Lauren Sevier & A. Smith are long time friends and co-authors from southern Louisiana. Guns & Smoke, their first joint publication, began as a “short” story after having too much wine on girl’s night. Nine years later it is now the first novel in a Dystopian/Western Romance series. The duo has plans to publish several series together in the future. A. Smith spends her time with her two rescue dogs and rescue cat surrounding herself with books and Labyrinth paraphernalia. Lauren Sevier collects antique tea cups and tries to stay sane, though as the mother of a toddler she fails brilliantly most days. She also has a growing collection of crowns and tiaras and likes to act silly on Tiktok. Look for more thrilling novels from The Fools Adventure series in the future!
Q & A with Lauren and A. Smith
Describe your writing style.
Generally speaking, I have a really lyrical and emotionally grounded writing style. It’s more pronounced in my solo works like my debut YA Fantasy novel ‘Songs Of Autumn’, but there’s a definite lyrical quality to the sections I write. I’m a fan of alliteration with purpose and finding almost musical beats in storytelling. I think just like the composition of a great song, story structure is very similar and that probably has something to do with it.
What makes a good story?
Relatable characters with flaws and realistic stakes. I read somewhere that a problem a character can walk away from is a book a reader can put down and I don’t think I’ve ever felt any piece of writing advice so acutely before. The characters don’t necessarily have to be likeable, but they should be relatable. What’s more relatable than a person who isn’t perfect struggling with a problem that seems overwhelming or impossible to solve? I think I’ve felt that way in my own life so often that it just makes sense to me that other people will have too.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I am notoriously bad at outlining and having any sort of plan whatsoever when writing. Abbie is actually the one of us who keeps me in line and on track. She usually helps keep timelines on track, and points out when a character’s perspective is missing. Or when we need to accomplish actual plot things in a chapter instead of it being all fluff and nonsense. Honestly, our readers should thank her for the fact that the book isn’t just an absolute mess. LOL! No, but really, drafting for me is all about discovery writing, while editing is where I’m able to tame the story into a believable plot and really make it shine. Abbie helps us to stay on track so that we can draft cleaner and have less overhaul to do in the editing process.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Personally, a bit of both. Just like in life, writing is all about balance. We’re conscious of reader expectations but still make decisions based on what feels right for the characters and the story. Overall, we want readers to be satisfied but sometimes that means making decisions that aren’t exactly what they expect. It’s that moment of ‘Oh, I didn’t see that coming’ that will help them keep turning pages and keep being invested in the tale we’re weaving. But to completely ignore your audience and the genre expectations is really just asking for poor reviews. So, we try to balance both as best as we can to deliver a novel that’s familiar but new at the same time. Something that peaks your interest but you can’t predict where it’s going to end up.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Lauren has always told me that I am really good at writing men. As a CIS woman, I think one of the most difficult things about writing male characters is getting into the little nuances of being a male that aren’t inherently female. For example, Jesse was almost a little too polished, which is because I like to write male characters in how I would like to see a man. So including genitalia jokes isn’t something that comes naturally to me like it would a man, but it’s those little things that really make a character feel real to readers.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Drafting a novel together is actually really quick for Abbie and I. We wrote the first draft of Guns & Smoke (it’s current iteration) in less than a month, and the sequel (which is even longer) we cranked out in 26 days. We’re currently working through the first draft of book #3 in the series so that we can hopefully cut down on time between publications for reader satisfaction.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Ha! I’m going to get some heat for this one. Writer’s block doesn’t exist. I thought it did for a really long time. I thought I was stuck in the throes of it for even longer. What I’ve discovered is that you can suffer from lack of confidence in yourself, or you can have an ‘editing block’ where you stop drafting to edit what you already have, psych yourself out, and end up never finishing. Or you can be struggling with ‘imposter syndrome’. Or you can be suffering from not taking enough breaks and refilling your creative well. But the writing is always there. There’s no block to it other than the obstacles you put in your own way. Once I realized that the thing stopping me wasn’t some concept of a ‘writer’s block’ that I couldn’t escape, it was clear to me how to move forward. I won’t say ‘easy’ because I don’t think it’s easy to get out of your own way. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But, it’s clear what path to take when you realize that the only person stopping you is yourself.
Connect with Lauren and A. Smith
A. Smith’s Links:
Guns & Smoke
The Fool’s Adventure Series Book 1
by Lauren Sevier & A. Smith
Genre: Dystopian Western Romance
In a world where safety is a luxury and honor is found only among outlaws, two people attempt to outrun dangers lurking around each corner and the tragedies that define them.
Bonnie is an outlaw on the run. Beautiful but dangerous; her dark past stalks her like the crater beasts that roam the desert. As the notoriously cruel outlaw Jones sends his henchmen to track her down and retrieve the gun she stole from him, Bonnie hopes she can stay one step ahead. Because if he catches her, a fate worse than death awaits.
Jesse always dreamed of leaving the farm to explore the ruins of the big cities he’d heard about his whole life. He just never imagined he’d be forced to flee after strange men burned down his rural mountain town and murdered everyone he loved. Responsible for his kid brother and searching for an uncle he’s never met before, he isn’t sure he can navigate the perils of life among con artists and thieves long enough to find him.
Their two paths collide as they find themselves thrown together on the adventure of a lifetime.
Together, they may just discover that life is about more than just surviving.
TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains depictions of graphic violence, language, sexual violence, attempted rape, depictions of child abuse, and depictions of human trafficking.
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