T. Jefferson Parker On Knowing When To Leave A Character Behind

Mindy:             Today's guest is T. Jefferson Parker, the bestselling author of 13 standalone noir crime novels as well as three separate series featuring the characters Merci Rayborn, Charlie Hood, and his latest Roland Ford. He joined me today to talk about knowing when it's time to create a new character as well as the bittersweetness of leaving an old one behind.

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Mindy:             We're here to talk about The Last Good Guy, which is your third book in the Roland Ford series. So you've created quite a few series that focus on an individual investigator. So when do you know that it's time to create a new one?

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Parker:             Good question. Yeah, yeah. I have, I have written I guess three series now about different eh, heroines and heroes. I feel like sometimes that the character has, has reached her or his maximum level of entertainment value and want their job to be done. They have, you know, reached a point in the series of books where the reader will feel satisfied that they know that character well enough and it's time to, you know, move on to another one. I think essentially as long as I'm deeply interested in the character, then I always feel like there's going to be another book in there and at some point it's going to be time to say, that's enough. I'm going to end this. And I'm going to go onto the next character.

Mindy:             Do you ever miss the ones that you've walked away from?

Parker:             Yeah, I do. Sometimes ones that I walk away from or characters who die at the end of the book, you know, I miss them and I go, Gosh, I wish she was still here. I wish he was still here. In terms of the characters, the series leaders, Roland or like Charlie Hood or MercI Rayborn. I do miss them when they're gone. And when people go to book signings and do tours and stuff and they ask about, are you going to write about Silent Joe again? I know I'm not. And yet I always say, well, you know, probably not, but I'd kinda like to. And that's, and that's true.

Mindy:             Yeah, absolutely. I have, uh, characters in some of my own books that have open endings and people will say, are you going to write another one? I want to know what happens. I mean, more than likely, no, I'm probably not going to return to that series because that particular genre is no longer a viable genre. Um, but that's a horrible answer to a reader.

Parker:             It is. That's the writer's answer.

Mindy:             Exactly. Exactly. That's an industry answer. Whereas they're asking me about a character that they care about as a human being and I'm just like, well, you know, the money just isn't there.

Parker:             Yeah. And you want to be with that character. You want your readers to ask about those characters that go, well, what about Merci? Or what about Joe or whatever. You got them where you want them and it's just so nice to have characters that people care about and then you can't do what they want, which is to bring them back again cause you're doing something else. I mean, I literally stopped writing Merci Rayborn books. I wrote three of them in all, it was only three, but still it's a lot of writing about one character. I literally stopped that series, brought that series to a halt so that I could write Silent Joe, which was a story that just sort of presented itself to me. And I saw this character. I had to write this book and I had to say goodbye to Merci in order to write that book and then that book led to another book. There's too many good characters to get to.

Mindy:             And you do have to follow inspiration once you have it. Ignoring it is folly.

Parker:             You can't because, no. As you know, I mean that's what gets you through the year of work that it takes you to write one of these books. It takes a long time and you need lots of inspiration to keep you at work

Mindy:             Coming up, the importance of setting in fiction and how to create a place readers want to return to.

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Mindy:             I want to talk about setting a little bit. You are a California native and all of your books reflect that. So you have just deep California roots in all of the books. And the setting is really imperative often to everything that's going on. I mean, not only as a backdrop, but also as a character itself in many ways. So if you could talk about that for a little bit. I've always found literature of place very highly compelling.

Parker:             Yeah, me too. Me too. As a reader, you know, my first demand is, is I want to know where I am, what day it is, what time it is, what's going on, where I am geographically, you know, I don't care where, I just want to have a really firmly rooted grasp of, of where I'm at. And, uh, and as a writer, I've found over my many years of doing this that I really love, writing about where I am. So my first few books take place in, in Laguna Beach, California where I was living at the time that I wrote them. And then a couple about Newport Beach, California, and then Tustin, California. These are all places I've lived. And then a little bit in LA. And then when I moved down here to San Diego County, to Fallbrook, almost 20 years ago, my books followed south, you know, down into San Diego County and down into Fallbrook where I live now.

