Please join me in welcoming romantic suspense author Lauren Hope to SOS Aloha!
Lauren's been reading her whole life and is thrilled to finally have her name on the cover. Novels (especially romance) became an intregral part of her life in high school and college, and she had a stash of them with her on many journey's-counseling Girl Scouts at a summer camp, studying abroad in Italy, and while obtaining a B.S. degree in Communication. After a tiring run as a news anchor, Lauren decided to write her own stories. Her life became like the romances she so loved when a childhood friend reentered, grown-up, handsome and taking her heart. She and her husband, Michael, live in a small town in middle Tennessee with a big yard, an even bigger love, and their four-legged baby named Jade.
Kim: Aloha, Lauren! Tell us about your road to be a published author. What influenced you to write romantic suspense?
Lauren: My road to publishing, like most, is an intricate one ... and I hope it's not over yet! I feel like I'm still on the journey. But the best way to explain about my initial break into the publishing world is to direct readers to my website where I wrote two posts on How It All Began. Clicking here will take you to parts One and Two: http://www.laurenhope.net/search?q=how+it+all+began. It explains how the process works from initial idea, to getting it all down on paper, to signing your first contract.
My influences came from my mother (who taught me to read and love it), and the just the joy of reading about two people who find each other, fall in love, and beat the odds (especially if the odds include a bad guy). Some of my favorite authors were also a great inspiration too. I wanted to make people feel like they made me feel when I read their stories. I like to escape, be entertained, go to another world. That's what books do for me.
Kim: What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie?
Lauren: Samoas! Yummy! Although in the last few years I have found out I am allergic/intolerant to dairy ... so my favorite Girl Scout goody will probably not be in my future. :(
Kim: What did you learn from counseling at Girl Scouts that you can apply to publishing?
Lauren: Lots of problem solving skills and patience. My cabin of girls each week were 11 and 12 year olds, so needless to say, I was a mediator many a nights. I learned quite a lot about understanding, listening, and learning to compromise ... and gained good story material for later use. :)
Kim: Tell us about Italy - where? What is your favorite dish? Italian saying? Historical place?
Lauren: Italy was incredible. It is beautiful, charming, and definitely a gorgeous place to visit. I lived there for two months (a week in Rome, the remaining time in Florence, and visited numerous other cities).
Fave dish: I had a pasta dish there with some kind of mushroom sauce that was so good I wanted to cry. Really. It was that good.
Italian saying: "Ciao Bella." It has a great ring to it.
Historical Place: Cinque Terra. It stands for "Five Lands." It is a remarkable piece of land on the coast of the Riviera with five small villages built into the mountainside. There's an ocean and mountaintops within the same view - incredible.
Kim: What are the challenges and rewards of being a reporter then anchor?
Lauren: Rewards: Doing what you love and what excites you. Being on-air. The adrenaline rush. Giving factual information to people who are seeking it.
Challenges: Lots of hours/odd hours, little pay. Also, the news has taken on such a negative tone - it's hard to hear all that day in and day out.
Kim: What did you learn from these experiences that you can apply to publishing?
Lauren: Rejection, accepting constructive criticism, and to keep on trying.
Kim: Tell us about The Shadow Series!
Lauren: The Shadow Series consists of two books, Hidden Shadows, the first in the series, and Chasing Shadows, its sequel.
They are both face-paced suspense stories that take you into the lives of Jenna Gregor and Bennett Aston in Hidden Shadows, and Ben's brother, Joseph, and his wife, Heidi, in Chasing Shadows.
With a failed marriage and bitter betrayal tucked in her suitcase of baggage, Jenna Gregor is admittedly cynical and pessimistic concerning men and the prospect of a lasting relationship. When Bennett Aston sweeps into her life like a sturdy gust of wind, she jumps to defend herself at every angle from his easy confidence, southern charm, and unnerving good looks.
But in the shadows of Jenna’s past lay deep secrets. And there, a mad woman lurks in the darkness, ready to ruin all Jenna holds dear. As life as Jenna knows it begins to unravel, she finds herself in a tangled web of lies, suspicion, and murder. She must look deep inside herself to find the courage for forgiveness, trust, and self-acceptance. Only then will she discover love, redemption, and ultimately, survival.
