Thursday, September 25, 2014

Guest Post: The Path to Intrigue and Mayhem by Lauren Carr

I hope you read my review of Lauren's book a little while ago!

Now I have a great post from her!

real murder cover

How did you get started as an author? 

What was your first professional job as a writer? 

These are questions that authors are often asked by readers who are curious about what puts a seemingly normal person on the path to getting paid for writing about intrigue and mayhem.
So, here is my story about what set me on my current path of writing about chaos, deception, and mayhem.
Back when I was in high school, students aspiring to go on to college took college preparatory classes, while those planning to go straight into working at the General Motors plant that employed most of Lordstown, Ohio, population and then some, didn’t.
Since I had no intention of spending my life chained to an assembly line, but rather traveling the world writing murder mysteries like Agatha Christie, I took the college prep classes. I found one problem with this path. While I was studying how to format footnotes, those students training to work for General Motors were learning creative writing. For a future novelist, this seemed vastly unfair.


My friend Suzanne was the class mouse. Resembling Velma in Scooby Doo, she wore turtle neck sweaters that covered up all her flesh for fear of someone actually seeing her. Donning big coke bottle glasses, she would hide behind me in class and chastise me for raising my hand to answer questions because when people turned to look at me, they might actually see her cowering behind me.
So, you can imagine her state when she was informed that the term project for her creative writing class was to write a short story and read it out loud in front of the class.
Just in case you can’t imagine: Suzanne fainted.
For weeks, my best friend fretted and whined while I drooled with envy. They got to use their imaginations while I was studying all the parts of a bibliography.
I tried to help her as best I could. I’d suggest, “Write about something interesting that happened to you.”
“Nothing interesting ever happens to me,” Suzanne would reply.
She was right there. The girl went to school and then home to watch reruns of The Brady Bunch. She wasn’t allowed to watch The Partridge Family, which her mother considered too racy. She didn’t go to school games, date, or leave her yard. This teenage girl had never even been to a pajama party or kissed a boy. Having never experienced anything, she had no material for a story.
As the deadline approached, Suzanne became more desperate while I got more jealous. “Write about your dog’s flea problem.”
“How can I write a whole story about my dog’s fleas?” she asked.

My writer’s imagination took off.

By D-Day, Suzanne had nothing except hives.

I submitted a proposal for my first professional writing assignment. “Do you want me to write your story for you?”

“It’s due after lunch,” End-Times-Suzanne whimpered.

“You go get my lunch and I’ll write it.”

With a deadline of one study hall and lunch period, I wrote her story. Suzanne paid for the project with a cheeseburger, fries, and diet Coke. Time was so short that she didn’t even have time to read it before the teacher ordered her to the front of the room to read it out loud.

To her horror, the class roared with laughter while she read her short story about a girl tasked with writing a short story for her creative writing class. It was a story within a story.  Her first story idea had been one about her dog’s fleas, but she rejected that idea for yet another and then another idea until the deadline was upon her. Having rejected all other premises, she sat down to pen her short story entitled, “My Dog Has Fleas.”
My classmates talked about it for days. They declared it hilarious and clever. Stating that it was unique, imaginative and well written, Suzanne’s teacher gave my story an “A”.
Suzanne ran home to lock her door, watch a rerun of Bonanza, and never spoke to me again. (There’s always one critic.)
The rave reviews of the class and teacher spurred me on to write mysteries. This is what writers do. When the chips are down, we look to our successes to keep us going on the path we want to take toward literary success. While “My dog Has Fleas” wasn’t a big assignment that garnered a big payoff, I clung to that little story and the praise from the audience to this day
Over three decades later, I am now the author of twelve murder mysteries and Suzanne is still not speaking to me.


About the Author:

Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Twelve to Murder is the seventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series. In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder.  Lauren launched the Lovers in Crime (first introduced in Shades of Murder) mystery series in September 2012 with Dead on IceReal Murder is the second installment in that series.  The owner of Acorn Book Services, 

Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information. Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes. < She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. For More Information, check out her website,  www.

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