Ask the Author: Estelle Laure
What would you like readers to know about you?
I don’t want to lie about the world. It’s gorgeous and human beings never cease to surprise me (I’m still kvelling over the cast of Hamilton Zoombombing that girl) but it’s also mysterious and nefarious and I have always felt that. I feel a kinship with other people, especially kids, who are aware of how nuanced everything is and don’t want to be lied to about it. I spent my childhood alone, surrounded, pretty sure no one knew what they were doing, in a general panic about who was at the helm (no one). I see a lot of people who feel that way. It doesn’t have to stay like that, but you can’t change a thing until you can name a thing. I think I’m always trying to name it.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
Mayhem, which comes out July 14, is about a girl who flees West Texas for California in 1987 and lands in her mom’s hometown where a serial killer is on the loose and where it turns out criminals are drawn like metal to magnets. She befriends her aunt’s foster kids and finds out very quickly that her lineage is more complex and sinister than she could ever have imagined. It’s really about the intersection of vengeance and magic, two of my favorite things.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
Violence. In particular, violence against girls. I kept thinking about this idea of family and what we inherit, especially what we inherit as females. What runs through our veins, really? We’ve actually come a long way, but in the eighties, girls were objectified and made to feel weak. It felt like we had to filter micro abuses on a daily basis. You have only to look at the stats to know the violence continues. I kept thinking, what if there was a family where the women inherited something different? Not weakness, but an overwhelming ability to exact revenge (like I guess I’d always wanted to). It was gratifying to explore the pitfalls of that type of power, but just as gratifying to play out the anger I feel over violence against those perceived to be weak.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
All I can say is that it involved an excessive quantity of crows and a fair amount of blood.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
I read widely so my heroes are varied, but actual inspiration for writing itself would have to be Stephen King, S.E. Hinton, Stephenie Meyer, and Louisa May Alcott. I still have the copy of Little Women I read when I was eight. I wanted to be Jo so so badly. When I was twelve I found out The Outsiders was written by a fifteen-year-old girl and just lost my mind with hope, but I mostly considered myself a reader with a writing habit until I read Twilight. I don’t care what anyone says, that book woke me up. I started writing seriously as soon as I was done.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
I’d say to do it. Live out your imagination and your fun and don’t worry about the fact that you can’t get your story on the page in the exact way you want to. No one ever can at first. Learning how to construct and manage a story is a lifetime endeavor and you aren’t going to figure it out in one go. Just have a good time to start. After that, I think the most important thing you can do is to read with passion. Read people who write better than you. Saturate yourself and watch what they do that excites you. You can’t really imitate anyone else because you aren’t them, and reading them will make you a better writer.
My work can be purchased anywhere. I love to support indie bookstores so I suggest Parnassus Books in Nashville. They’re excellent with long-distance orders. I can be followed on Instagram at @estellelaurebooks and I am very vaguely on Twitter @starlaure. Also, find me at estellelaure.com.