My Dear Future Readers:
I am extremely pleased to have Jessica Lauryn on my blog giving another wonderful interview.
Ms. Lauryn agreed to talk to me about her new book that came out on November 28, 2016 called A Passionate Play. I wanted to know about how Jessica wrote this book and her new series, The Rabourn Theater Series. It is interesting to me how another author writes her books and makes them so intriguing every time.
In my previous blog post, A Passionate Play Reviewed by Diana Rose, I expressed my thoughts about A Passionate Play after reading it. In fact, this book had made me think about a lot of things and the idea of “strong women” and what it means to be a “strong woman.” In A Passionate Play, Jessica Lauryn explores this concept and makes it interesting to the reader. Which is also one of the things that I wanted Ms. Lauryn’s opinion on in my interview with her.
I truly hope that you enjoy this interview because I feel that Jessica Lauryn speaks about very important things in her interview with me.
- What inspired you to write A Passionate Play?
Year ago, before I was published, I was struck by the idea of writing an amnesia-themed romance. My thought was to create a story in which the hero and heroine were already connected (past lovers, currently involved). The story would take place in a secluded mansion and the heroine would have no understanding of how her circumstances came to be. In general, my story ideas tend to come from simple themes that build in my mind over time. In the case of A Passionate Play, years later, when I decided to write a romantic suspense series that would be set in a musical theater, I took the amnesia-theme from my Rolodex of story-line-ideas-in-reserve and decided that, from this idea, I’d create book 1 for the series, in which the heroine would not remember her days of being an actress. This idea allowed me to introduce the setting of the theater slowly, so as build up some suspense before actually “opening” the theater’s doors for readers in book 2.
- What kind of research did you do for this book?
I haven’t had any personal experience working in a theater or playhouse, so I did a lot of research in this area. I was also fortunate because, as luck would have it, my editor did have experience working in a theater and she was able to point out some of the finer aspects of the various jobs there (stage manager, director, etc.) I am so grateful to her for the assistance she provided me!
- Did you know that this book would be a series when you started writing it?
When my idea was simply to write an amnesia-themed romance, I did not, at that point, plan on turning A Passionate Play into a series. But later, when I decided to write a series set in theater setting, I came to see that the two ideas would work well together and I plotted out five connecting stories, in outline form.
- How do you plan out your series?
Once I have an idea of what the underlying plot/theme of the stories will be I’ll work out the simplest ideas first (character names, settings, etc.), and I’ll build to the more complicated aspects of the plot, just as I would if I were writing a stand-alone novel. I then outline each of my stories as best as I can, working to both structure them and simultaneously connect them. I do, of course, make changes as I’m drafting but the idea is to give myself as much of a jump-start as possible, so I understand, from the beginning, where I want my series to go.
- Was it hard to come up with an idea to write this book?
No, not at all. I tend to come up with ideas for new stories well in advance of being ready to write them and A Passionate Play was no exception. (If only writing were as simple as just coming up with the ideas, I’d have a hundred books published by now 😊) As it happens, the idea for A Passionate Play came to me before my debut series The Pinnacles of Power Series was published, and the time that it took for me to write this series gave me a lot of time to get my thoughts together for The Rabourn Theater Series.
- Are you a big fan of theater? What plays inspired this story?
My experience with theater consists of seeing a handful of Broadway and Off-Broadway plays but the few that I have seen made a lasting impression. I found Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast to be particularly romantic shows and both served as inspiration (as well as wonderful music to listen to!) while writing A Passionate Play.
- A few of your scenes seemed to be truly realistic, example, the bear scene and also the scene where Alicia gets attacked. How realistic were these scenes to you? I mean, did you imagine yourself in these situations?
The bear scene was one of my favorite to write! Though I am primarily a plotter, this was one of those moments that came to me as I was actually writing, as I simply allowed the characters to tell the story. The thought of being chased by a bear is terrifying and I did envision myself in the situation, in effort to feel out how Nick and Alicia would handle themselves. I strive, always, to put myself in my characters’ shoes, to get a grasp on their feelings and to see things from their perspective. [This practice has led to me having tremendous sympathy for villains and even reforming a few of them – one of my favorite things to do in books!]
- The relationship between Nick and Alicia was quite realistic and funny at times. Was there a specific memory that you used to write this or was it just the way you imagined the story?
I have, in the past, drawn from personal experiences when creating my stories. In the instance of The Rabourn Theater Series, the finer points were purely imagined. However, I do put a part of myself into every character I create, both the heroes and the heroines.
- Do you believe that a story like Nick and Alicia is possible in the real world in today’s society?