Parker:             I love being able to go out into my little town. I live in Fallbrook now and look at the streets and the people and talk with people and do my errands. And do my stuff and see the marines from Pendleton, which is right next door coming and going to our wars and stuff and talking to them. I love being able to, to make this little town real, you know, and it, it really informs the books. The setting is so important and, and as you said, it's not just window dressing, it's, it's the fabric of the life that you're living here and, uh, reflecting the world around you. In a small town like this, you get to write about the world around you, through the small hometown eyes, if you will, and I treasure that. I think it's something that readers like. I think I like this place, even if they've never been here.

Mindy:             I'm from the Midwest, I'm from Ohio. It's interesting to me how often I see country life, especially the Midwest and also Appalachia represented completely inaccurately. Would you say California, and at least as a Midwesterner, you automatically have an idea and it might be wrong. So do you see California or especially small town California represented accurately in books, movies, television?

Parker:             Yeah. Good question. You know, California is really a whole bunch of little tiny microcosms, all the same place at the same time. My California if you will, Fallbrook. Okay. It's San Diego County, 37,000 people. We call ourselves the avocado capital of the world, proudly. And we have lots of citrus and Avocados and commercial nurseries. Fragrant, floral, little place. Woodsy. Homes are kind of tucked away. And it's very much a mom and pop town. It's not a bunch of franchises. Joe's hardware. Bicycle shop that specializes in bicycles and vacuum cleaners.

Parker:             Quirky, quirky little world that I live in, you know, which is completely unrelated to Los Angeles even though Los Angeles is only an hour and a half drive from here. So, so to answer your question, I think a lot of the writers I know are neighbors. I know Don Winslow and I know Mike Connolly and I know Robert Crais and those guys write about their little pockets of California, I think really brilliantly. So I don't often read a novel. Did I go, Oh God, that's, that's nothing like it really is. I think for the most part, people writing about California are getting their little portion of it, right.

Mindy:             Ohio is usually wrong. And I say that as like from a really small town like population 2000, when I see it represented and I'm a farmer's daughter, grew up farming. Farming is never right ever in movies. I have a huge problem with the way cornfields are represented. They love the way it looks, but they're never doing it right. The cinematic shots of the green corn is beautiful and everyone loves it, but they're never interacting with it appropriately. Like ever.

Parker:             That's a crackup. Do you know my mother was a farmer's daughter only child. She grew up in Kenton, Ohio. Grandma, Grandpa May, Elmer and May were corn farmers. So I know exactly what you're talking about.

Mindy:             There isn't really anything quite like a corn field when you're out in it. Basically, you know, they have the animal wranglers and gun wranglers for movies they need to bring a farmer in.

Parker:             They should, they should.


Mindy:             We're here to talk about The Last Good Guy. The book features white supremacy. So it's timely, but unfortunately it's also evergreen. Did the news cycle inspire you at all with this or was this a, an idea that had been cooking?

Parker:             You know, it's an idea that had been cooking forever in my little brain pan and I've written about it before I kind of hatched this book around the time the Charlottesville protest turned deadly. I've always been interested in hate and you know, white supremacy and any version of that kind of thinking. Growing up in southern California, you know, weirdly enough southern California is correctly known as the liberal bastion, but, but back to the idea of little microcosms living together, you know, there's all, there's a long and sort of infamous, uh, a string of white supremacists who have lived and operated and agitated from southern California, from San Diego County where I live from Fallbrook, where I live. I mean there's a notorious one. Yeah, I've always been interested in those people and what they do, they make great, bad guys and what they're doing. Is it timely? Unfortunately it is evergreen now. I mean, they're up to it again. Just open the news and check it out. And there they are.

Mindy:             I'm curious about your research. So when you're researching something that is obviously difficult, I have a duty as a writer to get into the mind frame of even your villains. So you know, how, how does that research work when you're dealing with something that is, you know, uncomfortable?

