Welcome to the Name Before the Masses tour for Love. Local. Latebreaking., a contemporary romance by H. Laurence Lareau. He has taken some time today to stop by Candrel’s CCC to answer a few questions about his book. Please enjoy our conversation today and then feel free to leave him any comments or further questions that you may have. Read an excerpt from the novel before you download your own copy. And then be sure to follow the rest of the tour for even more guest posts and interviews, as well as excerpts and more chances to win the giveaway at the end of the post.
Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help me to support my websites, at no additional cost to you.
What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
Capturing the intense daily-deadline pressure of Love. Local. Latebreaking.’s television newsroom didn’t require much research. I lived my first career in that setting (for a sample from that long-ago time, check out this series report: ), and I’ve continued to moonlight as a print and multimedia journalist ever since. From deadly traffic engineering to the Iowa governor lighting an energy-efficient Christmas tree, though, I made sure each story reported in the book was inspired by actual events.
Which character was your favorite to write?
Our heroine, reporter Karli Lewis, needed a foil to bring out her feelings for the hero. Production Assistant Mary Rose Mayer walked onto the page daring me to even try to confine her to a simple sidekick role. She’s naughty, hilarious, and hard-partying. In fact, she made me laugh so hard and got me so interested in her own story that she has a much bigger role in the Newsroom Romance series’ second book, Traffick Report, and she will be front and center in the third, Storm Sirens.
To which character did you relate the most?
Mary Rose is a soul-sister, but it’s hard, being a male author of romances, not to identify with each book’s hero. Jake is, of course, ten times the man I’ll ever be—fiction is nice that way—but he and I share a lot of background and life experiences. Not only have we both worked behind the camera, he’s a martial artist. (Jake finds a tragic emotional release performing a bo staff kata in Love. Local. Latebreaking. This video of me is a poor echo of his skills, being (1) my weakest-ever tournament performance, and (2) from eight years of sweaty training ago: .)
What was one of your favorite scenes?
The conversation goes everywhere when Karli gets together with Mary Rose and their other friend, news anchor Bailey Barber. Bailey is compassionate and asks the probing questions you’d expect from a journalist. Mary Rose has a trained liver. The three of them play well off one another, as in this excerpt, where they’ve been discussing a consultant’s three-step guidance on how to report inspirational stories:
“Okay,” Karli conceded, again engaged with the earnestness that comes with just about enough alcohol and as though Bailey really were the consultant. “Some of that, yes. But you know lots of news directors will say stories on emotional effects are puff pieces or hand-wringing or whatever. They aren’t necessarily going to advance my career, in other words.” “My career, my career,” Mary Rose mocked. “Haven’t you got anything better to talk about?” She waggled her eyebrows first to Karli and then at Bailey. “The inspiration stuff is boring. And so is your career. Let’s talk about sex.” Karli looked desperately at Bailey, hoping to avoid that conversation. “So, Understandable and Emotional we’ve got. What does he have to say about Memorable?” Bailey shrugged. “He doesn’t have much to add there. Just that memorable things come in threes. That’s about it.” “Threesomes?” Mary Rose shrieked. “You two have been holding out on me!” Karli was appalled that so many eyes in the bar had turned their way in response to Mary Rose’s exclamation. “We did NOT have a threesome, Mary Rose,” she said in her best shushing tone. “It was just the two of us.” Mary Rose ducked her head down secretively, and Bailey eagerly returned to her seat and leaned in toward Karli. “Two of you is plenty,” Mary Rose blurted. “Girl, we need details. FULL details. Grooming and acts and dimensions and everything.” “And when did all this go down?” Bailey asked. “We haven’t been out for drinks in forever.” “We didn’t have sex, okay?” Karli’s blush felt like it covered her whole body. “We just had another kiss.” She caught herself and added, “Well, we had a few more kisses. But that’s it.” Mary Rose’s face looked suddenly downcast. “How come you run warm-up laps and never do the race? This is frustrating as hell, girl. I don’t know about you, but I want more!” There was a pause as Karli tried to figure out what to tell her friends. And as she thought about it, she recalled the heat and passion of the kiss in Jake’s gallery. Just remembering the sensations made her pulse race and tightened the coiled energy inside her. The tingling between her legs confirmed that she wanted more, too. A lot more. Soon. “Annnnd?” Bailey stretched the single syllable out impatiently. Karli snapped out of her hormonal reverie and looked back to her friends. “It turns out that he is a karate instructor,” she said. Then she drained her glass and gestured for more. “What?” Bailey was incredulous. “Of course he is,” Mary Rose added. “But I didn’t realize that was a necessary relationship qualification for you. Do you only shag karate guys?” “No!” Karli answered. “I don’t have sex with karate guys!”
“So why is karate a good thing, then?” Bailey asked, genuinely confused. “Because that means he wasn’t sleeping with Sophia.” “What?” said Bailey. Her confusion showed all over her face. Mary Rose, who was also confused, didn’t let her confusion slow her down. “That bitch,” she said, “had better not be fucking Jake, or I would have to hate him for being stupid enough to let her go there.” “Well, I thought she was, because of the pajamas,” Karli said. “But the karate thing—really who even has one of those?—cleared that all up.” She concluded with a glowing smile, her explanation complete. “Um, Karli, I don’t think you need any more to drink,” Mary Rose said. “Or maybe you need a lot more. Come to think of it, that always makes for a better story. Let’s have more.” She clapped her hands together and rubbed them in anticipation, then raised a hand to catch the bartender’s attention and gestured for a new round. Bailey’s frustrated glare conveyed to Karli that her explanation had somehow fallen short of expectations. “So I was pissed because he was sleeping with her after he kissed me on the bridge. . .” “What bridge?” Bailey was interested but genuinely confused by now, and it showed in her tone and face. “Ooh, I love stories with trolls,” cried Mary Rose. “You know, the covered bridge outside of Winterset,” Karli said. “Where the book is set and where they did the movie.” “WHAT?” Bailey nearly shrieked. “He took you to a covered bridge in Madison County and kissed you there? That is probably the most romantic thing ever!” “Well, he didn’t kiss me,” Karli said. “At least, not at first. I sort of started with the kissing. Then he kissed me back. Really well.” Again, Karli’s memory transported her to a moment of intense passion. Again, she felt the coiled tension inside of her—the aching wetness between her legs, the tightened flesh of her nipples—crying out for release. Again, she lost the thread of the conversation. “On a covered bridge, no less.” Bailey sighed wistfully. “Right, so you kissed on a bridge. How far did you go?” Mary Rose asked. Karli turned her eyes back to her friends and brought them back into focus. “We kissed there, and then I thought I heard him and Sophia talking about sleeping together, and that wasn’t good.” “Yeah, but because he’s a karate instructor he didn’t sleep with her, right?” Mary Rose said. “I suppose that’s like a self-defense thing, not sleeping with the super-bitch?” “So anyway, he didn’t, and then he took me up into his apartment-studio-thing and explained about the karate—which I still don’t get because grown-ups don’t do karate really, do they?—and then I saw the pictures he took of me and it was all sexy and then I kissed him again and he kissed me back again and then we should have done it but he had this huge party to be at and he couldn’t even find a free bed in his own place so we couldn’t do it.” Karli finished breathlessly and looked for confirmation that she had spelled it all out in satisfactory detail for her curious friends. Somewhat puzzled yet smiling faces met her searching look. “So that’s it. Kissing and that’s all.”
Will we see these characters again?
Oh, yes indeed. My crushes on Karli, Bailey, and Mary Rose are irrepressible! Bailey’s search for a meaningful romantic connection is the focus of Traffick Report (already released), and Mary Rose’s adventures land her in bed with a man who may be able to handle her intensity—we’ll find out how that turns out in Storm Sirens (coming soon). Karli and Jake, who find a home with one another by the end of Love. Local. Latebreaking. continue to play key roles in Traffick Report, and a big event in their lives provides the first setting for Storm Sirens.
What do you hope people will get out of your book? How do you make yourself stand out in this genre?
Much of the romance genre is rooted in impossible, unrelatable fantasy. The Newsroom Romance series embraces the greatest adventure any of us will ever experience, yet it remains truthful to the real-life obstacles romance must overcome. The heroes do not have inexhaustible riches, nor do they fight off actual physical dangers to rescue heroines. Neither of those things happens in anyone’s real life. Instead, careers, ambitions, workplace dramas, and frustrations with our own and our potential partners’ flaws and inadequacies conflict with our real-life need for connection and completion. The Newsroom Romance is faithful to those universal experiences while also being faithful to the genre’s everlasting hope that genuine romance—vulnerable, mutually self-giving, and fulfilling—is a consummation we can each look forward to.
Tell us about your other published works.
The second book in the Newsroom Romance series, Traffick Report, is already out and available on Amazon. My other published work includes stultifying, mind-numbingly dull work like Rights of Surface Owners on Federally Patented Lands, 10 U.Ky.J.Nat.Resources & Envtl.L. 13 (1995), to a martial arts story on Tai Chi’s Energy Borrowing in Kung Fu-Tai Chi Magazine, to comedic educational video scripts to straight-up journalism and countless other endeavors. Writing and public speaking have been at the center of all my work efforts.
What are you currently reading? Up next on your TBR?
I’m re-reading Pride and Prejudice—for about the tenth time—because no novelist in our language is as consistently amazing as Jane Austen. She dealt with the real-life obstacles to romance specific to her time and privileged social station. Women today are privileged largely by their education, not by the hereditary rules of the UK’s landed gentry, yet Austen’s problems of privilege and how to use it to create a fulfilling life are markedly similar to contemporary women’s lives.
When not writing, what can we find you doing?
My mild-mannered alter ego has a day job as a litigator. The hero in the second book, Traffick Report, happens to be a lawyer who always has two vintage fountain pens clipped into his suit jacket’s breast pocket. If you make it through the first lawyer’s argument (or just skip ahead to about 18:20) at the Illinois Supreme Court, you may notice something about my own breast pocket: . (My response to the Chief Justice’s question at 31:50, by the way, is not only a true story, it also made every single justice laugh!)
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?
Read an excerpt:
Jake took the little wallet with the receipt and his credit card sticking out of it from Robert, wrote in a tip, signed, and set it on the table. “Karli, I haven’t said a thing about how you should live your life. I have congratulated you and wished you the best,” he said. “You’re right that I have other ideas, but I have never said anything about how I think you should live your life. If you’re feeling guilty, it’s not because I’ve laid that on you.” “Oh, so this is all my doing, then, is it?” Karli responded angrily. “If I’m feeling guilty, it’s my own fault, right, and I should feel guilty about that, too, right?” “That’s not what I said, either.” “No, of course not,” Karli’s fury rolled on. “You’re just the latest man who wants to control me.” Jake rose from the table and turned to leave. He went about two steps, paused, turned, and found Karli’s eyes. “No, Karli. I’m not trying to control you. I’m trying to tell you that I love you. And that I love you enough to let you find your own way.” He began turning to leave, stopped, then reached into his pocket and turned back to Karli. “Here. I guess it’s my turn, now that you’re all finished,” he said, opening the box and handing it to her. He watched her pull out the elaborate platinum charm bracelet with an appreciative gasp. As she minutely examined each custom-made charm—a covered bridge, a tiny ram with prominent testicles, a miniature microphone, a camera, a little bulletproof vest, a bicycle, a tiny Three NewsFirst logo, and the initials J.G.—he turned and moved silently to leave the restaurant, and Karli.
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H. 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