Author Guest Post
Top Ten Things You Don't Know About Lauren Clark
Being an author means that your life—many parts of it—are public knowledge. It's easy to find out who my friends are (check my Facebook page and Tweets), find out what I've been up to (photographs on my website, blog entries), and my favorite things to do and eat (just check the biography in the back of my books, where I mention yoga, my adoration for flavored coffee and my grandmother's Mac & Cheese).
I'm also a people person, so meeting new friends (especially book lovers) is especially fun for me. I love to swap funny stories and hear great jokes (though I rarely remember the punch lines). I do remember names quite well, so I'm always asking my mailman, Robert, about his day, or my UPS delivery man, Daniel, about his knee injury, his wife Farrah, or the trip they're planning to take to Disney World this summer.
All of that said, I do have some quirks and qualities that I haven't shared with the rest of the world. It's not a comprehensive list, but I do hope that this top ten makes you smile!
10. I Have No Sense of Direction! At all. I get lost easily, because I often have my nose in a book or my Kindle when someone else is driving. When I was 16, and on my way from outside of Buffalo to my parents' cottage in the Finger Lakes, I went so far in the wrong direction that I nearly ran out of gas. I was slightly hysterical at that point and it was getting dark, and I went through a tiny town cruising about 20 miles over the speed limit. When a very kind policeman stopped me, I tearfully explained the situation. Luckily, he gave me a map, ten dollars to fill up my tank, and sent me back in the right direction without so much as a citation or warning.
9. I Used to Work at Six Flags - This had to be one of the most interesting experiences I had as a teenager. I worked in the game section—in a colorful booth with humongous stuffed animals hanging from the top. My particular job was to get people to play our game—and make it look easy! It involved dropping five thin metal circles on a wooden board to cover a larger red circle. It took me and the six other girls working there a week of practicing 8 hours a day to master the task. Believe me when I say that those games of chance at the Fair or Six Flags are truly designed to make money fly out of people's wallets. Rarely did anyone ever walk away with one of our 4 foot tall stuffed animals.
8. Ice Cream Isn't For Me - I worked the summer before graduate school at an ice cream factory; my job was taking phone orders. Any mislabeled half-gallons or mismatched popsicles ended up in a huge storage case in the break room, and employees were encouraged to take ALL of it home every week. Consequently, I ate ice cream every day and my parents' freezer was stocked to bursting with fudgesicles, ice cream sandwiches, and nutty bars. To this day, the thought of eating ice cream still makes me a little ill.
7. Flying Paralyzes Me - Since my entire family lives in New York, and my boys and I reside in Coastal Alabama, flying is necessary if I want to visit my parents, brothers, and cousins. I never actually worried about air travel until my jet hit a major air pocket on a trip to California fifteen years ago. We were over the Rockies on a pristine, clear-blue day in July and I was deep into a novel when the aircraft dropped what seemed like ten thousand feet. The jet fell far enough that I had time to grab my seat mate's hand and hold on for dear life. Since then, it takes medication, iPod music, and deep breathing to get on a jet. My boys, thankfully, ignore me when we hit bumps and I start hyperventilating. I tend to make friends with the flight attendants and actually held one's hand for about five minutes on my last trip when we hit some major rough air. (Yes, I wrote a BIG thank you note to Delta!!)
6. I Scare Easily - My boys and close friends (even those at my favorite neighborhood coffee shop) take particular delight in scaring the bejezus out of me. Embarrassingly, I jump practically out of my skin and almost shatter windows with my high-pitched scream. (I'm extremely ticklish, so it's usually a quick jab to the ribs that gets me).
5. I'm a Speed Reader - I can tear through most fiction in a day. Sometimes, I can finish a novel in less than a day if I have a solid block of time. The last book that I read was Emily Giffin's Where We Belong. (I LOVED it, by the way...her best out of the last few books she's written). Sidenote: The only person that I know of who's a reliably faster reader than I am is my mom. She's amazing.
4. I Still Have My Girl Scout Sash and Merit Badges - I was a bit of an overachiever in school, and that Type-A personality trickled over to my extracurricular activities. I don't have a ton of memorabilia from my childhood, but I did keep my Girl Scout sash and the forty-plus merit badges that I earned from the three years I spent wearing that bright green uniform. When I was home in February, I actually had a chance to wear the sash again for my niece, Sarah, at her Brownie meeting. There's nothing like a bunch of awe-struck second graders to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
3. Technical Stuff Makes my Brain Hurt - For everything that I've learned about the publishing industry, the formatting ebooks, paperbacks, and creating websites are skills I probably will never, ever learn. (Believe me, I've tried, and the headaches aren't worth it). My hat's off to anyone who understands HTML and can help me undo glitches on my blog. From experience, I know now that my time is much better spent focusing on the writing and editing. I'll let the experts work out spacing, typeface, and pagination any day.
