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Exorcising Aaron Nguyen by Lauren Harris‏

Lauren is a fantasy writer, voice actress, and the co-creator of 2012 Parsec Finalist, Pendragon Variety Podcast for aspiring writers of genre fiction, where she is known as "Scribe."

Her voice acting can be heard on Audible.com as well as fiction podcasts such as EscapePod, The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, and The Drabblecast B-Sides.

Though she spent three years living in Tokyo, she currently resides in a renovated tobacco shed in rural North Carolina, where she is pleased to have running water, wifi, and all her teeth.

Twitter - @Marksmaster
Blog - “Ink-Stained Scribe”
Podcast - Pendragon Variety - A Genre Writing Podcast

The murder of Millroad Catholic Academy's resident genius, Aaron Nguyen, shuts down student life at the boarding school in rural North Carolina...for about a week. With the resilience of youth, the student body bounces back, and the memory of murder is nothing but a streamer of caution tape fluttering in the breeze.

Unfortunately for them, Aaron's spirit has some resilience as well. Despite the priest's attempted exorcism, Aaron's ghost is soon breathing chills down the students' necks and hurling bunsen burners at nuns.

Georgia Collins doesn't give a shit about ghosts. All she wants is a story to prove her underground school news blog is more than a gossip column, closure on her one-sided relationship with her best friend Hiroki, and a vanilla latte. She wasn't expecting Aaron Nguyen's death to be anything more than a cold spot in the science hall, but since Hiroki has the curse of Spectral Sight, he is the only person who can see and speak to Aaron.

As the ghost’s demands for attention become increasingly violent, Hiroki enlists Georgia to help him investigate the crime, claiming that Aaron isn’t likely to move on until his killers are caught. Still hoping for spontaneous romantic combustion, she agrees to help bring Aaron's murderers to justice and set the vengeful spirit free...but it's not quite the close encounter she's hoping for.

Q) What inspired you to write this story? 
This story was a total surprise for me in some ways, and very deliberate in others. First off, I’m a first-class fraidy cat and probably would not have consciously decided to create a story that involved ghosts--that part crept from the dark corners of my subconscious and clawed its way onto the page. I usually write straight-up fantasy and don’t work much in modern settings, but I decided to pursue the story to stretch myself as a writer, and ended up really having fun writing modern dialogue.

Other elements of the story were deliberate. Having them go to a catholic school, setting it in North Carolina, and making Georgia have a mad raging crush on her best friend. Also, Georgia herself. One of my writing-group friends, and the cover model for EAN, is a beautiful plus-sized young woman who had recently voiced her frustration with being unable to find full-figured heroines where the story wasn’t, you know, about them being fat. Or finding love despite being fat. Or whatever. So I wanted to give her a kick-butt heroine who, while not shying away from struggles with her own self-image, starred in a story about life, death, friendship, and the beyond.

Q) How long did it take you to write? 
The first draft of EXORCISING AARON NGUYEN was titled BULL-RUSHING THE GHOST, and I was writing it between revisions on a longer novel. I think it probably took me three weeks to a month (it’s only 23k; I am not Jack Keroac). The second draft, on the other hand...well, I rewrote all but two scenes, so that took me maybe two more weeks, give or take. Of course, I was only working part-time, so take that as you will.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
You know that moment when you’re writing and a new element of worldbuilding or characterization just comes to you, and it’s like you’re connected to some greater source of understanding that sends along the perfect detail to tie everything together and make seemingly disparate parts of your story work? And then you feel like a genius? But also kind of like you’ve cheated because you didn’t really plan it that way all along? But no one will ever know? Yeah, that.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Getting stuck on revisions.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Jared Padalecki. Because I want to know what it’s like to be so tall...

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
What’s the oldest thing in my fridge right now or what’s the oldest thing that’s been discovered in my fridge ever, because… Umeboshi. We’ll go with umeboshi. I’ve had a big jar of umeboshi that I bought about two years ago because I was making rice-balls, but I was the only one who liked them, so I ate a bunch of them and then...forgot they were in there. Then they just sort of became part of the scenery in the fridge. I mean, they’re pickled. They don’t really go bad, right? Right? They smell okay. I just ate one, so I’ll let you know.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
Well, I will be continuing with the Millroad Academy Exorcists series, which I plan on making into four novellas. Look for book two, THE GIRL IN ACID PARK, some time in early 2014. I also have a number of fantasy novels, one I’m shopping with agents, one I’m writing the rough draft of, and one I will be writing the second draft of once the previously-stated first-draft book is marinating in a drawer. Anyone who’s interested in my writing or my voice acting can check out the various pages on my blog, which I keep updated with my publications, voice acting & narration, and my works-in-progress.