Parker:             I don't feel uncomfortable when I brush up against those kinds of people and those kind of ideas. Some people scare me. I've been to supermax prisons and talked to people in those prisons and they scare the living daylights out of me. And there's bars between us. These kinds of organized, you know, haters, political extremists and stuff. I can tolerate that. I don't finish the book feeling like I blighted myself, you know, I mean, I've written about some really dark people back mid career. I wrote some really scary books. A couple of them. I literally felt like, you know, taking a hot shower at the end of the day after I'd spent eight hours creating these characters and telling these stories and it the left, uh, you know, a bristling sort of bad feeling on my skin. I don't feel that way anymore. Maybe just because I'm older and feel a little tougher.

Parker:             And so much of the research I do now is, is online and is videos and people are so eager now, you know, to reveal themselves and to tell you what they're doing. I mean, you can go online and see anybody doing anything at any time practically, you know, I mean, you can watch cartel torture if you want to. There's that distance too. I think I'm seeing these people and listening to these people, these, these haters kind of BS philosophy that they spout on about, I feel like I can take it now. I don't feel quite so, so tainted by it all.

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Mindy:             And it's interesting too. You mentioned doing the research online. You have a fourth wall, you know, there's a screen. You know that it's real, but at the same time you're watching a screen. And so even though it is very different from sitting across from someone and talking to them about their activities or their past, I think it's interesting talking about dark topics and diving into the research. My most recent book is about the opioid crisis. So I'm like, Hey, you know, we've got the Internet and boy, you're right. You really can find anyone doing anything. I did so much research and was simultaneously highly alarmed at how easy it was for me as a novice to learn so much about how to do like step by step youtube videos about how to tie off and find a vein. And I'm so grateful for those as a writer and yet disturbed as a human. Yeah,

Parker:             I totally hear you, Mindy. I, I've been there too. Yeah.

Mindy:             And people, you know, asked me similar questions. Uh, how do you write such dark topics? You know, the truth is it doesn't bother me either. So when I answer the question that way, sometimes I'm like, oh, did that, do I sound a little off now?

Parker:             It doesn't bother me at all. Yeah, you can't really say that then and it's not quite true, but I, I know what you mean. You're a reporter in, in a lot of ways. I think while all of us are novelists, I mean we're creating stories, at heart we're kind of journalists and we kind of have a cold eye for the facts.

Mindy:             Yeah, very true. I feel very much more like a funnel than anything. Things pass through it. They don't stay inside.

Mindy:             Lastly, what has changed in publishing over time and how to stay invigorated as a writer?

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Mindy:             So you have been publishing for quite a while since the mid eighties is that right?

Parker:             Yeah. 85 exactly. 31 years worth,

Mindy:             You have been in writing and publishing for a really long time. Um, what has changed for you? Like in the industry,

Parker:             The industry? This is writer to writer now.

Mindy:             Yeah.

Parker:             The Internet has revolutionized the world really. And certainly our jobs, you know, the research that we do changed immensely. I guess more specifically though, um, I'm proud to have seen novels especially, but books in general have survived the digital age. We're still writing and we're still reading and, and kindles did not take over the world. And even that's still reading, you know, in spite of the mountains and mountains of entertainment that you can get, gaming and TVs and in movie theaters. In spite of all of that, much of which is really quite good, our little books hang in there and they survive and they move people in ways only books can. I'm proud to be a part of a genre that I write in, you know, the noir and the crime writing that goes back, uh, you know, maybe all the way back to Edgar Allen Poe if you believe the scholars. I think books have weathered the great storm and books will be with us forever.

Mindy:             I agree. I mean, we started with oral storytelling, passing it down and, you know, we're still here. From the creative end. Do you ever get tired or are you ever worn out?

