Beware! Author at Work!—and a Giveaway!

Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Killer in the Band is the third installment in the Lovers in Crime Mystery series.

In addition to her series set in the northern panhandle of West Virginia, Lauren Carr has also written the Mac Faraday Mysteries, set on Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland, and the Thorny Rose Mysteries, set in Washington DC. The second installment in the Thorny Rose Mysteries, which features Joshua Thornton’s son Murphy and Jessica Faraday, Mac’s daughter, A Fine Year for Murder, was released in January 2017. The next book, Twofer Murder, will be released at the end of the year.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. Visit Lauren Carr’s website at http://www.mysterylady.net to learn more about Lauren and her upcoming mysteries.

Every writer dreams of being a character in a Neil Simon play. In case you haven’t noticed, most of Neil Simon’s plays were autobiographical. Therefore, the lead character would be a writer and the plot would involve the protagonist’s loveable friends and family who would invade his life—creating chaos and disrupting his writing.

Such has been my life while working on my latest work-in-progress. One day, I will be able to laugh about it. One day. In the future. Not now.

Since January—count it—eight months—I have been working on Twofer Murder, my most ambitious mystery novel yet.

Twofer Murder will be a treat for mystery lovers because it is two mysteries in one novel. This book will contain all of the characters from the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose mysteries. The guys go fishing and get embroiled in a murder mystery. Meanwhile, the ladies go off to a murder mystery writers conference and end up wrapped up in their own mystery when an up and coming mystery author ends up dead! Can’t beat that! Two mysteries for the price of one!

I knew going into this project that it would be a challenge. Every writer needs to challenge herself—otherwise the writing gets stale. However, the biggest challenge that I have encountered is not the writing.

It’s life!

This project started off with a bang during the first week of February when I came down with the flu. I had come down with a fever of 102 and went to the emergency room at three o’clock in the morning. Several years ago, I had had pneumonia and with this illness, I felt the same way. At the ER, when Doogie Howser was finally able to tear himself away from his computer game to tend to me, I told him that I needed a chest X-ray because I suspected I had pneumonia.

Doogie disagreed. He gave me a shot. Several minutes later, after he managed to make it to the next level in his computer game, he came in and told me that I looked great.

“I don’t feel great,” I replied. “I don’t feel any better. I think I have pneumonia.”

“Oh, you have the same virus that’s been going around,” Doogie said with a wave of his hand. “You’ll be better in a week.”

Three weeks later, I still had a fever and had written a total of 40 pages on Twofer Murder. Doogie had managed to make me feel so much like a drama queen that I was afraid of making a fuss over feeling so lousy and my silly little fever. When my fever reached a hundred and four, I went to my regular doctor who chewed me out for waiting so long.

I had had the real influenza and had been contagious the whole time! It was six weeks after that before I felt more or less like myself again.

Normally, by the end of spring I would have a book off to the editor. However, with Twofer Murder, which is realistically two books in one, I was really only getting started. The plotline for this double mystery requires strict attention to detail.

Attention that keeps getting interrupted!

“Type up your book and fix my computer,” my husband said just now while pouring a cup of coffee—coffee that I brewed before sitting down to finish a chapter I had started last night.

Seriously? Writers don’t just “type up” a three hundred page book!

Civilians (non-writers) have the mistaken impression that writers can calmly finish writing whatever paragraph they’re working on, tend to the interruption, and then sit back down at the laptop and pick up right where they had left off.

We writers wish it were that easy.

Until I became a full-time writer myself, I truly was not aware of how delicate a writer’s attention span can be when working on an intricate portion of a book. It is maddening to get back into the zone to finish writing a scene in which your hero is walking into a trap after being ripped out of it to do laundry because you’ve run out of clean underwear. I wanted to go commando until I was sure that Mac Faraday and Gnarly had escaped the shoot-out unharmed. But, my husband pointed out that if I got into a car accident and ended up being taken to the ER by ambulance that Doogie Howser would most certainly tell all his friends that Lauren Carr didn’t wear underwear.

