School of the Ages


Indie author interview: Laurie Laliberte's Crochet, Erotica, and Sarcasm

Posted by Matt Posner on June 16, 2012 at 8:00 PM

One thing I like about your career as an author is that you aren't sticking in just one genre. You're writing about crochet and you're writing fiction. Let's talk about crochet first. How did you come to decide to write crochet patterns as an indie designer?

I learned to crochet when I was about 7 years old. My mother taught me. I’ve crocheted off and on since then. A few years ago I began designing and selling my own patterns online in .pdf format. I’ve toyed with the idea of of doing a print book for a while and I was beginning to pull it all together when I began my work with the Kindle All-Stars. I ended up pushing my own publishing aside temporarily in an effort to help get Resistance Front into the marketplace. However, the blessing in that delay was that the connections I’ve made enabled me to have the book professionally designed so it fits seamlessly in the marketplace instead of having a homegrown feel.



Your crochet book is called Quick Crochet for Kitchen and Bath. What makes this book stand out from other crochet books on the market?

One word: Kindle. There still aren’t all that many craft books available in e-book formats. Although this one is only available via Amazon in print format right now, the manuscript is in the hands of a professional e-book formatter and will be available for all Kindle devices very soon.


Another distinction is that most books of this type are all dishcloths or all towels. This book features three groups of matching designs. Each group contains instructions for a sponge-type scrubby, a dishcloth/washcloth, a pot holder, and a hand towel.


What are some trends in crochet, current or historical, that have influenced your approach to the art?

The current trend in crafts is toward simple, smaller projects that travel well and can be completed in one or two sittings. Most of us are so short on time these days that crafters of all types are looking for quick and easy projects. Every pattern in Quick Crochet for Kitchen and Bath is designed to be completed in a short period of time, anywhere from thirty minutes to a couple of hours. They all make great weekend projects. That’s really my approach with all of my patterns, not just with this book.



This book requires strong visual and photographic components. What is your method for making them especially vibrant and especially useful for readers?

Heh. Retouching. It’s virtually impossible, without a professional setup, to get the perfect shot. So I shoot in indirect daylight without a flash. Then I use a simple program to punch up the color and definition in each shot. My graphic designer did the rest. Quick Crochet features about fifty of my own photos mixed with stock photos that Glendon added to give the book a bit more visual impact.


As far as the initial photos and composition, I’ve always had a good eye and I’ve extensively read about and practiced at photography for more than 25 years. Of course, it also helps that I can crop and resize easily on the computer. With the exception of the actual samples, everything about this book has been digital.



We originally met because you are the editor and wrangler for Bernard Schaffer's Kindle All-Stars group. How did you meet Bernard and wind up with that awesome task?


I really wish I knew the answer to that question because it’s one I am often asked. All I know for certain is that somehow Bernard and I came together via David Hulegaard on twitter. BUT I discovered later that he and I were already friends on Goodreads.


When Bernard tweeted he was looking for submissions, I shot an email to him in less than an hour asking for more info and I think I had a manuscript in his hands within 24 hours. It was a couple of weeks later, after my own edits were done, that B tweeted asking for help with publicity. I volunteered and it all just snowballed from there. Before I knew it, I was helping him organize the whole thing and acting as a secondary editor.



"Fear of the Dark" is a story that has been described as having "dark, psycho-sexual components." As you expand your vision from this initial offering to an entire collection of dark stories, tell us how you came to be writing in this vein in the first place.

I have read horror and mysteries my entire life. My favorite things to read in my younger years were the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew and anything to do with vampires, ghosts, and werewolves. That eventually grew into Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice, and Agatha Christie. I later graduated to Robert B. Parker and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Most recently I’ve been reading J.R. Ward, Jon F. Merz, and Jim Butcher. So I suppose all of those dark stories ensured I’d never write about butterflies and pixies.


The evolution of “Fear of the Dark” has been just plain bizarre. Initially I intended it to be a chapter in a novel. The unseen secondary character in FOTD was a serial killer. It morphed into a dark, thriller, horror/romance? for the Resistance Front anthology, but A.D. Bloom planted a seed in my head a few months back. He asked me whether FOTD had actually begun as erotica and “cleaned up” for the antho.


I sort of figured I’d eventually throw it together with a few other stories and self-publish it. So I went back and reread the story after being away from it for several months. I literally blushed. I didn’t really comprehend, while in the process of the insanity that was the making of Resistance Front, exactly how sensual/sexual the story read. So I revised and expanded it then released it as a single on Amazon. I just published it in my own erotic anthology, Strange Kisses.


Any hints about what to expect from the larger collection?


“Fear of the Dark” has a sensual, noir feel. The rest of the collection leans more toward a hard, edgy, American pulp. One of the stories, “Avalon,” walks that razor’s edge between tasteful erotica and straight up porn, but that was its intent. “Red Lipstick” is all about seduction. And “Dawn,” which is more of a quick, flash fiction piece, is just plain sexual fantasy.


The title, Strange Kisses, is actually a nod to my favorite Stephen King quote, “...a short story is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.” I think King’s fans and critics alike choose to think of him as a horror writer, but I think he’s a hopeless romantic just like so many other authors.



After asking you that question, I read the anthology. It's very well-written. I want to assure everyone that although a lot of genre erotica is embarrassing or laughable, you have a sophisticated and classy style. What writers of horror or suspense do you look to for inspiration? What writers in general?

As far as my writing style, I’m all over the map. My style tends to be swayed by the genre rather than my own singular voice. Stephen King, Robert Parker, Dashiell Hammett, Victor Hugo, Voltaire, and John Steinbeck seeped into my writing as I began thinking about writing as a career. More recently, the writers I edit influence the way I write. For this anthology, William Vitka and Tony Healey were my heaviest influences.


By the way, the boys also helped with cover design. Tony Healey and I collaborated on the “Fear of the Dark” cover by transforming one of my photos, a shot of the street where the story actually takes place. And Vitka designed the cover for Strange Kisses based on a quick sketch I sent him. The editing and beta reading was also done by members of the KAS team. As much as the KAS members lean on me, they support me too. It surprises me sometimes what a tight community we’ve become.



You will one day be famous for your subversive sense of humor. What are its origins?

My dad was probably the most sarcastic person I’ve ever known. I think parents don’t realize how influential they are on their children until those kids are adults, but I remember being about ten when I fired a sarcastic comment at my dad. He asked, “Where did you get that smart mouth?” Of course, I said, “from you.” I don’t remember anything after that, but I’m sure I couldn’t sit that night. Realize that corporal punishment was the norm back then. I would certainly not consider myself physically abused as a child.



What is a typical work and family day like for you?


I don’t have a typical day, ever. That’s why I love what I do. On any given day I could be sitting with one or more of my best friend’s three kids, editing someone else’s work, writing, knitting, designing, or crocheting.



When are you finally going to start reading School of the Ages?


I’ll probably start it right after I finish War and Peace which is also on my 2012 reading list.



Thanks, Laurie. It's been a pleasure.

Thank you, Matt!




Okay, The crochet book is all set available in print ($14.99) here:


The antho, Strange Kisses is available for kindle ($2.99) here:  


The single of "Fear of the Dark" is available for kindle (.99) here:


"Fear of the Dark" will be available as a free sample all day Sunday June 17 and Monday June 18.

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