It came from a lot of places--I've folded many of my personal fascinations into Claire's world. But I'd day the primary spark came about five years ago, when I visited a dear friend's grandmother at her hotel apartment. My friend's grandmother is a scream--an imposing woman who wears peacock blue two piece suits, with matching peacock blue shoes and an elaborate jeweled cane. She used to be the biggest heartbreaker of her time and she married quite well. She now lives alone and spends time with those from her social circle who are still kicking around. She is the smartest and funniest woman, always brimming with advice and opinions that she mutters under her breath, just loud enough for those sitting closeby to hear. When I met her I felt simultaneously intimidated by her and in love with her. And thus the inspiration for Kiki, Claire's dreamy grandmother, was born.
2. What's your favorite mystery story, author, or movie?
I love the mystery author P D James; ideally I like to read her whodunnits curled up next to a fireplace, sipping a glass of port. She used to work for the police and criminal law department of the British Home Office and didn't publish her first book till she was 42. She's in her 80s and still writing. I have a soft spot for late bloomers.
3. For the aspiring-author readers on my blog, tell us a bit about your path to publication. How long did it take for you to write your first published novel? (How many unpublished novels before then?) How long was it in the query process?
4. Why did you choose to make Claire and her family French?
I am a francophile, which can be annoying to other people. I thought it would be funny to write a character who isn't French but thinks she is (Claire's mom).
I have intense dreams where people I know do shocking stuff. They're not clairvoyant visions, but they're powerful. I have to say I never look at anybody the same after I've "seen" what they're capable of.
6. Of all the characters in this series, who was the most fun to write? Who was the most difficult?
I loved Louis, Claire's old time BFF. He's like a human teddy bear, except with attitude. And Andy was hard, because I wanted him to be riding the cusp that's just between lovely and aloof--not an easy balance to strike.
My biggest influence is my hero Barbara Pym (another late bloome), though her books about quaint English life aren't that related to my books. I just love her. I also read a bunch of James Bond books to get in the butt-kicking, globe-trotting adventurer mindset.
8. Name 3 things you want to do before you die.
- Learn to drive.
- Become better at watching TV (I get distracted).
- Write a big juicy book that isn't a comedy. Not because I don't like funny books, but because it would be the biggest challenge I can think of.
9. Can you give us a teeny tiny hint as to what is next for you in terms of writing?
Im working on a YA project that's part mystery, part, well . . . .I really can't say more but it will be announced later this spring. It's going to be awesome.
Thanks for the interesting answers, Lauren! Readers, I hope you check out Dream Girl and Dream Life for a fun and enjoyable reading experience! (Remember that Dream Life is not readily available in bookstores, so the easiest way to get it would be through Amazon, or have your local bookstore special order it for you.)