2. I Love Eighties Music - Probably because it's what I grew up with, I adore any song that reminds me of my high school and college days. Though I have an eclectic music collection on my iPod that ranges from 1970 to today, my favorite songs to sing in the car (with my boys) range from Bon Jovi and the B-52's to R.E.M. and The Cure. For exercise, it's usually Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, the Go-Go's and Guns-n-Roses. When I'm feeling a bit more mellow, I turn up REO Speedwagon, Bryan Adams, Sting, and Paul Simon.
1. Upstate NY is my Favorite Place in the World - Okay, so...this one isn't a secret AND it's the setting for my latest novel, Stardust Summer. But there's just something about the unspoiled beauty that surrounds the Finger Lake Region of Upstate New York that I can't help but love. As a child, I grew up vacationing on Keuka Lake, and my parents finally bought a cottage there about ten years ago. From the glacier-carved mountains to the pristine, clear waters...with a good book, a tall mug of flavored coffee, and my entire family nearby, it's the most peaceful, lovely place in the world to be.
Thank you Kathleen! It was great fun to work on this 'top ten list' for Jersey Girl Book Reviews.
About The Author
Stardust Summer by Lauren Clark ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: ABG Reads Book Tours
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Stardust Summer by Lauren Clark
Publisher: Camellia Press
Publication Date: February 14, 2013
Format: eBook - 280 pages / Kindle - 443 KB / Nook - 2 MB
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: Stardust Summer
BARNES & NOBLE
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by ABG Reads Book Tours.
Single mom Grace Mason doesn’t believe in miracles, magic, or love at first sight. She likes the quiet life, complete with her eight-year-old son, their tiny house, and her teaching job. For Grace, happiness means that nothing much ever changes in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
Then, one thousand miles away, tragedy strikes. A massive heart attack leaves Grace’s estranged father comatose in an Upstate New York hospital. While a team of doctors fight to keep Henry Mason alive, Grace and Evan rush to his bedside to say their final goodbyes.
Henry’s passing brings little closure for Grace, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to her new surroundings. What begins as a short trip results in an entire summer spent with Henry’s second wife, Kathleen, and her next-door neighbor, Ryan Gordon, the town doctor. When a series of unlikely events lead to Evan’s disappearance, Grace must face her worst fears to find her son and bring him back home.
Stardust Summer explores the complexities of forgiveness, what it means to be a family, and the fabulous possibility of falling in love—again.
My Book Review:
Family ... relationships ... love ... loss ... forgiveness ... and second chances ...
Grace Mason is a single mother of an eight-year old son named Evan, who lives a quiet life in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, a thousand miles from her troubled childhood in Keuka Lake, on the Finger Lakes region of Upper New York State.
When Grace receives the tragic news that her estranged father Henry has suffered a fatal heart attack, Grace and Evan travel to her hometown to attend the funeral. Planning on only staying nine days, Grace embarks on a journey that lasts the entire summer, a journey of self-discovery that will teach her about forgiveness, family dynamics, closure, love and second chances. It is a life lesson that she will learn from her stepmother Kathleen and their neighbor / town doctor, Ryan Gordon.
Stardust Summer is a poignantly touching story of family relationships, forgiveness, love, and second chances. Author Lauren Clark weaves a heartwarming tale written in the third person narrative, set in the lovely Finger Lakes region in Upper New York State. It is a realistic story of the struggles within Grace's family relationship, and her ability to deal with the varying dynamics that come from this relationship: her troubled childhood with her estranged father Henry; dealing with his loss; making peace with the past; learning forgiveness and learning to believe in love and second chances. This is an emotional story that will have the reader feeling the full gamut of emotions, you can't help but get drawn in as Grace's story unfolds.
The author provides an intriguing cast of characters who are realistic and have issues that are easy for the reader to relate to. I loved the development of the complexity in the relationships between Grace and her father Henry; Grace and her stepmother Kathleen, and between Grace and Ryan. I really enjoyed the mixture of tension and strife of the family dynamic, the suspense and drama, and the humor and lighthearted romance that ran throughout the storyline. I think what I loved most of all was the message that the author sends to her readers: the importance of family and being able to deal with life's challenges that come along with relationships. I loved the richly detailed description of the Finger Lake region of Upper New York State, I would love to visit that area and take in its beauty and charm.
Stardust Summer is a wonderful story of family, love and lessons learned, it is a story that will touch your heart, and make you ponder your own relationships, it is a story that will resonate with you for a long time.
RATING: 4 STARS ****