Friday, March 6, 2015

Meet author Brittany McLaughlin

Happy weekend, friends and fans!  Thank you for joining us.  Things are going really good this week.  Recently I had the opportunity to speak with author Brittany McLaughlin, author of the glbt thriller, “Languish.”  She is here today to speak with us.  Brittany is a new author who is studying International Studies at Maryville College in Tennessee.  Currently, she is studying abroad at Brock University in Ontario, Canada.  “Languish” is her first novel, although not her first published work.  More will be said on that later.  Let’s all give her a warm welcome!  😄


 
 
"...we were hopeful pessimists. That is, we wrote knowing that none of the stories we told would change the world. But we wrote in hope that they would."
Thomas King
 
 



What is “Languish” about?
 
“Languish” is a story about a mother’s love, a desperation to understand through the fog, and the harsh reality of society’s eyes upon those they don’t understand. You follow two mothers in a desperate game hide-and-seek, Chandra—an ex-cop—and her wife Aria—a musical sensation—search for their daughter Cressida who disappeared without a trace. Both cross lines, and deal with the peering eyes of society: whether that be the sexual orientation that one decides to have, or the dark past that follows them.  The lengths that Chandra goes to protect her daughter test the bounds of a mother’s love and strength of mind.”  Languish is a story about love in a time of confusion.

 

Who or what inspired you to write “Languish?”
While watching another news story about a lost child, my mind started racing, wondering how a “non-traditional” family would deal with the kidnapping of their child, how society would deal with the loss of their child, and over all how one would work through the heartbreak of failing at something that they had done for so many years. (How hard It must be for a cop to see her child float away in the wind.) This book was inspired by all of the children who are kidnapped, those that don’t get the face time, and the limelight. What happens to them? Will the world ever know?

 

What was the deciding factor for you book title?  Did it just come to you or did you try different ones?
Although I do want to give you an exciting story about how I slaved away at trying to find a perfect name for my Novel, but it fell directly from the story into my lap. It helps set the mood of the story, and pulls from the climax rather well. It came to me after writing the first couple of chapters, I put it down and it stuck.

I never exactly thought about changing the title, and looking back, there is no other title that I would wish for “Languish.”

 

What traits were you looking for when you were creating the main character for “Languish?”
I needed someone strong, but my main character had so much life to her that her creation was less of a laborious stitch work that some of the other characters in the novel had required. It was as if I had given birth to her, without knowledge of even needing her. She came to me knowing exactly what she was, who she was, and she fit so perfectly within the story that Chandra nearly wrote it herself. While she did fight me on some scenes, not that she ended up successful, she was the driving force of the novel.

 

Did you do any types of writing while you were in school?  If so did you receive any awards or recognition for your work?
I am still in school now actually, but my University career is much less exciting (excluding “Languish’s” Publication) than what I had done previously.

Back in late middle school, early high school, I was published in Teen Ink for a story that I had written and submitted. It was my first publication, and although I feel that piece is inherently flawed, it is also delicately perfect. I wouldn’t change it, at least, where I am now. After, I published through my high school impressions magazine multiple times, with short pieces of prose and poetry. I’m not a huge fan of poetry, but sometimes the muse will knock me over the head.

I have also received a few awards for written and performed speeches throughout high school. I’ve gone to state competitions, and received high regards for my written word there. While the focus was the performance of the speech, much less the written word itself, it is rather important to keep in mind that part of the performance is the script.

Me:  This is really impressive and something you should be proud of.  Maybe one day you can publish your short stories in a book. 

 
Was there anyone, in your life who was an inspiration for you to write?   If so what did they do?
My father is one of my greatest inspirations.  He didn’t go to college right after High School, and worked hard to get his degree while I was going through school. He worked as a mechanic, and was very humble about everything he did. I never once saw him without a goofy smile on his face, and he had a way of making me smile back. While my parents were divorced, he did still care deeply about not only me, but my desires; one of those desires had always been writing.

My last year in High School he passed away, and some days I still feel lost without him. Although it may be tough, I know how much he believed in me. He told me no matter how bad my writing was that it had improved, and that it was beautiful.

Wherever he is, I know that he is proud, and that is inspiration enough. 

He told me one thing that has always resonated with me, "I don't care about what you like, who you like, or what you do. As long as you are true to yourself and happy, so am I."
 

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?  Can you elaborate on what has worked for you?
Thank you. Without you my work would still be sitting on a computer somewhere without having been read or reviewed by anyone. You may or may not enjoy my work, but, I do hope that there is a truth within the piece that resonates with you, somewhere deep. If not, that’s fine too. I wish to still thank you for taking the time to read.

What has worked for me writing wise is making a schedule and sticking to it. Sometimes it may be hard, but if I keep to it, and make myself accountable, I end up not only writing more, but I end up getting more done. Also, I have an alpha reader, someone who reads my work as I write. It keeps me on my toes.

  

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Sleeping. Does that count? I wish! Normally I am going to class, reading for said classes, or sleeping. Sometimes I get the opportunity to squeeze in an hour or so for fun reading, or for watching a movie. Those are special days though, and I have to be careful not to allow for this time to take over my writing time.

