Eva Des Lauriers
Eva Des Lauriers is a mixed-race, Latinx author who writes emotionally-charged YA stories with a dash of humor and a whole lot of messy relationship drama.
EVA DES LAURIERS holds both an MSW and BA in psychology. As a clinical social worker, she had the privilege of working with the hopeful and complicated teen girls she now writes for. After participating in Adrienne Young’s Writing With the Soul Workshop, she was invited back as a moderator for the next series and remains active in the YA writing community. Given her multi-racial White-Xicana background, Eva’s passionate about exploring the nuances of the mixed-race experience in her writing. She lives in Oakland, California with the boy she sat next to in eleventh grade Calculus, their two children, and her collection of kissing books. Find her on Instagram @evadeslaurbooks.
When and how did you start writing?
Writers almost always start out as readers, and I’m no exception. I’ve loved reading and storytelling my entire life. But it wasn’t until middle school that I wrote my first story about two best friends who went shopping a lot and flirted with boys and wore a lot of makeup. Honestly, that holds up as pretty on brand for me.
Can you remember the first book that made an impact on you? Who were your childhood storytelling heroes?
Nineties kid here so all things Babysitter’s Club, Sweet Valley High, Fear Street, and Goosebumps. I also have distinct memories of falling in deep love with the sister dynamics that so reflected my own experience in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary, the clever silliness and humor in Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar, and the sweeping tension and romance in all of Jane Austen’s books.
But the first book that I clutched to my chest when I finished it was Just as Long as We’re Together by Judy Blume. It was the first book that ever made me feel truly seen. I identified so fiercely with the complex friendships, the crushes, the family issues. I had never before read a book about a young girl who was allowed to be complicated: jealous, angry, petty, and still lovable.
I will always attribute my first love of writing, and the importance of writing for young girls, to Judy Blume. She is the kind of writer I will forever aspire to be.
Can you talk us through your career so far? What were the key moments?
Despite the obvious genius of that first story I wrote, it took me a long time to find the confidence to pursue writing as a career. With a lifelong interest in psychology and social behavior, I first became a therapist. I went to graduate school after college to get my master’s degree in social work and devoted many years to working with teens and adolescents experiencing mental health crises. But the deeper I sank into that field, the louder the stories in my heart got. It never felt like I was truly aligned with my greater purpose.
When reading started losing its joy because I ached to tell my own stories, I knew it was time to get brave and make a drastic career change. I finally decided to pursue my writing as a promise to myself on my thirtieth birthday to do what I know I was put on this planet to do. My first-ever writing job was for a now defunct television website and it gave me vital experience in meeting deadlines and being edited. When it shut down, I blogged for a few years, and sold a few of those articles as a freelancer. After all that, I finally felt ready to write novels. My heart sang the first time I wrote the words “The End.” Changing careers was difficult and took a lot of support, but it will forever be the best decision I ever made.
Describe your writing day. Where do you write? How do you organize your time? Where do you look for inspiration?
I’m a mom of two young kids, which means my writing time is limited. I have to be super regimented to make progress. I keep the same work hours every day in the afternoon. When my husband gets home from work, I go out to my home office in my backyard and write with my head down, my phone off, and my curtains drawn to avoid little faces peering in until dinner time. If I’m deep in a project I will continue working after the kids go to bed.
My books are heavily character driven so I seem to find inspiration most often in my endless fascination with people—people I see, questions I ponder about an interaction I witnessed, my friends who live far more interesting lives than mine, people from my past. People are endlessly interesting to me.
Are there any tips you could give aspiring writers who are looking to get published?
Treat it like the job it is before you ever get paid. Set work hours, create/find a workspace, set up childcare (if you have kiddos) and go to work. It requires commitment from your partner if you have one, from yourself to keep it consistent, and it’s not always easy. Like with any job, take sick days, mental health days, vacation and maternity leave. And like any job, you’ll have to work on days you don’t want to, and some days are better than others. But you will make incredible progress by staying consistent and taking your goals seriously.
It’s been an incredibly powerful for me.
Can you describe three aspects of writing craft that have been most important as you’ve developed as an author?
I’m a discovery writer through and through, so learning about narrative structure and story beats from books like Save The Cat and Romancing The Beat have made a huge difference in how I understand and approach a first draft.
Also, finding a trusted critique partner and beta readers has drastically improved my manuscripts. There is nothing like a reader who asks tough questions of your work and pushes it to be better because they know what you’re trying to do and help you see it in a new way.
Finally, listening to writers talk about writing at conferences and on podcasts, especially those who write in different genres and age categories, always forces me to think about craft differently and I love plucking tips and tricks to try in my own work.
Which favorite authors would you invite to a dinner party? What fictional character do you wish you’d invented?
It’s going to be a big party because I have many: Judy Blume, Becky Albertalli, Nicola Yoon, Stephen King, Adrienne Young, Jandy Nelson, and, were they alive, Pablo Neruda, Jane Austen, and Maya Angelou. We’d make quite a crowd of storytellers. Anne Elliot from Persuasion is one of my all-time favorite heroines and a character I would love to have written.