Today, I'm interviewing Laura Templeton, author of Something Yellow!
Tell me about yourself, and your writing.I was lucky to have been exposed to books and reading at an early age, as my mom was an avid reader. Somewhere in my teens, my love of reading coupled with a vivid imagination morphed into a desire to write my own stories. I graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Literature and Creative Writing and have been writing off and on for years. My day job in is business, not writing – I’m in charge of Operations for a medical device manufacturer. I live in a rural area near Athens, Georgia, with my husband of twenty-eight years, my English-major son, and a passel of rescued animals.
How long have you been writing? How many published books do you have, and what genres?I have been writing for many years, but it was only about five years ago that I began taking my writing seriously. I’ve completed two books so far (and a number of short stories that will probably remain under the bed) and have two additional manuscripts in progress. Something Yellow is my first published novel, so launching it has been exciting.
Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?I write in two genres – women’s fiction and young adult. My other completed manuscript (currently in the hands of my agent) is a young adult piece. Of my two works in progress, one is young adult and one women’s fiction. I could also see myself writing literary fiction, as all my books, I think, straddle the line between commercial and literary.
Are you a plotter or do you write from the seat of your pants?I am definitely a seat-of-the-pants writer. While I always have a general idea of where my piece is going, the details tend to unfold as I write. I have to say, though, that I’m working to become a bit more of a plotter. My “pantster” ways unfortunately lead to a lot of revisions. I’ll probably never be one of those writers who spend two months setting down every scene of her novel before beginning to write, but I’m hoping to find a happy medium that will reduce some of my rewriting.
What is a typical writing day like for you?Since I’m a working writer, I rarely get a writing “day.” It’s more like a writing “few minutes!” On weekdays, I get up early—around 5 am—and write for about an hour and a half before I go to work. This seems to be my most productive time. The house is quiet. The coffee is hot. The ideas flow. On the weekends, I usually write about six hours, depending on other commitments. I used to think I couldn’t write unless I had long stretches of time available, but over the years I’ve learned to make do with what I have. As long as I’m consistent, even just an hour a day adds up to a completed novel.
Who do you love to read? Favorite authors, favorite books?There are so many, it’s difficult to narrow to “favorites” but here are a few:
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand (Helen Simonson)—My favorite recently-read book. I loved the quiet, sometimes humorous way she deals with race and prejudice and old versus new culture. I’m looking forward to rereading it. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis)—I probably have reread this book more than any other—I think six or seven times. I never grow tired of it. I loved it as a child for the story. I love it as an adult for the symbolism…and for the story, too. Anne Tyler is another old favorite. Her book, The Accidental Tourist, inspired me to attempt my first novel (which remains unfinished—it was a learning experience.) And Barbara Kingsolver is a recently discovered favorite—I enjoyed her new release Flight Behavior, which is set in the same region as Something Yellow.
What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career next year?I have a wonderful, encouraging, hardworking agent in Samantha Shea, so I’m hoping that 2014 will be the year my young adult novel sells. And I’m looking forward to continuing to promoteSomething Yellow in the months ahead.
If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?
Wouldn’t it be amazing to time travel? That premise has always fascinated me. I’ve read The Time Machine multiple times, and of course time travel seems to crop up in a number of more recent titles. I think it would be fascinating to turn the dial and travel to the distant past… or future.
If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?A genie. When I was little, I used to pretend that a genie lived in a pretty blue bottle I kept on my dresser. As I said, I had a vivid imagination.
Tell us a little about your latest release.Something Yellow is a novel about Holly, a young woman who loses her job in the city and moves back home to the mountains to take care of her mother, who’s dying of cancer. Upon her return, a young girl in the small community disappears in a manner similar to the disappearance of Holly’s younger sister some years earlier. About the same time, her high school sweetheart appears on the scene. Holly is convinced that he’s responsible for both disappearances. Eventually, Holly confronts the mysteries of the past and learns to cope with grief, both old and new.
What is something that you absolutely can't live without? (Other than family members)I’d have to say I can’t imagine living without books. Back when I was in school, I carried a book with me every single day and read in every spare moment I could find. Even today, I read whenever I can. As soon as I finish one book, I start another. Books provide solace, escape, entertainment—whatever I need at the time.
