The Fast Five With… Lauren Sams
By Christine Duval
This month’s Fast Five features author Lauren Sams. Lauren’s novel, She’s Having Her Baby, is a thought-provoking look at pregnancy, surrogacy and friendship. I can attest firsthand that writing a novel about pregnancy is not the easiest of subjects to tackle. Factor in the question “How much would you be willing to do to help a friend?” and you’ve got one interesting road to navigate as a story teller. Lauren handles both topics beautifully in a fun, fast-paced, page-turning novel that’s sure to bring a smile to your face. Put this one on your summer To-Read list!♥
1. What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever written?
A eulogy for my Nana. Ugh, it was the worst. She had asked me to do it years before she actually passed away, as a joke (she had a dark sense of humour), so I was locked in. No way out! We were very, very close and I was devastated when she passed away. I felt a lot of pressure to write something that would capture her funny, generous, beautiful soul, without being too saccharine (she would’ve hated that). Seeing as though I was also seven months pregnant, I couldn’t even have a glass of wine to get things going! I’m so glad I did it, though – it was an honour to celebrate her memory, and say goodbye to someone I loved so very dearly.
2. If you could collaborate with another author, who would it be?
I’m a huge fan of comedy writers – the Saturday Night Live ladies (and men!) are huge inspirations for me. So I would pick Tina Fey or Amy Poehler or Jane Curtin. And then I would cower in a corner and try to think of something – ANYTHING – funny to say. It would be a terrible dream come true.
3. What do you like most about being an author?
Probably all the sex and drugs. Kidding! Um, I think the best part is just being able to write. I never actually thought someone would pay me to write a book, so when it happened I considered my career effectively at its peak – I had made it. Now people are buying my book, and that’s even more surreal/weird/awesome. Being able to write something people enjoy is an insanely cool feeling.
4. How do you motivate yourself to write?
I don’t. I just sit down and do it. I don’t really think you can pysch yourself up to get a sh*tload of work done, you just have to prioritise it, sit down, and actually do it. For me, it’s about tearing myself away from the excellent book I’m currently reading, or saying no to a social event, and just doing what I should be doing: writing.
5. What are the top three qualities needed by authors today?
Persistence and resilience, definitely. It’s tough out there and unless you are George R. R. Martin, selling books is a hard game. But if you know you have a great idea, and the wherewithal to write it, then you’ve gotta stick with it. It’ll be worth it when you see your book out there in the world, trust me. And I think a certain savviness when it comes to marketing and social media. It’s part of your job, as an author today, to put yourself out there and get to know your audience. There are ways to do it that won’t make you feel like a phony/fraud. Build your Goodreads/Twitter/Facebook/Instagram following (you don’t have to do all of these; just the ones you feel comfortable with) and let people know what you’re up to. Network with other authors. Tell them you like their work. Go to writers’ festivals, even if you’re not on any panels. Arianna Huffington says the best way to network is to listen, and if there’s one person you should be listening to, it’s Arianna Bloody Huffington.
Lauren Sams began her career at Cosmopolitan, before moving to Girlfriend as Deputy Editor. She’s now back at Cosmo as associate editor. She writes for ELLE, marie claire, Sunday Style and Daily Life. She lives in Sydney with her husband, daughter and two dogs. She’s Having Her Baby is Lauren’s debut novel.