Hi, everyone. Today, on the blog, we have with us author Laura Lee. I have previously read and loved the author's homosexual story, Angel and her poetry collection, Where Souls Grow Warm. Additionally, I have also read and really liked her book, Identity Theft. The book is going to be released soon, and with it, I will publish my review of the same. As for now, we have the author here to talk to us about the book. Previously, we interviewed Laura for Angel and you check that out right here if you're interested. Let's get on to what we have in store for you now.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from Goodreads):
I am the author of more than a dozen books, the novel Angel, and numerous non-fiction titles including The Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation (Black Dog and Leventhal), now in its third printing and published in France under the title Le Dictionaire des Contrairites; Arlo, Alice and Anglicans (Berkshire House/W.W. Norton), which tells the story of the church made famous in Arlo Guthrie’s song and movie Alice’s Restaurant; The Name’s Familiar: Mr. Leotard, Barbie and Chef Boyardee (Pelican Publishing), a Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection and its sequel The Name’s Familiar II; the 100 Most Dangerous Things in Life (Broadway Books/Random House), which was featured on Good Morning America and CNN’s American Morning; Blame it on the Rain (HarperCollins), The Elvis Impersonation Kit and A Child’s Introduction to Ballet (both Black Dog and Leventhal), Schadenfreude, Baby! (Lyons Press), and Broke is Beautiful (Running Press).
The San Francisco Chronicle has said of my work, "Lee's dry, humorous tone makes her a charming companion… She has a penchant for wordplay that is irresistible."
AUTHOR LINKS (from Goodreads):
ABOUT THE BOOK (from Publush):
Candi Tavris is on the verge of turning 30, she works in the packaging department of a company that is downsizing and she is hounded by calls from creditors who mispronounce her name. She wakes up every morning praying that the folks at Life Lock will perform their work in reverse and give her "identity" to someone else. Her younger sister, never a serious student, married a rich executive and lives in a mansion. Candi's only solace is escaping into the music and image of the 80s pop star Blast.
Ethan Penn, a 22 year-old college dropout who smokes pot and lives in his mother's basement, works in the rock star's office. (His desk sits under a framed gold record with a dead spider caught in the glass.)
His boss, whose real name is Ollie Thomas, is as socially awkward off stage as he is charismatic on stage. He is depressed about his pending divorce. His greatest fame is behind him, his biggest hit "Partly Cloudy Thursday (Blast With Me)" was a cliched monstrosity written to please record executives. His rock n' roll lifestyle mostly consists of finding ways to keep his laundry from stinking while on the road and trying to remain anonymous while buying Preparation-H.
Blast assigns the task of keeping up with his social networking to Ethan. Ethan starts to correspond with Candi through e-mail and chats in the guise of the rock star. The conversation soon becomes steamy. The game spirals out of control when Blast performs a concert in Candi's hometown and Candi is mistaken first for a groupie and then
for a delusional stalker.
Candi must try to prove (and retain) her sanity. Ethan must decide whether to risk jail by telling the truth. A terrified Ollie has to come to terms with his relationship with his Blast character and the consequences of his fame.
1) Tell us about your book, Identity Theft.
It's the story of a bored office worker in a rock star's office who is given the task of running the musician's social networking. He starts to flirt with a fan in the guise of his boss. She feels as though her world is transformed when her favorite rock star takes an interest in her. Of course everything spins out of control when the fan meets the real rock star face to face. The story gets quite interesting at that point, but I don't want to give too much away.
I actually have an Identity Theft theme song!
It was written by Collin J. Campbell.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
Identity Theft evolved over a long period of time. The first germs of the idea came back when the internet was fairly new, not brand new, but in this period when people were just starting to figure out how to relate to screen names in fan forums and to form relationships that way. Before the internet the relationship between a celebrity and a fan was one way. Now people know they have at least some ability to speak back by posting comments or taking part in on-line chats or maybe getting a reply to a tweet. When I worked in the office of a musician the idea came to me that it would make a good story to have someone use that kind of a position to pose online as the rock star and to seduce a fan. That idea simmered in the back of my mind for a while.
