Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Beauty Shop For Rent by Laura Bowers

Abbey Garner has it all planned out. Become a millionaire by the time she's thirty-five and avoid making the same mistakes the other women in her family made. School Library Journal says of debut author Laura Bowers' warm and funny novel "This deceptively simple book reveals Abbey as a wonderful character who will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers. Her quiet, almost folksy lifestyle demonstrates the powerful impact of a loving family and good mentors."

We're delighted to welcome Laura to the Cafe to talk about Abbey, writing and why you should never give her nice jewelry.

Melissa W.: What is your favorite line, passage, chapter from this book?
Laura B.: My favorite chapter from BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT has always been the final one, because the setting was inspired by my county's annual 4-H & FFA fair. A close second would be the first chapter that was set in the beauty shop. I love the sassy, fun, "let your hair down" conversations that happen when it's just the ladies around and how this chapter shows the close, unique relationship between fifteen-year-old Abbey, Granny Po and the other Gray Widows. But my favorite lines are from chapter twenty-four, when my characters are driving into Ocean City: "But now the town didn't cast the same spell. Instead of enchanting, it seemed noisy and cheap, almost tacky, like I was no longer childlike enough to see its beauty."
Melissa W.: Do you remember writing the first words? Are they still the same?
Laura B.: I do remember writing the first words. It was for the opening scene in chapter one, where Abbey is stuck in the middle of another one of the Gray Widows' many tiffs. Writing that scene was one of those rare, wonderful moments when the words tumble out so fast your fingers can't keep up. The main points and concept of this chapter have always remained the same, despite the many rewrites, but my original opening line was, "I'll be dead. Dead and done buried by the time this shop is ever rented." I've since changed it to the first of many "hypothetical questions of the week."
Melissa W.: Tell us something about you that no one knows.
Laura B.: Well, my husband is perfectly aware of this, but not too many people know that I cannot be trusted with fine jewelry. Seriously. We've been married for fourteen years and in that time I've already lost my diamond engagement ring, my original wedding band, my replacement wedding band, and a diamond tennis bracelet. But, my husband is a lovely man who doesn't get upset over material things, (my character Gena is based on him,) and I'm happy to report that it's been a while since I lost something. Why? Because I hardly wear jewelry now out of fear of losing it! ;)
Melissa W.: If you could be anything else besides a writer, what would it be?
Laura B.: I would be a photographer. And, after the kids go to college, my dream assignment would be to travel the country with Bob taking beautiful pictures of historic main streets, town festivals and county fairs that could be used for a super-thick coffee table book. Talk about a cool job! That or someone who's sent to different hotels and resorts to rate them. Being paid to travel? I'm in.
Melissa W.: That does sound ideal! Can I come along? What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Laura B.: At the beginning, I think the hardest part of writing for me was viewing it as a job rather than a hobby. Before, I would only allow myself time to write after the laundry was done, my to-do list was finished, the house picked up, etc. While I still have the occasional lapse, I view my writing as a full-time job now and I no longer feel guilty about editing during my boys' baseball practice if I have a tough deadline! ;)
Melissa W.: Good for you! Thanks so much for stopping by the Cafe. We wish you the best of luck with your wonderful new book and many more to come!
~~Cafe Note~~ As a regular part of our interviews, featured authors will pop back in for one week after their interview is posted to answer any other questions blog readers may leave for them. So if you have any questions or comments for Laura, send them now! She'd love to hear from you!