Saturday, December 10, 2016

Interview with Laura Frances, author of Confessions of a Crispy Mom

Heidi here. Today we are welcoming Laura Frances to our blog.

Laura Frances grew up in the south, residing in North Carolina for most of her life. While she is southern, she is no southern belle. She loves the genuine, authentic people who call the south home, and is constantly inspired by the stories of their lives. For more on Laura, visit laurafrancesauthor.com.

Confessions of a Crispy Mom: A frazzled working mom of three, Delia Gray, struggles to keep her career, family, and sanity in tack. During one particularly bad day, she lashes out at everyone around her, including her father who has stopped by to visit. When she goes to apologize to him, he gives her a stack of letters from her mother who died when Delia was ten—something her mother asked him to hold onto until he felt Delia needed it most in motherhood. Delia's conflicted feelings towards her mother and the cancer that stole her life leaves her uneasy about whether or not to read them. But, when she does, she discovers a woman she never knew—who struggles with the same things in motherhood that Delia does. Funny and poignant, Confessions of a Crispy Mom is a deeply encouraging novel that will have you asking yourself: How do I make my years as a mom count the most?


Laura, congratulations on finally birthing Confessions of a Crispy Mom. We’ve walked this writing path together for years and it is thrilling to see Delia come to life in paperback, finally!  Your stories are always so unique, what inspires them?

You have truly been an integral part of my writing process for years, Heidi. You’ve made me a better writer by constantly challenging me. Thank you for that! As far as my ideas, I basically get them from the people I encounter in real life. Very often I’m a quiet observer, so I overhear a lot of conversations—not the same as eavesdropping, lol—and watch how people react to each other. I’m fascinated with relationships between close family members and the dynamics that often exist there. For this particular story, I was inspired by the heartbreaking situation of a friend and neighbor who discovered she had stage 4 breast cancer. We lost her so soon after her diagnosis that I was struck with grief over how someone so young, with such young children, could go so quickly. I thought a lot about how a mom prepares herself and her children to face the future without her, and how she dealt with her last moments with them. Delia’s story arose out of that.

Delia is a delight in how she deals with life, she is so genuine. You write in first person. Your writing, your voice, is so uniquely southern and easy to read. Tell us what goes into writing a chapter and the difference between the first draft and the final.

I typically have a loose idea of where I want the chapter to go before I begin writing it. When I say loose, I mean very loose. Often, it takes an unexpected turn that I didn’t see coming when I started. I sort of envision the scene like a movie in my mind and then start writing by describing what I see on the “screen.” My first draft and final draft tend to be very close story-wise. But, I find that I do have to go back in and add the senses to the story so the reader can see/hear/smell/taste what my character is going through. And I tend to write pretty tight, so I sometimes have to go in and add additional scenes with smaller characters to round out the story. As far as my voice, there are so many great characters in the South. It’s easy to find a good voice and “become” that person in my writing when creating a character.

I think one of the reasons I enjoy your writing is the small things you insert that truly make me feel like I am there with the character. How do you do that?

Thank you! I’m a very visual person and I pay close attention to people’s little quirks and habits. I think that truly defines a person’s uniqueness. So, when I’m writing I try to discover what would make each character unique as far as their quirks and habits and consistently add those into the story. I think it helps the reader to connect to the characters on a deeper level because they either know someone with that trait, or have it themselves.

Ahh, so true. Time for a fun question . . . You are alone and stranded on a desert island and can have ONE food product and ONE drink, what would they be?

Ok. This is embarrassing. My children tell me I’m addicted to Diet Mountain Dew. They try to keep it from me at times because it’s the one thing I HAVE to have in the house. I actually hissed at my son (jokingly) one time when he tried to take it from me, so now we all do that. Foodwise, I want to say donuts. I know I’m a total health nut. But, I guess if I was stranded and would only have one food for life, I’d get sick of those so I’ll go with almonds.

Almonds? Say it isn’t so . . . I thought for sure chocolate would be in there somewhere, oh well. What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with raising three children, being a single mom, and working full-time?

Making myself just sit and write. There are a million things that get in the way, especially now that I’m a single mom. Honestly, my writing has decreased significantly in the last three years as I’ve adjusted to that new lifestyle. But I finally feel like I’m getting a grip on it and am starting to plan a writing schedule for the New Year. It helps that my children are getting older and can at least make a sandwich when they need to if I’m overloaded.

