Monday, 12 March 2012

Lauren Sweet - Interview and Giveaway

Today I welcome author Lauren Sweet to the blog. Read on to the end of the interview to enter a giveaway for 3 e-book copies of Aladdin's Samovar.

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing.

I’m a freelance writer and editor, working mostly with fiction writers, though I do some business writing and editing, and work with a few nonfiction and academic writers as well. I have a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. I used to be an administrative assistant but writing and editing is more fun, and can be done at home in my pajamas, which is a benefit not to be taken lightly. What else about me…I love Cheez-Doodles, but I can’t have any right now because I’m on a low-carb diet. I just discovered Pandora online radio and now I’m addicted. I’m a huge ATP tennis fan. And for your local followers, my brother-in-law is from Sydney, so that kinda makes me an Aussie-by-marriage.

About my writing: Right now I’m working mainly on the Samovar Mystery Series, of which Aladdin’s Samovar is the first book. It’s a humorous mystery series about a woman who finds a genie in an antique brass samovar, and how the wishes she makes cause trouble and mayhem in her life. I also have another novel on the back burner, about a fallen angel who comes to earth and falls in love with a diner waitress in Montana. Someday I’ll get back to that one—I really want to finish it.

2) What drew you to the mystery genre?

I love to read mysteries, but I never exactly sat down and decided to write a mystery. I had an unfinished short story about my main character, Amber, finding Jasper the genie in the samovar, and I knew she was going to wish to meet her father, who she’d never known. I was trying to figure out what to do with the story, and I started to wonder what would happen if Amber met her father, but he wasn’t what she expected—if he were, for instance, a criminal or in some kind of trouble—like being on the run from the Mafia. I loved the idea, but I immediately realized that it was a novel, not a short story—and a novel about a guy on the run from the Mafia pretty much had to be mystery/suspense. So, I guess my answer is ‘the story made me do it.’

3) Tell us about your current release.

I kind of gave it away in the last question, I guess! In Aladdin’s Samovar, Amber Polaski buys an antique brass samovar that turns out to have a seriously hot genie in it. She makes a wish to find her long-lost father, only to find that he’s on the run from the Mafia. People get shot at, shrink wrapped, and pounced on by a pack of Happy Puppies—and Amber is forced to defend herself against Mafia assassins with common household appliances. There’s also the beginnings of a romance between Amber and Jasper, the genie, which will continue throughout the series. And Amber’s New Age hippie mom, Indigo, gets in on the action, too. Indigo wafts through life in her spangly caftan, convinced that the Universe will work everything out—and usually it does.

4) What genres do you like to read? Who are your favourite authors?

Oh, so many books, so little time…If you looked at my fiction bookshelves, you’d see mostly mysteries and SciFi/fantasy. Although I’ve recently discovered Carola Dunn’s Regency romances, which are as addictive as caramels. As for authors—so many faves. Charles DeLint, J. K. Rowling, Kelly McCullough, Rachel Caine,Madeleine L’Engle, Tamora Pierce, Robert Jordan, Isaac Asimov, Roger Zelazny—to name a few for SciFi/Fantasy. In mysteries—Deborah Crombie, Janet Evanovich, Lee Child, Jonathan Kellerman, Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels, Anne Perry, Tana French, Nancy Atherton…I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch. And one of my all-time favorite authors is Diana Gabaldon, with her Outlander series, but I don’t even know what genre to put her books in.

5) Where would you say you draw your inspiration from?

That’s a tough question—I don’t really think I look for inspiration the way most people think of it. I just love writing and stories—I love reading about writing and talking about writing and figuring out why stories work—or don’t—and figuring out how to make the words go together just right to do exactly what I want them to do. I think writing is magical (notice how making a word is called “spelling?”). I mean, it’s just black squiggles on a page (or screen). The idea that I can write black squiggles in one place, and that someone hundreds of miles away can have a whole experience that I made up, just by looking at those black squiggles when I’m not even around, is mind-boggling. And then I talk to someone who’s read my book, and it’s clear that they saw in their mind what I saw in my mind. How bizarre is that?

6) Tell us a little known fact about yourself.

Wow, let me think—I’ve already given away a few little-known facts on my web site, so now they’re known. Okay, I’ll give you three: I believe in ghosts. I almost never wear sunglasses. And I really, really hate it when I’m eating waffles and the maple syrup gets on my bacon.

7) What are you working on right now? Any new releases coming soon?

In the second book in the Samovar Mysteries series, I’m developing some of the secondary characters from the first one—primarily Iggy, a homeless midget who’s been secretly living in the warehouse at the plastic bottle manufacturing plant where Amber works. He’s a former carnival performer, and he drags Amber, Jasper and Indigo off to help him rescue a friend from his carnie days. There’s a murdered clown, buried treasure, a midget cowboy show, and a very scary ventriloquist’s dummy. Plus Amber’s romance with Jasper hits some snags, because he’s not supposed to be getting involved with humans. I don’t have an exact release date yet, but it should be out sometime in the summer.

8) Where can readers go to find out more about you and your books?

Readers can visit my web site: It has info about me and links to some other interviews and guest posts I’ve done. I’m also adding fun features—the next one will be some character profiles and interviews. Also, you can check me out on Goodreads

And, of course, Aladdin’s Samovar is available for purchase in Kindle or Nook format.

Book Description

A nice, normal, boring life—that’s all Amber Polaski ever wanted. One where she’s not unchaining her flaky New Age mom from endangered trees, bailing her out of jail, or getting dragged to naked pagan rituals. But when Amber finds a sexy genie in her antique brass samovar, any hope of normal goes up in smoke.

It’s just one tiny little wish—to find her long-lost father. What could go wrong?

Plenty. Dad shows up, all right—with a computer drive full of stolen data and angry mobsters hot on his trail. Now Amber has Fugitive Dad holed up in her Manville, NJ duplex, fending off the Mafia on one side and the FBI on the other. And she has Jasper the genie lounging in her blue plush recliner, conjuring chocolate chip cookies and passing himself off as her boyfriend. While Jasper is trying to tempt Amber with more disastrous wishes—and his seriously hot thousand-year-old body—Amber and her mom are forced to fight off Mafia assassins with nothing but chutzpah and household appliances.

It’s time for Amber to call in the B-team: Iggy the homeless dwarf, Tim the ecoterrorist, and Wanda the Fairy Dogmother with her pack of Happy Puppies. Together, they need to save Dad before the Mob makes him disappear again—permanently!

Author bio

Lauren Sweet was born and raised in New Jersey, spending her formative years sneaking books under her desk to read during math class. After working in business administration for way too many years, she finally escaped to Alaska and earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Lauren now lives near Portland, OR, and is a freelance writer and editor. Her other esoteric skills include astrology, figure skating, and the ability to do a perfect split.

The Giveaway
Lauren is offering e-book copies of Aladdin's Samovar to THREE lucky readers. 
The giveaway is open to international entries and anyone over 13 years of age can join in. Just fill in the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. How nice to see Lauren here! I wish her the best of luck with ALADDIN'S SAMOVAR and also a nod to her superb editing skills!

  2. Thanks, Jenny! So glad you stopped by! And thanks to Nicki for hosting me here. Can't wait to see who won the giveaway!

  3. Thank you so much ladies! I can't wait to read it! Who doesn't want a hot genie?
    Lauren M.