Parker:             Yeah, I get tired. I get tired. Um, but I gotta admit Mindy, I really kinda like what I do. I always tell students this, young people, you know, writing, if you want to be a writer, don't forget that writing should be fun. And I don't mean fun all the time. I don't mean fun all day. I don't mean every day. But I mean there, there has to be a point where you write a sentence and you sit back and look at it and go, that is a good sentence and I take satisfaction in doing that. You know, and a good sentence becomes a good page and a good page becomes a good chapter. And the draw of creativity, you know, that funny state you get in as a writer where you're funneling just like you said, you know, you're funneling things from the outside, mashing it through your brain and then your fingers and then onto the screen and then onto the page is really kind of magical.

Parker:             I like that a lot. Um, it's exhausting too, for me, get to the point where I can begin writing a book. The hardest part of writing for me is not writing. You know what? I'm sitting around trying to hatch a story idea, make a story work, you know, in my brain and, and okay, I know I got Roland and he lives here in Fallbrook and he's going to get another case and you know, what's it going to be? What am I going to do? You know? And I'll spend weeks and months in that weird state. You probably do too. You're waiting for the story to coagulate just enough so that you can begin writing it. And then once I begin writing, then I'm pretty happy.

Mindy:             Yeah, it's true. I get tired of being behind my screen so much, almost in a meditative state when you are writing and it's um, you know, it cuts you off from the outside world when you're good writing happens, but it also cuts you off from other people. Can make me a little bit unhappy if I am stuck inside in my own mind in front of a laptop. But when I'm not writing, I'm also very grumpy and unhappy.

Parker:             Oh, there you go. Can't win either way.

Mindy:             No, you have to get it out or else, uh, you know, it's, it'll explode. So that's, it's just a process thing for me. And it sounds like it's similar for you, so I'm going to let you go because I know you've got another interview lined up.

Parker:             Okay. Well, it's been really good talking to you, Mindy. Congrats on your success, your Edgar, and just very cool.

Mindy:             Yes. Thank you so much and congrats to you and this, uh, new series. I'll be diving into those,

Parker:             This new one, as a writer. I think it will grab you on page one when you read it. Anyway, have fun. Awesome. Thank you so much.


Research For The Orphan's Song Plus Writing For Adults Vs. Teens with Lauren Kate

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Mindy:             Welcome to Writer, Writer Pants On Fire. Where authors talk about things that never happened to people who don't exist. We also cover craft, the agent hunt, query trenches, publishing industry, marketing, and more. I'm your host Mindy McGinnis. You can check out my books and social media at MindyMcGinnis.com and make sure to visit the Writer, Writer Pants On Fire blog for additional interviews, query critiques, and more at writerwriterpantsonfire.com

Mindy:             If the blog or podcast have been helpful to you or if you just enjoy listening, please consider donating. Visit writerwriterpantsonfire.com and click support the blog and podcast in the sidebar.

Mindy:             Today's guest is Lauren Kate, the number one New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the Fallen novels, the Teardrop novels and The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove. Her books have been translated into more than 30 languages. Kate joined me today to talk about the inspiration for her newest adult historical, The Orphan’s Song.

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Mindy:             We're here talking about The Orphan's Song by Lauren Kate which is a historical, it is set in Venice in 1736. So I was curious about why that location and that specific time period?

Lauren:            The story kind of jumped out at me. I was on a book tour for another novel about three, four years ago. I was in Venice and I was returning one night from an event to the apartment where I was staying with my husband and my two really little children at the time and I was trying to get home to them and I ended up getting really lost, which if you've ever been to Venice, it's just kind of like a rite of passage as a tourist there. I found myself before this big building, this stone compound called The Hospital of the Incurables and all the streets surrounding this building were named for it: The alley of the Incurables and the Bridge of the Incurables, and there was just something so content and romantic about the sound of that name.

Lauren:            I wanted to know what the building was and who the incurables had been. So I did a little bit of research on that trip and the stuff that I found out about this place, it drew me in so completely. For about 500 years, starting in the 15th century until the fall of the republic, which happens at the end of the 17th century, this building was an orphanage for families and children who were trained to become musicians who played instruments and sang in the church choir. And in the era of my novel, which is like the middle of the 18th century, like 1737 they are the most famous musicians in the world. So not only are these orphan girls attracting like the best maestros and composers to write music and teach them like Vivaldi, - Vivaldi, got his career teaching these orphan girls - they are also like a tourist destination.

