It's Wednesday again, which means we have yet another Wednesday Debut Interview for you! Today Laura Salters
is telling us all about her New Adult Suspense novel, RUN AWAY
, which debuted yesterday!
First off, tell us a bit about yourself!
Okay! I’m a 24-year-old chatterbox with a coffee addiction. I come from the northernmost town in England, so I’m a proper northern girl. I’m a trained journalist and worked at a lifestyle magazine for two years after graduating. Addicted to Netflix, running and all things chocolate.
How would you describe RUN AWAY in one sentence? Where did the idea for this mystery come from?
One sentence?? That’s mean! How about this: When the love of Kayla’s life vanishes in Thailand, she returns to England with the niggling feeling that his disappearance is linked to another recent tragedy in her life—and with the help of her shrink and an ambitious detective, she’s determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.
The idea for the story was inspired by a few things. I was intrigued by the up-and-coming New Adult genre (college age characters and mature themes) but most of what I was reading was contemporary romance. Which is awesome, but I wanted something a little different. So I thought, what if we could combine this sexy romance with something darker and more suspenseful?
How long as this process taken for you, from the time that you began the first draft of this book until the date of its publication?
I started the first draft of RUN AWAY in July 2013 and finished eight weeks later in September. I signed with Suzie Townsend in April 2014, went through a lot of edits then sold my manuscript to Emily Krump at HarperCollins in September 2014. So I guess it was pretty fast!!
This book takes place in Thailand and England. Do you have any personal connection to these places? How did you research these settings?
The England portions of the novel are set in Northumberland, which is where I’ve lived since I was born, so I didn’t have to do much research for those scenes. However, I’ve never been to Thailand so that required a lot more thought. I used Lonely Planet a lot, but my favourite thing to do was to search for pictures of the locations on Pinterest or Instagram, then describe what I saw in my own words! It was so fun to do. I think I’ll always use exotic settings in my work.
What part of this book did you most enjoy writing?
Without a doubt the fun scenes when Kayla is in Thailand with her new group of friends. I loved writing the witty dialogue, romantic moments and drunken antics.
Every writer experiences some rejection and setbacks along the way. How did you learn to cope with them and move on?
I think you have to accept that it’s always going to be a part of the journey. I know a romcom author who’s had an incredibly successful career, publishing over 15 books, but she;s having a huge dry spell and hasn’t sold a project for years. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s part of the journey—it’ll always be an inherently subjective industry. I mainly get through it by drinking wine, cuddling my dog and visiting my best friend and lovely goddaughter.
How did you find your publisher? What makes them a good fit for you and your book?
Through my wonderful agent! She pitched it to Emily Krump, who works for HarperCollins imprints William Morrow and Witness Impulse, and thankfully she loved the book as much as we do. From day one she’s been so enthusiastic, calling RUN AWAY “highly addictive” and “pure entertainment”—so by the time I spoke to her on the phone for the first time (she’s based in New York), I already knew it was going to be a great fit. I was right!
Your book cover is very striking. Who designed it? How much say did you have in it?
Thank you! The wonderful design department at HarperCollins produced it. I had a lot of say, which was so awesome—I sent them a selection of covers I really loved, one of which was Beautiful Disaster. In the end, that hugely inspired our finished cover, but we used black, white and red to give it more of a suspenseful vibe. I adore it!
Tell us about your title. Was this the original title you'd had in mind? If not, what made you change it?
Oh, titles. My Achilles heel. I can’t quite emphasise enough how awful I am at thinking of titles. I think RUN AWAY was the sixth or seventh working title? It changed three times as I was writing until I settled on THE WING CLIPPER. When I signed with Suzie it became SPREAD YOUR WINGS AND FALL, then just AND FALL. It’s been a lot of different things! We wanted something punchy and gripping.
Can you tell us about some of the things you been working on between signing a contract for RUN AWAY and its release?
Sure! I’ve been working on another suspense novel called JUMP, which is set at a music festival in Serbia, plus I’ve been throwing myself into a YA fantasy series. I like to have lots of different things on the go at once. Currently fighting the urge to try my hand at screenwriting after I attended an amazing workshop through New Writing North!
How does it feel to finally have your book out in the hands of readers?
Terrifying. Surreal. Exciting. Nervewracking. Exhilarating.
Is there any other advice you'd like to pass on to others pursuing publication? Anything you would have done differently?
Just finish your manuscript. You wouldn’t get halfway through a marathon and think, “Well, I’ve got this far, but I think I could have done it better, so I’ll go back and do the first half again.” It’s the same with writing—don’t get halfway through a project and be tempted to go back and edit the first half. Reach the end. Once you have a first draft, then you can think about editing, restructuring and polishing. And don’t get disheartened! You’ve all heard the lines. “You can’t break into publishing unless you know someone.” “You’ll never make a living from writing.” “It’s not a real career.” Ignore them. Be positive. Be ruthlessly optimistic. Throw yourself into your passion.
And, just for fun, which book in your own library do you think would be your main character Kayla's favorite?
What a fun question!! I think she loves THE HUMANS by Matt Haig.
Thanks for the interview, Laura, and congrats on your debut!!