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'Routines' inspire new dystopian novel for WVa author

By EMILY RICE, Bluefield Daily Telegraph undefined

PRINCETON, W.Va. (AP) — After self-publishing her first book in 2007, Laura Buchanan recently signed a three year publishing contract with W & B Publishers, in addition to the publication of her new young adult dystopian novel, “Routines.”

Buchanan, who’s chosen pen name is Laura Lin, has been writing for her entire life. She recalls pretending that she was writing for her favorite magazines as a teenager.

The newly released, “Routines,” was written about three years ago. Lin said the main inspiration for the book was the “daily grind,” of waking up, going to work and not having time to enjoy life. She was also inspired by the importance of history and literature and the lessons that can be learned from the two.

“If we do not learn the lessons from literature and history, we will repeat them,” Lin said. “The actual title and the drudgery that is in the introduction of the book, the idea of that came from the routine of life. It seems like we fall into that trap.”

While she is not writing, Lin works as a pharmacy technician and some of her inspiration came from conversations with her coworkers. These conversations lead her to not only the plot of the book, but one of it’s protagonist, Sam Rice, is based upon someone Lin worked with who inspired her.

“The characters are a little bit influenced by myself and people I meet,” Lin said. “There are little traits of coworkers and family members that come into play in each one. Samantha Rice, the main character in “Routines,” is based on a little girl I used to work with. She was tiny but her spirit was huge. She was a real fighter, so that is where my inspiration for Sam came from.”

The book is based in a future world that exists in a perpetual winter after an asteroid impact shifted the Earth’s axis.

“The synopsis of it is a bit science fiction,” Lin explained. “The people that survived formed what is called ‘The Community’ and it is governed by The United Government and one of those people is the protagonist, Sam Rice. She grows a little restless with the tight regulations and the micromanagement of The United Government controlling every aspect of their life, dictates where they can go and what jobs they can have. It adds to the overall gloominess of the world at the time.”

In her growing restlessness, Sam Rice finds like-minded people and throughout the book, they work to change their world. Two books that inspired Lin’s new book are classic dystopian novels.

“I like young adult novels, for writing and reading. I like the fast pace and I like the stories a lot better. I do not know why, it just feels like you can relate to it a bit more,” Lin said. “The influence, I will have to say and I tribute to it during the story is ‘The Giver,’ by Lois Lowery and ‘1984,’ by George Orwell. They definitely were inspirational to me. Those are two of my absolute favorites and there is just so much to learn from them.”

Lin was able to find the story of “Routines” in her own mind through a project called, “NaNoWriMo.” According to the organization’s website, “National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel during the thirty days of November.”

“I am a very lucid writer. I have never tried to outline, especially with a much bigger project that I want to do, so I did a loose and informal outline to help guide me with that one,” Lin said. “For me, it is so easy when you are writing to get caught up on the grammar, punctuation and you do more editing than writing, so I found that through NaNoWriMo, it is just getting all that story out without being hindered by it and then you can go back and do your edits and revisions. For me, that works. I can overcome that fear of writing through that process.”

While she has self-published her work in the past, Lin decided to try a new avenue: working with a publisher. She found a small publishing house that had recently transitioned to accepted outside material for approval called W & B publishers.

“It was a little different waiting for that word of approval instead of just thinking that this is good and putting it out there,” Lin said. “There was a sense of comfort in it, that these guys think I might have something, so there was a sense of accomplishment with it and a glimmer of hope. Having the influence on the cover art caught me off guard because they wanted my opinion on it. I sent them some photos that I had taken for it and I was really pleased when they used it. Not only do I get to advertise my writing, I get to advertise my artistic photography too.”

Laura Lin’s new novel, “Routines,” is available on Amazon, but there is an option to directly purchase a personalized copy from the author. In addition to a full time job and writing books, Lin is also an active blogger. She said she aims to update her blog weekly with upbeat slices of life. Her blog can be found at coffeedribble.com.

“I am truly honored and thrilled with every book I sell because I know that people work hard for that money,” Lin said. “I have always been taught to write what you know and those influences creep into what you write, good or bad.