Lauren:            If you're a wealthy gentleman in England, when you come of age, you go on something called the grand tour, go to Rome to see the Vatican. You go to Florence to see the David and then you go to Venice to hear the orphans sing. They were kind of rock stars of their day. I loved the idea of these children with unfortunate and heartbreaking circumstances rising to prominence and wealth and extreme musical prowess. I was struck by one element. Joining the choir as one of these girls, you had to sign an oath that basically signed your life away to the church. You are not allowed to leave the church. If you became a member of the choir, you weren't allowed to step outside the walls of the compound, but for I think three or four times a year where they would go to just different churches and sing.

Lauren:            If you ever left the orphanage to get married or anything else, you could never sing or perform music again. That part of you belonged to the church. So of course I'm thinking about the rebel girl for whom that's just completely untenable and feels very stifling. She's got to find her way to resist this and break free.

Mindy:             So it's kind of like a cult in some ways.

Lauren:            In some ways it is because there was such a draw to become one of these musicians. It was the best thing that could happen to you if you were an orphan. I mean that was the highest you could rise. You could rise really well above your station, you could make a lot of money, and you're getting love letters from famous people from all around the world and there were limits to it. There just wasn't a lot of personal freedom.

Mindy:             You are talking about these orphans being brought into this lifestyle and perhaps this didn't come into your research, but I'm curious, what about the orphans that did not have any musical talent?

Lauren:            They were resigned to a much drearier life. They still often stayed at the orphanage until they were about 40 years old. At which point they quote unquote retired to a nunnery. They would sew the garments for the girls in the choir. They would prepare their meals, serve as the nurses to the babies who would grow up to become girls in the choir. The whole focus of the work in the orphanage was to further the musical careers of this select group of girls. There was an audition process and if you didn't make it, you were stuck doing the drudge work for the rest of your life.

Mindy:             So like support staff for the choir.

Lauren:            Exactly.

Mindy:             You mentioned getting love letters then from famous people basically, fans as well. I'm assuming then that there is a sexual element that can come into play then with these young girls, yet they are in many ways the property of the church. So how is that juggled?

Lauren:            In this era, first of all, it was considered really uncouth to perform on a stage. Like opera singers were kind of in the same sphere as prostitutes. It was not a noble thing to do even though people love to go see the opera. You didn't want your daughter to grow up and be an opera singer if you were in the upper class, except for these girls because of the way the church restricted every aspect of their lives, they were considered very pure, very holy, like they were singing in the image of the vestal virgins. They were protected when they would step into the church to sing. They sang in an elevated balcony that overlooked the church and it was protected by like a brass grate decorated with all sorts of flowers and blossoms and fruit, which really was meant to serve as a protector from the male gaze of churchgoers.

Lauren:            They wanted to be heard but not seen, but you could arrange a meeting if you wanted to marry one of them and you were wealthy. You could arrange a meeting with like the prioress of the church and she would let you come and you know, talk to the girl and see if you liked her. Again, not a lot of freedom for most of these women who grew up in this church, but this was an extremely hedonistic era in Venice masquerades and decadent parties that would sometimes go on for months and everybody's wearing masks all the time. Like not just to parties, but just going about your day and going to buy a piece of fish for dinner in the market. You're wearing a mask. It was a time of like decadence and anonymity and really wild, all sorts of wild activities. So these girls are an anomaly in this era because they were so pious and so sheltered. Again, that's going to drive a couple of them crazy and send them sneaking out into the middle of the night and seeing what else they can find in Venice.

Mindy:             Wow, that's fascinating. So in the book there's this wonderful dichotomy between what their lives are like as the choir members and as these girls that are very much the images of the vestal virgins and the pious singers. Then also they're existing in this world that is very sexual in many ways and it's a really wonderful dichotomy between those two worlds, these girls - the ones that are sneaking out - then are bridging. Talk about that for a little bit, how they are processing that as characters.

