Absolutely! FIRSTS is my debut novel, but it’s the third book I’ve written. It was my first (pun always intended!) attempt at YA. It’s about Mercedes, a high school senior who gives her virgin classmates the opportunity to get their awkward first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time that she never had.
Are you a plotter or a free writer?
I consider myself a full-fledged pantser. When I wrote FIRSTS, all I had was the main character’s name—Mercedes—and the hook. I find that I do my best work when I don’t have an outline, because I get excited for what’s coming next—sometimes I don’t even know until I’m staring at the words, and a lot of the time I can’t figure out how they even got there! I love the freedom of pantsing. That said, I’m a firm believer that every project is different. I have yet to write anything as quickly and freely as I wrote FIRSTS.
Is your book part of a series or a standalone?
FIRSTS is a standalone. Although… never say never, I guess! I certainly wouldn’t mind spending another book with Mercedes in my head, or one of the other characters in the book.
Do you require silence when writing or do you listen to music?
A mixture of both. Sometimes music is distracting, other times it’s inspiring. I love writing to movie soundtracks. American Beauty is my all-time favorite. Or I’ll play one song on repeat and it’ll sort of become the “soundtrack” for the project I’m working on. For FIRSTS, that song was “Lover I Don’t Have to Love” by Bright Eyes.
Are you writing your next book? Can you share a little about it?
I am! Well, it’s actually finished now. It centers around Fiona, whose best friend disappears after an end-of-summer blowout party — a party at which Fiona did something that will have deeper consequences than she ever imagined. It’s all about the weight of a secret, and Fiona’s realization that secrets are the most valuable form of currency.
How long were you writing before getting a publishing contract?
I started writing seriously with the goal of getting published three years ago. I queried my first book—a NA contemporary—for close to a year before ultimately shelving it. I signed with my agent in April 2014 and got my book deal in October 2014, and I sent my first ever query letter for that NA contemporary on December 5, 2012—I still remember, because it was my dad’s birthday! So achieving my goal definitely didn’t happen overnight.
When does your book release?
January 5, 2016!
Laurie Elizabeth Flynn writes contemporary fiction for young adults. Her debut, FIRSTS, will be published by Thomas Dunne Books/St Martin’s Press on January 5, 2016.
Laurie went to school for Journalism, where the most important thing she learned was that she would rather write made-up stories than report the news. She also worked as a model, a job that took her overseas to Tokyo, Athens, and Paris.
Laurie now lives in London, Ontario with her husband Steve, who is very understanding when she would rather spend time with the people in her head. Laurie can mostly be found writing happily at her desk, with the world’s most spoiled Chihuahua on her lap. Laurie drinks way too much coffee, snorts when she laughs, and times herself when she does crossword puzzles.
Laurie is represented by the amazing Kathleen Rushall of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
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