um, I think I’m always hopeful. I hold myself back from reading reviews because I always actually fear that no one’s going to like what you do and will say, I can’t believe you wrote this, it’s absolutely crap or you should just go away and die. [laughs] There’s always this thing in the back of your head that says, you don’t know what you’re doing. So it’s always such a nice surprise, to see people say something nice about something you’ve spent so much time working on. I like to comment on reviews sometimes.
What stage is Equinox at now? Is it finished?
I’ve submitted it to the publishers and I’ve been talking with the editors about it, it’s at the major editorial stage right now, just tidying it up and streamlining the plot before we do the copy edits, so there’s still quite a bit of work to do. The story’s there, we just have to make sure it all makes sense before we go ahead.
So how does your writing process work? Do you start from the story? The characters?
Well, I always find that the story is driven by the characters. I do the background as well, which is something I have to think about a lot as well when writing something like the Rosie Black series, I had to come up with the world that the characters exist in. I do a little plot map, I draw a line on a big piece of paper, one of those artist blocks, and I think, ok, this is where Rosie’s gonna start, this is where I see the story ending and in the middle there’s this big climactic thing happening. Then I might put some points in between, and then I start writing, and as I go along, I figure out if the little things are worth doing and it changes a lot. Generally the beginning and the end doesn’t change, but the middle can change.
I think kids today can see the problems of the world, they’ve grown up hearing about these things, and it’s gotten worse as they get older. So of course, they’ve got these concerns and it’s something that interests them, it’s something that they think about.
Do you have a favourite moment from the book?
I like writing the moments between Rosie and Pip, and they’re often the hardest to write. I love a love story, I’ve got lots of deleted bits between Rosie and Pip. Just the moments between them, as their relationship grows .
You’ve done a few interviews now, quite a few talks, is there a question that you wish someone would ask?
I get so many good questions, probably not, kids tend to ask things that are just off the wall. One question I wish they wouldn’t ask all the time is, where do you get your ideas from and it’s almost impossible to answer because I get ideas from anywhere. I understand why people don’t know and they want to ask it, but it’s just from everywhere.
If you could spend the day with any author dead or alive who would you pick?
You can pick more than one
Ursula Le Guin, I love her, I just want to be around her, maybe absorb some of her genius. Eoin Colfer, I think he’d be really funny, and Jane Austen, it would be so cool to talk to her, to find out what she was really thinking.
Last one, we’ll end on a fun one – crunchy or smooth peanut butter?
Crunchy, absolutely, what’s the point of smooth? [laughs]
Signed copies are now available at the Dymocks’ city store, so if you couldn’t make it to the signing, you can always head into the store on George st, Sydney and pick up a copy Saskia (center) from TeaMouseBooks.com also came along, and as you can see from out shot with Lara, we’re happy customers, haha.
A big thank you goes out to the very lovely Jo at Walker Books