I am so excited to have Laura Burks stop by for the next three days to talk about her debut novel, Altered (Read the 5/5 Star Review!), my favorite character Jenna, and life as an author. Thank you so much Laura for sending me Altered. It's an absolute fave of mine!!! Today Laura will be answering a few burning questions we have about Altered. Stay tuned and enjoy!
What was your inspiration for Altered?
Altered sort of inspired me. The title and the cursed book writing on foggy nights were the first elements. In my mind, I kept playing out different scenes and parts, and before I knew it, I was so excited about the idea I had to share it with my family. I knew the last word before I knew the first. I do have to say, during the time of writing Altered, I became very aware of how people talked, moved, certain dialogue, even songs inspired me. When writing, I felt so connected to the story; it almost consumed my every thought. When an idea would hit, look out! I would use whatever was near to jot it down: a receipt, napkin, my daughter’s homework. Ooops … that last one was a mistake. Luckily she didn’t need that one!
Did you have anyone in mind when you created your characters?
The characters in Altered were not based on any one person, but a combination of several people. Plus, as I wrote, they took on a personality of their own. The only character, which in fact was a deceased character, was Jenna’s grandmother. She reminded me of my own grandmother who passed away several years ago. To me, I felt my grandmother had a big part in me writing Altered. If she were alive today, she would be so proud.
Do you plan out your story before you write or let the words just flow?
Besides using what I jot down when the idea hits, I let the words flow. I find that when writing I get lost in the moment creating and moving through a scene. I begin to feel, smell and hear all that’s around me to create just the right emotion. Emotion is so important when writing, especially when you write in first person. Everything is that character’s point of view. You want your reader to form a connection as if they know that character, and to feel the situations through their eyes instead of an outsider looking in.
Who is your favorite character?
Okay, this is a tough one. I love them all for so many for different reasons. But if I had to pick only one it would be the main character, Jenna. Why? Because everything is through her voice and feelings, and she’s the one I felt the most.
Which character did you become closest to while writing?
Because Jenna is my favorite you would think I’d be the closest to her. I am, but I also felt very close to Pops and Jess. Pops because of his protective, loving side and Jess because he longs to be loved and accepted by Jenna. Jess might be a bad-guy, but his reasons were full of heart.
I loved the romance between Jess and Jenna, especially how they take things slow and just enjoy being with one another. What went through your mind when deciding how far to take their relationship?
I am so glad you asked that question. First of all, I didn’t want their relationship to be based on too much, too soon. That’s not romance. Romance is a slow building and longing for the other person and waiting for just the right moment for that first kiss. That “wow” factor. I wanted the reader to feel Jess and Jenna’s growing love and caring for each other. To live or relive what it’s like to have every moment count waiting to be with the other person. And yes, even the pain of knowing that your first love might be gone forever.
Will there be a prequel to Altered? (Please say yes!)
You are so kind! I would love to say yes, but as of now, I’m not sure. Altered ends with closure, but with a hint of what if. I can say that I do have ideas for a second, and even a name.
Thanks so much for this interview and I can’t wait to see what you have planned next.
Thank you so much Laura! I can't wait to meet Jenna tomorrow and ask her all of my burning questions!