Lacie Waldon: On Writing What You Know ... But Keeping it Interesting

Debut novelist Lacie Waldon discusses how her agent encouraged her to write what she knew, but then her editor made her realize that what she thought was boring might not be the case.
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Lacie Waldon is a writer with her head in the clouds—literally. A flight attendant based in Washington, D.C., Waldon spends her days writing from the jump seat and searching the world for new stories. The Layover is her debut novel. 

Lacie Waldon

Lacie Waldon

In this post, Waldon discusses how her agent encouraged her to write what she knew, but then her editor made her realize that what she thought was boring might not be the case, and much more!

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Name: Lacie Waldon
Literary agent: Claire Friedman
Book title: The Layover
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release date: June 15, 2021
Genre: Contemporary romance
Elevator pitch for the book: An unexpected tropical layover with her nemesis turns a flight attendant’s life upside down in this witty, breezy, debut romantic comedy about life—and love—30,000 feet above the ground.

The Layover by Lacie Waldon

The Layover by Lacie Waldon

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What prompted you to write this book?

I’d always written on layovers, and it had never even occurred to me to write about flight attendants, probably because I’d spent the whole day being one. Who wants to write about their work? But when my agent signed me for another book I’d written, she suggested I try writing what I know. I did as she asked, and was delighted at how the book just poured out.

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How long did it take to go from idea to publication? 

From idea to publication took about two years. In that time, the central idea stayed pretty consistent, though I did end up changing the love interest from a pilot to a flight attendant. It wasn’t too long into the story before I realized it’s almost impossible to have two people get to know each other when one of them is locked behind a cockpit door. My choices were to turn my main character into a pilot and trap her in there with him (which would be interesting but stationary) or drag him back into the cabin with the rest of the riffraff.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title? 

I’d heard that everything moves glacially in publishing, but The Layover moved through the submission and acquisition process relatively quickly, so I guess I expected it to come out quickly as well. When they told me that it would take sixteen months to publish, I honestly thought I’d misheard them. Who knew that in that time, the whole world would change? I feel lucky to be publishing at a time when people are gearing up for adventures again.

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Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

I was surprised that my editor kept pushing for more details about the actual duties of a flight attendant. For me, those parts dragged because I had experienced them all daily for years. She was right, though! I’ve gotten so many reviews saying readers enjoyed the glimpse behind the curtain. I suppose this is why she gets paid the big bucks.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book? 

I think The Layover offers a vision of living authentically. But truthfully, I wasn’t aiming for a particular message. I’ve always been so appreciative of books that offer a great escape from reality. That was all I really wanted to do. My goal was to provide the kind of easy read that you could disappear into and come out of feeling like you’d gotten a tan.

Lacie Waldon: On Writing What You Know ... But Keeping it Interesting

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

Just keep writing. This business is like a lottery game, and there’s no guarantee you’ll ever get your book in front of a lot of eyes or make money off of it. If that’s your goal, you’ve got to keep producing stuff so you’ll have more chances to succeed. And if you just enjoy writing, you’ll want to keep writing anyway, so my advice still applies. 

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