Brian Paone

Author // Musician

Special guest, author Laurie Gardiner

Today’s special guest on my page is author Laurie Gardiner, whose short story, “Don’t Forget Me,” was just published in the anthology A Contract of Words, which features 28 authors from all over the world, including my new short story, "Two Gunslingers." Here is what she had to say about life, writing, and her story:

1. Besides writing, what is one thing you couldn't live without? Chocolate. And my family.

2. What was your inspiration for your story? The song "Don't Forget Me" by Harry Nilsson.

3. If a genie could grant you 3 wishes, what would you wish for? 1.World peace (seriously) 2.A lifetime of happiness 3.More wishes

4. Has reading influenced your decision to be a writer? What book(s) made you want to write? Definitely. I've always loved reading. There are too many to choose just one, but any book that is well-written and makes me feel something inspires me to write.

5. Would you describe your writing process? For example, do you write in a specific place, have music playing or is that a no-no, lean toward outlining specifics, or are you a pantster? I generally write at home, in silence, but if I'm writing a story inspired by a song I listen to it on repeat during certain scenes. I don't outline for short stories, but for novels I need to have at least a basic outline.

6. When faced with the dreaded “writers block”, how do you push through and find inspiration? Is there a ritual or process you have to get yourself back on track? Not really. I write when I'm inspired to.

7. Did you know how your story would end when you started writing it? If not, did plans change while writing or did you improvise when you arrived? I had no idea how it would end until I wrote the ending.

8. If a movie were to be made of your story and you were in charge of casting, who would play your characters? Who would direct? I have no idea. Believe it or not, it's not something I ever think about.

9. How close did your story end up being to the original concept you had in your mind? What were the biggest changes? Why did you make them? "Don't Forget Me" is based loosely on the song, so the concept grew from that. It ended up being pretty close to the original concept.

10. What book were you reading when you thought, This stuff sells??? Oh, hell, I can do that…I'd rather not name any, but I've read books that left me wondering how they were ever published. On the flip side, I've also read books that left me spellbound and inspired, wishing I could write half as well.

11. Did you have to do any odd research for your story? How did you conduct that research, and then how was it used in your story? Nothing too out of the ordinary for this story.

12. If you could pick one place to sit and write, where would it be? Near water; it's where I'm most at peace.

13. How closely do you relate to/identify with your characters? What inspired them? Did they take over your story or did you direct them? The characters in "Don't Forget Me" are nothing like me. Most of my characters are loosely based on people I know or a combination thereof. They do take on a life of their own, but I'm always directing.

14. What do you consider your all time favorite novel? One that you would read again and again? It's a toss up between To Kill a Mockingbird, Flowers for Algernon, and All the Light We Cannot See.

15. How much of your writing is outlined from the beginning and how much of it is ‘pantsed’ or written on the fly? My short stories are written almost completely on the fly. 

16. What are your favorite snack-as-you-write or eat-as-you write foods? How do they help your creative flow or process? I rarely eat when I'm writing, but if I do, it's apples and cheese, or dark chocolate. I find it hard to concentrate when I'm hungry, so I try to eat regularly.

17. How is your ACOW story typical or atypical of your writing in general? "Don't Forget Me" is typical of my writing niche, which is contemporary drama with mature, female characters.

You can order on Amazon (worldwide), Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, or get a FREE companion soundtrack CD if you order through Scout Media’s online store here: A CONTRACT OF WORDS.

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