Tuesday, October 1, 2019

TBR: One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski

TBR [to be read] is a semi-regular, invitation-only interview series with authors of newly released/forthcoming, interesting books who will tell us about their new work as well as offer tips on writing, stories about the publishing biz, and from time to time, a recipe! 

Give us your elevator pitch: what’s your book about in 2-3 sentences?

Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach, a wealthy beach town, during the off-season, which seems like the perfect chance to regroup and start fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the story of a girl who disappeared from town thirty years before, she begins to realize that Opal Beach isn’t as idyllic as it seems.

Which character did you most enjoy creating? Why? And, which character gave you the most trouble, and why?

I have two points of view in my book--Maureen and Allison. Maureen, who is a teenager in the 1980s, was definitely the most fun to write. I enjoyed getting in her head, and I also enjoyed writing about the nostalgia of the 1980s. (Hello, lace and Madonna and legwarmers and Lee Press-On nails!) Allison was harder because she wasn’t as brazen of a person, so her personality was harder for me to tease out. Once I started to understand her fascination with the weather, though, and where that interest stemmed from, I started to “get” her more, which made her easier to write.

Tell us a bit about the highs and lows of your book’s road to publication.

The book’s path to publication was pretty straightforward, actually. I had no real pitfalls in writing the draft, finding an agent, and selling the book. That’s still kind of a shocking surprise to me. But the worst thing that’s ever happened to me happened right in the middle of this process--my mother died. She died three weeks before I got an offer on my book, actually, and so I never got to tell her that news. I’m saddened every day that she’s not here to share in the news and wild ride of this book because she would’ve loved every minute of it.

What’s your favorite piece of writing advice?

Keep pushing through the draft, even if it’s thin. You can fix thin, but you can’t fix nothing.

My favorite writing advice is “write until something surprises you.” What surprised you in the writing of this book?

About halfway through the draft, I realized that who I thought was the killer was not actually the killer.

How did you find the title of your book?

I’ve had two story collections published before this book, and I’ve never been challenged before about the title. The working title for this book was The Off Season, and I really really loved that title. But the sales team at Graydon House didn’t think it really fit with the style and mood of other domestic suspense titles out there, so we had to change it.

I came up with literally like 70 other possible titles for this book. Some were TERRIBLE, and some I also really liked. We whittled it down to about seven that I didn’t hate, and my editor presented those to her team. They chose One Night Gone as their favorite, and so here we are.

After stomping around crankily for a few weeks and mourning the loss of my original title, I recognize that they were right. But it taught me not to become too wedded to, well, really anything in your manuscript. For my next book, my working title is simply “magic,” and I’m not going to get too excited about any title possibility that goes running through my head until I see it on a cover design, should I be so fortunate!

Inquiring foodies and hungry book clubs want to know: Any food/s associated with your book?

A coffee shop features pretty prominently in the book, and Allison drinks her mochas with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. I have yet to try this, so I have no idea if it’s any good or not, but she seems to really like it.


READ MORE ABOUT THIS AUTHOR:  www.taralaskowski.com

READ MORE ABOUT THIS PUBLISHER: https://www.graydonhousebooks.com/


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.