Interview with Kelly St-Laurent

Who are your favorite authors?
I love reading any book that I can lose myself in. My dad influenced a lot of my early reading. The worlds of Tolkein, the adventures of Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne. I'll never forget being twelve, and picking up John Marsden's Tomorrow When the War Began. The story was so engaging, and I waited eagerly for the rest of the series to be released.

In my teen years I fell in love with the idea of love. I read a lot of Anita Shreve, Nicholas Sparks, the Sweet Valley University books, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In my twenties, I started reading historical fiction, particularly the books of Diana Gabaldon and Sara Donati. I also enjoy autobiographies. Lauren Bacall's By Myself, Christopher Reeve's Still Me, and Michael J. Fox's Lucky Man were very moving.

Recently, I've read some fantastic romance books by Karina Halle and K.A Tucker. Andy Weir's The Martian is still a favourite read of mine, as is Ian McEwan's Atonement (both of which were also wonderful films). When it comes to genre, I'm happy to read anything. As long as I can lose myself in it.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My dog Bucky jumping on me is usually the first thing. Coffee is a big draw. When it comes to writing, I love getting to fall back into worlds of my own creation. Spending time with characters who feel as real as the people in my life. But, coffee is also important.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love film and television. I did my BA and MA in film studies and worked over ten years in the industry, so I'm always looking for a great film, or bingeable TV show to watch. My husband is a chef, so we often cook and listen to music while drinking wine. Our dog gets a lot of walks and play, so that's always a big part of our day. Otherwise I'm reading Hollywood news, doing yoga, hanging out with friends and family. And there's coffee. Always coffee.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I follow a lot of authors on social media and there's a wonderful community there where people promote one another, so I get a lot of inspiration from that. Otherwise recommendations, or reading authors I know I love.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't remember. I always wrote. I had a diary all throughout my childhood and adolescence, which reads at times like a dramedy. In school, I wrote stories and poetry. But, I can't think of a specific first. I do remember at six writing plays with my neighbour and performing them for our parents. Story has always been a part of my life.
What is your writing process?
I usually get an image, like a scene in my head. And I'll ask myself questions. Who are they? Why are they there? Who are they to each other? Then I let that seed grow for a while. Once it's turned into something more substantial, I'll begin developing it into a story with a beginning and a middle. I don't worry about the end at that point, that will come. Then I do research, about the area the story is set in, the professions of the characters, anything that will help develop the world I'm creating.

Once I have a somewhat decent idea of where I'm going, I'll start plotting out the chapters, working it into a complete story. I do a character questionnaire for my main characters, which helps me to understand what they want, what they're willing to do to get it, what they're afraid of etc.

I don't start writing the story until the characters speak to me. Otherwise I find I'm writing it as me, rather than as them. It takes patience, which can be frustrating. My first novel, I didn't write with a schedule, and it took me years to write it. With my second novel, I gave myself a deadline and found that helped keep me on track.

I think the process is so personal to each writer. We lives our lives differently, so our processes are different. There isn't necessarily a right or wrong way, as long as it helps you get the story out.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first, but I loved Spike Milligan and read his books and poems when I was little. Badjelly the Witch was a favourite.
How do you approach cover design?
I work with a professional designer, and we consider trends within the genre, as well as an overall sentiment we want the cover to give. I use Pinterest to find inspiration. There are so many wonderful covers out there, and you want yours to be unique, but also grabbing.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is like asking a favourite film. There are so many and they change depending on my mood. I'll list five that stand out:

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - she created an absorbing world with rich characters set against a tumultuous time in history. It's the perfect blend of action, romance, and intrigue. She also did fantastic research for it, which I love.

2. Atonement by Ian McEwan - it's such a poignant, moving story, and the way it unfolds is so engaging. I thought the way he captured adolescence and its naivety was really clever.

3. The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - the nostalgic experience is a big reason for adding these books. My father has always loved the trilogy, and got my brothers and I hooked on them. I'm from New Zealand and I was reading the books as they were shooting the films, and it became a big part of our cultural identity for a long time. I don't know of any other author who has built a world as incredible as Tolkien did.

4. Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose - I love reading about World War Two, and the story of Easy Company is astounding. What they did, the heroics, the trauma, it's gripping and heartbreaking, and inspiring.

5. Chasing River by K.A. Tucker - I love this story. It's romantic, and set in gorgeous Ireland. The characters are absorbing. It's the perfect book to curl up on the sofa with.
Describe your desk
It's from Ikea. There's an antique looking lamp that was one of the first adult purchases I made many years ago. I have a little wooden box which was gifted to me, and inside I have foreign currency. I'm not sure why, it just became the place I put coins after travel. There's a mason jar full of pens, and a vintage beer mug with lavender in it. Next to my laptop I have a pile of notebooks for research on one side, and a pile of books on writing on the other. My dog is usually curled up beneath it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Auckland, New Zealand. At nineteen I moved to Canada where I lived in Vancouver, before moving to Montreal. My experience in both countries has had a profound influence on my writing. Travel, in my opinion, is the best thing you can do to grow. I'm not the same person I was when I lived in New Zealand. But I can draw from who I was and use that in my stories. Just as I can draw from the person I'm becoming now.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Sea of Lost Things is about a woman looking for her past. I wanted to write a book set in Normandy, France and I wanted to tie in world war two, without writing a book explicitly on the subject. I also wanted it to be a contemporary romance. So, I thought, if she's looking for her past, what happens if she meets a man running from his? What would bring them together? What hurdles would be in their way?

At the heart of it, it's about those we lose along the way, and those we find. The people that become our family. It's a story of love and hope even after loss.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The first book I wrote was a historical fiction called Sonder. I spent two years on it, and then when it came time to query it, I was met with a lot of rejection. That's a big part of being a writer, but the thing I was being told over and over again was that the novel was too large. It's 200,000 words, which in traditional publishing is supposedly a bad thing. I was told to cut it down, or turn it into two books. Neither option seemed right. My beta readers agreed that it should stay as it was written. So, I realized that as a first-time author, no publisher was going to take a chance on me with such a large book.

That's why I decided to become an indie author. My hope is that one day Sonder will be published, either traditionally, or perhaps through self-publishing. For now though, I'm focussing on releasing a contemporary romance called The Sea of Lost Things, which I'm really excited about.
Published 2019-06-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Sea of Lost Things
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 78,800. Language: English. Published: August 13, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » General
Charlotte Reynolds is no stranger to loss. After a car accident took her parents, she was raised by her maternal grandfather. Six months ago, she lost him too. At thirty-one, with no living relatives, Charlotte finds herself alone in the world. That is until she opens the box.