Romantic YA fantasy author Lauren Sevier joins me today to chat about Songs of Autumn.
During her virtual book tour, Lauren will be awarding a $10 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 her other tour stops and enter there, too!
Lauren Sevier lives a simple life in small town Walker, Louisiana with her family and two mischievous dogs. She’s a proud firefighter wife and mother to her miracle son, born through IVF after an eight-year battle with infertility. She works full-time for a non-profit hospital in Cardiology caring for the elderly and low-income families all over the state of Louisiana in satellite and outreach clinics. Writing and being in the service of helping others are her two passions in life.
She started writing song lyrics and poems on the front porch swing of her family home nestled amidst a 200-year-old pecan tree orchard that was once part of a Civil War plantation. She’s inspired the most by Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, and JK Rowling. Her background in Theatre introduced her to classic British literature, playwrights, and poets from a very young age. This helped her to understand story concepts, dramatization, and character development the way Shakespeare once did, as an actor.
Now her biggest inspiration for writing is her son who, like all children, learns by example. Lauren is determined to set a specific example for him; to live simply, work hard, and to never stop chasing her dreams. Because, one day, you just might catch them.
Please share a little bit about your current release.
Songs of Autumn is a romantic YA Fantasy novel that explores themes of climate crises, tragedy and rebirth, and women’s empowerment. Set against the backdrop of a kingdom in peril, Liz (our protagonist) has known her entire life the exact day she was supposed to die. All of the natural processes of the world of Aegis are run on magick, a non-renewable resource that is rapidly running out. The only way to save the world is if Liz dies in a brutal blood sacrifice. Of course, she isn’t ready to die, and instead embarks on a wild journey where she discovers first love, the true depths of friendship, and what it feels like to live life to its fullest.
What inspired you to write this book?
My son was my inspiration for this book. My husband and I struggled through infertility, IVF, and multiple pregnancy losses for years before having him. It was the hardest time of my life and I found myself questioning my identity and my purpose in life. I was overwhelmed being a new mother, consumed with being the very best version of myself for him. Part of that manifested by making the decision to finally write my first book and pursue it to publication. Bless my husband, he’s the real hero. He was sleep deprived with a newborn and his wife said, ‘hey honey, i’m going to write a book’ and didn’t even flinch. There are so many things I could discuss at length about how many of the themes were directly related to my experiences with IVF and my challenges as a new mother, but it all boils down to fortitude. The ability to persevere against incredible odds armed only with your faith that something better is out there waiting for you. It’s both my story, and Liz’s. And one that I hope you enjoy.
Excerpt from Songs of Autumn:
Before she could say anything else, Smitty’s meaty arms swept her into a lively country dance. Her head spun as her feet flew over the ground, and she lost herself in the rhythm. Her hair fell in waves from her careful plait, and she caught sight of Mat again over Smitty’s shoulder. He ruffled Finn’s hair, grinning that crooked grin of his, looking over with laughter dancing in his eyes. She couldn’t help but think about what it would have been like if Mat kissed her that night under the stars.
Would she still fidget incessantly, driven to madness by this heat in her blood? Perhaps she’d drunk too much wine, but when Smitty clapped his hands and spun her around wildly, she laughed and danced without a thought to his hands wrapped around her waist. If he’d done this a couple of moons ago, those same hands would have been cut off for his impertinence. Tia pulled Gareth up and forced him into a stiff rendition of her twirling, her skirts spinning around her in a swish of thick brocade. Her beauty became luminous when she smiled so wide. Her light spilled over, filling up the entire room.
At this moment, feet stomping and hearts beating in perfect synchronicity, they were infinite.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m actually really excited to announce that I’m co-authoring a Dystopian Western Romance series, the first book is titled ‘Guns and Smoke’ and has a tentative 2022 publication date, though the way we’ve been writing I’m thinking it’ll be out next year. It’s much darker than Songs Of Autumn, which is refreshing to explore. It’s about two characters who meet in Vegas after the end of the world who get flung on a wild adventure together through the American Midwest outrunning bounty hunters, gangs, crater beasts, and the demons of their pasts. Together they both learn that life should be about more than just surviving. And of course, book #2 in the Songs series, titled ‘Songs Of Winter’ is currently in developmental edits.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably not until 2012, when I finished my first manuscript. Writing ‘The End’ at the end of that project was life affirming. It made me realize I could actually see a book through to completion, whereas before I would always fall into the trap of imposter syndrome and abandon projects halfway through. It was when I allowed myself for the first time to admit that I’d been writing my entire life and that it was something I was passionate about. As soon as I gave myself permission to have this dream, I dove headfirst into it and never looked back.
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?
I wish I wrote full-time, and one day hopefully I will. As of right now, I work full-time in Cardiology. I travel to outreach and satellite clinics all over the state of Louisiana serving patients from all walks of life. I love what I do and everyone in my company has been incredibly supportive of my writing, which was a wonderful surprise. How do I find time to write? With a toddler, a full-time job, and traveling for work it can definitely be difficult. I’m really good at multitasking, prioritization, and time blocking. Those skills are key to developing a work routine that is not only effective, but still leaves time for family and friends as well. A typical day for me includes listening to audiobooks while I travel to and from work, working a full day, spending the evenings with my family, then when my baby is in bed… I get to work writing. Sometimes it’s only an hour, sometimes even less than that, but whatever time I do have I prioritize my work and adjust my expectations accordingly. The way I’ve adjusted my lifestyle means I won’t be able to produce books at the rate of other authors, and I’m okay with that. Having a well-balanced life is just as important to me as pursuing my passion.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have two actually. When I finish a first draft of a novel, whether I’m in a crowded Starbucks (pre-Covid) or it’s 3AM and I’m in my office, I get up and do this insane victory dance. Lots of fist-pumping and hip thrusting. It just feels so good to write ‘The End’ that I have to dance it out. My second weird quirk is that when I kill off a character (especially a beloved character) I take the rest of the evening to toast them with their favorite alcoholic beverage. It’s my own way to mourn them, I guess, and to honor their contribution to my stories. Also because writing a character death is surprisingly hard on me, so it felt right to have some way to say goodbye to them properly.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An actress. I was a full-blown theatre rat from the time I was old enough to speak in full sentences. I went to college on a theatre scholarship, and minored in it. Surprisingly enough, I learned so much about the art of dialogue, subtext, and characterization through my many years in theatre that directly translates into my writing. Writing for theatre in many ways can strengthen essential skills for a novelist.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
My gratitude. I’m so excited and happy to share this world and these characters with all of you. I’m so grateful for your patronage. Knowing that my hard work might have led to someone’s enjoyment or helped spark someone else’s imagination is the best gift I could ever be given as an author. I hope that through Liz’s struggles and discoveries you find the same type of strength within yourselves that she has to dare to be different and to forge her own path, even when the entire world tells you that you’re wrong.
Thank you for being a guest on my blog!