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Saturday, August 8, 2020

Special Guest Saturday: Meet Lainey!


Check me out on Bookstagram!

Hi! I'm Lainey, and I'm a bookstagrammer and a digital nomad, meaning my hubby and I pick locations around the world to live for up to 6 months at a time. I also run an IGTV show where I post short 10-minute episodes interviewing my favorite authors, called The Best of Women's Fiction on IGTV, and I'm an author, too. My debut novel (THE EXIT STRATEGY) has been called 
"a rallying call for women to believe in themselves and join together”, and just released a month ago!


Q: How long have you had your account?

A: You know, I had to scroll back on my feed to look! Turns out, it's been just over 2 years. I started out sharing mostly travel shots as I traveled around the world, but now I share a mix of books I love, author interviews, and a bit about my own writing. And these days, a lot less travel shots because I've been stuck in place, isolating inside my house in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, for several months now!

Q: Your debut novel just released recently, how does it feel to have your work officially out there?

A: Getting this book into readers' hands has been such a thrill. Honestly, I've been reading all the reviews and Instagram posts and grinning ear to ear at every 5 star review (over 80 on Goodreads already). I love when readers relate to the themes of friendship and female power, but especially appreciate when reviews use the words "page-turner" or talk about relating to the characters. Honestly, having spent 4 years working on this book, these were the areas I most worried about and reworked many times over (pacing and making the characters relate-able), so it makes me smile and sigh in relief when a reader thinks I got those parts right!

Q: I was a fan of the novel; are there any inklings of another work in progress?

A: I’m working on a new novel which draws inspiration from my life as a digital nomad, since becoming a writer.  The heroine is an adventure travel instagrammer living under a new name to hide her tragic past. Given her new-found fame, she fears her identity will be exposed and she’ll be forced to face a history she’s fought to escape. It's just in the first draft stage, but I'm excited about it!

Q: What's some advice you could give some viewers who are struggling to publish their own work?

A: When you think your work is ready, get feedback: lots and lots of feedback. Often we as writers think our words are perfectly clear, only to realize that readers see the story and characters differently than what we believed was on the page. Basically, early feedback is essential to honing your writing skills.

Once your beta readers tell you the book is ready, you'll want to develop a thick skin and learn resiliency. Before my debut, THE EXIT STRATEGY was published I endured 
130+ rejections from literary agents. But based on many early readers and editor feedback, I knew the book was reader-ready, and so I didn't give up. I often urge other writers to remember that landing an agent is not your only path to publication. For me, after all those agent rejections, I submitted directly to small publishers and received several offers. And self-publishing, or hybrid publishers are also an option. Short version: improve your work as much as possible, but ultimately don't let someone else decide your work is not valuable enough to be in the world, because they are most often wrong.

Q: What has been the most exciting bookmail you've received since joining bookstagram?

A: As a nomad, I rarely receive paper copies, but I joined Netgalley this year, and I'm also part of a group of debut authors (@debuts2020) who share their work with each other before publication dates.

It's been super fun to get early access to e-copies of work by authors I love. I received an early copy of a suspense novel, THE FIRST TO LIE by Hank Phillippi Ryan (just released) that I tore through, and am excited by two that aren't out yet - THE SECRET FRENCH RECIPES OF SOPHIE VALROUX by Samantha Verant is an immersive escapist read set in the south of France, while A DOOR BETWEEN US by Ehsaneh Sadr is a dramatic story set in Iran during the 2009 election  (can you see how my love of books and travel come together, there?). Both of those last two will release in September.

Q: What are three adjectives you'd use to describe yourself?

A: Curious, enthusiastic, supportive.

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