Lauren:            Okay, so Violetta she's the main, um, she's the female protagonist in the story. There are several nights where she sneaks out and one of the first nights she joins up with sort of band of revelers on the street and they lead her to this masquerade where she enters into this like a really codified process of celebrating a night. There were certain kinds of masks that you would wear for certain kinds of evenings you wanted to have. There was a mask called the moretta, which was an entirely black mask with two holes for the eyes and nothing for the mouth. There was no ribbon that attached this mask to the back of the head the way most most masks, you know, you picture, they're just tied on the back of your head. This one had no ribbon. It stayed affixed to the face because on the inside of the mouth there was a black button and the person who wore this mask was only women.

Lauren:            The woman who wore this mask bit on the button to keep it in place. So not only was your face hidden, but you were rendered basically fully mute the whole evening. And when I first learned about that, it made me feel suffocated. It felt like how restrictive, what subjugation. I was talking to the Venetian historian who led me through Venice when I was doing a lot of my research and she said, no, no, this was considered extremely erotic for them because the voice was something to be protected, something to be valued. You didn't share it, you didn't speak just to anyone. It was something that you only did when you were very intimate with someone. So you might dance with any number of men at a masquerade, but you're only going to drop that mask if you're ready to share your voice, your face, your everything was someone.

Mindy:             Oh, that's fascinating. I like it. And of course a lovely parallel between their voice when they're singing.

Lauren:            Yeah. Yeah. So I mean for Violetta especially, she is trying to really go under cover, she doesn't want anyone to hear her voice, so she is quite tempted by the lure of the moretta mask.

Mindy:             Coming up, what differences, if any, there are in writing for the adult versus the ya market.

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Mindy:             You also write at least two truly historical characters in The Orphan’s Song. There is Vivaldi as well as another composer. You say that you took your characters names actually from the roles of the students, is that correct?

Lauren:            Obviously we have lots of information. We have Vivalid's music and we have his biography. We have a lot about him, but these women for as famous as they were in their era, history overlooked them. And so to go back and search through these archives, they're orphans so that you know you can't even trace their families, but they were known by their first name and the instrument that they played. So people would, if you're going to go to Venice and see these orphans, you'd say, I'm going to go hear Laura of the Violin or Anna of the Oboe, Violetta of the Angel's Voice. These were names that I came across flipping through these big old archives and I just, I wanted to bring them to life.

Mindy:             So, so cool. The research involved when writing about an actual historical person, whether it's Vivaldi or anyone, really when you're writing about a person that is fairly well known in the average reader's mind when it comes to someone who is already famous - any reservations about writing about a real person?

Lauren:            Yes, and I think that that's probably why Vivaldi is a shadow figure in the novel. We never really see him in the flesh. We do meet Nikola Porpora who was the maestro at the incurables. The reader is not intimate with him. The characters are not really intimate with him. I like the backbone of a historical novel. I like being able to do a lot of research and really situate a story within a world that was real. But I also like freedom for my characters to surprise me, and I know that if I have a real historical character that I'm writing up as a protagonist, I worry about that. I worry about how much freedom I would be able to let her have to surprise me to go left when I wanted her to go right. If I'm trying to adhere to like some real personal history, so there's something nice and freeing about having invented characters in a real historical setting.

Mindy:             Yes, absolutely. When you're writing about a real person, you are, as you're saying, restricted by what you can have them do and where they can even be most times, especially if it's a very famous person, their lives have been researched so thoroughly that they can actually pin down where they were or where they probably were at any given time. You don't have the ability to even move them around a global map, perhaps the way that you want them to, and it restricts your own setting. It also restricts you in that you may have a reader that picks up this book because they are - not particularly this book - but picks up any book because they are interested in Vivaldi or whomever, and then when they pick up your book and you have a detail that is incorrect about their life. That reader that is going to either feel misled or definitely feel like you have perhaps not done your research.

