This summer I had the opportunity to read Lauren Layne’s debut novel AFTER THE KISS. I was hooked. I was left wanting more! The wait is almost over! Today we welcome Lauren Layne to the Tearoom to celebrate the release of her latest romance LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH. Welcome Lauren!
Tell us about yourself:
Well, right now I’d have to describe myself as a recovering city girl. Up until recently, I lived in New York City, in one of those tiny apartments that non-Manhattan people think of as a closet. Currently, I’m living in the Pacific Northwest (about an hour south of Seattle) with my husband and bratty dog. And while I do sort of miss NYC’s infectious energy, the change of pace has been refreshing!
So, you wrote a book…
I did! LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH is my second published contemporary romance, and is available on Monday, December 9th. It’s about two rival journalists whose battle-of-the-sexes competition goes viral. But when their professional and personal worlds collide, they’re forced to realize that when it comes to love, they don’t have a clue…
Is it part of a series?
Yep. LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH is the second in my Stiletto series. Stiletto is the name of the magazine where all of my heroines work for the Love & Relationships department. I wanted to write a series about women who write about men, only to realize they don’t know the first thing about love. It’s set in Manhattan, and has a very modern, city-vibe to it. Lots of high heels, cocktails and sassy dialog.
I also have a fun New Adult called ISN’T SHE LOVELY, which is a college-aged Pygmalion/Pretty Woman type story.
Ah yes. The Call. I just recently had coffee with a lovely friend in this very stage of the writing process, and it took me back to just how painful the waiting-for-the-call phase can be! Hang in there!
I’m not sure my story was entirely typical. In the grand scheme of thing, I didn’t send out that many queries. My first batch was on a whim, and I went through the most current version of Guide to Literary Agents and picked out 8 agents accepting contemporary romance and sent them a really horrible query letter. Form rejections came in a flurry, and I got discouraged.
The only personalized rejection I got mentioned that contemporary romance wasn’t “hot” at that moment, so I told myself that was the reason I was getting rejected (had nothing to do with my too-long, too-awkward query letter, of course!) and decided to write a something else instead.
So I wrote the other book, in about two months and started to think about querying that. It was actually in my research for the querying process for the second book that I realized just how bad my old query had actually been. I decided to give the ol’ contemporary another shot. I rewrote it and sent it to five agents, this time choosing the agents more carefully, selecting people I knew I’d want to work with.
Days passed. Weeks passed. And soon, all of the agents time-frame of expected response had passed, and I assumed rejection across the board.
Then one random Saturday morning as I was editing my YA I got an email from Nicole Resciniti at the Seymour Agency. She liked my sample pages and wanted to read the whole thing. I sent that to her on Sunday, and on Monday night she asked if we could speak on Tuesday morning.
By this point, it’s occurred to me that I might be getting The Call, but I’m not really sure. Then Tuesday morning runs around, and poor Nicole texts me from the airport where she’s getting ready to fly out on an unplanned family trip. She says she’ll call me first chance she gets, and I try to play it cool, all, “Whatevs, no problem!”
Inside? I’m dying. I don’t think I left my apartment for 2 days for fear she’d call when I was in the checkout line at the grocery store and I’d miss it. Even when I showered, I kept one ear listening for the phone.
Then on Thursday, it happened. A call from a number I didn’t recognize. It. Was. Her. The conversation happened with me in a daze. She asked if I’d be open to adding a scene here and there, as well as chopping chapter two. I said, yes, because at this point, WHO CARES ABOUT CHAPTER TWO?
Then she told me she was offering representation. And because she was on my IT list of agents, I said yes then and there.
After that, a few of the other agents I queried did come forward asking to see partials or fulls (I guess when contemporary got “hot” again), but if I could do it all over again, I’d pick Nic in a heartbeat. She’s the one.
Any advice for those of us waiting for the call?
Yes! Work on something else. I heard this advice early on in my querying process and ignored it for weeks, thinking “yeah right.”
But seriously, you MUST do this for a few reasons. One, it’ll take your mind off those open queries. Not entirely, mind you. You’ll still refresh your email all day long. But getting excited about a fresh story takes the sting out of the inevitable rejections, because you get to tell yourself, “it’s okay — maybe this NEW story will be the one.”
Also, having another manuscript, even just an in-progress one, is never a bad thing when talking to an agent. If I’ve learned anything in this early stage of my writing career, it’s that agents and editors aren’t looking for one-hit-wonders. They want career authors.
Along those lines, it’s a really, really good thing to have a bunch of ideas or partials on-hand when you go on submission. Think about it: what if an agent or editor likes your writing style, but your first story didn’t quite do it for them, or they just recently signed something similar? When they ask if you have anything else, you want to be able to say yes. This happened to me with a couple editors, and I think it’s the reason I got 3 book deals in a few months–I had pitches and sample chapters ready to go as soon as they asked.
It kills me when I hear people at conferences trying to shop the same book they’ve been shopping for six years. Don’t give up on the book of your heart, but please, please get something else in the works! If nothing else, for your own sanity.
If you were to save five of your favorite books from a burning building what would you grab?
I can’t cheat and say I’d grab my Nook? Okay, okay, hmmm…
PERFECT by Judith McNaught
ONCE AND ALWAYS by Judith McNaught
IT HAPPENED ONE AUTUMN by Lisa Kleypas
ALL I EVER WANTED by Kristan Higgins
ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand (for when I feel like doing some heavy-thinking)
What type of tea you like?
If I’m allowed to get really specific, I love MarketSpice Tea from The Pike Place Market. I missed it when I was in New York! But I love any kind of black tea. Earl Grey and English Breakfast are good standbys. I have yet to get on the green tea bandwagon, but apparently it’s supposed to be quite good for me. Or something.
Lauren Layne writes contemporary romance for Grand Central Publishing (Forever) and Random House (Loveswept), as well as new adult for Random House’s Flirt line.
Lauren graduated from Santa Clara University with B.S. in Political Science that she has yet to put to good use. After dabbling in an e-commerce career, she decided to quit talking about writing and actually do it.
A Seattle-native, Lauren’s also tried on the Bay Area, Orange County and Manhattan for size. She’s currently writing from the Pacific Northwest, but is always looking for the next place to call home. Texas? The South? New England? Suggestions welcome. You can find out more about Lauren on her website.