Next Up For Review

Next Up For Review
The Center Cannot Hold, Elyn Saks

Saturday, June 25, 2011

An Interview With An Author


I had the great pleasure of not only reading Ms. Osterkamp's book, but interviewing her as well. I hope you enjoy her candor as much as I did!

1.  Your first book, “Following my Toes,” won the indie book award for best Chick-lit.  Can you describe for the readers how that happened (submission process etc) and how it felt to receive such a prestigious honor on your first run?
I entered the Indie Excellence Awards because they had a category specifically for Chick-lit. Other contests I was competing in general fiction, which is a much broader playing field. The submission process was easy, but they do require print copies of books, and I know that eliminates a lot of quality e-books.
I have to admit I was thrilled to actually win. This was several years ago, and there was more of a stigma attached to being “independently published.” Winning gave me, right or wrong, a credibility that people didn’t attach to me before. A local paper did a story on me, and the library in city where I teach asked me to do a reading. It was a lot of fun.
2.      “Starring in the Movie of My Life,” chronicles the same story from the point of Samantha and Melody, two women in love with the same man. What made you decide to write the book with alternating view points? Was that a first for you?
It was a first, but it never occurred to me to do it any other way. The story always belonged to both Samantha and Melody. Since I love writing in first person, alternating their points of view was only natural. The most exciting chapters to write were the ones where the two of them were together in the same room. I loved observing Samantha through the Melody’s eyes, or vice-versa.
3.       Who is your favorite character? Why? Who is your least? Why?
That’s tough. I know a lot of readers found Melody to be pretty unlikeable, but in a weird way I’m protective of her.  However, I guess Samantha is my favorite because she has such a big heart and potential strength. Of the major characters, I’d have to say Nathan is my least favorite. It’s not his fault, but I don’t think he grows over the course of the story the way the others do.
4.       It seems that writing/publishing is a family affair!  How involved are you with the publishing of your work? Who does your editing?
My mom, Lynn Osterkamp, founded PMI Books. She already had a lot of experience with publishing; years ago one of her books was self-published, and another was published by a major publisher. She sold WAY more of the self-published book. These books were non-fiction, but when she finished her first mystery, Too Near the Edge,  she decided to self-publish because she’d have control and would be able to market her books as much or as little as she wanted. Recently she published her second novel, Too Far Under.
Since I’m her daughter I didn’t have to work too hard to convince her to publish my stuff as well. J Actually, it’s a really great thing that we share. We always read each other’s drafts and give each other feedback on whatever we’re writing, in addition to editing for typos and little mistakes. She has the time/skills to work on stuff like layout and the website, and I’m so grateful, because I’d be lost.
5.       What are you working on now? Any big news on the writing/marketing front?
 I’m slowly working on a novel about a high school girl who gets in with the wrong crowd and winds up being an accomplice to a murder. The story alternates between her high school life, and ten years later when she’s still dealing with the ramifications of what she’s done, and how it affected her, her friends, and her family. It’s about ambition, morality, love… and skiing.
My only big news on the marketing front comes from a few weeks back. Starring in the Movie of My Life was named an award-winning finalist in both the International Book Awards (in both young adult fiction and women’s fiction) and in the Indie Excellence Awards (for chick lit.) I’m really excited!

Starring in the Movie of My Life by Laurel Osterkamp

Samantha married Nathan Linden, who was 10 years her junior, long before
the word "cougar" had a second meaning, and she hasn't regretted it for
a single second. Teenage Melody is attacked by a fellow student at a
school dance. Before she is harmed, her English teacher, Mr. Linden,
appears like the proverbial white knight and saves her. Unfortunately,
Melody becomes so obsessed with Mr. Linden that everything begins to
unravel in the man's life. --RT Book Review Magazine, February 2011

Cover: B
The cover on my page is the current cover. The copy I  received had a very different cover. An empty movie theater, to be exact. I would give that cover a B as well. I hesitate to give a cover a high grade without laying hands (or kindle) on it. But this is clearly B material. I'm not sure why the change occurred. Not sure that it matters, either.
Story: B   
I received a copy of this book many moons ago. Long before I had my grubby little hands on my now, much used Kindle. It was the last paperback I read. Two things about this story caught (and held) my attention. 1. Tense. The book is written in present tense. As a writer, I've been told this is a serious no-no. After reading Ms. Osterkamp's book, I feel compelled to ask the obvious question: why? It is a good any tense. Who died and determined that present tense is passe? Whoever it was, they were WRONG!!!! (So wrong, that I bet if you read it, it didn't even catch your attention) 2. The flipping story line. I like this in a story. When it's done correctly, it keeps the reader engaged at a level that a straight, one person point of view book, cannot.
Overall: B
This is a good book. not your typical 'chick-lit' fluff...whatever that is. It deals with some tough issues, and it throws in some interesting twists. Samantha makes some interesting choices. in some ways, I believe she is more complex than Melody. I had a bit of trouble with Samantha's mother/father/their twisted relationship issues, but that's me.
Right now the Kindle edition is $2.99 & the paperback comes in at under six bucks! Quite a good deal for a solid read. Get your copy today & weigh in on a rising star, before she jets off into the Milky Way.

1 comment:

  1. Great interview with Laurel, and glad you enjoyed the book!