Lauren Klever is the author of The Secret Watchers series, a young adult action/ adventure tale featuring Owen Ryer and White Eagle, his mentor. Hold on to your seat as you join Owen when his life takes a spin to the darker side of life where he is pursued relentlessly by dark watchers. Do they want to kill Owen or turn him to their side of evil and chaos… as if school wasn’t hard enough.
Q? Tell us a little bit about you.
Lauren: I dream of writing full time but until that day arrives… I’m a pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade substitute teacher. My favorite grades are anything above first! If not that, then I’m doing administrative work for a small company where they think I’m their computer guru which if you know me – should cause a huge belly laugh! I’m more techy than my seventy-plus year old boss, but guru… not even a little bit. I’m also mom to two, step-mom to four, step-grandma to one and a lover of black labs (we have one and a half – I bet you wanna know how that works!). We also have two cats but we don’t have much to do with each other. I do miss my little black cat who used to help me write – now HE, had a personality. The two lady cats who live with me think I’m their servant and nothing more.
Q? Your Secret Watchers series is gaining in popularity. Tell us about it so far and what we might expect from Book 3 that is due out soon.
Lauren: Book 3 will be out soon. You can almost… hold your breath. How does this summer grab you? It’s going through final edits and books 4 and 5 are in my computer, on paper and in my head. The series begins with our protagonist in eighth grade, wishing his boring life away. One day he stumbles across a watch that unlocks a gift he never realized he had. Suddenly people are trying to kill him and he can see darkly evil things that have or will happen. In books 1 and 2 he is mastering his new abilities and evading the darkness that relentlessly pursues him. Readers get to watch Owen grow as he moves through high school and becomes a force to be reckoned with. Right now my fan base is mostly local. They have been pretty excited about my tale because they recognize the places my characters visit. I was thrilled to learn this week of a book group in the UK that has chosen to read my first book, Visions.
Q? As an indie author, how do you reach out to fans?
Lauren: I celebrate every achievement with my fans and thank them for it. My website has had over 600,000 visits AND seriously, I have to say… what an honor! If I could hug all my fans I would. I feel truly blessed! Each stage of this project has brought its own joys. I feel excitement every time something new happens and I hope I never lose that. My family, friends and fans have been very supportive and I truly appreciate every beta-reader (prerelease reader), tweet, favorite, like, comment and review. These folks have gifted me with their time, so you bet I tell them over and over again how wonderful they are! People who feel appreciated come back for more. I feel that people have been incredibly gracious. I’ve had students and adults shyly ask me to sign a book or even run up and hug me at the grocery store. I am touched each and every time by their positive energy and passion for this project. They make me want to keep writing! Now if I could convert those 600,000 plus hits on my website into book sales – that would be something!
Q? How does that translate into what other authors can do?
Lauren: I have written several blogs about this because I find it fascinating and in the beginning I knew nothing. I have many little bits of advice to share and I have shamelessly pirated every one of them and twisted them to meet my needs. I have chosen to be on Social Media every single day. I try really hard to answer all my fans within 48 hours. I also work hard to educate myself. I follow several folks who are social media experts and I watch my Twitter and Facebook feeds for tips, tricks and ideas several times a week.
I believe that you widen your fan base by reaching out. Talk to people and make them feel invited. Post great content so that folks want to follow you. Add pictures when it’s appropriate because they are a big draw. Weekends and evenings are a good time to post content because that’s when many people have time to check their email, and social media of choice.
Q? Along the same lines, what advice do you have for writers about the writing process and their development?
Lauren: I think this is different for everyone. I am only an expert on me. As a kid I always hated writing at school. Then one day I was introduced to a free write. Suddenly I found that if I could write what I wanted to it was actually fun. Now I love to write. I use it as an escape. I also believe that part of what builds a good writer is being an avid reader, so never stop reading. When you get stuck – take a break, visit with your buddies, go for walk or look at some good imagery. I love to listen to music when I write – I find it very motivational. I’ve even been known to loop one song over and over as I write a particular scene.
Q? What are the top 3 tools you would recommend every writer takes a peek at right now?
Lauren: Do you have a website? Are you on Twitter? AND are you on Facebook? Pinterest and LinkedIn are growing in popularity too. (Whoops, that’s five) Get friendly with social media and your fans. Be yourself or make someone up, but be outgoing and courteous even if you don’t think you are. Fake it till you make it, if you’re a grouchy old curmudgeon; otherwise be yourself. Humor is good too but I believe that the key is to be warm, friendly and welcoming. If you are, then people want to be around you. Be positive; not only does negativity suck but people don’t want to hear it. (That’s what the news is for.)
Q? What is the most frustrating thing you have had to deal with as a writer?
Lauren: Lack of time! Some days I get cranky because I just don’t have time to write. During those times I remind myself that people, especially family, have to come first. If people don’t come first, then who are we writing for? We would have no audience.
Q? What is the most exciting part about being an author?
Lauren: Really? You’re going to make me pick? Wow… How about my top 10? The day my first beta reader shared with me how much they loved my book, the day I finished each book, the day I finished editing each book, my first book signing, my first sales report from BookBaby, the first fan that called me because they didn’t think it was their kind of book and they loved it anyway, and the day I was offered my first contact.
Lauren: Top 10?
1. City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3) by Cassandra Clare (I’m currently reading City of Bones)
2. The rest of the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz (I’m on #5 Scorpia)
3. Anything by Rick Riordan. I love his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and he is one of my influences for great young adult heroes.
4. The Harry Potter series. I have read it about four times but I keep going back. J.K. Rowling’s series was another big influence.
5. Cleo Coyle’s A Brew to a Kill (Coffeehouse Mystery, #11)
6. Janet Evanovich’s Notorious Nineteen (Yep, I’ve read them all.)
7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
8. Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth
9. Young adult stories that move right along and have some good action in them or a cozy mysery.
10. I’m also looking forward to D.C. and Michael McGannon’s third book in their series. I read the first book and was invited to be a beta reader for book two. The trouble with being a beta reader means that it’s a long wait for the next book!
Q? If you had parting thoughts for us, readers and/or writers, what would they be?
Lauren: Go about your life as if you have nothing to lose. Share what you are passionate about and don’t take your critics too seriously. Any advice you get, take a few days to just let it sit. The good bits will float to the top and then you can throw out the rest. There is always some truth in what people share, just don’t let negative opinions overly influence you or bring you down. It takes tremendous courage to write a book and share it with the world (never forget that!). It also takes courage to promote and blog about your books. If a writer’s life is what you want, then go for it because if you do what you love, then you’ll love what you do! I believe in you!
Where To Visit Lauren Klever and The Secret Watchers