Interview with novelist H. Laurence Lareau

Author
H. Laurence Lareau joins me today and
we’re chatting about his new contemporary workplace romance, Love. Local. Latebreaking.

During his virtual book tour, Laurence will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes
and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky, randomly drawn winner. To be
entered for a chance to win, use the
form below.
To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit
his other tour stops
and enter there, too!



Bio:
H. Laurence Lareau fell in love with romances the first time Pride and
Prejudice came home from the library with him. Since that high school summer,
he has earned an English degree from the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, worked as a television and print journalist, built a career
in law, and has remained a Jane Austen junkie through it all.
The
Newsroom Romance series draws from his careers, his voracious reading, and his
curiosity about the tensions between real life and real love.
Real
life now is dramatically different from the real life of Austen’s
times—privileged women no longer choose between eligible members of the landed
gentry, nor are they imperiled by the sexist mysteries of the entailed fee
simple estate in land.
Modern
women with the privileges of education rather than birth now embark upon
careers that can satisfy many personal and material dreams. Seemingly
inevitably, though, careers fall short of the promise that they’ll fulfill
women as people.
Strong,
modern women have defined Lareau’s professional and personal lives, and strong
women fully occupy center stage in their own newsroom romance stories. Their
high-profile journalism and legal careers matter deeply to them and to the
people they serve.
Then
love comes walking in. These book boyfriends don’t have kilts or billions or
pirate ships, though. Their career goals meet and often clash with their
romantic counterparts, requiring both the men and women to make hard choices
about what happily ever after should look like and how to achieve it.
When
he isn’t writing, practicing law, or raising children, he’s working on martial
arts and music.

Welcome, Laurence. Please share a little
bit about your current release.

In Love. Local. Latebreaking., Karli
Lewis follows her TV-news reporter’s ambition to Des Moines, Iowa—a place she
views as a quick stop on her way to a major market like Chicago. According to
plan, the skilled photographers she works with bring her great reporting to
vivid life on the airwaves. Jake Gibson’s inspired images help her stories get
the attention of prestigious newsrooms. But he’s gotten her attention, in a
frustratingly inconvenient—and sexy—way. Staying with him means staying in Des
Moines; moving on to fulfill her career means moving on from a connection she’s
found with Jake and no other man, ever. Can Karli find a way to keep her career
together and keep their love together?

What inspired you to write this book?
Professionals are often conflicted between their work lives and their love
lives. Building a whole life—one
where professional fulfillment and personal fulfillment are both attainable—is
a monumental challenge. The obstacles can be overwhelming, and one or the other
is usually sacrificed in some degree.

The
story of the modern romantic quest to reconcile those two competing needs is
too seldom explored. Real life doesn’t involve pirates or billionaires or
kilted Scotsmen who spur in to the life-threatening rescue, and though those
stories can be amazing fun, they can also be untruthful to what genuine
romantic experiences—and the obstacles to achieving them—have for people who
must deal with the reality of contemporary life.
Karli
and Jake work in a very public, incredibly stressful profession. Portraying
them with fidelity to the truth of those stresses and the hope for overcoming
them seemed an important riddle to present and solve.
Not
that there’s anything new about this conundrum. Jane Austen dealt with the same
questions, just in a different time and place. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennett struggled enormously to find
economic security at the same time that she sought a genuinely connected and
loving relationship. Throughout the book, she watched other men and women try
their hands at that dual quest and fail tragically. Her happily-ever-after with
Darcy—accomplishing everything she worked for—is one of the greatest
resolutions to any romance novel ever.
There
are, of course, many other aspects to a modern happily-ever-after. The
expectations men and women bring to modern relationships—personal (even
sacramental) fulfillment, great sex, best-friendship, sports partnership,
domestic burden-sharing, and all the rest—bring sometimes overwhelming pressures
with them. L.L.L. explores only some
of those, however, focusing on those that precede the happily-ever-after.
No
book is worth reading just because it solves problems, though. L.L.L. takes the reader on a ride
through any number of exciting headline news stories—from guns-drawn drug busts
to fatal accidents to house fires to natural disasters—each more riveting than
the last. Plus there are the characters’ own tragic losses, drunken hilarity,
passionate and deeply connected lovemaking, despairing heartbreak, and
triumphant climax.
Excerpt
from Love. Local. Latebreaking.:
(Karli’s newsroom gal-pals, Production
Assistant Mary Rose Meyer and Anchor Bailey Barber, are genuine ride-or-die
friends. When Karli had a rough day—another reporter talked the news director
into giving her a series that Karli had done most of the preliminary reporting
work on—they met for drinks at downtown Des Moines’ Hotel Savery):

