Thursday, July 13, 2017

Author Talks with Leslie Hauser


I am so excited to have Leslie Hauser on the blog! Leslie shares with us about her writing, her writing style, her debut novel Chasing Evaline, and helpful tips for other aspiring authors out there. Also be sure to check out the excerpt for Chasing Evaline, I cannot wait to read it!

Tell me more about yourself:

I live in Southern California with my dog Mr. Darcy. When I'm not writing or working, I run, do CrossFit, read, watch too much TV, and send cat gifs to my friends :)

Tell me more about your debut novel (read the excerpt after the interview):

Chasing Eveline is a YA contemporary novel about 16 year old Ivy Higgins who goes on a quest with her friend Matt to reunite 80s band Chasing Eveline.

What inspired you to be an author?

I’ve been writing since the third grade when I penned my award-winning story “Wild Strawberries” about a talking strawberry that takes a young girl on a wild adventure. It was published on the front page of the school gazette. Haha. But in all honesty, I think that was the moment when I realized I had stories to tell and that I loved telling them. (It was also the moment I learned I would never be an artist. My strawberry graphic was not so fabulous.)

How many stories have you written?

I've published two short stories and a novel. I have another completed unpublished novel and one that I plan to complete by August 1.

Is writing your full time profession? If not, what else do you do and how do you manage both jobs?

No, I am a part-time writer. I also teach 6th grade English and history. I work mostly on my blog and short writing pieces during the school year and save my long summer break for novel writing.

What is your writing process?

First, I outline in my head. I walk around with the story brewing in my mind for weeks or months, if necessary. I need to create a basic movie for how I want the plot to unfold. Then I map out the story on Post-it notes. Each chapter gets a Post-it note, and the chapters are divided into a beginning, middle and end. This helps me hit a high point in each chapter, which keeps the story moving and helps maintain a sense of drama. It keeps me from having chapters that serve no purpose. Only after I’ve mapped out the entire story do I begin writing. Of course, things may change as I go, but I need to have a set plan—a set of directions—before I can begin. Otherwise, I feel too overwhelmed.

How do you create the world you are writing in?

Since I write contemporary, it's usually just the world we all live in :) A lot of times, I'll go on Pinterest or Google search towns and houses and people to get an idea of what I want my fake setting to look like.

How do you pull us in with amazing characters?

I try to create real characters that are likeable. Even in my unpublished YA, there is a friend who is the antagonist and I like her because she's truly hateable! :)

What authors inspire you to write?

Sarah Dessen is the inspiration behind my YA. Her book The Truth About Forever is the book that hooked me on YA, and I feel a sense of loyalty to her and her books because of that.

Have you ever thought about self-publishing? What are the pro-s and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

I considered self-publishing. An interesting fact I learned is that the majority of authors who make a career of writing are self-published writers. I would have thought it'd be the opposite: the ones with the major publishers behind them would be the ones making a career of it. But self-publishing keeps the profits going directly to you, so that's a benefit. The drawback is that there's so much to do to put out a book and promote it, and you'd have to do all of that yourself.

What is some advice you can give to other authors out there that are struggling to get their work published?

I sort of laugh when published authors say, “Don’t worry so much about getting published. Just write and everything will fall into place.” You know, that’s easy to say once you have a publishing deal. But if your dream is to see your book in print, you will worry and you will stress and you will be sad at times. My advice is just to accept that as part of the process. Go with it. If you’re sad, be sad. If you’re angry that it seems so easy for some people, be angry. I would also tell writers to consider indie publishers. I’m very happy with my decision to go with Pen Name Publishing. The whole experience has been great, and I get to see my book out in the world. This may not have happened if I’d only considered the traditional publishing route.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?

I just hope you all will go out and buy Chasing Eveline and that it will entertain you and put a smile on your face. That's why I wrote it! I wanted to put some happiness in the world :)

Purchase Link 


They say music is the key to the soul. Or maybe it’s the heart. I can’t remember exactly what my mom said that day she danced into my room with a new record for me to hear. I was only in the fourth grade, but I became a believer. I remember so vividly how the drums rattled deep within my chest and the lyrics I didn’t even understand seemed to whisper secrets meant only for me. The song lingered inside me for days. My mom swooned and told me that’s why music must be shared.

So when I saw the desperate school blog post calling for a volunteer DJ at tonight’s Back to School Dance, I jumped at the chance. The music my friend Matt and I plan to throw into the mix is a giant master key. I just hope it will open the teenage hearts in this musty gym and linger inside them long after the last balloon deflates. This music is important to me.

I nudge Matt, whose face is glued to the computer screen at our DJ table. A vibrating speaker to our left thumps out music, so I yell into his ear, “Is the set list ready?”

He tilts his head toward me. “Geez, Ivy. I just plugged in the flash drive.”

“Okay, sorry.” I step away. He sweeps his blond hair out of his eyes and returns his focus to the computer.

I pace behind him, a nervous left followed by an excited right and back again. The musical brilliance of the greatest guitarist of all time will soon weave through these bodies and drift into every ear. My heart floats up with the blue and yellow balloons hovering like a latex fog.

My hand strums on my thigh while Matt continues to fuss with the computer. Near the gym entrance, Principal Henry stands with Narc 1 and Narc 2, and a wave of yawns travels across them. The newbie freshmen line the walls and cluster in groups. The scene resembles a casting call for an acne medication ad.

The dull atmosphere isn’t helped by the annoyingly synthetic pop noise blasting through the speakers. After I offered our free DJ services to Karen, the Dance Committee Chairperson, she gave us a mix of music tracks to play. She was grateful to have saved some precious dollars for this year’s prom, but I’m not sure she trusted two no-name juniors to get the job done.

However, after listening to thirty minutes of her set list, I’m seriously questioning the cool factor of the popular crowd. Karen’s mix features some of the worst radio music of all time. Every song is a mere echo of the previous one—peppy beats and vacuous lyrics about hook-ups and partying. I can’t even tell if the voices belong to boys, girls, or machines.

I tap Matt’s shoulder. “Are you almost finished?” I nearly have to scream.

“Yeah. I’m just making sure we have the songs in the right order.” He turns around and leans toward me. “Ivy, you really want to do this?”

I smile at him and hope he doesn’t see all the tiny cracks waiting to splinter. “We’re just sharing some great music. It’ll be fine.”

About the Author:

I am a YA writer and middle school teacher. I have a B.A. in English from UCLA and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently reside in Los Angeles, California, with my dog Mr. Darcy.

When I’m not living in fictional worlds inside my head, I run all sorts of distances, torture my body at CrossFit, and DVR entirely too many television shows. I dream of one day returning to the Midwest to live on a farm. Or perhaps owning a cookie delivery service.

Author Links:

What music do you most enjoy listening to? Who is your favorite band? Leave your answer in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

  1. I'm participating in a debut author challenge and this book is perfect for me--I'm a musician and so is my daughter. Music has always been a huge part of my life--I even wrote my salutatorian speech in high school using an orchestra as a metaphor for our class. Right now I listen to whatever music moves me, whether it be my heart or my feet or both. I even attend Jazzercise classes so I can exercise to music. I don't run with music playing as I want to be aware of my surroundings outside, but I often have a song stuck on "rerun" in my head.