Michelle: Hi, Laura! It’s great to talk today, so we can REVEAL YOUR BOOK COVER. I know it’s been a winding road to get here. But before we show the cover off, will you tell folks a little bit about your book?

Laura: AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR is the story of Jen, a 24-year-old marketing assistant who’s suffocating under unpaid medical debt. She spots an ad seeking contestants for a competition-based reality show offering a $250,000 prize and figures, why not give it a shot? Before she hears back from the network, a string of bad luck leaves Jen unemployed, single, and homeless. She leaps at the opportunity to make a fresh start on television, but then she meets fellow contestant Justin and starts to question whether the money is what really matters.

M:What inspired the story?

L: About four years ago, my best friend appeared on a reality show, and I found myself fascinated with how it all really works. There’s such a huge world between what goes on and what we see. I loved the idea of creating my own world and my characters within it.

M: How has it been so far working with your editor/publisher?

L: My editor’s been fantastic. She’s got a great vision for the book, and she really helped me take it to the next level. The manuscript underwent so many edits before being sold that the physical process of editing was far more painless than I expected.

M: Did your editor ask for ideas on what your cover should look like?

L: She did. I’m probably one of the few authors I know who doesn’t have a Pinterest page filled with inspiration, but we talked about a few ideas. Once Wendy hit on this concept, though, I knew we had a winner.

M: How was that process for you? Were there multiple versions of the cover?

L: As the author, I don’t have too much say in what the final cover looks like, so I tried to keep that in mind throughout the whole process. There’s a reason the publisher has people who make the covers, and I tried to trust their judgment. We wound up with a couple of different versions before getting the final, and I love the way it turned out.

M: What would you like other writers to know about the submission proces

L: It’s OK – and perfectly normal – to be miserable. Just don’t tweet about it. Take yourself offline.

M: How did you stay patient? Or distract yourself when you were feeling impatient? Any tips for other writers?

L: Patient? I’m sorry, I don’t understand that word. 🙂 I used a carefully controlled regime of working out and junk food to get through the process. But what really helped the most – and what every writer needs – was building a support group of writers going through the same thing who understood me. Writing is a very solitary task, but publishing doesn’t have to be.

M: Speaking of feeling impatient, where’s that cover? Without further ado, here’s the cover of AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR.

It’s on sale March 7, and you can preorder it at