Hmm, did my pantster writing friend just use the word schedule? Interesting, but getting back to the interview. How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?

I came to faith later in life, at the age of 30. So, I tend to build characters that have everyday problems. They aren’t perfect. They often are failing in their faith. And they don’t typically fit into the roles that publishers of Christian fiction allow. I’ve been told this makes it hard for me to fit into a certain publishing categories. But one thing I can say about my characters is that they are real. Just like Christians I would meet on the street every day who are doing their best, but likely failing in a lot of faith issues. I don’t want to ever suggest through my writing that being a Christian means being perfect, or that you have to strive for perfection. I think it’s misleading and can actually turn the reader away from the faith instead of toward it.

Laura, thank you for your time today, it was fun! And congratulations again on the release of Confessions of a Crispy Mom.


Thank you so much for having me. It’s been an honor. I'd love to give away a hard copy of Confessions of a Crispy Mom and one of the journals to go along with it. Thanks again for having me.

Wow, Laura, that'd be great. Alright guys, go ahead and post a comment now through December 11th to get into this drawing (leave your email addy in the comment). We'll announce the winner on December 12th at the Weekly Windup.

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing today Laura...I lost my mom when I was only 28 and the mother of 3. (heart attack) I wish she had left me letters. I still miss her to this day...her hugs most of all. She was a wonderful lady and I have tried to be the best mom (and now Grammy) that I can be. Your book sounds great. Thanks for the opportunity to win. Merry Christmas and God bless.
    debsbunch777(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Debbie! Thanks for stopping by! Your mom sounds wonderful. I'm not sure how you even managed to go through that with all you had on your plate. But, I'm sure your mom left you some amazing mom-tactics that you probably use to this day as a Grammy. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, and good luck!

      Delete
  2. Dear Laura, thank you for sharing your story. I too came to faith late in life, I was 48, and I'm writing a memoir that probably won't be a good fit for Christian shelves. But my target audience is unbelievers. I share details about my childhood abuse and also my foray into the occult and new age. Right now I'm editing the part where I meet a wonderful pastor who ultimately, after two years of counseling, leads me to the Lord. And my faith is strong. I am curious who you found to publish your book. I love the premise of your book - the letters from the mom given to the person at the time most needed. I can imagine a lot of Crispy moments. Your book is on my Christmas wish list. Have a blessed day.
    hm(at)hvc(dot)rr(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Heather, thanks for joining us today. I love to hear other stories of later-in-life Christians. Someone once told me that you have a less than 4% chance of coming to Christ after the age of 18. So, we might be pretty rare! All of the books I've written tend to have characters that struggle in places that Christian publishers aren't willing to go. But, it's where I feel called to write, and finally decided that I wasn't going to hold back any longer. My agent had shopped several of my books to major publishers and I always got great feedback about my writing, my characters, my voice, my quirkiness, etc. You named it, they seemed to like it. Except the story line, lol. They'd always comment that it wasn't the right story for them. Or that the story was a little edgier than they wanted to go. But, like you, I'm not solely preaching to the choir. I want to reach people like me and you. And so, I indie published. I'm loving that journey so far even though I was scared to death to do it. From what I've discovered so far, readers don't really care who published the book as long as it's good, and well written. So, don't hold back either! I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

      Delete
  3. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. I am blessed to be a mother and now, a grandmother, to two amazing girls! I pray to be a Godly witness to both of them!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Connie! Grandparents can have a huge impact on their grandchildren's faith. They are blessed to have you!

      Delete
  4. Thank you for your wonderful post. I love being a mother and now a grandmother. Dementia is robbing my mother of the life she once lived and it is very sad for her as well as all of us. God is always with us and sees us through.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melanie,I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. I pray that God cover all of you with his peace and that you continue to get special memories and moments with your mom. <3

      Delete
  5. Thank you for sharing your story, Laura. I still have my mother and letters she has written through the year. She keeps a journal so it'll be intersting to read those, as her faith has sustained you through the years after losing Dad and prior to that even. God bless. I definitely want to read Confessions of a Crispy Mom. I've seen another interview with you on another post and knew this was a book to add to my TBR. marilynridgway78[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete