I’m really excited to have Laurel Osterkamp as November’s Author Crush. It’s especially fitting with this being an election year, and the election only days away, because Laurel is a bit of a political junkie and her latest novel, November Surprise, is a love story told through elections. Read on to see why Laurel is this month’s Author Crush.


TBF: What sparked your interest in politics?

LO: You know, I don’t actually remember. But it’s funny that you should ask, because I’ve gotten a similar question from readers. “Why is so Lucy so interested in politics?” Is it lame to say that she just is? I know my family has always enjoyed a good political discussion, and being a democrat is like our religion. So I was surrounded by it growing up, and I guess it just rubbed off.

TBF: I feel like the politics in Campaign Promises and November Surprise come from an authentic place in you- and I think that Lucy not having a definitive viewpoint wouldn’t ring true. As I was reading the books, I was thinking that some of my friends who don’t think like Lucy does would not be able to get past the politics to enjoy the rest of the story. Did you think about that as you were writing?

LO: Yes. My goal was never to influence people or to try and sway anyone. I stayed away from the truly controversial topics, like abortion. I also made sure to make at least one likeable character a Republican, so that viewpoint could be represented. But most importantly, I tried to create a story that was about a woman’s journey to find herself and to find love. The politics were only ever meant to be a backdrop. I think of the politics as the setting of the story, rather than as the actual story itself.

TBF:  I’ve read all of your books except Looking for Ward- which I just downloaded to read, by the way- and one thing I love about your characters (I think I’ve said this in reviews) is that while all your heroines are a little quirky, there’s a truly authentic feel to them. How much of yourself is in these characters? Do you ever borrow traits for your characters from people in your life?

LO: Recently I realized that all my main characters represent a part of myself. Even the ones whom I thought were nothing like me, like Melody from Starring in the Movie of My Life, borrow some trait of mine. I guess Lucy represents my idealistic/analytical side. So thank you for saying they’re authentic! I do often borrow the personalities of friends to create the secondary characters. Writing male characters is my biggest challenge. I’ve been married for ten years, and I still don’t completely understand how the male mind works. But when I was writing Monty I made him respond to certain situations in the ways I guessed my husband would respond.

TBF: We’ve emailed some about music. Who are your favorite bands/musicians? Do you have one go-to that you listen to when writing or does it depend on the book?

LO: I like The New Pornographers, Tegan and Sara, and The Killers. But mostly what I do is find songs I like from the radio and download single tracks. Then I make playlists that I listen to while I’m writing. A lot of times certain songs will just resonate with me while working on a project. It’s Time, by Imagine Dragons, did that for me this summer as I finished November Surprise. I can’t exactly say why, but now whenever I hear that song I think of my book.

TBF: How do you keep your sanity as a teacher?

LO: It can be hard, especially since the district I work in has a very high poverty rate, and that affects everything from behavior to performance on state tests. I guess I just try to keep things in perspective. They’re never going to make Freedom Writers type of movie about me, but the teacher who that movie was about quit teaching after a couple of years. I’ve been teaching for over twelve years now. I think the ones who last in the profession are those who do their best, but at the end of the day they go home to the rest of their lives.

TBF: What’s your favorite guilty pleasure snack food?

LO: The question is: what guilty pleasure snack food is NOT my favorite? I love potato chips and anything chocolate. Oh – and hot buffalo flavored pretzel bits.

TBF: Do you have a TV show you hate to admit you watch?

LO: Right now, it’s Pretty Little Liars. I stream it on Netflix every morning while I work out. So I find myself analyzing it – like – “Hmm. The dialogue can be so stilted, but the plot twists are amazing.”  And finally there’s a teen show with well-developed, sympathetic mom characters. I especially like Spencer’s mom. She’s a hard-edged career woman, but she’s a good mother and she’s not afraid to admit it when she’s wrong.

TBF:  What’s the one life lesson you hope your children take to heart?

LO:It’s the same life lesson that my mom taught me: Figure out what you love, and commit to it. If that means you have to create your own opportunities, then create your own opportunities.



Thanks for the interview, Ashley! You asked some great, thought-provoking questions, and my interactions with you are always a pleasure.


Thanks to Laurel for participating.  I know things had to be hectic with teaching, mothering, and getting ready for the blog tour.  I had a lot of fun reading your answers.

Here are some ways you can connect with Laurel:

Laurel Osterkamp was a comedy writer in Minneapolis before she began writing novels. Her first novel, Following My Toes, has been a Kindle best seller and won the 2008 Indie Excellence Award for Chick Lit. Starring in the Movie of My Life received honors in the 2011 Indie Excellence Awards for Chick Lit, and in the 2011 International Book Awards for Women’s Fiction and Young Adult Lit. Both books are indie approved at indiereader.com. She currently teaches high school, and is working on her next book, which is inspired by her recent jury duty.


Connect with Laurel!



http://www.laurelosterkamp.com/ – my website


http://www.laurelosterkamp.blogspot.com/ – my blog


http://www.novembersurprises.blogspot.com/ – blog written by “Lucy” that continues the story of November Surprise, about the 2012 campaign