{Virtual Book Tour} Interview with Lauren Roedy Vaughn, author of 'OCD, the Dude & Me'

Lauren Roedy Vaughn is especially equipped to write Danielle’s story. She has been a special education teacher and a writer for nearly 20 years. In 2005, she received the Walk of Hearts Teaching Award, and she serves on the Board of the International Dyslexia Association’s Los Angeles Branch. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, when she was in elementary school. She came to California for college, met her husband at the University of California, Irvine, and they have lived in Southern California ever since. Together, they share a love of The Big Lebowski. When not teaching, reading, or writing, Lauren is usually on a yoga mat.

Her latest book is the contemporary humorous young adult fiction, OCD, the Dude & Me.

You can visit Lauren Roedy Vaughn’s website at www.laurenroedyvaughn.com

Connect & Socialize with Lauren!

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book? 

I came up with the idea for OCD, The Dude, and Me one day when I was teaching and thinking about how difficult it is to be a high school student, especially one with learning challenges or psychological issues. I have great respect and compassion for these students. They are warriors. I was moved to write about a fictional one of these high school students to illuminate the courage I see in so many of them.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers? 

Writers literally make something out of nothing. I bow to all who write in any context for any purpose. There are moments when I wish I could twitch my nose like Samantha on Bewitched and whip up a good scene or two, so I don’t have to sweat it. A blank page can mock you, for sure. While writing my book, there were fun and exhilarating moments. Then there were the moments when I was crying on the kitchen floor. Yep, I’m dramatic. My advice is to go gentle on yourself as a writer, honor the ideas that rise, and have respect for this difficult but transformative process. Patience is a wonderful quality to cultivate. I’m working on that one.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, published my book. My agent did all the heavy lifting on finding a publisher; three cheers for her!

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published? 

Everything. I loved the process of writing this book, and I just tried to stay present with each phase as it occurred. First, I had to focus on writing. After that, I focused on getting an agent. I tried not to be too invested in anything at any stage because I knew getting an agent and finding a publisher was a long shot. I was very lucky, and each stage of good luck surprised me and filled me with gratitude. The level of care I received from my agent, my editor, and my publisher was also surprising to me. People who make books happen are gentle, passionate individuals (at least the ones I encountered).

Q: Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time? 

Two words: awe and gratitude.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published? 

I am working on another YA novel, but I don’t know when it will be published.

Q: Fun question: How does your book contribute to making this world a better place? 

The story of my book is about a struggling teen who evolves through support from others and who learns to accept herself more fully. She’s not perfect. Those around her are not perfect, but there is love available to her and that makes a difference. Perhaps my book can help some struggling teens (and adults) have hope; that would make this world a better place.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

No matter who you are, no matter what has happened to you, it is possible to grow and transform. Life is amazing that way.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

These were great questions. Thank you so much for the opportunity to answer them.

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