Lauren:            Yes. Yeah, and sometimes I think too about, right now I'm working on another book and it's set during the American civil war. Again with with the female characters for whom there's not a lot of documented history. I feel a sense of freedom but with male characters who were quite famous - one of the characters I'm writing about is a civil war general on the union side. I'm not writing about Ulysses S. Grant, his name is General Hooker, Joseph Hooker, so he's famous in some circles and lesser known in other circles, but I think you know he, he does have descendants who are carrying on his history in a specific way. You want to just do right by the history of these real people and that does, it limits what you can do with them.

Mindy:             The restrictions in writing about a real human being. Those are a very real thing. So I wanted to ask you also about your YA novels. I myself am aa YA writer and you broke into YA in a very big way a few years back. So now that you are coming out with The Orphan's Song, which is an adult historical title, I just wondered about your process when it came to writing adult versus YA. How did you go about writing differently or did you not? Did you just write the story that you had inside of you?

Lauren:            The latter. I just wrote the story. In some ways the processes is exactly the same. It's still very hard for me to get a first draft out. I still struggle with showing enough of the characters interiority, you know, the things that are challenging to me about writing are constant unfortunately. You know, I think one of the differences really, I would say the only difference between something that's geared for a YA audience and something that's not necessarily is the scope that the story will look at is going to be more focused in a YA novel. Even though The Orphan's Song has characters who are teenagers for much of the book, the book looks at a larger historical context and it looks at characters in different moments of their life than would be interesting to just a teen reader. As a writer of YA books, you'll understand this as well and probably some of the listeners who enjoy YA books understand this, but there's something really brilliant and focused about like the narcissism of being a teenager and like not caring at all about your mom's hopes and dreams and aspirations and as a writer that lets you get very close to one character's psyche, which I think can make a great, an enjoyable experience as a reader and a writer. I think it's just zooming out a little bit is the feeling of writing a non YA novel for me.

Mindy:             Very cool. No, that makes absolute sense to me. I also was thinking in terms as I read the book, in terms of it being a historical for adults, I've often noticed in historical writing for adults that there is desire on the part of the readership, that particular readership, they like description more. They want to feel that investment of the surroundings, but also clothing from what I understand of the historical adult audience is that they like that description more than the traditional YA audience does.

Lauren:            Yeah. I think my writing style, I'm sure it's changed, but I think it's always been maybe more descriptive in general anyway. You know, my young adult fantasy novels are quite, the setting of them is quite palpable. It's, is its own character and I spend a lot of time letting the protagonist inhabit like a very physical world that almost like sticks to your skin. I agree that like a lot of the YA novels I read, it's more about character and it's more about emotion.

Mindy:             Why don't you tell us where listeners can find you online and maybe a little bit more about what you're working on right now.

Lauren:            Yeah. So you can find me all over the place online. I'm on Twitter and Instagram at Lauren Kate books and Facebook, I think it's Lauren Kate author. My website is Lauren Kate books.net. I love to interact with readers and fellow book lovers online. So drop me a message or anybody out there listening. Yes. I spoke a little bit about what I'm working on now, but uh, in a nutshell, it's three prostitutes solving a mystery on the front lines of the civil war.

Mindy:             That's so awesome. I'm here for that in a big way.

Lauren:            Thank you, Mindy. This was wonderful. Thanks for having me.

Mindy:             Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire is produced by Mindy McGinnis. Music by Jack Korbel. Don't forget to check out the blog for additional interviews, writing advice and publication tips at www.writerwriterapantsonfire.com If the blog or podcast have been helpful to you, or if you just enjoy listening, please consider donating. Visit www.writerwriterpantsonfire.com and click support the blog and podcast in the sidebar.

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International Bestselling Author Jeffery Deaver On Using Setting as Character and His Newest Release - The Never Game

Today brings a special guest to the show. Number one internationally bestselling author Jeffery Deaver dropped by to talk about his newest release - The Never Game - which introduces a new series character, Colter Shaw. Also covered: character as setting, blending the world of survivalism with gaming, and writing a message without hitting your audience over the head with it.