Thursday, February 9, 2012

Talking with Laurel Gans

Today, I have author Lauren Gans in he hot seat.  It might be lukewarm, but I tried to keep it hot! Anyway... on to today's post!

Laurel's first book, Waitlisted, is out now.  Read on to find out more about this author!

Laurel, welcome to Storm Goddess Book Reviews. Glad to have you here today.

Tell me about yourself, and your writing.
Hi! Thanks so much for having me! I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio but I currently live in Columbus, Ohio.  I’m a second year dental student at The Ohio State University. I’m the fourth of six children and I’m very lucky to have three of my siblings at Ohio State with me!

I’ve always loved to write. I grew up writing scripts and recently started writing books.

                How long have you been writing? How many published books do you have, and what genres?
I’ve been writing all my life. I loved writing little plays and making short films when I was a kid. When I was fifteen my play, A Tale of Two Delis, was read at a local theater.  I loved hearing the audience laugh so much I kept writing comedy. 

Waitlisted is my first novel ever!

                Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?
I mostly write humor but I’d love to try writing something a little more serious and plot-driven one day. I’d really like to write a medical thriller or a historical fiction novel. The problem is I can’t stay serious very long. Even during traffic jams and boring lectures funny thoughts are popping into my head. It’s hard not to write them down!

                Are you a plotter or do you write from the seat of your pants? I think I do a little of both. I knew where I wanted to start my story and end it. I also knew what funny events from college I wanted to write about. I basically wrote the scenes that interested me the most then later I either had to tie that scene into the ending or get rid of it.

                What is a typical writing day like for you? I tried to stay on a pretty strict schedule. I wrote a good portion of the book over the summer while I was working a fun little job at a local day camp (I basically sat on a beach all day).  After ‘work’ I’d go for a run and have dinner. At 9:30 every night I had to go downstairs to my little desk in the basement. I gave myself ten minutes on the computer to check Facebook, the weather, celebrity gossip and anything else I could use to procrastinate. By 9:40 I had to be writing. I made myself write at least three pages every night.

                Who do you love to read? Favorite authors, favorite books?
I was never much of a reader growing up. The first author who could ever get me to sit still and read was Jodi Picoult. I read Plain Truth and absolutely loved it. That’s the first time I ever remember enjoying reading. Since then, I’ve found many authors I enjoy!  I like reading books by Sophie Kinsella, Kathryn Stockett, and Tina Fey.

                What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career next year? I’d like to write my next book!

                If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be? Time travel! It would make doing research for a historical fiction novel way easier!

                If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?  I’d want one of those dragons you can fly on so I could travel anywhere I’d like!

                Tell us a little about your latest release.
 I’m really excited about my new book Waitlisted.  It’s a humorous young adult novel about the crazy things students will do to get into graduate school. I was doing a practice graduate school interview with my dad when the book idea came to me. I found it so funny that students literally have to rehearse their lines for an interview when the school insists they want us to ‘be ourselves.’

My main character, Kacey Barlow, is a cocky college senior who is having a little bit too much fun as an undergrad.  She’s been kicked out of the grad school her family has been attending for generations. She’s mortified to tell her parents and can’t stand the thought of her friends learning her little secret. She’s forced to jump through every hoop the admissions process has to offer. As if applying once wasn’t bad enough…

                What is something that you absolutely can't live without? (Other than family members)
 My laptop. I take that thing everywhere I go. I couldn’t type this up without it!

                Could you ever co author a book with someone? If so, who would you choose, and what would you write? That’s a good question. I’ve never really thought about it before. I’d probably like to write a book with Fran Drescher. I think she’s so hilarious and so smart. It could be about how we met at a family Passover seder. It turns out we’re distantmishpucha and we just happened to be seated next to each other. We instantly bonded over our love for matzo ball soup, talking too much about relatives and shopping at Loehmanns. By the fourth glass of wine, we were absolutely giddy and raising our glasses to our new friendship. We could call it Four Glasses of Whine and it would be an instant bestseller!

