LAURA MCBRIDE: I HAD LONG WAITED TO WRITE A NOVEL
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
We Are Called to Rise is the debut novel of Laura McBride. The book was published last summer and soon found a lot of fans. The average Amazon rating of the story is 4.5 stars from almost 200 reviews.
Laura is working as community college teacher and already received nice recognition from different book clubs, critics and specialized literary forums. It’s great honor for Land of Books to host quick Q&A with Laura McBride.
– Laura, what is your book We Are Called to Rise about?
– We Are Called To Rise is a contemporary novel set in Las Vegas, and having almost nothing to do with the Strip. It’s a story about a young boy who is an immigrant from Albania, a Hispanic American soldier injured in Iraq, and a middle-aged woman. Their lives collide in a single tragic moment, and the story is first about how that happens, and then about how they move forward from it.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I had long wanted to write a novel, and I had a chance to work on it during a sabbatical from teaching at my college. I wanted a contemporary Las Vegas story, which captured the way I see this boomtown place.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– I think one has to keep faith in one’s story, and that is difficult at times. It is also hard to carve out the kind of concentrated time that writing requires. I was very strict about my writing schedule, but there were many times when it meant giving up something I wanted to do, and when the people I love were affected by my absence.
– Tell us something more about your main characters? Are they close to someone from your real life?
– There are three main characters, and none of them are modeled on anyone I know. I simply imagined them, though there is one critical plot point modeled on an actual event. The characters are a young boy, Bashkim, the 22-year old soldier, Luis, and the middle-aged woman, Avis. There is also a fourth narrator, whose name is Roberta. They all live in Las Vegas, and are somehow typical of the diverse community we have here.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– I have been thinking about writing, and practicing writing, all my life. I wrote and sold the novel within a year, but that year was built on years of planning and thought. It took about 18 months for the novel to be published, after Simon and Schuster bought it.
– Who are you?
– That’s an existential question! Less existentially, I am not a local Nevadan, but have lived in Las Vegas for 25 years. I am an English professor at the local community college, and I have a husband and two mostly grown children. I like to read non-fiction, I am very involved in my community, and I love to be outdoors.
– What are your writing habits?
– I am working on another book now, so nearly every day, I wake up and start writing. I stay in my pajamas and I work until I am ready to fall over with fatigue and hunger, or until another commitment (my classes, an appointment) requires me to quit. It is quite a tiring schedule, actually.
Take a look at her book
We Are Called to Rise