Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lauren Skidmore Interview

In a land of masquerades and mystery, Evie is a mask maker in Venesia, where masks represent rank and identity. When a cryptic bandit strips away Evie’s mask and destroys her home, she goes into hiding at the palace to find both a new identity—and revenge. Fantasy lovers will be caught up by the mystique, romance, and magic of "What Is Hidden."

Author Interview:

Shirley: Lauren? Is that you behind that sparkly mask? I think it’s you, because you’ve got the right shade of luscious long blonde hair.

Lauren: Yep, it’s me. I’ve also got the green of an artisan on my mask.

Shirley: Lovely! That green really brings out your eyes. Does my mask look okay? I thought my eye holes might have been cut too big when I could easily see all those dishes stacked on the counters and in the sink. Also, I don’t want to come across as too flirtatious by showing too much skin around my eyes.

Lauren: It looks great! Don’t worry, these masks are molded so closely that it takes awhile to adjust to the feel of a new one. But yours is just right.

Shirley: That's a relief. I'd really like to get out of this kitchen. Someone might tell us to wash these mountains of dishes all by ourselves, just like Cinderella had to. Do you know the best way out?

Lauren: These buildings are filled with secret passages, and I know just the way out, follow me. 

Shirley: Ooo, is this the castle?

Lauren: It is, look at all these nobles in their purple masks! Don’t they look luxurious?

Shirley: They do, especially that guy! He has cute hair, and what a gorgeous mask! How did you ever come up with the idea to write a book about a culture that finds wearing masks to be modest, and going bare-faced a punishment served in a place like the Naked Square?

Lauren:  I thought about the metaphorical masks and outward appearances we have in our own world, and took a more literal approach. Besides, these masks are so beautiful, who wouldn’t want to wear them all the time? The punishment comes from the idea of having every last defense taken from you, even your appearance, and being left only with the fear of being absolutely vulnerable. 

Shirley: You're giving me the shivers! Let's get out of this hallway. It's way too crowded. Look out! Can you believe the nerve of that guy making a grab for your mask? Do you think… oh my goodness, could he be the Chameleon, trying to steal your mask and your identity?

Lauren: I don’t think so, I’m not important enough for the Chameleon to target me - he likes to go after the mask makers. 

Shirley: There's the end of the hallway up ahead. At last. Have you heard the rumor that the Chameleon could actually be a woman?

Lauren: I have! The only way we’ll know we’ve really got the right criminal is by the special Mark on their face. 

Shirley: Wouldn't it be terrible if someone had a birthmark in the same shape as the Mark? Ugh, let's talk about something more cheerful. Do you think we’ll see the prince? I’ve heard that no one’s ever seen his face except his parents and his nursemaid. Maybe the prince is really ugly!

Lauren: Wouldn’t that be a surprise! And it might make his search for a wife at the balls a little more difficult. But I think he’ll be just as charming as a prince should be.  

Shirley: We can hope, at least until he's unmasked...that is, if he's ever unmasked. Then we'd know for sure. Well, will you look at that? This ballroom is full of people wearing masks! Do you think we can blend in?  I’d like to have a shot at that refreshment table. Come on, let's get there before all the little cream puffs shaped like swans are gone.

Lauren: The food is always worth the risk, haha.

Shirley: I have one last question for you: If this is a Cinderella story, then who’s the fairy godmother? 

Lauren: Sometimes, you have to be your own fairy godmother. Although Evie does get a little help from her best friend.

Lauren Skidmore grew up in Kansas, with stints in Ohio and New York, and currently lives in Utah. She attended Brigham Young University where she earned a BA in English Teaching with an emphasis in Teaching English as a Second Language and Japanese. She then spent a year in Japan teaching and travelling. She hasn’t made it to Europe yet, but it’s on the list and has been to 30 states in the U.S. so far. When she’s not exploring new places, you can probably find her on the internet with fifteen windows open and looking at just one more thing before actually getting something done.

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