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Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?
In a recent radio interview (it’s only 20 minutes or so—listen to it here: http://wvik.org/post/scribble-hector-lareau#stream/0), the hosts and I discussed how satisfying romance is to read and how it will be the centerpiece of The Great American Novel, whenever that manifests itself. Romance is fundamentally about the fulfillment of our deepest human needs, to love, to be loved in return, to find some element of completion that will help each of us become acutalized humans. On the way to reaching that fulfillment, responsibly composed romances confront the mess that even the most meticulously organized life is. As we each must do, the characters confront their own weaknesses and deal with the difficulties of daily life in order to find their ways to the actualization of their romance. Of course, there is a wonderful satisfaction for the reader when heroine and hero are able to confront and conquer all their troubles and find a clear path to one another. The happily ever after ought to be as satisfying for the reader as for the characters. If the characters are vivid enough to root for, the ride into the sunset should feel as good for the romance reader as the team’s biggest win of the season feels for a devoted sports fan. It should show potential realized, hopes fulfilled, effort rewarded, and victory claimed. The adventure that romance offers to most of us is the greatest adventure most of us will ever experience, and having the quest end well in fiction fulfills our own hopes and dreams.
What research is required?
Having spent a brief career working in television news, my research into the setting and background elements just involved updating my technical knowledge. Placing plausible news stories into the plot was a matter of reading headlines from various TV newsrooms to identify the kinds of events that could move the plot forward. Since the series tries diligently to hew to real life, my research and adaption didn’t have to diverge very far from actual events.
Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.
Love. Local. Latebreaking.’s heroine, Karli, taught me that I settle too easily. After the first draft, I thought she was an attractive and special character—a woman I could fall in love with. My beta readers informed me in no uncertain terms that I was wrong and that she was completely insufferable—one even said she wouldn’t mind if Karli fell off a cliff. It took six or seven iterations to give her a pleasant enough personality to pass muster with the beta readers. She became a warmer, kinder woman, and one more likely to expose her vulnerability on the way toward forming an authentic relationship with the hero. As she developed and grew, I realized that the had made great progress toward becoming a woman worthy of Jake (and, of course, me). Initially settling for less than the woman I deserved—a chilly, self-absorbed, micro-manager—was a mistake. She was not capable of authentic intimacy, and that was a fatal flaw in her character. As she and Jake grew together and she became more playful and able to reveal herself more fully, I came to appreciate that she was much more the woman the readers and Jake deserve because she was less broken and inhibited by her family history.
Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?
Since I write alone, I haven’t had a lot of feedback on any quirks—it all seems perfectly normal to me! Visualizing my characters is incredibly important, and I’ve been known to search the interwebs for images that help me to focus on the kinds of people they are. Mary Rose, one of Karli’s ride-or-die friends is a unique woman, and she took some searching before I found her doppelganger. She’s very feminine, but in unusual ways. Her fine arts and graphic arts background shows through her elaborate tattoos and several piercings. Her strongly self-reliant streak comes out in some kind of butch ways, that sort of undercut how powerfully female she is: she tears the sleeves off her company-issue polos, she wears somewhat mannish jeans, she drinks like a dude on a mission. Getting a clear picture of her in my head took quite a bit of searching, comparing, contrasting, and refining. As my search terms became more precise, I found myself clicking through to a number of soft-core sites. Just as I was deciding that things had gone too far, there she was—the exact piercings and tattoos I’d specified, the platinum hair with a streak of color, the alabaster skin. And, shockingly, the Cupid’s arrow-through-a-heart nipple piercings!
The other characters did not lead me anywhere near that far down the rabbit hole.
Are you a plotter or pantser?
For the first installment of the Newsroom Romance series, I organized the process around a heap of index cards containing scene descriptions. The scenes were not in any particular order, and it was a struggle to organize them so they hit the necessary beats of romance structure. Storyboarding comes sort of naturally from my experience in TV news and television production generally, so I had hoped that dropping scenes into the right order would give me the structure of the book. It didn’t, at least not without a lot of fancy footwork as things went along. The characters balked—a LOT—at being shoved from one scene to the next, too, which was frustrating.
Outlining drove Traffick Report, the second book. Because the story arc and character arcs aligned so closely, the outlining worked exceptionally well—the book practically poured out of my fingers and into the keyboard.
The third book, Storm Sirens, is in outlining and gathering a lot of dust as I work on promoting the first two books. That isn’t all bad, though, as the characters keep wandering around in my head and suggesting more painful conflicts, sweeter resolutions, and funnier dialogue. The prospect of having time to fully devote to a big outlining binge is becoming more exciting all the time.
