Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Posted by Laurel Garver on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 47 comments
Today I'm taking part in the week-long Follow Fest, hosted by Melissa Maygrove. It's not too late to join the fun! Swing on by Melissa's blog to sign up. Melissa gave us a handful of questions to help us get to know one another, so without further ado, here's all about me:

Name: Laurel Garver


Fiction or nonfiction? 

Mostly fiction, but I'm branching out into nonfiction (writing resources)


What genres do you write?

I write young adult (YA) literary fiction with Christian themes: stories about the places where life and beliefs collide. I also write poetry and, as I already mentioned, writing resources.

Are you published?

Yes: Never Gone, a novel, and Muddy-Fingered Midnights, a poetry collection. Descriptions and links are  HERE. I also have a free, romantic flash-fiction story on Wattpad, "Sketchbook Rapunzel," a prequel to Never Gone.

Do you do anything in addition to writing?

I'm a professional editor with 20+ years experience, and I'm taking new clients. My specialty is line editing: ensuring everything is correct at the sentence level, including grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and idiomatic usage. I also can help non-US writers who write American characters to Americanize not only spelling and punctuation but also vocabulary and usage.

Contact me at laurels (dot) leaves (at) gmail (dot) com to discuss your project.

Tell us a little about yourself

This is how I look on Twitter. 

I grew up rural, but have lived my whole adult life in a city and love it. I’ve had a weird love affair with magazines since I was quite young and pursed magazine editing as a career. I currently work on a scholarly journal--a magazine for academics with literary criticism of modernist era literature by Beckett, Eliot, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Joyce, Pound, and Woolf (and lots of others you might not have read unless you were an English major). 

I met my husband, a philosophy professor, through a book club at our church, so I have C.S. Lewis to thank for meeting the love of my life. We’ve raised our twelve-year-old daughter in our geeky image of loving Dr. Who, Middle Earth, and Hogwarts. 

Last summer we spent 16 days in the UK, 11 of them in a cottage on a sheep farm in Gloucestershire, taking day trips to castles, museums, ancient barrows and stone circles, Roman ruins, and a coal mine. Our favorite sites were Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean, The Dr. Who Experience in Cardiff and the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London. This summer we stayed closer to home, traveling to the Hudson Valley and Catskills, in part for my daughter to compete in an Irish dance feis. 


What are you reading right now?

As part of my 2014 "read outside my genre" challenge, I recently picked up a short story collection, This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz. It's literary fiction that explores the Dominican immigrant experience. 

Which authors influenced you the most?

Madeleine L'Engle's books most made me want to write, and I fell hard for funny narrators from Paula Danzinger's early works for teens like The Cat Ate My Gymsuit and Can You Sue Your Parents for Malpractice? But my biggest influence is Susan Howatch, especially her Starbridge series. She writes deeply psychological, edgy stories with spiritual themes that feature complex, flawed characters. She does redemptive fiction better than anyone I know—fast paced, intriguing, never predictable or cloying. Her stories don’t shy away from the darker aspects of life, and because of that, the faith expressed is more profound because of its willingness to get dirty. I emulate Howatch most, though with a heart for the teen experience with touches of humor.

Where can people connect with you?

Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Google+
LinkedIn

Author pages:
Goodreads
Amazon
BN.com
Smashwords

Do you have a newsletter? 

Not currently. Social media keeps me busy enough

Is there anything else you'd like us to know?

I welcome guest posts here, especially those on writing / publishing tips (tie-ins with new releases are fine). I'll happily host giveaways for contemporary fiction (MG through adult) that would earn a film rating of PG-13 or below (moderately edgy and emotionally hard-hitting is okay).

Welcome, new friends! Tell me a little about yourself...
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47 comments:

  1. Great post, Laurel! Thanks for taking part in Follow Fest. :)

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  2. I grew up in the city and now live in the country. :-) I love the uniqueness of both.

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    1. Welcome, Dawn. Nice to meet you. My hubby and I hope to someday buy a vacation home in the mountains, so I can get back to my rural roots. :-)

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  3. What a wonderful way to meet your husband :-) It's really good to meet you. I'm looking forward to learning more about your work.

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    1. We had mutual friends for many years but never crossed paths until that book group!

      Great to meet you, too. I've just begun doing the rounds with this fest. I was involved in a different fest yesterday. It's clearly blogfest season!

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  4. Nice to have a chance to learn more about your writing and connect with you. Actually, Joyce and Pound are two of my favorite authors. Now that I think about it, I probably should have put Joyce in my influence list :)

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    1. Great to meet you! Joyce was one of the original risk takers. Not too many can pull off the kinds of amazing experiments he did (Finnegans Wake in particular).

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  5. Oh wow, Paul Danzinger. I had forgotten about those books. I read all of his books when I was a kid. I like Madeleine L'Engle too. I liked how she didn't write down to kids.
    Great to meet you!
    Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling in the Storage Room

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    1. Nice to meet you also! I think most know Danzinger for her later MG books, but her teen stuff from the 70s and 80s--so great, so very funny. Yeah, I liked L'Engle's approach that encouraged kids to stretch toward maturity, to develop intellectually and morally.

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  6. So awesome to find another Paula Danziger fan. I loved, 'This Place Has No Atmosphere' and 'The Pistachio Prescription'. Susan Howatch sounds like a fascinating author, I'll be sure to check her out.

