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Interview: April 30, 2004

April 30, 2004

Lauren Kelly, author of TAKE ME, TAKE ME WITH YOU, talks to Wiley Saichek and Carol Fitzgerald from She shares insight into the writing of the book, as well as why this novel is being written under a pseudonym (and shares another pseudonym as well).

BRC: TAKE ME, TAKE ME WITH YOU is a dark, intense story with a raw, wounded, if not dysfunctional, cast of characters. What inspired you to write this book?

LK: "Inspiration" is impossible to fathom. Ideas for the most intense mysteries seem to originate in the depths of the psyche, like strange predator fish rising to the surface of the ocean.

BRC: You used several interesting stylistic devices in TAKE ME, TAKE ME WITH YOU --- such as certain repetitive phrases and the use of Italics and boldface letters. Why did you do this?

LK: This novel is a "voice" novel narrated by a young woman who is both sexually vulnerable and emotionally reckless. We are meant to understand more than she does, haunted as she is by traumatic memories

BRC: Lara works as a research fellow focusing on early automata. Why did you give Lara this particular career? Is this an area that interests you personally, or was a lot of research required for writing this portion of the book?

LK: Some research was required, as indicated in the Acknowledgments, but primarily Lara is a kind of doll/automaton herself, in her soul, and awaits awakening.

BRC: TAKE ME, TAKE ME WITH has a "present-day" storyline set in the '90s, and flashbacks set in the '70s-'80s. Did you map out the past storyline before you began the later portions of the book, or did the timelines unfold as you wrote?

LK: Mystery stories are usually written in all directions at once. You must have your ending/beginning/development simultaneously, before you begin telling the story. (Nothing like life, which is lived forward!)

BRC: Is there a special significance that the one memento --- which she refers to as a talisman --- that Lara has of her dad is the watch, inasmuch as the passage of time on one fatal night plays so strongly into the story?

LK: Yes, the broken watch is certainly symbolic of her fascination with the past, which is shared by Zedrick.

BRC: Tell us about the significance of the title. You use these words in dialogue at the end of one of the early chapters. "Take me with you, okay?" "Take you --- where?" "Wherever you're going." At what point in your writing did you know this was the right title?

LK: The title should suggest a ballad, with its sense of romantic fate. All of us plead with someone to "take us with them" at some point in our lives: children with parents, lovers with each other.

BRC: Lara emerges from her childhood experience as a driven woman while her brother and Zedrick do not find the same inner strength and confront demons who keep them from succeeding. What does Lara have inside her that makes her stronger?

LK: Lara achieves insight through confronting the past and, to a degree, "forgiving" her mother, who has loved and hated so passionately. But her brother has survived intact, and perhaps so will Zedrick.

BRC: Why did you decide to publish TAKE ME, TAKE ME WITH YOU under a pseudonym? Is this your first time to use a pen name? If you will, describe for us how this particular publishing experience differs from your previous endeavors.

LK: Lauren Kelly replaces my previous pseudonym "Rosamond Smith." These are genre novels: mystery/suspense and not "mainstream literary."

BRC: What can you tell us about your next "Lauren Kelly" project? Will there be a followup to TAKE ME, TAKE ME WITH YOU?

LK: In Lauren Kelly's next novel, a young woman of about Lara's age returns also to her hometown and falls in love with the homicide detective who is investigating her mother's brutal murder. So far, the novel is more warmly narrated and more detailed than TAKE ME, TAKE ME WITH YOU, and if it continues to evolve in this way, it may not turn out to be a "Lauren Kelly" after all. But it will be a pseudonym novel in any case.