Look to your right – what’s sitting there?
Kaitlyn, the astonishingly able clerk of court in Judge Patton’s Henry County, Ill. courtroom. She’s very reserved yet utterly competent. She says she isn’t a big reader but should be. Even if she were, though, she wouldn’t read romance novels.
Anything new coming up from you? What?
Yes! Storm Sirens is going to be super-exciting. Mary Rose and Scott will be center stage, after playing supporting roles in the first two books, and they’re going to have a catastrophic falling out that relates to a monumental current social issue. As the title suggests, the weather—and especially Three NewsFirst’s aggressive meteorologist and his search for romance in both the clouds and in a character-to-be-named—will be jostling with those two for attention.
Do you have a question for our readers?
Feedback from readers is incredibly valuable. I want to write books they want to read. So the question I’d put to them is—perhaps it’s more of a request—won’t you please write a review on Amazon that describes what you liked and didn’t like about the book you just read? Potential readers want to hear from you so they can make informed choices, and your author would love to hear from so he can write better books!
"Heart-tugging relational tension but with a sophistication that raises it above the romance genre." -- Jlaird, verified purchaser
"Mr. Lareau manages humor beautifully--I was able to envision certain scenes/situations/people so clearly that I was chortling into my coffee. I highly recommend this novel as a light-hearted (and sexy) diversion." -- Sarah K. Clark, verified purchaser
"The heroine had a career that she worked hard for and that she didn't give that career up simply because she'd found love" -- A. Geek, verified purchaser
Local TV news reporter Karli Lewis has one goal: escape Iowa's cornfields and podunk local news scene to hit the bright lights of the Chicago's newsrooms. Karli’s career is on the rise, thanks to her talented, dizzingly handsome, yet enigmatic news photographer, Jake Gibson, a dedicated hometown boy who is staying put. Will Karli listen to her heart, or will she choose a dateline over her favorite date? Can she reconcile her unbridled ambition and her longing for the man she could lose forever?
Read an Excerpt:
Jake took the little wallet with the receipt and his credit card sticking out of it from Robert, wrote in a tip, signed, and set it on the table. “Karli, I haven’t said a thing about how you should live your life. I have congratulated you and wished you the best,” he said. “You’re right that I have other ideas, but I have never said anything about how I think you should live your life. If you’re feeling guilty, it’s not because I’ve laid that on you.”
“Oh, so this is all my doing, then, is it?” Karli responded angrily. “If I’m feeling guilty, it’s my own fault, right, and I should feel guilty about that, too, right?”
“That’s not what I said, either.”
“No, of course not,” Karli’s fury rolled on. “You’re just the latest man who wants to control me.”
Jake rose from the table and turned to leave. He went about two steps, paused, turned, and found Karli’s eyes. “No, Karli. I’m not trying to control you. I’m trying to tell you that I love you. And that I love you enough to let you find your own way.”
He began turning to leave, stopped, then reached into his pocket and turned back to Karli. “Here. I guess it’s my turn, now that you’re all finished,” he said, opening the box and handing it to her. He watched her pull out the elaborate platinum charm bracelet with an appreciative gasp.
As she minutely examined each custom-made charm—a covered bridge, a tiny ram with prominent testicles, a miniature microphone, a camera, a little bulletproof vest, a bicycle, a tiny Three NewsFirst logo, and the initials J.G.—he turned and moved silently to leave the restaurant, and Karli.
About the Author:
The Newsroom Romance series draws from his careers, his voracious reading, and his curiosity about the tensions between real life and real love.
Real life now is dramatically different from the real life of Austen’s times—privileged women no longer choose between eligible members of the landed gentry, nor are they imperiled by the sexist mysteries of the entailed fee simple estate in land.
Modern women with the privileges of education rather than birth now embark upon careers that can satisfy many personal and material dreams. Seemingly inevitably, though, careers fall short of the promise that they’ll fulfill women as people.
Strong, modern women have defined Lareau’s professional and personal lives, and strong women fully occupy center stage in their own newsroom romance stories. Their high-profile journalism and legal careers matter deeply to them and to the people they serve.
Then love comes walking in. These book boyfriends don’t have kilts or billions or pirate ships, though. Their career goals meet and often clash with their romantic counterparts, requiring both the men and women to make hard choices about what happily ever after should look like and how to achieve it.
When he isn’t writing, practicing law, or raising children, he’s working on martial arts and music.
Available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/author/hlaurencelareau
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