Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blog Tour: November Surprise by Laurel Osterkamp

Follow the tour HERE


Laurel Osterkamp was a comedy writer in Minneapolis before she began writing novels. Her first novel, Following My Toes, has been a Kindle best seller and won the 2008 Indie Excellence Award for Chick Lit. Starring in the Movie of My Lifereceived honors in the 2011 Indie Excellence Awards for Chick Lit, and in the 2011 International Book Awards for Women's Fiction and Young Adult Lit. Both books are indie approved at indiereader.com. She currently teaches high school, and is working on her next book, which is inspired by her recent jury duty.

Connect with Laurel!


http://www.novembersurprises.blogspot.com/ - blog written by "Lucy" that continues the story of November Surprise, about the 2012 campaign





Q. What inspires your writing?
I’ve always loved a good story. Other books and movies inspire me, as do situations from my own life. Whenever something happens, I’m always thinking about how it could be more dramatic and interesting as fiction.

Q. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
I love the escape. I can create my own world where I have total control over what happens. It’s a little like being God. I hope that doesn’t sound bad. J But seriously, when a story comes together in the way I know it should, nothing is better.

Q. What is the toughest part of being an author?
The promotion. There are so many authors and books out there now; trying to get noticed can feel like yelling in a crowded room. I can be pretty competitive, so I have to remind myself not to be.

Q. If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
Well, I make my living as a teacher. I’d probably just focus on that.

Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
85% Lucky

Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
That’s so hard, because I’ve read so many wonderful books. I Know This Much is True made a major impression on me, so that one immediately comes to mind.

Q. Which part of your book was the easiest to write?
The dialogue and the characters

Q. Which part of your book was the hardest to write?
Setting and I suppose, plot. Sometimes my stories need a little more plausibility.

Q. Which character from any book are you most like?
That’s a funny question, because a few weeks ago I came to the revelation that all of my main characters represent a different aspect of my personality. That said, I’m probably the most like Faith from Following My Toes. But I’m also a lot like Lucy in November Surprise – I suppose I’m a mix.

Q. Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind your book cover?
I just wanted something eye-catching and easily identifiable as women’s fiction. My husband is a photographer, and took the photo for Following My Toes. Those are actually my legs! The other photos I got from Big Stock, but I was going for a similar look.


Q. What is your favorite season?
Autumn. I love sweaters, hot cider and Halloween.

Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
I once had a book reading, and all my work friends showed up. There were a lot of them, and it was super-cool, but there weren’t enough seats and everybody was crammed together on these tiny couches. I don’t know how funny that is, but it’s a great memory.

Q. Are you working on something new?
I’m writing a blog about the 2012 election from Lucy’s (the main character of November Surprise) perspective, and it has more stories about her life with Monty. I’ll continue that until the beginning of November, and then I want to start working on a book inspired by my jury duty last spring.

Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
Thanks for taking the time to read this interview! I hope you’ll give me a chance and try one of my books.



Girl’s Guide to Conflict

“Oh my God! This is unbelievable. You’re so irritating. Get away from me.” She’ll say this as she rolls her eyes and crosses her arms over her chest. Then she’ll whisper something to the person next to her and laugh. Afterwards, she’ll take out her phone and start texting.
Does this scene sound familiar? Have you ever been guilty of this yourself? If you’re a female, I’m thinking there’s a good chance you answered “Yes,” or at least, “Sort of.”
I write for a female audience, and my main characters are always female. This doesn’t feel like a choice as much as a necessity. I would feel out of my depth writing for, or about, men. I don’t know if I could do it right.
Several years ago I probably would have had a problem admitting that, but not now. Because while I believe that men are women are equal in all the important ways, there are also some very important differences. It’s these differences that make life interesting, and one important difference has to do with how we handle conflict.
I teach high school in a district with a high poverty rate, and over the last twelve years, I’ve seen a lot. It can be a tough place to work, and I’ve had my fair share of conflicts. I can safely say that conflicts with female students are usually way worse than conflicts with male students.
                Why? Because girls hold grudges. They will latch onto whatever they’re mad about, and refuse to let it go. They also get personal; girls are much more likely to throw an emotional punch rather than a physical one. I’ve never been hit by a student (thank goodness) but I’ve had students swear at me, refuse to leave after being sent down to the office, and purposefully throw things around the room. Don’t get me wrong; when this happens it’s the exception to the rule. For the most part, my classroom is peaceful, and my students and I enjoy each other. But the violent reactions, when they happen, are almost always by the males. Yet after they’re done, that’s usually it. A guy can get mad, express anger, and the next day walk in my classroom like nothing ever happened.
                But a girl will whisper mean things under her breath, roll her eyes, and try to poison the room with her opinions. This can be so much more destructive than a temporary, angry outburst.
                On a similar note, I saw an article today about a family in Minnesota who has the ultimate nasty neighbor. She yells at them in angry tirades full of swear words. She vandalizes their property with insulting graffiti, and she stalks them. The family has contacted the authorities, and the neighbor’s response is this: “I had my psychological evaluation, and I’m fine. They’re just getting on me because I’m a single mom. If I was a man, this wouldn’t even be an issue.”
                I kind of doubt that, but I do believe there’s a double standard when it comes to females and conflict. We’re not supposed to get angry the way men do, and if we break that rule, the repercussions are usually harsh. And while this is a lousy deal in real life, again, it makes writing about females and conflict so interesting.
                I personally hate conflict, but I love writing about it.  If I can create a well-rounded, strong and intelligent female character, and then put her in a stressful situation, well, the possibilities are endless!