Could you ever co author a book with someone? If so, who would you choose, and what would you write?I truly don’t think I could co-author a book. For me, in some way that’s a little hard to explain, the writing process is intensely personal. Writing a novel, or even an essay, is a journey of discovery. I invariably learn something about myself along the way. And to me, this journey is a solitary one. I’m also a control freak, so I suspect I’d have difficulty letting go and allowing someone else to take hold of the story.
If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do? What would you ask them?Well, this may seem an odd answer, but I’d probably choose my mother. There are so many things I wish I’d asked her – about growing up during the Great Depression, about her 55-year marriage to my father, about living and working through World War II. She used to tell me stories about herself, but I was too young (and stupid) to think they were important much less to write them down. Now, I so wish I had. I think there may well have been a book or two hiding in those stories!
What are some of your other hobbies outside of writing?I like reading (of course), gardening, walking, and ice skating. Working in my garden, in particular, is a nice way to work off the tension of sitting in front of a computer (writing and working at my day job). Scientists now say that working in the dirt boosts your immune system and relieves depression…all the more reason to plant, prune, and pluck.
If you were on the staff to have a book adapted to movie, what would you pick?Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder comes to mind immediately. I read it back in December on the recommendation of one of my readers and loved it. The story would make a great movie – the Amazon basin, a native tribe, an eccentric scientist, a drug promising everlasting fertility, and a missing man. What more could you want?
What is a talent you wish you had, but don't?I love to sing. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at it. I truly wish that like my protagonist, Holly, I could sing in places other than my car and my kitchen!
Favorite color?Green. The color of the outdoors.
Weather: Hot or cold?Hot. At least in the summer, the garden is blooming and the trees are green. And here in Georgia, cold just means cold…we rarely get snow (which I love).
Favorite place to read?Outside on my back porch. In the sun. With the sound of the little waterfall in our pond splashing in the background and a cat curled up at my feet.
There’s a little Mediterranean restaurant near us, owned by two brothers. They make a wonderful Greek pizza with a homemade crust that is my absolute favorite thing to eat. Along with anything chocolate…
Favorite non-alcoholic drink.Coffee. Black and made in a French press. I try to limit myself to two cups a day, but sometimes (like now!) I splurge and go for a third cup.
If you could travel anywhere and do anything, no limits or money holding you back, where would you go?Probably Italy. I’ve never been there, but I’m fascinated with its history, art, architecture, and gardens. My husband and I daydream about spending a few months there every year, renting some historic villa and making day trips to see the sights.
Blurb: It has been thirteen years since Holly’s nine-year-old sister, Rachel, disappeared without a trace.
It has been thirteen years since Holly left her hometown.
It has been thirteen years since Holly’s first love and high school boyfriend, Houston, was the only suspect.
Now another nine-year-old girl has disappeared.
Holly is back, and so is Houston—never charged and still proclaiming his innocence.
Can she trust him . . . should she trust him?
Review Rating: 4 LIGHTNING BOLTS
Review: Something Yellow is a beautifully weaved story of many things: love, loss, mystery, intrigue, forgiveness, and so much more. The mystery definitely pulled me in, and as the main characters lives are entwined by yet another similar disappearance that shattered their world years ago, it's time for the ghosts to come out- not spirits, of course, but the ghosts of their past.
The story held me from page one and never let go until the end. The writing is well done, with a great pace and so much to this story that there's never a moment that I wanted to close the book. There were so many questions in my mind as I read on that I couldn't wait to get the answers to.
I'm adding Laura Templeton to my list of authors to watch...can't wait for another great read!
Laura Templeton lives near Athens, Georgia, with her husband, son, and a menagerie of animals, mostly rescues. In her day job she serves as Vice President of Operations for a laboratory equipment manufacturer. By night–early morning, actually–she writes fiction. Her first novel, Something Yellow, was released by PageSpring Publishing in October 2013. When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, gardening, learning to figure skate—with a very patient instructor, and taking long walks on the quiet country roads near her home. Laura can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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