Laura Roppé is busy. The breast cancer survivor and attorney-turned-writer is singing in a band, writing and recording music, hosting a weekly show for Amazon, narrating audio books and writing novels. And it was all spurred by the success of her memoir “Rocking the Pink.”
Q: What are some of your current projects?
A: I just completed writing two novels. One is a young adult novel, a coming-of-age-love-story type thing. The second is a psychological thriller that features a supremely sociopathic heroine. I have also been asked to adapt my memoir into a screenplay, which I just finished. Now that I know how to write a screenplay, I plan to convert my just-completed YA novel into a screenplay, as well.
Q: Do you ever experience bouts of writer’s block and how do you cope?
A: Rarely. But, yes. The way I write is very free-flowing. I do not create outlines. Well, that’s a lie. I make them and then I don’t follow them AT ALL. It’s always funny to look back at them and say, “Wow, that has absolutely no similarity to the end product whatsoever.” I get two kinds of writers’ block. The first is “What the hell happens next? Where do I want to go from here?” The second type is “I know what happens, but how do I want to tell it?” When dealing with the first situation, I go for a walk. No music. Just my thoughts. And I let my imagine wander. I let the book tell me where it wants to go. (Do I sound crazy?) It always works. There’s no easy fix for the second type of writers’ block. I force myself to just sit down and write it. Badly. Very badly. I promise myself I can go back later and revise and make it better. Sometimes, writing something mediocre leads to an “Aha!” moment that leads to writing something wonderful. You just have to do it and not over-think it. I try very hard not to be paralyzed by the pursuit of perfection. Just being mediocre is okay at first if it gets you started. Once you’re juices are flowing, go back and make it epic.
Q: How have you found the shift from memoir to screenplay writer?
A: Holy moly. Let me tell you, what a learning curve. Adapting my true story to the page was one thing. Now, adapting the page to a screenplay is just a totally different beast. I’ve had to amalgamate characters and axe major book characters completely out of the screenplay (sorry, Dad!). There’s simply not enough time in 90 minutes of screen time to explore every plot twist and inner dialogue and character and sub-story. You need to create story that can be absorbed and paced for a 90-minute window of time. And, on top of that, each scene has to be exceedingly visual. You can’t have an entire movie of voice-overs, you know? It’s been such an amazing experience. Now I see why so often, when I see a movie based on a book, I say, “Oh, there was so much in the book they left out!” Well, yeah. There’s normally no other way to do it. If my screenplay is indeed produced into a movie as planned, I can only imagine how much grief I’m going to get from family and friends for how much I had to leave out, and how much I had to consolidate years of time into months for purposes of pacing and cohesiveness. Also, now that I’ve completed my first screenplay, I’m super excited to write more.
Q: Tell us about the Amazon gig and how it came about.
A: I’ve been really fortunate with this awesome gig. Well, as I mentioned, I wrote my memoir, “Rocking the Pink,” and I got a book deal. That led to an audio book deal for an audio book company owned by Amazon. Much to my glee, I was asked to voice the audio book. When I went to Michigan to do the audio book, I wound up meeting the people in charge over there and we hit it off. That led to more audio book narration for other books. And then, when Amazon decided to produce a weekly show about books, they asked me if I’d like to be the host. I said “Hell yes!” It’s a weekly podcast and videocast with author interviews and book club and all sorts of other segments. We mainly feature books about love and love stories. It’s called Kindle Love Stories.
Q: What is your daily writing ritual?
A: I don’t have one. Am I supposed to have one? Sometimes I write til four in the morning. Sometimes, I don’t write at all.
Q: Name some of your favorite authors. Who and what genres inspire you?
A: Anne Rice is a goddess. I really love John Green’s heart and voice. I am a sucker for memoirs and biographies. I love reading books by comedians. I loved Sarah Silverman’s and Mindy Kaling’s memoirs. I love a book that spears me in the heart like “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I really like historical fiction. I loved “The Kitchen House” by Kathleen Grissom. “Gone Girl” was awesome (I know that’s hardly an original pick). What genres inspire me? As you see, anything and everything.
Q: Where can people find your work?
A: Right now, people can only find “Rocking the Pink” out in the world. It’s available at bookstores and online wherever books are sold. The two novels are coming! Release dates not set yet. And the screenplay for “Rocking the Pink?” I just submitted it to the inquiring party, and we shall see what comes of it!
Learn more at lauraroppe.com.