07 October, 2012

#SpecialFeature :: #Spotlight in 'Stay Tuned' by Lauren Clark

*** SPECIAL FEATURE - October'12 ***

“Riveting and much recommended…” - Midwest Book Review

What happens when a #1 news team becomes the top story instead of reporting it?
For TV producer Melissa Moore, crisis management comes with the job. From employee disputes to her high-maintenance boss, there’s not much she hasn’t seen or can’t handle.
But no one—including Melissa—expects a fistfight during the ten o’clock news. When sexy-but-crazy Alyssa Andrews lands a punch on her co-anchor’s face, Melissa jumps on set to help. She’s determined that WSGA’s reputation won’t be destroyed on her watch.
Both anchors are fired and Melissa agrees to fill in—but not before polishing her look from haircut to heels. While the new Melissa wows WSGA viewers, her personal life starts fraying at the edges. Melissa’s husband is away more than he’s home, leaving cryptic Post-it notes in his wake. Her mother’s antics spiral out of control at the nursing home and a stalker decides Melissa is her next target.
What happens next? Stay Tuned to find out…

An Excerpt

Chapter 1
Alyssa Andrews was missing.
Gone, vanished, MIA with just minutes to airtime.
“Melissa, where is she?” Our news director, Joe, shot a harried look in my direction. After dealing with a broken studio camera, spotty satellite reception, and last-minute script changes, his nerves were fried to a crisp.
“She’ll be here,” I promised, knowing my confidence was a front. Alyssa, one of WSGA-TV’s main news anchors, was a constant source of angst in my already-stressful job.
She was young, talented, gorgeous…and chronically late.
This lack of punctuality was a problem, especially when WSGA ran a show at exactly six and ten o’clock every night. Not a moment later.
WSGA was Macon, Georgia’s number one news station and had been for two years running. If we wanted to keep it that way, timing was everything. Every second mattered.
I produced both evening shows, which meant—among a dozen other tasks—organizing the day’s stories, writing copy, and checking video. Each segment had to run seamlessly between three-minute commercial breaks.
Deep breath, Melissa. Send up a little prayer. She’ll show up.
The red numbers on the clock continued to march forward.
Another deep breath. Everything’s in place. Alyssa just needs to walk in and get on set…
“Tighten up on camera one.” Joe peppered the room with demands. “Mic check, now, not yesterday.”
Tim Donaldson, Alyssa’s co-anchor, obliged, counting backwards from the number five.
Joe’s thick fingers punched buttons on the massive keyboard in front of him. “Bring up the live shot.”
Still, no Alyssa.
Joe raked a huge hand through his long gray hair. “Five minutes!” he growled, with a glare into his empty coffee cup.
At this point, it was Joe’s show to run. He was in charge. I shuffled my scripts. “How about I call her?”
“She’s an adult,” he grumbled. “You shouldn’t have to.”
Joe expected nothing less than perfection. He was experienced, hard working, and a stickler for detail. Alyssa’s nonchalance made him crazy.
Which, at 9:55:36 on a Friday night, gave him the patience of a gnat. On crack.
This was particularly dangerous for an unsuspecting new employee, all of twenty years old and pimple-faced, who crept up behind us.
Joe ignored him at first, barking an order to me instead. “Fine, fine. Melissa, tell Princess A. she’s needed in the studio.”
On autopilot, I punched her extension, eyes focused on the row of monitors above my head in case she decided to appear.
While the phone rang, the new kid rocked on his heels nervously. I flashed a smile and shook my head gently in his direction, hoping he’d get the hint.
Not now.
Nope. The kid stood there, coughed lightly, and waited for one of us to turn around.
“What?” Joe finally snapped.
The force of the word made the kid’s body jerk back. Jaw open, unable to speak, his face turned crimson.
Joe waited about a second for the kid to talk, and then leaned back over the control panel. He pressed at switches, clearly annoyed. The kid looked sick. Joe rolled his eyes. My anxiety level cranked up ten notches.
9:58:09. Less than two minutes.
Wait…a flash of an ivory suit and blond hair.
“There she is,” I interrupted the tension with a cool nod toward the monitors.
Front and center, Alyssa sauntered into the studio, lips puckered, blowing her shell-pink nail polish dry. She slid into her seat next to Tim, and gave him a playful pat on the shoulder.
Joe muttered something I couldn’t repeat.
I stifled a loud sigh of relief and glanced around the room. The new guy was the only one in the building unimpressed with Alyssa’s arrival. With a shaking hand, he reached out and tapped Joe’s burly shoulder.
“Mr. Joe, there’s a problem with one of the machines—”
Joe’s back stiffened. He turned a millimeter in the kid’s direction and exploded. “Get your butt back there. Get one of the engineers. Fix it. Call someone.”
I caught the now-completely mortified kid’s eye, and motioned for him to come toward me.  Grabbing the nearest piece of paper, I jotted down the engineer’s extension and held it at arm’s length with a kind smile. Poor guy. Lots to learn.
With a grateful look, the new kid plucked the scrap from my fingers and darted away.
Time to get started.
I settled in, gripped my pen hard, and looked up.
Okay. Alyssa’s collar was turned under. Minor detail, but sure to garner at least five viewer complaints. You wouldn’t believe what people called in about.
I leaned toward the microphone to let Alyssa know.
“Dare you not to tell her,” Joe muttered. It wasn’t a secret that the guys would willingly let Alyssa go on air with underwear on her head. She hadn’t made friends. Or tried to.
Tim, her co-anchor and current boyfriend, didn’t count.
“Just part of those darn producer duties, Joe. You know that.” I flashed him a smile and pressed the button to talk. “Alyssa, fix your collar.”
Her mouth parted into an O. Alyssa frowned, glanced down, and straightened the pale edge. Just in time.
Like a well-directed movie, the WSGA-TV opening video flashed across monitor one. Macon, Georgia’s skyline filled the screen.
My body tingled with a familiar rush of excitement. It happened every time we went on air. The cameras and lights, the beat of the music, the thrill of live television.
Here we go.
Seconds later, Alyssa and Tim appeared under the lights, their bright anchor smiles pasted on.
“Good evening, I’m Alyssa Andrews.
“And I’m Tim Donaldson.”
And on it went, without a blip, for the first ten minutes. I started breathing again after the third break.
Stanley and Sunshine, the weather cat, were ready for the five-day forecast, check.
Commercial break, check.
Sports, check. I didn’t worry about that three-minute slot. Plenty to talk about, visual stories; the anchors could get away with jokes and ad-libbing. Viewers loved it.
We rounded out the show with an inspirational kicker about a local scholarship winner, a kid first in his family to go to college. He’d won forty thousand dollars and was going to Georgia Tech to study astrophysics.
The show wrapped with a standard goodnight, credits, and a wide shot of the WSGA set.
The second the master control operator switched to break, Alyssa flounced off the set in silicone fashion. She barked into her jewel-encrusted cell phone about her min-pin puppy’s cancelled spa appointment and stomped out of the studio, teetering precariously in four-inch heels.
I climbed the flight of stairs back to the newsroom, relieved the night was almost over.
The phones started to ring five seconds later.