I find that I need some greater theme to propel me through a novel. I started to become quite interested in how we project social identities, how this differs across cultures, and the whole question of mental illness-- when we label someone sick because it is causing them pain and when we do it because it is inconvenient to us to have to deal with someone who is different. So those are the underlying themes. What is a self and how is it created? What happens when a sense of self is lost? (This was a theme in my first novel, Angel, as well.) They're only undercurrents in the book, of course, or it would be a philosophical treatise. It's actually a fast-moving fairly humorous book.
I was able to put in a lot of the funny anecdotes about working in an entertainment office and being on the road (two life experiences I have had) as well as some of the humor of relating online. It's almost a classic romantic comedy in some ways, but I've twisted a lot of the expectations of that genre.
3) Tell us about the whole publishing process and how it went.
This will be my first independently published novel. I've turned to the literary crowdfunding site Pubslush. I'm taking advance orders in order to fund the creation of the book. There are only a few days left on the campaign. As of today (October 21) it is 53% funded with 8 days to go. Pubslush has a minimum and maximum goal, so it has hit the lower number and the book will be made. Now I'm looking for support to make it the book I'd like it to be. The funding levels are modest. They are essentially just advance orders of the book. You get a book and also the knowledge that the book could not have been made without your support. So it's your book in more ways than one!
After 15 books or so with traditional publishers, going it alone does make me a bit nervous. But the slow pace of the traditional publishing world started to get to me. I have been extremely prolific since Angel came out, but you'd never know it based on what has been published. Publishers are overwhelmed with submissions, each book takes months to make, and there is no way to make that beast turn quickly. Your momentum as an artist is always being stalled and your career momentum-- your ability to make a living, gets stalled too. So I would like to be able to share what I make on my own time table. Musicians discovered years ago that they were better off putting out their own music than trying to get the big labels to do it. Even big stars have their own labels now. There are some projects that I wouldn't want to do on my own, and I'm sure I'll keep working with traditional publishers. But for something like this, I'm going to take my destiny into my own hands.
4) According to you, in today’s day and age, how important a role does social media play in spreading the word about a book?
You know, I think social media is a bit overrated. It is an important part of modern life, and it is a way that people can spread the word about their projects without having to go through a gatekeeper. But you will hear a lot of recycled advice about tweeting and building "an author's platform" on line. In terms of actual sales results, though, it is not tremendously effective to tweet about your book. Most tweets are not interacted with in any way. So it can give you a false sense of communication. "Hey! I just put this out to 2,000 followers. They will buy my book!" A lot of those followers followed you because they want you to follow back and buy their books. It is very time consuming to put out interesting content on a regular basis, and you have to do a real cost-benefit analysis. (That is if you're thinking of it solely in marketing terms) I think most people find that the amount of time they spend on it is not yielding serious sales results. An advertising firm would pull the plug on any campaign that got the kind of return on investment that most social media marketing by authors does.
What I found with Identity Theft is that most of my support came from people I knew in the "real world." It was indirect. It grew out of things I had done with no thought to building an audience or marketing a book. I work on the rummage committee at my church and I enjoy it and put in a lot of time at it. That builds relationships. When I put my book out there and said I needed a "crowd" to fund it, they really got behind it. It was touching. That is what really gave the project its momentum.
I'm hoping that when I'm able to up the pace a bit, and put out books as I write them, that I might be able to create an audience that is excited for the next book before they've forgotten the previous one. That goes back to why I want to self-publish. I'd like to be able to build a relationship with an audience where there are people who want to support my projects because they like what I have shown them and to give them something new before they've forgotten I exist and I have to start from scratch.
5) What is next in store for you? Do you plan on writing more?
The audio version of Angel was just released. I'm currently trying to sell a biography to a traditional publisher. I've been working on that for some time. (I'm kind of a marketing nightmare because I want to do such varied stuff.)
I've written a play that I've been trying to get staged. It's a comedy that draws on my experience touring with a ballet company. I've gotten some good feedback, but it has a fairly large cast which makes it harder to get staged. I also have a novel that I started working on about 20 years ago that is complete to my satisfaction and ready to go. It is set in a high school so I suppose you'd call it young adult. This might be my next book after Identity Theft. It has come close to being published a couple of times, so it is a good candidate to publish on my own.
That's all I have for you, guys. If you like the sound of the book and would like to see it published, do check out the Publush website mentioned above and help Laura get her book published. I'd like to thank the author for being so kind and doing this interview with us. Do keep stopping by for my review of the book, which will be up soon. Thank you for stopping by!