When writing fiction, especially novels, authors have to get into the zone, the setting, characters’ minds—including each character’s agenda—and pay attention to all the details pertaining to the storyline. Once they get into all that (the zone) then the words flow easily from the mind, down through the fingertips and across the keyboard.

Interruptions at this point drive mystery writers to consider writing the interrupter into their book—as a victim. For me, I find that I have to start all over again at the beginning of the section—or sometimes even the beginning of the chapter—to get back into the zone to finish the scene. Recently, with Twofer Murder, it took two weeks for me to write a three-page fight scene –not due to writer’s block, but constant interruptions.

My husband had broken his foot in two places and was on crutches. Since it was his right foot, he couldn’t drive. That meant all the errands he would do (including the grocery shopping), suddenly landed in my lap. Man! Never had I realized how much my husband did around the house! Boy, did I marry well!

While I sympathized with the pain and inconvenience of his injury, I was very frustrated as a writer. Seemingly, every time I sat down to write, I would have to return to the beginning of the chapter. Then, just as I felt myself getting up to speed, getting into the zone as I closed in on where I had left off in the fight scene, a dog would bark, the phone would ring, or I would hear the garbage truck in the distance and realize that I had not taken the can to the curb.

So, the month of August has arrived. Friends and family who are accustomed to a new Lauren Carr release in June are asking, “Where’s the next book?”

My response, “I’m working on it.”

“But you’ve been working on this book since January,” my mother said this weekend. “Usually, you release three books a year. What’s wrong? Do you have writer’s block?”

“No, I keep getting interrupted.”

“By what?” she’ll ask.

“By phone calls from friends and family asking if I have writer’s block!”

(Sigh.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To enter the drawing for two ebooks
by Lauren Carr, Kill and Run and
A Fine Year for Murder,
just leave a
comment below about what interruption
drives you the most crazy, whatever
it is you might be doing. 
The winning
name will be drawn
on
Monday evening, August 14th.

       

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10 thoughts on “Beware! Author at Work!—and a Giveaway!

  1. …And we keep writing! (And hope our readers are grateful.) Wonderful story, though living it all doesn’t sound like much fun. At least we can escape for a time into our own stories and those of our fellow authors.

  2. I’m not a writer, but I feel your pain. I totally get having to refocus after an interruption. I’m just going to practice patience and wait on the books. Here’s to fewer interruptions.

  3. What a difficult time you’ve had, but you survived! Your books look wonderful, and your dog is the best thing in the world. I’m not entering the giveaway ( I don’t read e-books) but I wish you the best.

  4. Robo calls drive me nutz. Even though we are on the do not call list it seems that not only do they call, but they used local telephone numbers!!!

  5. And the interruptions keep on calling. Remember Hubby saying that he needed his computer fixed. An hour after writing this post, his hard drive crashed! Being the family IT geek, that’s what I’m working on today. SIGH! Maybe tomorrow I can finish that scene I started the other day.

  6. Health, pets. You are entertaining just look forward to your books. Don’t need to win the books since I already own and love them.

  7. I hate being interrupted while reading! LOL Please don’t enter me in the giveaway as I’ve read and reviewed both of these. Lauren, I’ve read books from all of your series and so excited to see all of the characters mingling together. And I voted for Gnarly! LOL I love all of the critters in your books. Even the eight-legged one:)

  8. I am constantly interrupted by the Internet. If I get a little bored or stuck, I think I’ll just read one email and that leads me to a link, that leads me to a blog and so on and so forth.
    Thirty minutes later, I get back to my writing. I can be very disciplined about many things. I never overspend on my credit card, but boy do I over interrupt my writing.
    Not writing just now, so this has been a pleasant venture and not an interruption.
    Please put me in the drawing for the ebooks.

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