7 Questions With Tara Laskowski
Recently, while consuming our steady diet of thrillers, we happened upon a fresh new voice.
Tara Laskowski, whose novel One Night Gone hits shelves October 1st, penned a charming fall-into-winter read that will induce you to snuggle under the blanket for hours.
To our nerdy delight, we had the opportunity to get to know Laskowski a little better.
Check out what she has to say about her writing process in general, and One Night Gone in particular, below.
1. What's your favorite drink?
Alcoholic: an old fashioned
Non-alcoholic: Iced tea
BONUS - Tara is fucking awesome and spent some time matching her characters with drinks. Check out her pairings in the book club guide on her website.
She says her drinks are ideal for, “anyone who likes to drink while reading.”
To which we say, “Wait. There are people who don’t like to drink while reading?”
2. Where and when do you write?
Wherever I am when I have 10 minutes to myself!
My life is chaos, so I tend to write in fits and bursts.
These days, when I find time it's usually on my lunch break at work or when I'm putting my son to sleep at night. I particularly like the latter because I get to sit in a quiet, dark room with my laptop and listen to my son's ocean-lapping sleep machine.
3. What does your prewriting process look like?
Have you ever seen the way a cat twirls around and around and around like 700 times before deciding to settle into a spot to sleep?
That's pretty much it.
No, seriously, I think it's different for every project.
For One Night Gone, I just jumped in and started writing without really any pre-planning or outlining or research. Which wasn't the best way to handle it, really.
Sometimes I like to find photos online of people that I think my characters look like. It helps to have faces, I think. I do the same with places, when possible.
For this next book I'm writing, though, I had to submit a detailed proposal to my editor, so I actually had to plot the whole book out before writing a word. That was super weird for me. We'll see how it goes.
Please keep your fingers crossed that it works out!
4. What's up next?
Oh, see, I already started answering this question above!
I've just started my second novel. I don't want to talk too much about it because I'm afraid of jinxing things, but I will say that it's set in the suburbs and is about how darkly competitive and weird suburban life can get.
5. As the book opens, we learn that Allison has recently gone through some traumatic life changes. Why did you decide to tell your story from the perspective of someone going through such a turbulent time?
I think that when your life is up-ended, you are vulnerable and therefore open to things happening to you that you otherwise might not engage in.
If Allison's whole life hadn't turned upside down on her, she would never have taken the "job" house-sitting for a stranger.
I also think it sets Allison up to really identify with Maureen's plight and situation — she was burned, too, and she feels tossed aside and ignored, which makes her angry and fired up to fix the wrongs she sees.
6. The portions of this novel set in the 80's made us tremendously nostalgic for the that neon- and scrunchie-rich decade. What do you most remember when you think back on the 80's?
I'm a big fan of the music — Madonna, Whitney Houston, Bon Jovi. (Making a playlist for writing the book was really fun!)
I wanted to populate the book with more lyrics, but then I found out that if I did that I'd have to get all sorts of rights and in some cases spend lots of money. So I had to cut back on that a lot.
The big hair!
The trashy dramas like Dynasty and Dallas!
The clothes! (Which are, I think, slowly making a comeback right now, for better or worse.)
7. Your setting, Opal Beach, felt extremely authentic. Was there a real-life inspiration for this off-season, sleepy beach town?
Thank you! Yes, there were a few inspirations.
My husband's family has a beautiful oceanfront house in North Carolina, and visiting there was really my first inspiration to set a book at the beach during the off season. (My working title for the book for the longest time was The Off Season).
But Opal Beach is also a mash-up of some of the more touristy beach towns I visited as a child, like Rehoboth in Delaware and Ocean City, Maryland.
I wanted a place that had both a private, wealthy side and a boardwalk-type atmosphere, so I just made one up! Weirdly, it almost feels real to me now.