Raves & Reviews

“A great read!” - Rebecca Berto, Novel Girl

“Realistic and refreshing!”- Michelle, Book Briefs

“Clark's first attempt at story-telling - fiction story-telling - is a prize for any reader to have on his or her shelf." - Becca and Buddy

Stay Tuned is a great read with vivid characters and an entertaining plot.” - Jennie Coughlin  

“Kudos to Ms. Clark on a wonderful debut...I look forward to reading more of her books.” - Kathleen Anderson

"Stay Tuned is as faced-paced as a real-life newsroom.” - Devon Walsh, WKRG-TV Anchor

"Stay Tuned is a great read! Lauren Clark writes so well you can feel what the characters feel.” - Lauren Davis, WVLT-TV Anchor

"Stay Tuned is fast-paced, fun, and a downright treat.” - Kira McFadden 

Chatting with Lauren Clark

Without giving too much away, what's your favorite part from Stay Tuned and why?
My favorite part of Stay Tuned is the anchor fistfight scene, which came from a real-life experience! Before I began work at WWNY-TV (photo below -- I'm in the light blue), the two main anchors there were involved in a very volatile, emotionally-charged romantic relationship. One of their infamous arguments came to blows in the back parking lot of the television station. Both of them were fired and continued a very public battle in the newspaper through editorials (threats of lawsuits, arrests, etc). I always remembered that crazy incident and thought it would make an excellent starting point or turning point in a novel--something that would cause everything in the main character's life to change.

 What essentials do you need for writing? 
 Coffee, my laptop, an outline to write from, and quiet. I actually hide out in the local library to get my writing done!

What's your big distraction or vice while writing?  
My favorite coffee shop (Carpe Diem), my coffee shop friends, the Internet, and anything to do with Facebook, Twitter, my website, etc. I am such a social person that I could spend all day talking and never get anything done!

