New Mexican and YA writer Lauren C. Teffeau is our next interview. Lauren lives pretty close to the location of Taos Toolbox, and we all benefited from her help and expertise.
Tamago: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Lauren: There was never an a-ha! moment where I just knew. Instead, I’d say there was a series of smaller moments that collected in my subconscious until writing became the only thing I wanted to do. And now that I’m in a position to do just that, I haven’t looked back.
Tamago: How would you describe your writing?
Lauren: I write primarily speculative fiction, with a preference for science fiction over fantasy (though I’ve done both). I also have a tendency to write younger protagonists, though not always. And usually my novel-length works have a bit of romance in addition to the other genre elements I’m exploring.
Tamago: How much research do you do for your work?
Lauren: It depends on the project. I have a background in social science, not hard science, so I often have to do research on whatever scientific topics I’m using in my stories. Graduate study and a brief stint in academia helped hone my research skills, so I’m very comfortable finding the information I need. It also helps that I love to learn—whether it’s seismology, how to kill a chicken, or carpet weaving techniques of the Ottoman Empire. I am still amazed at just how much there is to know in the world.
Tamago: What are you working on right now?
Lauren: Right now, I’m nearing the end of a draft of a young adult science fiction project with adventure and romance and terraforming and pirates. I’m having a lot of fun with it.
Tamago: How did you come to apply for Taos Toolbox?
Lauren: I applied to Taos Toolbox for a number of reasons, but primarily because I had reached a point in my writing journey where I wasn’t sure what came next. I’d been writing for a while, had a few modest short story sales, joined a critique group that I soon grew out of. I wanted to keep moving forward, and I hoped a workshop like Taos would help me do that. At the time I also didn’t have very many writer friends who wrote SF/F, and I wanted to change that.
Tamago: What advice would you give to someone attending their first writing workshop?
Lauren: Treat it as a professional endeavor. Be engaged with every aspect of the workshop. You’d be surprised by what you can learn just by listening to a critique of someone else’s work. I would also recommend you try to have a one-on-one conversation with each of your peers over the course of the workshop—these personal connections will serve you better than any lecture on how to punctuate dialogue ever could.
Tamago: What is your writing goal for 10 years down the line?
Lauren: I hope to be traditionally published. Everything else is gravy.
Tamago: Which writers do you feel your work is similar to?
Lauren: This is tough. I really don’t know. My writing style can vary quite a bit especially across my short stories, my novels less so. But I do try to write as sparely as possible. For me, simple efficiency in storytelling is more effective than beautifully written passages that have no movement. That said, beautiful writing and efficient writing don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and I try to incorporate both into my work.
Tamago: What is your dream project?
Lauren: Every novel I sit down to write is my dream project at the moment. I have two novels in the queue waiting to be written, one science fiction, one fantasy. The one has been in my head for a number of years now, but I found the world building too onerous to tackle when I first started writing. I hope I’m a braver and better writer now. The other was a happy result of a short story I wrote for an anthology call. And I’m looking forward to the time when I can expand it into a novel.
Tamago: Where can readers find more of your work?
I blog about the writing life at The Blue Stocking Blog and you can find my full list of publications there as well.
Thanks so much for the interview, Cath!
Delighted, Lauren. Keep writing us stories!