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An Interview with Lauryne Wright, Author of Altogether Alien

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Lauryne Wright lives in the Las Vegas area with her critter sidekicks hoping that one day soon, she’ll hit the jackpot and her novels will come true…or the truth will come to light.

You can buy Altogether Alien here and learn more about Lauryne here.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, even as a kid. What made me want to write a fictional series was voraciously reading works by Janet Evanovich and Carl Hiaasen, who is also a journalist. Hiaasen especially taught me how to see humor in the hapless hubris of humans (my Other Worldly protagonist Rowan Layne loves alliteration). Though I never dreamed I’d actually be writing something others see as comedic fiction, and issue-oriented at that. There’s nothing like cackling aloud at something you’ve crafted. It feels like I’m paying it forward after so many belly laughs at the antics of fictional characters created by Evanovich and Hiaasen.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

My readers know I’ve been both an environmental lawyer for the Department of Defense and a local newspaper columnist, because my Other Worldly protagonist Rowan Layne has also assumed these roles, and the rancor that goes with them at times. In fact, I’ve put so much of myself and my life experiences into my novels that there’s precious little my readers probably don’t know, from my propensity for motion sickness to what I find appealing in men. Perhaps what they don’t realize is, while I write about aliens and have actually seen UFOs (experiences I included in my first Other Worldly novel, Alienable Rights), the majority of my real-life paranormal interactions involve ghosts or residual energy of spirits, beginning with growing up in a haunted house in Virginia eight miles from the White House, with lots of school field trips to historical and haunted spots. And yet I write about extraterrestrial beings and other mythological entities, of which I’m adding a few more in book seven, Aliens Watch. I do, after all, now live in Nevada.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

All titles of my Other Worldly novels come from phrases within each story, some said aloud by a character. In Altogether Alien, an ancient alien who also happens to be a former US astronaut says with snark, “I have a momentous announcement. After nearly four years post-alien revelation, NASA and the US military have finally admitted to reverse engineering alien technology. As one NASA official stated today, ‘The origins of this administration are altogether alien.'” What some may not know is that this origins statement was actually voiced by a NASA official. Sometimes reality makes it easy for me to scribe fiction, and come up with fun titles for my novels.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

An author has to get very creative to reference song titles without using actual lyrics to avoid copyright infringement, which I do in several of my Other Worldly novels. For Altogether Alien, an apropos soundtrack would include none other than that big seventies hit “Disco Duck.” Actually anything from the Saturday Night Fever movie soundtrack might work. I also had a disco theme going in one scene of Aliens Abound, which takes place at a New Year’s Eve party—on the moon. The DJ plays an eclectic selection of moon-themed tunes, such as “Bad Moon Rising,” “Blue Moon,” “Moondance,” “Bark At The Moon,” and “Walking on the Moon.” There’s also a James Bond theme for attendee attire, so the soundtrack from the Bond film Moonraker would work quite nicely. Of note is that I’m not necessarily a big fan of disco, but it can be useful for humorous situations, especially “Disco Duck.”

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

My perfect reader is a woman over fifty who has been through some things in her personal and professional life, such that she can appreciate the snark and sass, nerve and verve, of my Other Worldly protagonist Rowan Layne. Rowan’s not interested in a conventional love life or ever being a lawyer again, and she never had kids, but for some reason alien children are drawn to her. Go figure. I would hope readers can take away joy in the humor and other endearing moments, and satisfaction in justice being served, perhaps faster in my novels than is occurring in real life. Because the bad guys are more likely to be human than alien and it’s time they’re held accountable by Rowan and her alien and human-hybrid allies.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

For this sixth novel of my Other Worldly series, the most rewarding thing was finally getting that printed copy of Altogether Alien following far too many glitches. After publishing the first five novels beginning in February 2020, cranking out two a year in 2021 and 2022, because that’s about all I could do during a pandemic and other world crises threatening my well-being, I experienced burnout from the publishing process. As a result, I’m taking my time with the seventh novel, Aliens Watch, because the writing process should be savored for both the catharsis and accomplishment that it is. A lot of folks say they want to write a novel. Those of us who’ve done it need to pat ourselves on the back and then keep right on writing. Also, we must remember to have fun with it!

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I’m currently happily drafting the seventh novel in my Other Worldly series, Aliens Watch, with intentions for an eighth and final novel featuring protagonist Rowan Layne, tentatively titled Alien Origins. Up next after those is a planned next-generation series starring precocious all-female sextuplets of the alien kind who are fast approaching adulthood and are hell on wheels. As one of them says in Altogether Alien, “Danger, Will Robinson!”

I also have an idea percolating for historical fiction featuring events in Las Vegas. The concept came to me while visiting the actual courtroom of a famous trial in The Mob Museum.

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