Bestselling Author of “Dreaming in English”
~ Interview by Melina Kantor
Everything about Veil of Roses, Laura Fitzgerald’s debut novel, from the pink cover decorated with shoes, to the single protagonist on a journey to improve her life, seems to scream chick lit.
Although there’s no doubt that the book falls into the chick lit / women’s fiction category, Veil of Roses is chick lit with a very special and interesting twist. If you look closely at the cover, you’ll see that the shoes are foreign, and the woman is wearing a veil.
In celebration of the recent release of Dreaming in English, the sequel to Veil of Roses, Laura Fitzgerald (also the author of One True Theory of Love) is visiting the blog today.
As the wife of an Iranian living in the U.S., you’ve had the opportunity to get to know many Iranian women. What influence do their stories have on your writing?
From spending time with my female in-laws, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know several Iranian women as they are new to America, so to a degree, I’ve gotten to see their transition into American society. Many tidbits of what I’ve observed and heard make their way into my fiction.
What role did their stories play in helping you create the character of Tamila (Tami)?
Actually, none of the Iranian women I know are much like Tami. My sisters-in-law have more scientific educations and are very confident, whereas Tami is very shy. Where they are alike is in their appreciation for the freedoms America can offer, and the bittersweet love they have for Iran. Their manner of speaking is also similar to Tami’s.
The multicultural aspect of your books isn’t the only thing that sets them apart. You also have a very distinct and poetic voice. Was your decision to write in present tense conscious, or do your stories naturally come to you that way?
Thank you for the kind words! My early drafts certainly aren’t very poetic! In both Veil of Roses and Dreaming In English, Tami’s voice came to me very clearly and easily in the present tense. I’m not actually a fan of present tense, and so early on I played around with trying to make it past tense, but it fell flat.
In your opinion, are your books “chick lit?” Why or why not?
They’ve certainly been marketed as chick lit, but I think of them and refer to them as fiction, plain and simple. I’m not a big fan of labels like young adult, chick lit, hen lit. I don’t even like it when things are called women’s fiction. I find labels like that somewhat belittling. They’re works of fiction.
Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on right now?
I’m working on something brand new and am very excited about it. This is my first historical fiction project (it takes place during World War II) and at the moment I spend my days reading, reading, reading. I feel like I’m getting away with something amazing. I also just finished writing a “young adult” novel about a girl who has visions of people dying, and then has a vision of her new boyfriend dying. She’s fighting fate, trying to save him.
What advice do you have for authors hoping to be published?
Gosh, times are so tricky that it’s hard to give advice. I guess my advice is to write for the joy and challenge of it and don’t forget that’s why you write, and to be open to publishing e-books. As a writer, what you want is to have your story read by as many people as possible. Publishers can make that happen, or they can prevent it from happening by not taking on your project. If that happens, you have alternatives now that didn’t exist a few years ago.
Thank you so much, Laura! It’s been a real treat having you here!
Thank you for having me!!
“A well-told story is more powerful than any person ever could be, because people die but stories can be handed down century after century, year after year. They can hold people captive; they can set people free. It’s the stories people tell that, in the end, will bring down regimes.”
— Tamila Soroush, Dreaming In English
Laura Fitzgerald, the national bestselling author of three novels, lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she can be found with a book in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.