Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Please Welcome Lauren Clark Author of Dancing Naked in Dixie

I'm pleased to host Lauren Clark author of Dancing Naked in Dixie here today.

Lauren will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and to the host with the most comments.


The more you comment the better your chances are of winning.



Dancing Naked in Dixie
by Lauren Clark

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BLURB:

Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.

With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she's offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage.

Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia's story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage? 

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INTERVIEW

  

1.What or who inspired you to start writing? My parents were a big influence on me–especially since they turned off the television all summer, every summer–so I spent my time reading and at the library. I love books and love stories that move me, so I’ve always dreamed about becoming an author.
2.How did you come up with ideas for your books? Dancing Naked in Dixie came about after visiting the Pilgrimage and because I’m a Northern girl living in the Deep South. The cultural differences are so interesting—the food, the mannerisms, the traditions—it’s a fascinating world to explore. I wrote Stay Tuned after working in TV for six years. The two main anchors at the station where I worked actually got into a fistfight. It was in the parking lot, not on-air, but I thought it would make a great start to a novel!  (Yes, this is me on the anchor desk at WWNY-TV7)



3.What expertise did you bring to your writing? I have a master’s degree in journalism, a bachelor’s in English. After college, I worked as a television news anchor in New York and Alabama for six years. It was fabulous experience and I learned to write fast, often while bumping along in a news van at 70 miles an hour, of course when someone else was driving!  
4.What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio? I love to cook for other people, I’m a neat freak, I love the color pink, I like my Kindle and ‘real’ books, I’m a speed reader, I miss the snow at Christmas time, I love libraries, and I treasure my children. (This is my son after getting ‘slimed’ at Nickelodeon Suites in Orlando!)




5.Do you belong to a critique group? I don’t because I love to socialize–I would spend all of my time drinking coffee and talking! I have a few beta reader-friends whom I trust implicitly. They give me honest feedback and I revise from there!
6.When did you first decide to submit your work? I began submitting Stay Tuned about five years ago. I had some interest from HQ and a few agents, but it wasn’t “there” yet. I dug it out two years ago and worked with Novel Publicity to revamp and polish it. Even after receiving an offer from a small publisher, I decided to go it on my own. I even established my own publishing company, Monterey Press (named after our street).





7.What is the best and worst advice you ever received? Best advice – Read a lot, write a lot. Worst advice – Don’t outline. I tried it and the plot meandered all over the place. I had to work twice as hard to get the story straight! Of course, that manuscript will never see the light of day!!!
8.Do you outline your books or just start writing? Outline! I use note cards first because I can rearrange the order, then once I get them set, I type everything up on my laptop and get to work!
9.Do you have an all time favorite book? My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult; White Oleander, Janet Fitch; The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd.
10.         Have you started your next project? I am researching for my next novel, The Pie Lab, which is a real restaurant in Greensboro, Alabama. This story will follow a girl who’s gone off to a big city (like Atlanta or New York) and vows NEVER to come home. She’s forced to return to Greensboro, though, when her romantic relationship falls apart. Since she’s burned a lot of bridges, it will be interesting to see how she makes amends.  The Pie Lab, as a business, is a great concept, as it offers on-the-job training and the owners are very active in the community. Added bonus…the pies are delicious! The Pie Lab has been featured in Southern Living and The New York Times.
11.         Do you have any recipes you might like to share?
My favorite ‘new’ recipe is the one I used in Dancing Naked in Dixie. It’s easy and delicious!

PD’s Pillow Pockets

2 packages Puff Pastry (frozen, let thaw slightly)
1 jar of Nutella Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
1 bag of Mini Marshmallows
1 Egg White plus 1 tbsp Water (whisk together in a small bowl)
Powdered Sugar (sift)

Cut each pastry sheet into four equal pieces. Spread a tablespoon of Nutella in the center of each piece, leaving an inch border. Add 6-8 mini-marshmallows to each piece and fold over to form a triangle. Press edges with fork to seal. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet to prevent sticking. Bake at 350 for 22 minutes or until just golden. Remove and let cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 16 Pillow Pockets.



12.         What is your favorite reality show? I am going to blame this on Liz & Lisa from Chick Lit is not Dead because they got me hooked! I watched every episode of ‘The Bachelor’ this year. I had to see if Ben picked Courtney!  (ugh. He did.)
13.        If you were a casting director for the film version of your book, who would play your lead roles?
Melissa, one of my proofreaders, dreamed that Dixie was a movie! I asked her who played Julia, and she said Reese Witherspoon. She’s adorable, so I have to agree! For Shug, I’m thinking Patrick Dempsey. Alice Eve (She’s Out of My League movie) could play Mary Katherine. David Sullivan – Sam Neill.