By: Laurel Osterkamp




Monty and I have been dancing together all evening. The slow songs are the best, but we also do the Macarena and even the Chicken Dance. I can’t stop laughing the entire time I’m quacking my hands.
Jack and his new wife, Petra, have fed each other cake. Petra has thrown her bouquet, and all the toasts have been given. The night is winding down, and Monty leads me off the dance floor.
“I’m really glad neither of us had dates,” he says.
“Yeah, me too.” My heart beats just a little bit faster than normal.
“And I’m sorry about earlier. Hitting on you like that. It was clumsy. Will you forgive me?” His face is flushed and his tie is loosened. I’m sure I’ve noticed before how good looking he is, but this is the first time I’ve let myself appreciate it.
“There’s nothing to forgive.” I look around, make sure nobody is watching, and then I stand on my tip-toes and plant a kiss on his cheek. When he doesn’t flinch or pull away, I give him the barest whisper of a kiss on the lips.
It’s all the encouragement he needs.
With a conspiratorial smile, he takes my hand and leads me outside the reception hall. I follow willingly.
When we get to a dark, hidden spot, he wraps his arms around my waist and kisses me deeply. I can feel it everywhere, my entire body is tingling, my knees are weak, and I’m sure that at any moment, my heart will explode.
I don’t want him to stop. But he does.
“Where are you staying tonight?” he asks.
“I was going to drive back to my parents’ house.”
“Hmm…” he leans in and kisses me some more. I press up against him like I can’t get close enough. He tilts his head back ever so slightly, so he can talk. “That’s a long drive. Do you want to stay with me, instead?”
“You have a hotel room?”
“It’s close to the airport,” he whispers. “I fly back to New York really early tomorrow.” Then he baby kisses my eyes, nose, and chin.
I don’t answer immediately. I’m trying to steady my breathing. “So you can make a clean get away?”
“It’s not like that.” he smiles. “And you haven’t even said yes, yet.”
But he knows I’m going to. “You can’t ever tell Jack,” I say.
“He just got married, Lucy. Do you really think he’ll care?”
I rub my hands down his back and across the taut muscles in his arms. “I never had sex with him, and we dated for months. If he finds out you and I had a one night stand…”
Monty cuts me off with another kiss. “I promise I’ll never tell him,” he murmurs, between kisses.
We make out a few seconds more, but our kissing is interrupted when I’m consumed with a fit of giggles.
“What’s so funny?” Monty asks.
I shake my head. “Sorry. It just occurred to me. I’m about to do it with the homecoming king.”
Monty chuckles. “Does that turn you on?”
“Yeah,” I admit. “Kind of. Is that okay?”
He kisses my neck. I tilt my head back and sigh in pleasure.
“Are you kidding?” His lips are a mere centimeter from my skin as he mumbles, and his arms tighten around me even more. “If I had known, I would have worn my crown.”
Now we’re both laughing.
“You know this isn’t the sort of thing I usually do…”
He raises his face so he’s looking me in the eye. “I know,” he says, and he smiles. Crinkles form around his green eyes, and I feel a moment of panic. There’s no way I’m casual enough to be with him for just one night.
“Let’s make it special, okay?” He reaches down and clasps my hand, and I let him lead me somewhere, again. This time, I follow him to the parking lot. Tonight, I’d follow him anywhere.


Book Description

 August 5, 2012
Twenty years
Six presidential elections
Two brothers
One consuming love affair

For Lucy Jones, the distinction between love and politics is hazy at best. Both can be all-consuming, and either can lead to a heart-breaking loss or an exhilarating win. Whatever the case, if you're seen as a loser, you probably are one. Lucy first learns this lesson in 1988, when she's a shy girl, battling a high school bully and rooting for Dukakis. Through the years Lucy will experience stunning victories and agonizing defeats as she makes the choices that define her. Meanwhile, she also struggles to define her relationship with Monty, who comes in and out of her life like the changes in public opinion. Is Monty simply a one-night stand, a kindred spirit, or the love of her life? And by 2008, can he offer her a change to believe in?

Over the course of twenty years and six presidential elections, Lucy grows and adjusts with the times. Filled with snarky political and pop-culture references, November Surprise is about the journey we take to believe in a candidate, in love, and in ourselves.

November Surprise is a companion piece to Campaign Promises, which is free on Amazon. They can be read in either order.



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