We’re all celebrating over here at Quills & Inkblotts with a very special author who’s launching her debut, YA fantasy Common, in just a few short days. That author is, of course, Laurie Lucking, and we’re excited to be part of her blog tour. We managed to grab some time with Laurie and asked her some questions regarding her new book.
Join us as we hear the answers!
Quills & Inkblotts: Tell us the story behind the title’s change for Common.
Laurie Lucking: Ugh, titles! It’s hard enough to write a blurb, but to find one word or phrase that perfectly captures your entire book? SO challenging!
Sorry, that didn’t answer your question 🙂 The first title I came up with for this manuscript was With You It Would Remain, which was based on a quote from Jane Eyre that tied in really well with my story: “All my heart is yours, sir: it belongs to you; and with you it would remain, were fate to exile the rest of me from your presence forever.”
When my editor first offered to publish my book, one of her questions was whether I’d be willing to change the title. She felt With You It Would Remain was a little long and cumbersome, especially for a teenage audience. I agreed, so we went back to the drawing board. At first we discussed titles along similar lines, such as With You Always or Forevermore, but nothing jumped out. Then I brought up Common, which had crossed my mind as part of an idea to title the books in this series based on each protagonist’s primary misconception of herself. My editor loved it, and just like that we were discussing possible titles for books much further along in the series!
As a side note, I couldn’t be more pleased with how my publisher incorporated the title and idea of the story into my cover! The eye-catching colors, fonts, and cover model make the book look anything but “common,” which is exactly what we were going for 🙂
Q & I: We agree! There’s nothing common or ordinary about that gorgeous cover. Can we fangirl over it just a little before we move on?
*Sigh* It’s beautiful!
And maybe a tiny little blurb about this awesome book too?
Only one person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished. Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.
And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.
But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe’s parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason. Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late.
But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.
Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?
Ahem…back to the interview! Can you spill some hints about future Mystic stories?
LL: I’d be happy to! When I first completed Common, I started working on a project titled Scarred that follows Sister Clarice to a new chapter of her life, where she rescues a little girl from a fire and becomes her guardian. The story centers on the girl, who bears scars from the fire, when she encounters Prince Dominick (Princess Penelope and Princess Sophia’s younger brother) as a teenager.
BUT, then my publisher had the fabulous idea that Princess Penelope should get her own book to explore how she fares after the events of Common. And I loved it! So now we’re thinking her story will be book two in the series, and Scarred will be moved to book 3. And Myrna drops a hint about her past that may turn into a later book in the series as well… 🙂
The fun thing about companion novels is I have so much flexibility to develop new story lines and find creative ways to make different characters’ journeys intertwine!
Q & I: Oooh! Love these ideas! Though we’ve read the story and we aren’t too sure about Princess Penelope. Wasn’t she involved in some sort of plot to…ooops…spoilers. We’ll just leave that there 😉
Leah, like many other red-headed heroines, is teased about her hair colour. Anything you were teased about when you were younger that you don’t mind sharing?
LL: I did get teased about my appearance at times, especially in middle school, but those taunts were much more mean-spirited than what Leah experiences in Common. My closest parallel to the way the stable hands pester Leah was a few rowdy guys who liked to call me variations of my last name or “valedictorian” since I did well in school. As in Leah’s case, the teasing was mostly light-hearted and innocent, but because I was shy and wasn’t sure how to respond, it still made me uncomfortable.
Q & I: Yeah, teasing is no fun. But why doesn’t it surprise us to learn you did well in school? Now about some other characters…Leah’s mother is a seamstress. Any experience with sewing or embroidery in your own life?
LL: Ha, not much! One of my best friends and I used to ride our bikes to buy fabric and then would do sewing projects in her basement. I loved the idea of becoming proficient at needlework, but in reality I lacked the patience and precision to produce straight, neat seams. So now I leave the sewing projects to my mom and mother-in-law, who both have a much higher skill level than I do!
Q & I: A central message in Common seems to be that even an ordinary person can make an extraordinary difference in the world as Leah’s bravery shapes the future of her country. What was the inspiration for this message? Any personal experience with this idea?
LL: I think my primary inspiration came from the number of books I’ve read, especially in the young adult market, where the main character was either some kind of “Chosen One,” like in the Harry Potter series, or had exceptional survival and / or combat skills, such as Katniss in The Hunger Games. While I enjoy such stories, I wanted to write about a character the ordinary girls of the world (like me!) could relate to. Someone who doesn’t seem to have a predetermined path toward greatness, but who makes a difference simply by standing by her morals and stepping up to protect her loved ones.
I’ll admit I don’t really have any experience with making an extraordinary difference in the world, but I’m definitely trying to teach my sons that real-life superheroes don’t have magical powers or high-tech gadgets – they’re the ones who do the right thing even when it’s hard.
Q & I: Time to talk all things sugary and sweet. What is your favourite dessert?
LL: Did someone mention dessert?? It’s a hard call, but I think my favorite would have to be brownies. Especially if they’re really soft and chocolatey – yum!
Q & I: Good call! And we sure appreciate you spending some time with us.
LL: Thank you so much for inviting me to stop by and share about myself and my book!!
Don’t forget to go to Common’s Facebook party. That’s right! On Thursday, February 15 at 8pm Central, you have an opportunity to chat with author Laurie Lucking along with Laura Pol, Michele Israel Harper, and Jebraun Clifford as well as have a chance to win some fabulous prizes.
RSVP right here –> –> here
An avid reader since birth (her parents claim she often kept them up late begging to hear
just one more story), Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her
career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of romance, and her debut novel, Common, releases in 2018 from
Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. Laurie is the secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of http://www.landsuncharted.com, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more about Laurie and her writing by visiting www.laurielucking.com.