Love. Local. Latebreaking.
by H. Laurence Lareau
GENRE: Contemporary romance
Professional passion in the tradition of Julie James, Love. Local. Latebreaking. is a page-turning romance shining a spotlight into television news.
“Heart-tugging relational tension but with a sophistication that raises it above the romance genre.” — Jlaird, verified purchaser
“Mr. Lareau manages humor beautifully–I was able to envision certain scenes/situations/people so clearly that I was chortling into my coffee. I highly recommend this novel as a light-hearted (and sexy) diversion.” — Sarah K. Clark, verified purchaser
“The heroine had a career that she worked hard for and that she didn’t give that career up simply because she’d found love” — A. Geek, verified purchaser
Local TV news reporter Karli Lewis has one goal: escape Iowa’s cornfields and podunk local news scene to hit the bright lights of the Chicago’s newsrooms. Karli’s career is on the rise, thanks to her talented, dizzingly handsome, yet enigmatic news photographer, Jake Gibson, a dedicated hometown boy who is staying put. Will Karli listen to her heart, or will she choose a dateline over her favorite date? Can she reconcile her unbridled ambition and her longing for the man she could lose forever?
Her eyes and the smell of her skin and the pulse beating in her neck all told Jake that she was ready to be his. Her raised eyebrows and her erect, squared-off posture told him to stay away. He saw all of this in an instant, then fumbled for something to do that wasn’t kissing, in spite of the thudding pulse and the insistent twitch that urged him—now—to find the sweetness of her lips.
Jake wasn’t thinking through the feelings, the urges, the choices. Evolution or God or something had equipped men—and Jake more especially than most—with a finely calibrated system to gauge a woman’s readiness. Something—the pheromone density in the air or her posture or the pace of her breathing or some combination of those things or some other primal indicator—wasn’t yet right. One more moment of intimacy, though, and they would both be ready. Instinct guided him to the movie’s moment of consummation.
“When the heroine finds out that he really does love her and wants to marry her—that’s pretty powerful, isn’t it?”
Jake knew immediately that he’d said the wrong thing. Karli shook her head slightly and turned her blue eyes from his. She reached up and took Jake’s hand and the napkin it held from her face.
“Shut up,” she ordered him. “You think I was rooting for that insipid girl?” she asked. “No, Jake, I don’t identify with girls who need men to define them. I was cheering for the reporter. He had finally found his way to a real news job in a real market. He had escaped Des Moines.”
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
The University of Illinois stands astride Urbana-Champaign like a colossus. Growing up in a community dominated by the Big U and its then 35,000-ish students was an amazing experience. My mother was a student during much of my youth, earning her Ph.D. from Illinois when I was in junior high. She managed to raise me on a Teaching Assistant’s stipend, an accomplishment I now view—having four children of my own, half of them adult—as nothing short of miraculous.
The kids I went through the Urbana public schools with were and remain nothing short of amazing. Many of us were U of I faculty brats (my mother worked at the U after her doctorate) who have since accumulated a staggering array of academic and professional accomplishments. Of the guys who played ping pong in various basements with me in junior high, there are now a Boston College math professor, a senior Microsoft engineer, a UW-Madison faculty member, and a transportation engineer who just won a national award for being essentially the Olympian of all his colleagues. And that’s just the ping pong group—there are at least two dozen others who have reached international or national prominence in their fields.
Measured against their standards, I’m a relative slacker. Yet I am supremely blessed to have been formed by their many kind and inquiring personalities.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Love. Local. Latebreaking. was inspired by my brief first career in television news. Young professionals thrown together in the pressure cooker of many daily deadlines, interdisciplinary collaboration, and great ambition often find themselves romantically entangled—and the romances are as intense as the profession.
The decision to write a novel traces to my youth, when books took the place of the siblings I lacked. Having spent a life reading, it was virtually automatic that I would someday take part in the overarching conversation formed of novels. The confidence to ever start writing never came, though, so I earned an English degree from the University of Illinois, took online courses in romance writing, read any number of romances, baked a lot of cookies, went to law school, and engaged in countless other time-wasting delay tactics. Finally, a hole gaped in my weekly schedule, and I had to figure out how to fill two solitary hours with something other than social media. So the book commenced, and the second followed.
How do you create your characters?
My work in news and in the law puts me face-to-face with countless individuals, each of whom comes to me with a compelling story. Sometimes their stories are rooted in their own characters, sometimes in circumstances beyond their control. My characters are not based on any of these actual people, but some of their experiences help form backstories that give the characters shape.
Defining characters’ goals and ambitions based on their backstories—and the settings they’re placed in—sets the stage for their conflicts. And when hero and heroine come into conflict, that’s when their characters start to come off the page, when they stop taking direction so much as giving it, when their story begins to pulse with enough life to carry a book.
Jim Butcher (of Dresden Files fame) has put a wonderful character-building cheat sheet out on the interwebs somewhere. It’s an incredibly useful checklist of character traits, tics, identifying speech patterns, and the like.
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
Reading is what gets most authors started in writing—it’s what got me started. While I read across any number of genres—full-blown literature, history, historical fiction, sci fi & fantasy, and of course romance—the connections between characters are what bring me to the first page of the next book.
