Friday, May 17, 2024

Q&A with Lauren Claudare




Lauren Claudare is the author of the new novel Cover Stories. She lives in New York.


Q: What inspired you to write Cover Stories, and how did you create your character Annabelle?


A: Cover Stories is a work of fiction, but it is based on my experience working in a cable TV newsroom while I was in an emotionally abusive relationship with an undercover CIA officer.


That period of my life was very isolating, because there was no one I could talk to about was happening to me. I ended up writing down much of what I was feeling as a way to cope, and that ultimately led to this book.  While the events and characters in the novel are fictionalized, the story is very emotionally true. 


I wanted the Annabelle character to be someone for whom the stakes are very high. She is incredibly motivated to reach her goal of being a primetime news anchor. For TV journalists who want to be on-air, those coveted roles are very few and far between.


It takes a lot for someone like her to come undone, but at the same time she feels she cannot show any weakness or be anything other than perfect. 


Q: How would you describe the dynamic between Annabelle and Ryan?

A: When they meet, they are incredibly (and unexpectedly) drawn to each other even though neither of them was looking for a relationship. The instant chemistry and strong connection is what makes it easy for Annabelle to overlook some of the red flags in Ryan’s behavior when things take a toxic turn.


Meanwhile, Ryan leverages that initial desire to his advantage when he wants to isolate her from her family and friends so that she can keep his cover story intact.  


Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: I always had a general sense of how it would end, though earlier drafts had a slightly different outcome for Annabelle and a very different ending for Ryan.  This version feels the most true to who they are.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story/


A: I hope anyone who can relate to what Annabelle experienced (even in a small way) can feel a bit more validated after reading this book. While what Annabelle went through is obviously an extreme example, it’s a reminder that sometimes you don’t realize you’re in a bad situation when it’s happening, and it’s only when you're looking back that you're able to make sense of it.  


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Right now my focus is on generating more publicity for Cover Stories but I’ve been feeling the itch to get back to writing, too. I have a running list of ideas that I’d like to explore and I’m looking forward to diving back into that this summer.   


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Cover Stories is available in digital format only for now. You can find it on Amazon & Kindle Unlimited! 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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