Karli drained her glass with a thoughtful expression
and considered Bailey’s assessment. When she spoke, her words’ edges were
softened by the liquor. “There’s a lot to what you say, Bailey. But it’s still
complete bullshit that Sophia has this series and I don’t, and I want to be
pissed about that right now.”

“Yes!” Mary Rose cried, raising her
beer glass. “Let’s hate Sophia!” She brought the beer to her lips and drank
deeply. “She’s a snooty bitch anyway, regardless of this series thing,” she
whispered to Bailey and Karli.
“That’s not terribly constructive,
you know,” Bailey chided. “So what’s up with Jake and the kissing?” she said,
shifting the subject abruptly. “Any news about that?”
“He hasn’t even been to work in
forever,” Karli slurred. “How’m I supposed to kiss him if he’s never around?”
Mary Rose, who had not heard about
Jake and the kissing, goggled at her friends, her open-mouth and bugged eyes
flicking from one to the other, looking for answers to obvious questions. “Jake
and the Kissing? That sounds like a great band, but it also sounds like
something I need desperately to hear about. When did you and Jake start in with
the kissing? He has never even hinted that you guys were getting wild and
nasty! And besides, Sophia wants him even more than she wants your series. I’m
surprised she didn’t slink that exotic figure into the kissing a long time
ago!”
“Mary Rose, no. Just no. We never
kissed at all,” Karli said, defensiveness in every syllable. “And besides, he’s
a complete asshole.”
“Then what’s with the new band?”
Mary Rose’s face was covered with suspicion, as was the tone of her voice.
“It was just a thing,” Karli
sighed. “We watched a movie together, and then there was this moment when it
seemed like we were going to kiss, but then it all went bust. So no kissing.”
Bailey saw that Karli needed
rescuing, so she chimed in with, “So what happened when he came back for the
drug bust story? He didn’t even stick around to edit that package, did he?”
Mary Rose cut in ahead of Karli’s
response: “No way Jose—or Josephine, I guess, since you’re a chick—he split and
then I cut it together, and I did an awesome job, too, I might add.”
“And you’re fun to work with, Mary
Rose” Karli added. “But why again won’t they assign you to field
shooting—because of some departmental accounting thing?”
“Yeah, Mary Rose’s great,” Bailey
seconded enthusiastically. “But what scared him away that day?” Bailey asked.
“Everyone has been wondering, but Vince just says to shut up and tend to our
own knitting.”
“I don’t know,” Karli very nearly
whined. “We had a scary morning, yet things seemed kind of normal when we
headed out. Then he got all emo in the truck. He talked about not needing the
job and not being able to keep people safe or make good decisions or something.
He was all pissed about giving me his Kevlar vest, too, like it was some cop’s
fault, and I couldn’t understand what the problem was there, either. I was
trying to thank him for giving it to me, but it all blew up and went weird. It
was like having a conversation with a mentally ill person.”
“This is AWESOME!” Mary Rose
boomed. She raised her beer and solemnly intoned,

“Here’s to hating Sophia and to bullying Jake for being demented!”
She chugged the beer, heedless of the scandalized looks on Karli and Bailey’s
faces.

What exciting story are you working on
next?

