For this eleventh episode of Writer’s Spotlight, we have Lauren Nalls – another member of the Scribes’ Circle and fellow ‘A Journey of Words’ and ‘A Haunting of Words’ author whom I have gotten to know well over the past year.
What names do you write by?
Give us a short introduction to you.
I’m an author and poet based in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I love the history here and the small-town vibe but I really miss California where I was born and raised. I hope to retire to the Napa area someday. There is no more peaceful place on earth than being in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, standing in a creek, with a fishing pole in my hand. My family is my life; I have two great teens and a hard-working husband. I love reading, fishing, science, music, and 70 degree weather.
How long have you been writing, professionally and/or as a hobby?
I was that kid who could often be found under the blankets with a flashlight writing or reading until well after bedtime, so I guess as a hobby, since childhood. I’ve been professionally writing since my first publication in 2014.
In what genre(s) do you write?
I usually end up somewhere around contemporary literary fiction and upmarket, historical, or dark fiction.
Do you outline your stories ahead of time, or do you let the story grow as you write?
I’m a hybrid girl, I start off pantsing, then move to an outline. I find I have trouble outlining a story at the beginning. I need to write, ruminate, digest, and write some more. Once I get about a quarter to a third of the way into a story, I find it essential to outline the rest. For me, it is pointless to begin with an outline because I don’t know where I’m going yet.
Which authors have influenced and inspired you the most?
I love authors with great descriptive qualities who can also convey a much deeper meaning with their work than first meets the eye. A beautiful, well-told story with meaning is what I look for. Some of the most influential authors for me are Margaret Atwood, Anthony Doerr, Judy Blume, Gillian Flynn, Carson McCullers, John Green, Sue Monk Kidd, Annie Proulx… I could go on forever so I’m going to stop here.
Do you write in other ways, such as poetry, songwriting, technical articles, etc?
I love to write poetry but I can’t seem to rhyme, so songwriting is out.
How has your life experiences affected your writing?
I’m an emotionally evocative writer because most of my writing has a nugget of reality in it somewhere.
What scene that you’ve written has moved you the most, and why?
I would say a scene that I wrote from an old photo of me and my dad walking across a field in Yosemite National Park. I don’t remember the day the picture was taken so I was able to create that day for myself and it was beautiful.
Beta Readers – Yes or No? Why?
Beta readers are an absolute yes. There is no better way to tap into your potential market.
What inspires your story ideas?
I’m inspired by beauty and emotion.
Do you belong to any Writing Groups?
I’m very involved in a local critique group and could not be more grateful to have found them, they’ve become my tribe. I also belong to Scribes’ Circle, Riverside Writers, James River Writers, and Virginia Writers Club.
Tell us about all of your works in progress (include your favorite snippets).
I have three novels in progress in various stages of completion. One is set in a traveling 1930’s carnival, one is set in 1980’s Southern California, and one is co-author project I’ve just started. I’m interested to see where that last one leads! I’ve also got various short stories cooking and I’ve recently tried my hand at flash fiction.
Have you been published?
My first publication was a poem called “Burgeon” in Fredericksburg Literary Review Spring 2014 Volume 2, Issue 1, page 49. This is a poem about legacy.
My second publication was in 2016, a short story called “Loose Ends” in Scout Media’s A Journey of Words. This story is about a daughter getting to know her own father while saying goodbye.
Is there anything else you want readers to know about you?
Yes. I absolutely stand for equality.
Thanks, Lauren, for taking the time to share a little piece of you with us!