Who is your celebrity crush? 
Adam Levine of Maroon 5 (I shamelessly watch every episode of "The Voice"). Unfortunately, he's decided to date some Victoria's Secret model.  (Sigh)

3 Things we readers may not know about you. 
(1) I make an excellent homemade Mac & Cheese (it's my grandmother's recipe) and my kids ask for it regularly! I also take it to my neighbors who aren't feeling well or need some cheering up. Guaranteed smiles!!!   
(2) I can build Lego sets -- up to about 900 pieces. With two boys, it's a necessity! 
(3) I am in love with the color Pink. I have a pink Kindle cover, a pink phone cover. I can't help it :)

Top 3 things on your bucket list.  
 (1) I'm dying to visit Santorini, Greece. I am in love with the blue water, love Greek food, and would love to spend a month there. 

(2) I'd love to travel to London and have tea (or coffee) with Sophie Kinsella. She's my favorite author and I'd love to talk with her about story ideas and how she comes up with her characters. 
(3) Write a bestselling novel!!!!!

Top 3 most listened to songs on your iPod.
"Moves Like Jagger"  Maroon 5 (Did I mention that I adore Adam Levine?)
"Just a Kiss" Lady Antebellum
"Don't You Want to Stay" Kelly Clarkson & Jason Aldean  
(NOTE:  Jason Aldean is from Macon, Georgia, the setting for Stay Tuned)

Your guilty pleasure. (tv show, food, etc.)
I hate to admit that I watched EVERY episode of "The Bachelor" last season. I had to see if Ben chose Courtney. (Sigh. He. Did.)  
I also love my Keurig coffee maker and Sponge Candy (it's made in Western New York ... sort of like Whoppers, but Sponge Candy is cut into squares and covered with thick chocolate YUM!) 
I also have to confess that I've read "Fifty Shades of Gray" and stayed up until 1 am to finish it. Read Book 2, as well. My husband calls it "Brain Candy."

Stalk the Author

Buy Her Books:



Now for the most amazing news! The Giveaway! Ms.Lauren Clark is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card. Yeah I know its amazing & I wish I could enter it myself. The number of books I could get for it!
So,what are you waiting for??? Go Enter NOW!!

1. There's only two compulsory entry to qualify for this Giveaway. 
2. Please provide proper info & links in the Rafflecopter. I will be checking the entries - so no cheating please.
3. The Giveaway is open Internationally.
4. I will select the winner through Random.org on 31st October and will send an e-mail. They have to reply with their mailing address/e-mail id within 48 hours, or I will select another winner.
5. Please do not leave your e-mail id in the comment section.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Wow, this was such a great Interview and I really enjoyed learning more about you Lauren Clark! Your books sound fascinating! Especially your latest , I can not wait to read it! Kudos!

    Syl Stein

    1. Hi Syl! Thank you for the kind words! I am so glad you enjoyed it..... I have fun whenever I can mention my crush on Adam Levine!!! (LOL)

      xx, Lauren

  2. Hope you make it to London one day.

    1. That is definitely on my list! My mum and I were both up at 4 am watching Kate and the Royal Wedding! Love it!!!

      xx, Lauren

  3. Great interview I love Sophie Kinsella books to her Shopaholic series had me full on LOLing.
    I think it's great that you used a real life spat that you experienced from your previous job in your book - I bet that was one scene you really enjoyed writing. Well done ladies for a fab read

    1. Thank you so much! LOVE Shopaholic and can't wait for SK's new one about the wedding!! YAY!

      xx, Lauren

  4. I have Ms. Clark's "Dancing Naked in Dixie" on my to-review pile. Thanks for the fascinating interview. This book sounds just as fun. :)

    1. Hi Rachelle - Ooooo! That's awesome! Yay, please drop me a line and let me know what you think when you finish DIxie!

      xx, Lauren


  5. Stay Tuned sounds amazing! Can't wait to read it! Loved the interview and the excerpt! Thanks for posting!

    1. Veronika ~ Thank you so much :) Glad you enjoyed it!!

      xx, Lauren

  6. Great interview!! For Lauren: Did you always want to be a writer? Or is this something that just hit you one day?

    1. Steph - I have always wanted to write! I think I finally stopped procrastinating about it after starting to write and quitting several times. It took finishing several really AWFUL manuscripts before I was ready to put anything out to readers!!! LOL

      xx, Lauren