The second book in the Newsroom Romance series, Traffick Report, is already out. (Each book stands alone, so it
isn’t necessary to read them in order.) Where Love. Local. Latebreaking. is nicely steamy, Traffick Report frankly explores places along the sexual-encounter
spectrum, from meh to really nice to
soulful and life-altering. Bailey and Mary Rose are both front and center, each
trying to find their own happily ever after. Bailey’s quest takes her into a
sizzling series of encounters that reveal how utterly different great sex is
from sex that is not deeply connected and mutually self-giving. Mary Rose, on
the other hand, knows what she wants (no kink to speak of), and engaging her
boyfriend in getting it results in a major awakening for him.

Much
of the story surrounds a young sex-trafficking victim and how the criminal
justice system tries to re-victimize her. Bailey and her man come together and then
clash over his defense of the girl’s court case and her reporting.

The
third book, Storm Sirens, is in
process. We’ll meet the meteorologists in this one. In addition to actual
storms, we’ll encounter the storm of controversy surrounding the opioid-addiction
crisis that is becoming ever more horrifying.

When did you first consider yourself a
writer?

My
entire adult life has been in writing. From stultifying, mind-numbingly dull
work such as my law review article, Rights of Surface Owners on Federally
Patented Lands
, 10 U.Ky.J.Nat.Resources & Envtl.L. 13 (1995), to a martial
arts story on Tai Chi’s Energy Borrowing in Kung Fu-Tai Chi Magazine,
to comedic educational video
scripts to straight-up journalism
and countless other endeavors, writing
and public speaking have been at the center of all my work efforts.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?

Yes and no. My day job is as a litigator. Although I try to bring some life and
color to my legal writing, it isn’t nearly as satisfying as working with the
characters in my novels. The only way I can comprehend having found time to
write two novels and have a third in progress is to believe that there is some
kind of recurring distortion of space-time that gives me intermittent bonus
hours.

What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?

Most
authors’ characters become pretty real to the writer. When my characters find
their way to an intimate encounter—which is always important to them and to the
reader—it feels voyeuristic to write the details of their interactions, and I
usually wind up furiously blushing while I try to get through the scene as quickly
as I can.

As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?

A professor of French literature. Preferably one who lived in France, ate lots
of baguette, and bicycled to campus
every day.


Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?

Like every author, I hope readers enjoy my books. But if they don’t, or if
they’re not super-enthused about certain things, I would love to hear about
from them. Writing books is hard work, and I want to do everything I can to
make sure readers find something relatable and truthful in them.
If
you’re looking for the books, they’re available in paperback and as e-books. Love. Local. Latebreaking. is also
available as an audiobook. The narrator and I dated for a summer in college.
She went on to a fairly glamorous theater career and is now an English teacher.
Here’s to your own happily ever after!
Links:

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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9 thoughts on “Interview with novelist H. Laurence Lareau

  1. James Robert says:

    I enjoy these tours and have found some awesome books for my sisters and daughters so thank you so very much. tHanks also for the great giveaway and the opportunity to win.

  2. Bernie Wallace says:

    What types of books do you like to read? Thanks for hosting. I hope that I win. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  3. H. Laurence Lareau says:

    Bernie, I'm an omnivorous reader. Right now I'm completely captivated by my first time reading A. S. Byatt's Possession. She's a genuine master of the language, crafting platinum-level sentences in every single paragraph while telling a gorgeously romantic story. Jim Butcher's Dresden Files are a long-time favorite, and way outside the romance genre. His characters are so fully fleshed out, I feel like I could meet them for coffee on any given day. Lindsey Fairleigh's Echo in Time trilogy (plus bonus stuff) features one of my all-time favorite book girlfriends. Jane Austen is probably the all-time greatest English-language novelist (and Pride and Prejudice's Elizabeth Bennett is another fave book girlfriend). Simon Winchester's historico-sciencey books are amazing. I read lots of Roman any Byzantine history and historical novels (William Rosen's Justinian's Flea and Robert Harris's Cicero Trilogy are recent faves). And the list goes ever on and on!!
    H. Laurence Lareau

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