But I’ve never really thought about it…

Albert Einstein. I’d ask him to help me with my physics test.

                What are some of your other hobbies outside of writing? I love being on the water. I enjoy boating, swimming, water skiing and wake boarding. I also started building doll houses as a fine motor activity to put on my application for dental school. I brought pictures of my doll houses to my dental school interviews and the girl interviewers really liked it.

All right, that’s not entirely true. I told people I built doll houses for my application but really I did it because doll houses are the absolute coolest! Mine even light up!

                If you were on the staff to have a book adapted to movie, what would you pick? I think Bossypants: The Movie Musical would look great on a marquee

                What is a talent you wish you had, but don't? I would love to be able to sing. 

             Favorite color? Anything sparkly

                Weather: Hot or cold? Hot! I’m a summer girl!

                Favorite place to read? Lake Chautauqua on a beautiful sunny day.

                Favorite meal: I love my lokshen kugle. It’s basically noodles, cottage cheese, and sugar and it’s absolutely the most delicious food in the world.

                Favorite non-alcoholic drink. Caramel frappe from the McCafe with whipped cream and caramel drizzle

                If you could travel anywhere and do anything, no limits or money holding you back, where would you go? I would go back to Spain and visit all the wonderful people I met while studying there.

This has been a fun and exiting interview. You had me chuckling a few times over here, Laurel :) 

Now I'm going to scoot aside and let Laurel have the floor with a guest post. *Walks backstage*

Thanks so much for having me today!
When Waitlisted was released this fall, I was looking forward to so many things. I couldn’t wait see my book officially for sale at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. I couldn’t wait for people to read and enjoy it. I couldn’t wait to eat the cake my family got for me with the book’s cover on it. But for me, there were other unexpected rewards to getting published.   In fact, I didn’t foresee one of the best parts of being a published author.
With the release of Waitlisted, I was fortunate enough to become a role model for other writers. People suddenly began sharing their writing ambitions with me. I love how my professors, residents and fellow students come to me and tell me about their writing projects and goals. I had no idea so many people I work with every single day enjoy writing as much as I do.

Oftentimes, adults are embarrassed to discuss their personal dreams. I am so touched that people feel comfortable enough to share with me their hopes and know that I will only encourage them. 

There is one writer in particular I hope to inspire. My little cousin Iris wants to write a book. She was nine when I was writing Waitlisted.  She came to the readings and would watch and giggle with the rest of the audience. Afterward, she’d ask me about the themes of the story and how she could incorporate themes into her own writing. When the book came out, she brought a Kindle to school and showed everyone that her name was in the book. She made sure people knew that the dedication (which mentions my family) absolutely included her.

Iris shows me chapters of the story she is writing about her experience at sleep-away camp. I love teaching her about plot structure and characters. I tried once to show her how to format her work properly but she got a little upset when all her hard work ended up being only a couple pages. She kept saying, “Can’t we make the font a little bigger?”

I’ve often thought the same thing….

I hope that I can continue to inspire other people that dream of becoming writers. So many people encouraged me throughout the writing process and it is such a gift to have the opportunity to help others. 

Follow me on Twitter!
Like me on Facebook!

Inspiration is a wonderful thing, and to be an inspiration is fulfilling as well. Great post, Laurel! 


Laurel Gans is a graduate of Bowling Green State University where she studied Spanish. She is currently a dental student at The Ohio State University with her twin sister, Stephanie. She enjoys writing, water sports and spending time with her family and friends. 

Here are some links:

It's been a pleasure to have you here today, Laurel!  Getting to know authors is great, and your personality shines!

Readers, be sure to stop by again tomorrow as well, as I have a review for Waitlisted. 

I hope you'll leave a comment.

Until next time,

Storm Goddess


  1. Thanks for being on tour with us! Looking forward to your review :)

  2. Nice interview.
    I wish I could sing too, but my voice is terrible. Maybe in my next life, LOL.