Friday, April 14, 2023

#AtoZChallenge - L is for Laura Stegman

Operation Awesome 2023 #AtoZChallenge theme is interviews of established authors

Laura Segal Stegman

Laura Segal Stegman is a Los Angeles-based arts publicist and author whose middle grade debut novel, Summer of L.U.C.K., was published by Young Dragons Press. Two sequels, Ready or Not and The Chambered Nautilus, will follow.

A long-time publicity consultant, she owns Laura Segal Stegman Public Relations, LLC, which has represented a wide-ranging client list of businesses, arts organizations and non-profit events over the years. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UC Irvine with a B.A. in Drama. Laura and her husband live in Los Angeles and part-time in New York City. She loves reading, L.A. Dodgers baseball, classical music and theater.

1- What made you decide you wanted to be an author?

I’ve always been a big reader. Of all the books I read when I was a kid, there were five or six about family, friendship, and self-acceptance that I never forgot. These books and their characters taught me a lot, or touched me deeply, or made me laugh. And the more I read, the more books I discovered with kids who had some of the same problems I did, and I didn’t feel so alone. Years later when I thought about trying to write a novel, I knew right away it would be a middle grade story, one that I hoped would mean as much to kids today as those childhood books still mean to me.

2- In what category/genre do you write? Why?

I write middle grade fiction because it's set at a time of life when kids are developing a sense of who they are, which means you can tell extraordinary stories. I love the idea that middle grade readers can see themselves in the books they read and perhaps even come up with solutions to their problems.

3- What part of one of your stories was the most fun to write? The most challenging? (And which book/s are those in?)

I had a wonderful time creating the carnival rides in Summer of L.U.C.K. by researching a long-demolished amusement park from my childhood. There’s a scene in Summer of L.U.C.K. that takes place in a Hall of Mirrors, whose description is based on my memories of my favorite attraction at that amusement park.

After I finished the three books in the L.U.C.K. fantasy series, I started a contemporary middle grade that’s very different from the others. Because I’m a pantser – I don’t plan out my story in advance except very generally – it’s challenging to find myself going in a direction with the story that I hadn’t expected. When that happens, though, it ends up being a lot of fun!

4- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

Read widely. Write for the joy of it. Use good grammar. Learn all you can about showing, not telling. Remember that there’s no age limit to our dreams.

5- Do you work on more than one book at a time? Why or why not?

Other than working on publisher edits from a previously written book, NO! Once I begin a story, I’m dedicated to telling it from start to finish. My brain can deal with only one book at a time.

6- What do you love and hate most about being a published author?

There are so many things to love about being a published author, especially my sense of accomplishment that I persevered with Summer of L.U.C.K. for so many years because I believed in it. I also love when readers tell me how much my book’s stories, or characters, or lessons mean to them. I can’t think of anything I hate about being published, but I will say it’s always a challenge to promote myself and my work. I’ve had to get used to that big time!

7- Do you publish traditional, self, hybrid, other? Why?

Summer of L.U.C.K. is traditionally published by Young Dragons Press, which will also publish its two sequels. I like being traditionally published because, to me, it means someone else believes in my work.

8- What question are you dying to answer?

With two current contemporary middle grade books that riff on the story of The Parent Trap (House Swap by Yvette Clark and Bhai for Now by Maleeha Siddiqui), I’ve always hoped that someone would have noticed the several references in Summer of L.U.C.K. to my all-time favorite movie, The Parent Trap (the original with Hayley Mills). My question is: WHAT ARE THE MOST OBVIOUS REFERENCES IN SUMMER OF L.U.C.K. TO THE PARENT TRAP (THE ORIGINAL WITH HAYLEY MILLS)?

ANSWER: Here are two:
1)    Camp Inch, Summer of L.U.C.K.’s setting, is named for the camp in the movie.
2)    Susan and Sharon, two of main character Darby’s cabin mates, are named after the movie’s twin sisters.

9- Would you please ask our audience an intriguing question to answer in the comments?

If you could meet any character from a book, who would it be and why?

10- For our blog readers who haven't read anything by you, which of your books would you suggest they start with?

At this point in time (early 2023), Summer of L.U.C.K. is the only one published so far. It’s about Darby, Justin, and Naz finding their way to self-acceptance with the help of a ghost who haunts a magical carnival. Hopefully, readers will want to check out the two sequels, Ready or Not and The Chambered Nautilus, coming soon from Young Dragons Press. Ready or Not takes place the following summer when Justin, challenged by a bully who drives a rift between him and a good friend, faces a tricky choice: stand up for what's right in the face of bigotry or let fear hold him back. In The Chambered Nautilus, when parts of a Ferris wheel begin vanishing, Darby, Justin, and Naz must locate the ghost who's responsible. If they can’t get him back to rest before time runs out, their beloved magical carnival will close forever.

Laura & OA are conducting a giveaway for a paperback copy of her book Summer of L.U.C.K.!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#AtoZChallenge 2023
Please check out the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge
#AtoZChallenge 2023


Jemima Pett said...

That sounds great fun, and a lot better than some of the MG books Ive seen recently. But then, there are a huge amount of them around. Good luck to Laura with the publication of all three :)


Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

The premise for book three in the L.U.CK. series sounds awesome!

Ronel visiting for L:
My Languishing TBR: L
Let it Go: Lethe