Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Book Feature & Author Interview: Angel by Laura Lee

Original Title: Angel
Author: Laura Lee
Publisher: Itineris Press
Release Date: September 27th 2011
Genre: M/M Romance


Since the loss of his lively, charming wife to cancer six years ago, minister Paul Tobit has been operating on autopilot, performing his religious duties by rote. Everything changes the day he enters the church lobby and encounters a radiant, luminous being lit from behind, breathtakingly beautiful and glowing with life. An angel. For a moment Paul is so moved by his vision that he is tempted to fall on his knees and pray.

Even after he regains his focus and realizes he simply met a flesh-and-blood young man, Paul cannot shake his sense of awe and wonder. He feels an instant and overwhelming attraction for the young man, which puzzles him even as it fills his thoughts and fires his feelings. Paul has no doubt that God has spoken to him through this vision, and Paul must determine what God is calling him to do.

Thus begins a journey that will inspire Paul’s ministry but put him at odds with his church as he is forced to examine his deeply held beliefs and assumptions about himself, his community, and the nature of love.


INTERVIEW WITH LAURA LEE

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world.. which would it be? The thing about great novels is that they are full of drama and conflict, so I’m not sure I would want to live in the worlds of any of my favorite novels.  I would prefer to live in a collection of poetry.
What is your dream cast for your book? I told an interviewer once that I would like Michael Emerson who played Ben on Lost to be the protagonist Paul.  I admire him as an actor, although he is a bit older than the character.  But he has that “everyman” quality with a certain emotional intensity.  I could see him doing a good job with it. Ian, the second main character, would be played by the British actor Lee Williams as he looked in the film The Wolves of Kromer.  He is older than the character now.  Whoever played Ian in a movie version would have to be physically beautiful.  I have a much clearer idea of his “look” than I have of Paul’s.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? As a kid I loved “If I Ran the Circus” by Dr. Seuss.  I also loved Thidwick the Big Hearted Moose.
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? I listened to Calling All Angels by Train over and over when I was writing Angel.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? Don’t do it!  Run, quickly, the other way!  Get out now while you still can!  If you fail to heed my sensible advice, you will most likely find your own way through the crazy world that is publishing.  I started a long time ago, with agents and traditional publishers, and the landscape is so different now I am still trying to figure it all out myself.  If I had any idea of what works I would tell you.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I liked living in the Berkshires.  I miss it sometimes.  The most beautiful city in which I have lived was Edinburgh, Scotland.  I miss it sometimes too.  I like the culture and pace of life in the UK.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? When I was about three, I told my parents I wanted to be “an astronaut or a babysitter.”I wanted to be an actress when I was a kid.  I even majored in theater in college.
If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why? Heidi Klum because then people would think I looked like a Barbie doll.  The movie of my life would involve a lot of sitting and staring at computer screens.  It would be interesting to have it done by some avante garde director who does crazy art films.
Who are your favorite authors of all time? William Shakespeare, Milan Kundera, G.K. Chesteron, Douglas Adams, Rumi, Alain de Botton
Can you see yourself in any of your characters? The protagonist of my novel, Paul, is an introvert who is in a job that requires a certain extroversion.  Being a writer has elements of that.  What you are most suited for is being alone in a room, reading and writing things down.  But there is also a promotional aspect to being a writer that kicks in.  As a minister, you may have great insight, but if you are not able to get up and connect in the pulpit, it doesn’t matter.  So the introverted aspects of Paul are more like me.  I tended to think of him as like me and Ian as different, because he is an extrovert but when I started to work on a sequel to Angel from Ian’s perspective I decided to do a Myers-Briggs type test answering as Ian.  It turns out that his personality letters with the exception of the I/E scale (introversion/extroversion) are exactly like mine.  Paul’s came out quite different.
What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had? I wrote in my journal that I wanted to start a novel with the world “meanwhile.”
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? My father told me “Never, but never, underestimate publishers’ ability to delay payment.”
Hidden talent? I can juggle three balls.  I used to be able to make balloon animals, but I’ve forgotten how.  It is a hold over skill from my short career as a professional mime at Dorney Park in Allentown.
What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year? When I got the advance for my forthcoming non-fiction book I ordered a copy of the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary on CD-ROM.  It’s not a read through in one sitting type of book, but I’m really excited to have that reference.  I’ve become a bit of an amateur Bible scholar since writing Angel.
How do you react to a bad review? I haven’t come across too many bad reviews of Angel that bothered me.  When I person gives two stars to it, it is just a measure of how she related to the book.  The negative reviews I’ve gotten have tended to fall into the category of people having different expectations.  They picked the book up because they were in the mood for a traditional romance novel and they found my book to be different than what they wanted.  Sometimes they get upset with me because they want the characters to do something different.  In those cases, I take it as a compliment because they are invested enough in the characters to get mad at me.
You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy? A new car.  Mine has 222,000 miles on it.
Which authors have influenced you most and how? The most direct literary influence I had was my father, Albert Lee.  I was not formally trained in writing.  I was apprenticed.
What do you do in your free time?  My vocation and my avocation are the same.  So I don’t differentiate between my free time and my work time.  I don’t have a lot of hobbies.  I get uncomfortable when I am not producing writing.

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