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    1. I'd forgotten the Pistachio Prescription. Yes, really fun. Howatch hasn't published anything new in about 10 years. Her St. Benet's series is really amazing too, though the last book --whew--it deals with some extremely edgy material (though very redemptively).

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  7. Your UK days sounded wonderful. I'd love to do something like that. Maybe someday... It's great to get to know you better, Laurel!

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    1. My hubby's airfare was covered as part of a faculty program he attended in Rome beforehand. That helped make it possible. I highly recommend going through one of the sites where you can rent "self-catering cottages"--a place with a kitchen. We loved having a home base and also shopping like a Brit for a few weeks (lots of lamb, yum!). That added so much to the experience.

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  8. Hi Laurel! Hopping on over from Follow Fest. Your trip to UK sounds perfect. Must have been hard to come home.

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    1. Nice to meet you too, Peggy Ann. Yeah, there's so much to explore. We would have loved to visit even more castles and seen more of Wales.

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  9. Oh I love how you met your husband, such a cool little story! I've never left the US once except to go to Canada with my mom for a work trip.

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    1. It's funny how you can have mutual friends who never figure out you'd hit if off. But it was pretty cool to get to know each other through talking books.

      If it's your dream to travel, I hope you find a way to make it happen.

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  10. Oh hm! I might have to sign up for this! What a fantastic concept for a bloghop!

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    1. It's going on all week, you can hop in up until Friday.

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  11. I loved Madeleine L'Engle's books when I was younger. And the name Paula Danzinger brings me way back to my teen years - so enjoyed those books.

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

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    1. I have yet to read much of L'Engle's books for adults, but the Wrinkle in Time series and the Austins books were very formative for me. Danziger had such wonderfully voice-y narrators.

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  12. I'm just the opposite--I grew up urban, and have a taste for small places. :-) Nice to meet you.

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    1. I'm lucky to live less than a block from the largest urban park in the world (9,200 acres). So there are miles of wooded hiking trails practically at my back door. And at the other end of the street is a train station, a bus transit hub, and a shopping district. Kind of the best of both worlds. Without the trees nearby, I doubt I'd be quite so content to live in Philly.

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  13. Your time spent last summer sounds incredible!
    (P.S. Thanks for visiting my blog! I was in the marching band, too. I played alto saxophone. :D )

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    1. I highly recommend an extended stay in the UK. It was delightful!

      I played mallet percussion, and my school owned marching sets, so I could do some serious injuries if I did a left instead of a right flank while wearing a 2.5-octave xylophone (weighed about 40 lbs with the harness).

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  14. Nice meeting you, Laurel! It sounds like you had quite the adventure in the UK!

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    1. Sooo much fun. I could go on forever about the Harry Potter Experience in London! Truly sensational.

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  15. Hi, Laurel, nice to meet you. We have writing books in common, also with Christian beliefs.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Cathrina. I'm something in the minority in this fest writing contemporary and faith based. Glad to meet you!

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  16. Nice to meet you! Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip to the UK - I went on the Warner Bros studio tour a few weeks ago and loved it! :)

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    1. Thanks for coming by! Isn't the HP studio tour amazing? I think I spent about 25 minutes just hanging out with the scale model of Hogwarts alone!

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  17. Glad we stopped by! It was nice to get to know better! Your trips sounds relaxing.

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    1. Thanks, ladies! The trip was great fun. I highly recommend a long explore in the UK. So much to do and see!

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    1. Thanks, Lee. It's been my bread and butter since 1991. :-)

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  19. Professional editing - interesting! I sometimes wonder if I might have ended up there myself, or may yet if I decide teaching is too much for me. (The tower's Ivory, huh?) Also, Dr. Who Experience, woo, nice! I was in the UK this summer, but it was with high school students, so a different sort of trip.
    Poetry... do you know of or write slam poetry? I've never quite been able to wrap my head around it.

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Gregory. I think only post-secondary ed ever claims "the Ivory Tower" label, though universities that let academics mostly research, at least in the humanities, are dwindling. I'd heard that the Dr. Who experience was getting a makeover, so it's probably a somewhat different experience now.

      I know what slam and spoken word poetry are, though I'm a bit too old and rural-rooted to fit in that scene. The musicality and performance element are pretty cool though.

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  20. Great to meet you, Laurel. I connected with you on Google+, which is why I know you're in Philly. I grew up just outside of there. (Near King of Prussia and Valley Forge. Love it there. Though I think I miss the food even more than the culture! Nice to see you here at Follow Fest!

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Ava. As a non-native, I've acclimated to "hoagies" over "subs" but can't quite hold off the giggles at the nonsensical name "water ice" for Italian ice. Philly's food culture has become loads more sophisticated and diverse since I moved here in the '90s.

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  21. Great to meet you through Follow Fest! I'm going to have to check out your flash fiction.

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  22. Totally loved Junot Diaz's "This is how you lose her". Not the hugest fan of literary fiction but his work is powerful! Nice to meet you during the fest!Even though i'm like super late to the party!

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  23. Hi Laurel! It's been awhile since I've been here.

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  24. Hey! L'Engle was a big inspiration to me too. Did you see the TV movie they made for 'A Wrinkle in Time' a few years back? I thought it was pretty decent actually, though they never do justice to the book in every way--or almost never!

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