 

What has been your favorite part of being an author?  The least fave?
My favorite part of being an author has to be the praise, and the words that people have for my work. It means that people are moved—good or bad—to say something about my writing, and that means they are reading. But it is a very close first to the actual writing that has landed second.  Writing is my passion!   So it IS my favorite part.

My least favorite part has to be trying to balance life and writing. My life right now is writing and school.  I do hope that soon I can find the actual balance that it takes to be a good author. As for now, some of my friends suffer.

 

What was the last book you read?
"Alias Grace" by Margaret Atwood. Oh, my, god. So I am not going to gush or anything, but UGH. She’s amazing. If you haven’t read her work, I recommend that you grab one of her books and do so now!

 

Where would you go for your dream vacation?  Would you ever use that location
as the main location in a future story?
I would love to take a trip to the mountains, somewhere isolated enough that I could just stare off into space and not deal with people. Snow, sure, I could take some snow as long as there was a good source of heat to help me along.

And yes, I plan on it. 😄
 
 
What is in the works next for you?  If you can’t share, I totally understand and respect this.

I am working on a horror thriller trilogy. It questions society, and plays upon the fears of those that live within it. People pay a sum of money for a place in a game called You're Next where they have a chance to make the money back tenfold. The only thing they give up? Their lives.  It’s a modern Russian roulette where people are paying for the chance of death. I’m rather excited about it.

Thanks for the teaser you sent me.  The main character looks exciting.  So keep us in the loop regarding this WIP. 
Brittany also has a blog where she writes about what’s going on in her life as well as updates to her work.  Her most recent post is from 02-Mar-15.  She mentions things that remind me to "Pay it forward."  Needless to say, I was inspired.  Come on over for a visit and say hello.


At this time I'd like to present to you two excerpts from "Languish."
***
Excerpt #1

Mama was going to be mad.
Cress didn’t make it to piano. She got lost on the way home, and now she couldn’t even explain why she had walked, why she hadn’t gotten to class, why she wouldn’t be home. The road had been bumpy, slinging her up and down in the back of the trunk of the car, head slamming not once, but twice against the heavy interior of the car. Cressida had lost track of time, minutes melting in the slow, rhythmic way that faded words of songs hit her ears. The trunk was no place for a little girl, her fragile body tossed with the turning of its wheels.

Tears welled in her eyes. Mama was going to be mad.

People would be looking for her, right? Mrs. Moira would say something about her not making it in time, about missing her last practice before the recital, right?

Right?
She wanted to say sorry. She wanted to get away. She wanted to untie her hands and run, Cry and run. But the tape stuck to her face, wrapped around her hair, and tugged each gentle strand harshly as she moved. Cheeks stained with her tears did nothing to loosen its grip. The more she struggled against the bounds, the tighter that they became.

How many times had she been told to not let anyone pick her up on the street, not to let anyone offer to give her a ride? Mama had been so specific, so clear with that one detail. But, but she never had expected it to happen. Cressida didn’t expect those hands to pick her up, and throw her in the back.
‘Don’t be worried, little humming bird. I won’t break your pretty wings.’

Mama Aria was going to be so scared.

Head first, she wanted to run into her arms and sob. She was sorry, so sorry. It was all her fault. Soft, warm arms would wrap around her. It’s okay Cressida, I’m here, don’t cry, she’d say. All Cressida wanted to do was go home.
The car stopped suddenly.

A door was slammed shut.

Crunch. Crunch. The crunching of feet trudged through fallen snow, moving closer to her. Cress’s breath arched with the terror that ached in her heart.
Click.

The trunk flew open, and that same wide-toothed smile greeted her. Cressida closed her eyes, trying to get the outlined silhouette out of her mind.
“My little humming bird, we are home.”

***
 
 
 
Excerpt #2


Wrapping her arms tightly around the blonde’s neck, Aria kissed her cheek. “We will bring our baby home. I promise you that.”

Reciprocation of the love that she had given took longer to receive than she would have liked, but eventually Aria felt the arms of her lover circle around her waist. Chandra buried her face into her hair, and Aria just relished the affection and adoration that she received from the woman in front of her.

Her rock, her protector, her savior was falling apart in her arms and before her eyes. Through the social backlash of their marriage, through the crazy waves that the music industry made in her life, Chandra was always there, letting her lean gently upon her whenever necessary. Now she would be the one to provide the same warmth and comfort to her.

The feeling of lips upon her neck sent a shiver down her back, and she let her hands run freely through the blonde tresses in front of her.


***

 

I am really proud of you, Britanny and am looking forward to your “classified” future lesfic story.  People here are talking about “Languish.”  Below is a review by Boundless Book Reviews.
 
Brittany's Review



Thank you, Brittany for stopping by to chat today.  "Languish" is not light drama so you're going to need to set aside some time to read.  The action is intense and sometimes made my head spin.  Not to mention that the plot is chilling and sent tingles down my spine.  The author does a wonderful job with one of the supporting characters.  Her descriptions were graphic and at times I cringed.  Needless to say my emotions got involved.  The entire story was well thought out.  For those of you who enjoy thrillers, this one is for you.


Here are Brittany's links for you to check out: 
Brittany's Goodreads page
 
Brittany's Amazon Author Central page
 

 
 
 
 
 

 

Until Next Time,


Lynn

 
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