(Cities all over the South like Eufaula have belles who dress up for special events… these girls are Azalea Trail Maids in Mobile, Alabama with my son & his friend)
14.         Anything else you might want to add? I really panicked about the title. I was unsure that readers would like it and didn’t want anyone to think it was erotica. The members of a book club I visited changed my mind—I was there talking about my first novel, Stay Tuned, and someone asked about my next book. When I shared the title, everyone smiled and got really excited, so I knew then that I had to keep the “Naked” in Dixie.


Pleases answer at least 10 of these questions. Feel free to answer all. Please remember to use your book as a reference wherever possible. This makes the interview more interesting.

Thanks Christine

EXCERPT 


The Best Butts in Alabama, the huge billboard above my head brags. A robust pink pig, dressed in blue overalls and a cowboy hat, winks down at me. Next to the hog’s turned up nose, royal blue letters read ‘Phil’s Bar-B-Q.’ 

Phil certainly knows how to make a first impression. As does Mother Nature.

The sunshine beats down on my shoulder through the window. Is it always this muggy in December? I swipe at my forehead with the back of my hand and do quick surveillance.

Where is the historic, elegant city I was promised in the letter? There is a normal-looking church across the street, a run-of-the-mill real estate business to my right, and a tiny hole-in-the-wall place called The Donut King, which seems to be doing ten times more business than the Winn-Dixie grocery store I just passed.

So far, all I see of Eufaula, Alabama is more in-your-face commercial than traveler chic. Of course, I’m not in the best frame of mind to become one with my surroundings.

After a lousy Thursday morning of sulking and a rushed packing job, I sent an RSVP with regrets for the fundraiser, gave away my tickets to the Met, left a voice mail for Andrew, and changed my ticket to an earlier departure.

Hours later, after fighting through JFK security, surviving the cramped flight to Atlanta, I spent the night in Buckhead, Georgia, picked up my enormous rented SUV this morning (it was either that or a red minivan), and began driving the three-and-a-half hours to reach my pinhole-on-a-map destination.

All to save my job.


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lauren Clark writes contemporary novels set in the Deep South; stories sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets.

A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends. Check out her website at www.laurenclarkbooks.com.




Don't forget to comment!

Lauren will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and to the host with the most comments.

15 comments:

marybelle said...

A great interview thank you & the Belles in their gowns are just gorgeous.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting Lauren today.

MomJane said...

This story makes you want to visit the south. I love the title.

Christine Young said...

welcome to my blog, Lauren. Hope you have a great tour!

Anonymous said...

Good to see that you did not rock the hair helmet during your anchor days, as so many do! You should be proud.

vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

Karen H in NC said...

I have to say, the more I read about this book, the more I know I have to read the whole thing! Do you ever see yourself writing in another other genre and if so, what would it be?

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Hi, Lauren! Must be interesting to be transplanted to the South. Good luck with your tour!

Lauren Clark said...

Marybelle - They have matching petticoats and bloomers under their skirts! All of the gowns are handmade .... can you image???

xx, Lauren

lauren Clark said...

MomJane! Please come visit ... you might want to wait until September though ... it's about 97 degrees today and HUMID!!! xx, Lauren

Lauren Clark said...

Christine ~ Thank you so much for hosting me! Marianne @ Goddess Fish has hooked Dixie up with the BEST blogs!!! :)

I really appreciate you having Dancing Naked in Dixie and Julia visit today! xx, Lauren

Lauren Clark said...

RE: Hair Helmet ... That was in college!!!! (Hiding face in hands and blushing!!!!)

Lauren Clark said...

Karen - I love seeing you along the tour stops!!! So glad that you are here on Christine's blog!!

I have dabbled in the thriller genre (have two books written, actually...) but I have yet to decide what to do with them. A friend of mine is reading them now. It's a genre that I love to read!! (I balance out the light and fun of chick lit with suspense and thrill!!!)

xx, Lauren

Lauren Clark said...

Genie! It has been an exciting experience and I love living here (except when it is 105 in the shade ... LOL)

xx, Lauren

Catherine Lee said...

As a librarian, I love to read that you spent time reading and at the Library growing up. Those positve experiences when we're younger are key to appreciating libraries as adults.

Lauren Clark said...

Catherine Lee - I LOVE the library ... I am like a kid in a candy store. And I adore that my children like to go and pick out new books and find new authors and series to read. Such fun!

Thank you for stopping by Christine's Blog :) Lauren