Monthly Archives: March 2013

Begining of the Blog tour!

Magan from Rather be Reading gave me a lovely review that almost makes me blush:

Magan: If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

And Here is the link to my interview with Magan:

An Interview With Author Laura Nowlin

“If He had Been with Me” Playlist

In order to create a realistic sense of emotion in my writing, I have had to find a way of harnessing specific emotions that I may not have personally experienced for weeks. In my real life I may be feeling hopeful and happy, but when I sit down at my computer, I might need to remember despair, because that’s what my character is feeling. I’ve found that music is the best way to evoke the emotions I need. Here is a sample of the songs I listened to obsessively while writing If He had Been with Me.

Wise Up- Aimee Mann
With a story like If He had Been with Me, I’m going to have more than one song about regret on my play list, but this song is definitely the most powerful. Mann also manages to express the two emotions that often accompany regret, shame and frustration.

Us- Regina Spektor
This song is about sharing a kind of bond with another person where it is you two against the world, against the monsters of uncertainty and time. I also find Spektor’s unusual imagery inspiring.

Colorblind- Counting Crows
Have you ever wanted something so much that you can’t even admit how much you want it? In your mind you try minimizing the longing for your own protection, you tell yourself that you’ll be fine without it and ignore the ache in your stomach. To me, this song captures the moment right before you break down and let yourself feel the truth.

Emotional Champ- New Buffalo
Secretly, I pretend that New Buffalo wrote and released this song just for me, so that I could write Chapters 2, 69, 71, 73, and 76.

Glass Vase Cello Case- Tattle Tale
Do you know that dizzy, breathless feeling of kissing someone, and you just can’t believe that they’re kissing you back? I hope you do. If you’ve not experienced that yet, this song will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.

Advice for aspiring authors

I was recently contacted by a high school classmate asking for advice about becoming a published author. After I finished replying to him, I realized that I might have a blog post. Here is what I told him.

Hi Adam,
First off, sorry that it took me so long to get back to you, I was trying to come up with the best answer. The thing is, if you are going to pursue publication, you have to want it more than anything else. All other life goals have to move to second place. If you had told me at our graduation that I’d have a book published in 2013, I would have been thrilled, but I would have been shocked to learn that I wouldn’t have traveled at all, bought a home, or have become a mother. If you want to pursue publication, you’re going to have to make some tough choices about your life goals.
While writing your first draft you need to be constantly reading other novels. You need to read books from the same genre, and you need to read books that are completely different from your work. And when I say constantly, I mean that you always have a book that you are reading. When you finish one, you pick up another later that afternoon. Books are expensive, but library cards are free.
When you finish your first draft, then you have to go over the whole book again. This is also the best time to get feedback from a close friend whose taste you admire. After you’ve gone over it a second time, then you have to go over it again, and get more opinions from more people who might be harsher in their criticism. If publication is your goal, you’re essentially going to have to write the book two or three times before you ever pitch it to an agent.
And finally, I am a firm believer in having an agent. Some people do manage to get published on their own without an agent’s help, but I’ve heard some bad stories about first time authors getting screwed by their publisher because they didn’t have an agent to watch their back. Getting an agent is a long and frustrating process. You write up a standard letter pitching the novel and asking if the agent would like to read it. Then you research literary agents who represent works similar to yours and send out personalized copies of the standard letter, in batches of ten or so. Then you wait until all ten agents reply that they aren’t interested, tweak your letter, and send it out again to ten more agents. I was literally rejected more than a hundred times before I got my agent.
Good Luck Adam. It was hard work, but it was all worth it and I have no regrets.