Friday, July 31
I had high expectations for Laid Bare, and was very fortunate to be able to read an ARC of this book prior to its release date. It was a book that captivated me from the very beginning. Erin is such a strong, confident person who knows who she is and is not afraid to express herself in her music, her life, and her sexuality. I have to say I think she is one of my favorite female heroines so far this year. She lives her life to the fullest and with no regrets. To me that is very powerful.
And Todd… can I just say WOW, he left me breathless. Even at the start of his relationship with Erin he is a sexy, commanding hero, despite his wariness to acknowledge his true desires. After the end to their brief love affair, both go on to lead the lives they have chosen, for better or for worse. But the journey they lead the reader through to come back to a place, despite all that they have experienced, and find love again is what I found most compelling.
I simply loved Erin and Todd, add Ben to the mix and it was just icing on a very tasty cake. This was a scorching hot, and at times tenderly emotional love story that I highly recommend. I can’t say this enough….I LOVED IT!
One of the questions I get asked most frequently is where my ideas come from. Each book springs from a different place. Sometimes it’s a snippet of dialog I hear at the grocery store, or a song on the radio, traveling is a great source of ideas as well.
With Laid Bare, it was a vivid scene of my heroine, Erin, that started the story for me. Here’s this woman, she’s young and confident, she owns her power and her ambition and most definitely makes no apologies for who she is and what she likes. This scene turned out to be the opening of the book and it frames who Erin was ten years ago:
Music, raw and hard like sex, pulsed through the speaker stack, caught the people in front of the stage as much as it had her in its grip.
The bass line throbbed through her like a second pulse as the scent of beer and sweat settled into her system. Sweat slicked her forehead and slid down the line of her spine. The muscles in her forearm corded as she played, her fingers finding their way as they had time and again. A secret smile marked her lips as her half lidded eyes focused on something not visible to anyone else.
Yes, it was a man’s world up there, but she’d kicked down the door with her Doc Martens and she wasn’t giving her spot to anyone else. She loved making music, and it fit her like a second skin.
It made her alive.
Her dreads swung forward, partially obscuring her face—adding, she knew, to the overall effect. Her belly, glistening with sweat, slid against the back of her bass where her shirt ended and her low-slung jeans began.
Up there, under the blue lights, she didn’t have to work at it. She was. She was exactly where she wanted to be, a guitar strapped to her body, calluses on her fingers from playing. The muscles in her upper arms were well defined because she hauled equipment around for gigs. There wasn’t any doubt, any self-consciousness. She lived the life she wanted.
Erin Brown had stopped apologizing for wanting things. She grabbed experiences with both hands and gobbled them down.
The book is firmly rooted in music. It’s how Erin communicates her pain, her rage, her joy, her grief. All my books have soundtracks I listen to while I write and edit. I use music to create a feel, so that I can easily slide back into that story when I start writing each day or if I get interrupted to go back and get into the book again after being in another story for a while.
As we return to Seattle ten years after this opening and a super hot fling Erin finally broke off with Todd, her sexy next door neighbor, we see she’s changed and so has he. He’s back and accepting of who he is inside, of what he wants from a woman and she’s not the same, self assured woman she was before. Yes, she still owns her desires, but something horrible has happened to her, it’s dulled some of her boldness.
There are parts of the writing process with this book where it was very dark. Lots of Tool, Deftones and Kittie. Other times it was more emotional and I broke out the singer songwriters like PJ Harvey and Ani Difranco. This sort of framing helped me keep Erin’s state of mind, her heart and what she was struggling with, really clear in my head (and I hope, in the book).
And along came a story element I hadn’t actually envisioned at all when I wrote the synopsis and proposal for my editor. Ben. This book was not meant to be a ménage when I imagined it. But Ben would not let go. He wanted to be in the story and I fought it enough to run into story problems as I tried to adjust here and there to give him a bit more page space until finally I just gave in and let him love Erin. Once that happened, it was like the story simply flowed from me onto the page.
The book was totally unexpected in many ways as I wrote and I’m very pleased with how it ended up. Sometimes you have to whip your characters back into shape and not let them wander around, but other times, you need to listen to the music, to open up and give the characters and the story a bit of a lead, let them roam a bit because sometimes there’s a hidden bit you hadn’t imagined, but that works really well for the story.
This book is about music and music helped frame this story. It’s gentle and sweet in places, hard and dark in others. I hope, like my tracklist, the rising and falling, the ebb and flow of Erin’s life and the lives of her two men will click with readers the way it did in my head!
I loved Laid Bare, and can't wait to read Coming Undone (sequel to Laid Bare)! Brody (Erin's elder brother) was my favorite supporting character and am so excited that he will be getting his own book. My many sincere thanks to Lauren for agreeing to be my guest while preparing and promoting her book, as well as the ARC of Laid Bare so that I could read it before it was featured.
If you did not already know, Lauren has been celebrating the release of Laid Bare by having an awesome contest "Laid Bare with Flair" on her blog (please see sidebar for widget and more details). It is still going on with daily giveaways of books and clothing accessories (jewelry, scarfs...), from a variety of great authors, but hurry because her contest ends on Aug 3rd, 2009.
Laid Bare's official release date is Aug 4, 2009, and one lucky commenter has the chance to win this amazing book. Yes, that's right, Lauren has offered to give away one copy of Laid Bare, in addition to giving away one copy of Relentless. Two books and two winners. That's what I call a great way to start the weekend!
And don't forget you can earn 5 extra entries to win Lilli Feisty's book Bound to Please by blogging about Lauren's guest post & giveaway at Seductive Musings. See the Monday's Muse post this week for specifics on how to gain these entries.
How to enter the Lauren Dane giveaway:
- To enter you must leave a meaningful comment
Rules and disclaimers:
- This contest is open to anyone
- The contest will end Monday August 3rd at 11:59 pm EST and the winner will be contacted via email on Tuesday August 4, 2009
- Winners will be selected using Random.org
- The winners will have THREE days from the date they are contacted to provide the requested information. If you do not respond within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS
- The book(s) will be mailed directly from the publisher or author and no substitutions are allowed
- Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit
- All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior notice
Join us tomorrow for another special guest, Tymber Dalton