Laure Eve, a marketing executive for Hachette Children’s Books and a soon-to-be published author, was described by her publisher (Emily Thomas of Hot Key Books) as having ‘poise, depth and insight to her writing.’ A two book pre-emptive deal was secured after ‘a matter of minutes’ when Thomas realised she was holding the work of a ‘really gifted author’. Not a bad way for your boss to think of you is it?
Fearsome Dreamer is a ‘richly imaginative, sinister and sexy debut’ in which Laure Eve explores a parallel world of downtrodden England (ruled by France, ironically). Unheard-of gods have wound themselves into the hearts of people. Dangerous, sought-after individuals can cross a thousand miles with their minds and rarer still are those who can move between continents in the blink of an eye. Apprentice hedgewitch Rue knows that being whisked off from a dull country life to the big city full of mystery and intrigue is meant to be, as she has a rare and precious talent desperately wanted by her government. However, she doesn’t know that White, the man training her, is in love with her. She will learn to deal with betrayal, distrust and just how real her dreams can be.
Laure studied drama and creative writing at college. She described herself as ‘hilariously greedy’ as she wanted a career assuming both the acting and writing title. ‘Sometimes I vacillated between the two, sure for a while that acting was the thing for me, but then I’d get an idea for a story and start to shape it through words and think “man, I’d love to be paid to do this for the rest of my life”. But I think they’re both the same thing – just different ways of expressing a person’s need to tell stories, to express opinions and to inhabit fantasy and be someone else for a while.’
However, she does not think that her degree helped her massively with her career, as a person either has the writing bug which never goes away or they do not have it in the first place. It cannot be taught; the instinctive foundation of needing to tell a story and ‘to get that passion out of you’ is part of who a writer is. It can be a ‘lonely profession, and requires so much self-motivation, [but even when] you’re sitting in your house alone with deadlines looming and wondering why on earth you’re doing this’, the bug pulls you through. Evidently, writing became her creative outlet and she is no longer involved in acting, which she misses. Perhaps she can play Rue in the film version of her book? Or maybe not – she has a full time job whilst writing at night which is ‘definitely enough’ for her right now.
Laure’s website, particularly ‘The Publishing Journey’section, is a great resource for anyone interested in the writing profession, as it has reams of intriguing information and is full of tips. She did not actually think she would ever reach this point – ‘it was just a nice fantasy to have’. She started writing a book when she was eighteen and describes the finished unpublished edit as ‘slightly shit’, albeit possibly salvageable. She goes through the rookie errors she made as a novice author and how she learned from her mistakes regarding book one prior to embarking on Fearsome Dreamer. She discusses the pros and cons of having an agent in depth and also delves into the world of self-publishing and the possible demise of traditional methods (and with that the print market). ‘Historically, self-publishing was a bit of a no-go if you wanted to make a success of yourself. But with the explosion of e-books, the game is changing. But you’ll notice that writers who become successful via self-publishing online will pretty much always say yes to a traditional publisher. The print market is still enormous, and it makes sense right now.’
For how much longer will this be the case? Laure offers her stance by distinguishing between the two formats to highlight the different markets: ‘the average book consumer is mostly still very separate about e-books and physical books. What you are seeing is that an e-book consumer is very quickly getting used to paying lower prices for e-books so the thought of shelling out more for a physical book is less appealing. There’s a school of thought that believes the physical book will eventually end up becoming a gift purchase, a beautiful object to possess and most people will consume their stories digitally.’ The industry, on a whole, is in a state of flux trying to keep up with the average consumers’ ever-changing needs and simultaneously conquer the financially damaging effects of digital piracy.
Laure has no qualms about saying ‘a big fat Fuck You’ to anyone who thinks they should reap the rewards of her product (containing a number of years’ worth of her blood, sweat and tears) for free. It would be very difficult to effectively monitor the World Wide Web and stop piracy; it really is up to us, as consumers, to think about who exactly is being affected every time we download illegally rather than contributing to the cost of production. As a relatively poor student, Laure cut me some slack (as she did herself), but when I am earning money and enjoying the fruits of Laure’s labour, for example, why would I not pay for it? ‘It’s in our nature to share, and in this mass consumer culture, to expect to get things for free all the time.’ A person’s point of view will never completely shift until they are on the other side of the spectrum and maybe not even then as Laure explained so honestly. ‘Some writers have said that they don’t care about piracy, because it means more people read their work. I understand that perspective – I have it myself – but I don’t want that at the expense of not being able to publish more work because the first one didn’t cut it financially.’
Dawn O’Porter (who shares the same publisher as Laure Eve and introduced me to Laure)bloggedabout her financial struggles when her creative exploits were a bit slack. She had to cycle to her friend’s workplace at lunchtime to borrow money to feed her cat, for example, yet she admits knowing she was not cut out for the 9-5 route and so had no choice but to motor on. Her determination obviously stood to her. Is Laure one of the lucky ones because she has her publishing job to put the bread (and cake) on the table and it is somewhat related to her ultimate goal of being a published writer herself?
‘Ah, the million dollar question! I really like both. It’s hard sometimes to juggle (the last thing you want to do after sitting at work typing and staring at a screen is to go home and do exactly the same thing for several more hours, for example). But I love my publishing job. I love the structure of it and the reward of it. The idea of being a full time writer makes me nervous – because there’s less security, and because it requires you to be your own boss, manager, cheerleader and everything else. If there came a day where I absolutely had to choose between the two, though… oh dear. Now I have a taste of what it’s like to be paid to write, I don’t think I could ever let that go … it’s the most amazing feeling.’
The first two chapters of Fearsome Dreamer are available to read in full on Laure Eve’swebsite. This marketing strategy is much more effective than a synopsis or extract because the reader gets introduced to the protagonists and has legitimate questions regarding the plot – reading the rest of the book is the only road to discovery. Better still, it is an acceptable form of the free movement online. You get a taster of the story for free but you gotta pay for the full whack.