Laurel Osterkamp was a comedy writer in Minneapolis before she began writing novels. Her first novel, Following My Toes, has been a Kindle best seller and won the 2008 Indie Excellence Award for Chick Lit. Starring in the Movie of My Life received honors in the 2011 Indie Excellence Awards for Chick Lit, and in the 2011 International Book Awards for Women's Fiction and Young Adult Lit. Both books are indie approved at indiereader.com. She currently teaches high school, and is working on her next book, which is inspired by her recent jury duty.
Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?
Definitely! Lucy, the main character, even states the theme towards the end. "It’s our history that brought us to this point, and it’s made us who we are." Since the whole book is about finding parallels between Lucy’s personal dramas and the country’s public dramas, I think that’s pretty fitting.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I have a writing group where we share our work and give each other feedback. They always tease me about the lack of setting in my books, and when I actually describe the setting, they tease me for that too! I forget to provide details, so that’s something I really need to work on.
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
I’ve written three full length novels: Following My Toes, Starring in the Movie of My Life, and November Surprise.
Also, two novellas: Looking for Ward and Campaign Promises
I think my favorite is a tie between Starring in the Movie of My Life and November Surprise. I really pushed myself and discovered new things about my writing while working on both of them, but in different ways.
If you had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?
That’s hard. Whoever plays Lucy has to come off as smart, pretty without realizing it, and believable from the ages of 17 to 37. Perhaps Gennifer Goodwin.
When did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing things for fun, like journals and short stories, for as long as I can remember. I started writing sketch comedy about 15 years ago, and my first book, Following My Toes, was written about eight years ago.
How long did it take to complete your first book?
The first draft took about six months, but all the revisions took well over a year. I guess all total, it was around two years.
Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?
Oh, sure. There are tons. Today I’ll mention Jennifer Weiner. She’s very prolific, and I love how she helped to redefine the romantic heroine. Good in Bed was one of the first "chick lit" novels with a flawed main character, who was beautiful and strong in her own way.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Probably revisions. By that time I know the characters and the story arc really well, and I can work on refining the details and making it as perfect as possible. The challenge can be a lot of fun.
Describe your latest book in 4 words.
Awesome political love story!
Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?
I have a blog written in Lucy’s voice about the current election and her marriage to Monty. It’s fun to continue their story. You can read it at HYPERLINK "http://novembersurprises.blogspot.com" http://novembersurprises.blogspot.com
This spring I was on a federal jury, and of course the whole time I was thinking about how I could use the experience for my next novel. I have some ideas, so that’s what my next book will be about. Since it’s going to be fiction, I can make jury duty much more exciting than it actually was!
For Lucy Jones, the distinction between love and politics is hazy at best. Both can be all-consuming, and either can lead to a heart-breaking loss or an exhilarating win. Whatever the case, if you’re seen as a loser, you probably are one. Lucy first learns this lesson in 1988, when she’s a shy girl, battling a high school bully and rooting for Dukakis. Through the years Lucy will experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as she makes the choices that define her. Meanwhile, she also struggles to define her relationship with Monty, who comes in and out of her life like the changes in public opinion. Is Monty simply a one-night stand, a kindred spirit, or the love of her life? And by 2008, can he offer her a change to believe in?
Over the course of twenty years and six presidential elections, Lucy grows and adjusts with the times. Filled with snarky political and pop-culture references, November Surprise is about the journey we take to believe in a candidate, in love, and in ourselves
I am usually not a fan of books with political theme's so boy was I glad that I gave this book a chance.
It is great to watch a woman find herself in the modern day and age and have to struggle against not only her self at times but something real as well like nemesis from her past childhood.
It was also neat to see the past president elections that I was to young to remember and see the different campaigns they went through to gain the public favor. It was like a diary with a theme, the people were so realistic and what she went through was something just about any person can relate with.