Today we welcome Louis Launer.
Book ‘Em: Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.
Louis Launer: During the day, I work in Accounts Receivable for a St. Louis manufacturer. I am also an historian and work once a week at the St. Charles County Historical Society in Missouri. I have had 35 articles about local history published in the Society’s quarterly publication. I help people do research at the Historical Society. I also serve on the organization’s board of directors.
Book “Em: Which books have you written? What are they about and why did you choose to write them? Do your books have a message? Are they fiction or nonfiction?
Louis Launer: I have written and published three young adult novels. They are realistic adventures with my main character, Molly Warner, who is a student at Blanchette High School. She is a cheerleader captain, activist, and a first-responder. I like young adult (YA) because I find the characters to be rather energetic and eager. My novels focus on problems such as drug abuse, peer pressure, cliques (good and bad), relationships and overall trust. I became interested in YA many years ago when I saw a movie called Lucas, which featured mainly high school students as characters and I was so interested in writing young adult after that.
Book ‘Em: Do you have a work in progress?
Louis Launer: Yes. I have a young adult novel that is set in Astoria, Oregon that has a bit of a science-fiction twist to it. It also includes superheroes in it. It is a change of pace compared to the other YA novels I have written. I also have two more novels involving Blanchette High also in the works.
Book ‘Em: What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? What made it difficult?
Louis Launer: I think the move difficult section I wrote in a novel involved my character Molly and her confrontation with her mother. This was where Molly had to introduce some evidence which showed her mother hinted on cheating by working with a lobbyist. Molly’s mother is a state representative. I wasn’t sure how far I could go without becoming extreme. Granted, I wrote that in 2011 and six years later, it’s nothing compared to the politics of today.
Book ‘Em: What sort of research do you do for your work?
Louis Launer: Research comes from newspapers and my journalism experience (for at least two of the three novels I have recently published). Also, for young adult, I have attended many football games, basketball games and high school hockey games. There have been times I have been at the local shopping mall in the food court, observing high school kids as they spend their Friday nights.
Book ‘Em: Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?
Louis Launer: I have read John Grisham (The Pelican Brief is my favorite). I have also read the Hunger Games trilogy (Catching Fire is the best of the three). I have also read books by Sara Paretsky, Dee Henderson, Vicki Berger Erwin, Vicki Grove, Tim Tharp, John Green, Jillian Green DiGiacomo, just to name only a few.
Book ‘Em: Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
Louis Launer: Oh yes. My senior English teacher (English IV), Deb Needham has been quite an inspiration. When I was in high school, I was extremely book shy. She introduced me to the classics and the contemporaries (of the 1980s at the time). I had a lot of catching up to do in order to be familiar with standard-bearer authors when I got to college.
Book ‘Em: What would you say are your strengths as an author?
Louis Launer: I like to describe setting. I like to describe the world around the character. I could describe a poor neighborhood with a rusted swing set in one yard, old cars in another yard with one person under the hood trying to fix one of those cars. I also describe the house, which could be Victorian style, old, but either in great condition or the paint was peeling, especially noticable from the shutters at the windows. I also describe conditions at Blanchette High School, which at one time, had peeling paint on the walls, buckets on the floor catching the rain water/runoff, lights that weren’t working and a boiler system that you could hear more than heat. I also like to incorporate history into the story. It is not necessarily the local history of the setting. But I want to be as realistic as possible.
Book ‘Em: How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?
Louis Launer: Since the beginning of 2016, I have written for at least one hour a day. Usually it is at my lunch hour or one hour before I actually start my day job. I have stuck to that regimen going into 2017. It is also the result of completing three YA novels within one year’s time, currently going through beta readers right now.
Book ‘Em: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?
Louis Launer: I would like to continue with the Blanchette High Series, which right now is at three books. I would like to add at least six more novels to that series. I would also like to branch out and write other YA novels, which I have begun with my science-fiction YA. I am also working on research for at least two history books, mainly local history about my hometown of St. Charles, Missouri.
Book ‘Em: If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
Louis Launer: Never give up. Never feel overwhelmed. Throw caution to the wind and write it all down on paper. Do not doubt yourself. Do not have any fears. It is just you, the pencil and the paper when you write.
Book ‘Em: What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?
Louis Launer: If a reader enjoys my main character and the supporting characters, that is an accomplishment and a great compliment. I have also received some great compliments with the setting I have given with the high school, the neighborhood surrounding the high school and some of the hangouts where the students are when they are not in school.
Book ‘Em: Provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with our members.
Louis Launer: From the novel, Rurals Rule: Molly’s Revenge, published in 2015:
Molly turned over to her father. “Are you OK with this, Dad? You’re the one that has to give permission on this. This is a one-person field trip.”
“Molly,” her father began. “I’m fine with it. You need to do what you need to do. You’re not the one who is in trouble. Your mother is.”
Molly sighed and she turned to look directly at Representative Daniels.
“OK,” she said. “I’ll go.”
“Very well, then.” Representative Daniels pulled out a piece of paper to give to Molly. She picked it up off the chair arm.
“This is a subpoena,” Molly said.
“That’s right,” he said. “We had to make it official. Now, in two days, there is a meeting of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee where the bill is currently sitting for consideration and recommendation to the full House. Your mother serves on that committee. We made sure that there are no conflicts of interest, including your current relationship with your mother. Obviously, your report clearly shows a difference between you and your mother on this issue.”
“My mother knows nothing about this report or your presence here,” Molly said. “She also knows nothing about my presenting testimony before the committee.”
“That’s right and we are going to keep it that way until the hearing,” Representative Daniels said. He handed her an envelope. “Inside is your round-trip Amtrak ticket to Jefferson City and back. You depart from Kirkwood Station. It takes an hour and a half to get to Jefferson City. Arrangements will be made for someone to travel with you to the capitol city and accompany you to your hotel. We’ll pay for your meals and we will make sure you are secure. This is very much a secret. Only I know, the chairman of the committee knows, your father knows and Dr. Grossman knows your whereabouts.”
“I can keep a secret,” Molly said.
Amazon Author Page:
Rurals and Townies:
Rurals Rule: Molly’s Revenge:
Townies’ Turn: Molly’s Challenge
Coming in April, 2018: Rurals on Top: Molly’s Triumph