Heidi Aston is as surprised as anyone when her husband, who's been mysteriously gone for months, shows up in the delivery room just as she's giving birth to their baby. A baby he didn't even know existed. When newborn Lilly is brutally kidnapped days later, Heidi is given no choice but to join forces with her estranged husband, Joseph, in a wild and terrifying journey to find their baby. In time, Heidi finds that Joseph's absence was not only mysterious but suspicious, as well. And to top it all off, they are dealing with one unorthodox kidnapper. As two lost hearts and souls search for love again, as well as their newborn child, their journey will take all the courage they can muster for there to be any hope of getting their four-day-old infant back alive.
Each book is about overcoming adversity, facing your own fears, having the courage to stand up for what you believe in, and through it all, trying to find what most of us are searching for ... love.
Both books received enthusiastic reviews. I had so much fun writing them and only hope readers enjoy the journey as much as I have.
Please go to my website, http://www.laurenhope.net/, where you can find excerpts from both books and links to buy them in e-book or print. If you have any more questions for me, I'll be glad to answer them! Happy Reading!
Mahalo, Lauren, for visiting us at SOS Aloha! In honor of her visit, I am giving away one copy of Chasing Shadows to a randomly selected commenter. To enter the book giveaway,
1. Contact Kelley at Columbussos@gmail.com to join Operation Holiday Card. It is our goal to ensure that 1000 deployed airmen, marines, sailors, soldiers, and Coast Guardsmen receive a holiday card.
I am promoting Operation Holiday Card through November 12 - if you have signed up, thank you!
2. Check out Mary's blog, http://www.marygramlich.blogspot.com./ Mary is the Reading Reviewer and my SOS partner. She graciously volunteered to serve as my shipping agent for the TWRP spotlight.
3. Leave a comment about Lauren, Girls Scouts Cookies, Italy, and romantic suspense.
The book giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only. Comments will be open through November 9 for the book giveaway.
Join us tomorrow as we welcome historical romance author Lisa Hill, http://www.lisa-hill.com/.
Kim in Hawaii
I found this informative article about Girl Scout turned aviation pioneer Marguerite Gambo at http://www.girlscouts-hawaii.org/RaisingVoicesLeadershipProfiles.html:
"Marguerite Gambo Wood was born in Montana in 1912 and raised by her grandmother in Honolulu. She was very involved in her Girl Scout Troop for many years. The first time she saw an airplane in the sky, an Aeronca, she knew what she wanted to do with her life ....
Marguerite was taught to fly in 1937 by aviation legends Robert Tyce and P.I. “Pappy” Gun. She received her commercial pilot’s license in July of 1939. A short time later she purchased a Meyers biplane from the factory to go with the Aeronca trainers she already had, leased some space at John Rogers airport (later called Honolulu International Airport) and built the first privately-owned hanger there. She opened Gambo Flying Service, her first flying school that year.
Years later, on the morning of December 7, 1941, Marguerite was in the air with a student when she saw the Japanese airplanes headed for their attack on Pearl Harbor and said later that she thought they were U.S. Navy aircraft carrying on training exercises. Her chief mechanic, Billy Halloway, was frantically waving her to the flight line where she parked and shut off her power. He grabbed her out of the airplane and pushed her into a ditch with him at the edge of the runway. He told her what was going on just as the first Zero swooped down and rained bullets from one end of the runway to the other. Ruined planes were staggered unevenly like wounded birds. Her former teacher and friend, Bob Tyce was the first civilian killed on Oahu and the only one killed at the airport December 7, 1941.
Another plane was in the air early that morning. Roy Vitousek and his son Martin, in an aircraft rented from Marguerite, were spotted and fired upon by Japanese aircraft but managed to escape without serious damage. That Aeronca airplane has been restored and now hangs inside the entry of the Pacific Aviation Museum, Ford Island, Pearl Harbor."
My in laws - volunteers at the National Museum of the Air Force - are visiting us in late December. I shall take them to the Pacific Aviation Museum to see the restored aircraft from that fateful day in 1941.