I am welcoming Laurel Gans to Writer’s Corner. She is here to promote her book Waitlisted which is her debut novel. She is a recent graduate of Bowling Green State University and is currently a dental student at Ohio State University.
What author has most influenced your writing?
Jodi Picoult was the first author ever who was able to get me to sit still and read. When I was in high school I wanted to be able to write stories with complex plots and serious themes like she did. I soon realized that I can’t stay serious that long and I switched genres.
How did you decide what kind of voice Kacey would have in the novel?
When I first started writing Waitlisted, it was a few fun little scenes I wrote for a local reading. I had only ever written scripts in the past so naturally I was writing it as a play. I often had Kacey speaking casually to the audience. When I decided to switch it to a novel, I kept the natural way Kacey spoke to the viewers and made the story written in first person.
Other than the fact that you are a dental student what made you choose the topic of dental major?
In college my sister and I used to joke about writing a “Desperate Pre-Meds,” sketch. Students will do so many outrageous things to make sure their grades are good enough to get into graduate school. I also wanted to be able to share some funny stories from college and write about something I was familiar with.
What was the best advice you received about writing?
Try to write a little bit every day!
How did you define your characters?
I think in general all characters start with a grain of truth and then the imagination takes over from there. I would elaborate or add certain personality traits. I’d give the characters little quirks to get a laugh or a certain response from the audience.
Most of the characters have a little bit of me or my sister in them. A lot of the goofy things that happen to Kacey happened to my sister. She was a blast to write because I could let her say and do things I would never dare or think to do out in the real world. Like me, Natalie is a little more quiet and reserved and doesn’t like to stir up trouble. Cara and Tara are basically an elaborated version of how I think the rest of the world views my twin and me. Taylor and I would both love to have a real cyclohexane ‘chair’ to sit in. I’ve wanted one since I took o-chem three years ago! I can’t find one anywhere!
What inspired you to write this book?
I was rehearsing interview answers with my dad for my Ohio State interview. The thought popped into my head, “Wouldn’t it be funny if someone hired an acting coach to help her prepare for an interview?” After the interview, I wrote a scene in which a college student meets with her theater professor to help her prepare for a dental school interview. I also wrote the scene in which her tutor brings out a cyclohexane ‘chair.’ The scenes were read at a local reading. The audience laughed out loud so I continued to write and build the story around those two scenes.
What do you like to for fun when not studying?
I love doing outdoor activities! I enjoy kayaking, water-skiing, and anything else I can do while simultaneously getting a tan. I also enjoy simple Saturday trips to IHOP and Sam’s Club with my family. I get my cinnastack pancakes and some free samples and I’m a happy girl!
What is the best book you have read lately?
I recently finished The Help and I loved it!
Would you like to share a recipe with for our readers?
This is going to sound strange but it’s my favorite food in the world. It’s called lokshen kugle. I don’t know if anyone else makes it quite like my family does. You take a pound of cooked medium shell noodles, some cottage cheese, a little bit of butter, and a lot of sugar and mix it all together. Warm it up and it will be the best snack you’ve ever had. It’s good for breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and bedtime snack.
What is your next writing project?
I’d like to write a fictional comedy based on my experience as a substitute teacher.