The emotional fulfillment of the romantic quest for completion makes the happily-ever-after profoundly more satisfying than, say, the detective’s ingenious deductions to solve the mystery or the adolescent’s survival of the rite of passage or the hero’s recovery of the magical artifact from the dragon’s lair. The inspiration for my writing is to work through plausibly real-life difficulties to reach that pinnacle. That adventure is relatable for most people—pretty much everyone wants to find true love, and it’s much closer to being within reach than finding the solution to an actual murder.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I write anywhere I can find a block of time to sit with my aging MacBook Pro. Sometimes it helps to be able to look up and wonder what nearby people are struggling with or proud of—say, in a coffee shop.
Sometimes it helps to listen to the music that’s playing in the background of the scene I’m writing—something that’s been particularly helpful in writing the heroine-and-her-BFFs scenes in the first two installments of the Newsroom Romance series.
Sometimes it helps to have a glass and a bottle full of some adult beverage—lowered inhibitions have helped with some of the embarrassing-to-write sexy scenes.
Mostly, though, my most productive writing sessions have been in some version of a Fortress of Solitude, where I don’t have opportunities to indulge the distractions that constantly try to tug me away from the keyboard.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
The characters and the setting drive my ideas, as discussed above.
There is also an aspect of social responsibility that drives both the writing and the action. In Love. Local. Latebreaking., one of the scenes that reveals the hero’s vulnerability has to do with poor urban traffic planning. I often commute to my day job on a bicycle, and I’m terrified of motorists using their cell phones. Decent traffic engineering can reduce the dangers to cyclists and pedestrians from distracted drivers; poor traffic engineering neglects to consider the safety of non-motorists. Traffic engineering seldom makes for good news stories, but it is an important public issue, so the news team in Love. Local. Latebreaking. comes together to cover that story in considerable depth.
Similarly, one troubling aspect of the criminal justice system has to do with the crime of drug-induced homicide. It’s murder charge that can result from any overdose death. Essentially, any person who possessed any of the drug that caused the overdose death—from the poppy grower in Afghanistan all the way through the supply chain to the last person to give the drug to the user—is guilty of murder when a drug user takes too much of a drug and dies. That charge often results in people who are primarily victims—sex workers who are subjected to human trafficking, for example—being charged with murder when they merely provided drugs in order to avoid being beaten or raped. That is also an underreported story, and both the news anchor heroine and the lawyer hero roll up their sleeves to deal with it in Traffick Report.
What do you like to read?
Nearly everything! Dorothy Dunnett was an astonishing master of the several-thousand-page story arc made vivid in every single sentence—what a plotter! Jane Austen, of course. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series was one of the great fantasy-as-social commentary accomplishments ever. Robert Harris and Robert Graves and Ruth Downie all breathe life into ancient events so they’re relevant to modern experience. Mary Beard’s deep concern for responsibly recounting Ancient Roman history brings a breath of fresh air to dusty dates and battles. A.S. Byatt’s loving and meticulous use of language is moving in profound ways. Jim Butcher’s deep compassion for people and tender care for some of the bigger questions presented by his characters’ Catholic faith combine with his laugh-out-loud dialogue to raise his stories several notches above their genre. Lindsey Fairleigh writes wonderfully implausible historical fantasy fiction that presents some of the best contemporary romance in print.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
If you’re young, get some actual life experience. Work a real, grinding, pressure-packed job, meet real people where they are an listen to them with your heart. Do intense things so you gain appreciation for the struggles that all of us encounter. Read David Foster Wallace’s speeches and essays—he had a great understanding of the problematic solipsism we all confront. Read Saul Bellow’s books to understand what loss and striving and brokenness are.
Every adult is limping toward the finish line, crippled by the wounds of experience, the loss of treasured dreams, the heartbreak of being part of a family. Yet each of us is buoyed by hope and some kind of faith that we’re going to accomplish, to discover, to earn something fine. There are countless reasons to keep striving, and countless obstacles to overcome. Writing stories that tell those truths requires an understanding of the human condition, and understanding that is fundamentally impossible without the hard-knocks school of experience.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Kindness and hope are two traits we can all cultivate deliberately, and they’re two traits that make the human experience worth living. There isn’t enough of either in most people’s lives. Sharing them, helping others to become as fully alive as they can be, is the best way we can each become who we’re meant to be.
Laurence Lareau fell in love with romances the first time Pride and Prejudice came home from the library with him. Since that high school summer, he has earned an English degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, worked as a television and print journalist, built a career in law, and has remained a Jane Austen junkie through it all.
The Newsroom Romance series draws from his careers, his voracious reading, and his curiosity about the tensions between real life and real love.
Real life now is dramatically different from the real life of Austen’s times—privileged women no longer choose between eligible members of the landed gentry, nor are they imperiled by the sexist mysteries of the entailed fee simple estate in land.
Modern women with the privileges of education rather than birth now embark upon careers that can satisfy many personal and material dreams. Seemingly inevitably, though, careers fall short of the promise that they’ll fulfill women as people.
Strong, modern women have defined Lareau’s professional and personal lives, and strong women fully occupy center stage in their own newsroom romance stories. Their high-profile journalism and legal careers matter deeply to them and to the people they serve.
Then love comes walking in. These book boyfriends don’t have kilts or billions or pirate ships, though. Their career goals meet and often clash with their romantic counterparts, requiring both the men and women to make hard choices about what happily ever after should look like and how to achieve it.
When he isn’t writing, practicing law, or raising children, he’s working on martial arts and music.
Available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/author/hlaurencelareau
Laurence Lareau will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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