Even more so than I have in the past with regard to contemporary romance, I strived to make Nick and Alicia’s relationship one that really resonates with the modern ways of couples today, people dating in their 30s. As the first major characters that I’ve personally written about who are engaged in a relationship prior to the beginning of the story, Nick and Alicia were unique to me and I considered carefully what the dynamics of their relationship would be, deciding in the end that the two had lived together and been sexually active before the story begins. It was very interesting experience for me, writing a romance from this point where the majority of romance novels typically don’t begin. One aspect of the relationship that was particularly fascinating (with regard to the dynamics of Nick and Alicia’s relationship) is Alicia’s career – though Nick is hiding the truth about Alicia’s life, she has essentially achieved the higher level of success career-wise, which creates yet another challenge for this already-fiery couple. In my opinion, a story like Nick and Alicia’s is highly possible in today’s society and a happily ever after is possible as well!
- Would you say that Nick had a hard time admitting his feelings to Alicia? Why?
As heroes often do, Nick appears, at first, to have an issue regarding commitment. But this may not be his issue at all – we see as the story progresses that Nick is harboring secrets which may play into a deeper reason for his reluctance in admitting his feelings. I won’t spoil the story for you! I’ll simply say that Nick is a good man, conflicted, without a doubt, and his heart is (almost) always in the right place!
- Do you believe that people a generally scared to admit they love each other in real life? Why?
As I see it, more than a reluctance to admit to being in love we are a society of people who sometimes profess our love quickly, perhaps with a lack of understanding as to what it is we truly feel. Love is the greatest gift we have to share with one another. It is the essence of our being and the greatest of all phenomenon—what connects us and what is our true purpose for existence. But speaking strictly of romantic love, crushes can sometimes be mistaken for the real-deal. And true love can be hard to admit to, when one is terrified of a broken heart.
- What made it easy or hard to write this book? Why was it hard? Why was it easy?
When I first started writing A Passionate Play, I struggled with getting into a new group of characters. I was still very much into the throes of writing The Pinnacles of Power Series and my head was not yet in my new series. Once I’d concluded The Pinnacles of Power series however, I freed up my mind to get to know my new characters, who I now know very well. I had a vision for Nick and Alicia, as I do for others, the couples yet to be written about in The Rabourn Theater Series. Having an idea of where things are going with regard to my characters ahead of time is tremendously helpful to me when it comes to writing their stories.
- How do you come up with the idea for your antagonist and main characters?
I begin with very simple ideas for all of my characters—some physical characteristics I’d like them to have, some personality traits—and then I test them out, editing as it seems appropriate as I draft their stories. At some point during the process things become much clearer and I’m able to fill in whatever blank pieces remain, such as the characters’ background stories. A few of my character inspirations have come from real life. Many are just plain fantasy.
14. Would you say that true love really does conquer all in relation to A Passionate Play and real life? Explain.
I knew, of course, that Nick and Alicia would live happily ever after and clearly, for this stubborn couple, love is what paves the way to them finding common ground. Real life is not as easy to control as a story is but love plays the same role here—it is what make the challenges of a relationship worthwhile.
- I noticed that Alicia is very strong in the book, do you believe that strong women can find true love as well?
I believe that every woman is strong and that each one of us brings a different sort of strength to our world. Sometimes that strength isn’t easy to recognize, or to define. But finding it, and figuring out how to best use it is a critical part of figuring out who we are as women. When we love ourselves, it is from this place only from which we can truly love another.
After interviewing Jessica Lauryn about her book, A Passionate Play, I learned a lot of helpful things about writing. For example, when outlining your book if it is part of a series, outline the series too. Also, just as I hoped to hear, it is advisable to finish one series before starting about something new because it clears your head for more ideas.
Also, I learned more about the characters in A Passionate Play and how she wrote it. I really think that this book and Jessica Lauryn’s attitude towards her character resembles my own in the way that we both try to see the situation at hand through our eyes and correctly add the character’s feelings after evaluating our own feelings in the situations that our characters deal with. In a way, I feel more related to what Jessica Lauryn writes about after this interview.
I also, would like to mention that I am reading the second book in The Rabourn Theater Series right now. So, there will be another interview coming up about Book 2: An Amorous Dance. I want to thank Jessica Lauryn for giving me a wonderful opportunity in interviewing her for my blog because I LOVE her books and I am honored to be her friend. Being friends with this talented romance author is incredibly lucky and honorable.
I hope you enjoyed this interview.
I look forward to hearing from you soon. I thank you all for your infinite support.
YA Fantasy Romance Published Author