Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Laura McBride Author Interview

Photo Credit: Michelle Adams

Laura McBride is the author of In the Midnight Room, a 2017 Indie Next pick, and We Are Called to Rise, a #1 Indie Next pick in 2014. She's also a community college teacher. When a novel makes her laugh or cry, she shares it with a friend. If this were her high school yearbook, she'd write: Love more, fear less.


When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I knew that I loved stories – hearing them, reading them, and writing them – by the time I was seven. 

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
My mother used to say that “a novel was just as good a place to get the truth as anywhere else.” In the same way that a metaphor can reveal layers of meaning, so a story can be the most direct way to a new or difficult truth.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
I think I was shaped by the classic books I read in elementary school, particularly A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. A little later, I was influenced by To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye. I was very much a child of my era, though I didn’t know I was reading the same books as everyone else. None of these books seem as brilliant to me now as they did then, though I would love to go back and be able to read each of them the way I read them the first time. They were magical experiences in different ways. In particular, I wish I could feel that pop of emotion in the back of my throat when Holden Caulfield explains about being the catcher in the rye. I was raised on my dad quoting ‘Rabbie Burns’ which surely heightened the feeling, but the desire to catch those who are going to fall: I identify with that.

Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
I hope to write a book that just says what I most want to say, whether a reader will pay attention or not. I believe in thinking about a reader as one writes, and yet, I crave not thinking about one too. Also, I am considering the wall I build between my own life and my stories. Will that always feel necessary? 

In your new book; IN THE MIDNIGHT ROOM, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
The book starts in the mid-1950’s in a Las Vegas nightclub. When I began, I thought I was writing about a love triangle between an adventurous young woman, her gay husband, and the black man who is the star entertainer in their casino. But the story quickly moved beyond these three and their era. I didn’t write In the Midnight Room to “represent” an American boomtown, but the four women who anchor the book appear representative in retrospect. They came to Las Vegas from different parts of the world for very different reasons, but over six decades their lives intertwine unexpectedly and ferociously.

I tried to write an unpredictable story about people are who particular and real, and I tried very hard to keep a reader riveted from beginning to end. That’s why I would read it! 

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating June and Honorata?
June: That I came to love her so much. She’s funny and bold and flawed, and I just didn’t realize how much I would like her.

Honorata: That it was hard to stay true to my understanding of her. I think her experiences and her upbringing combine to make her a person who is hard for others to interpret. Finding a way to reveal that while still getting a reader to care about her was tricky. I hope I succeeded.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
I’m compelled by the variety of people’s experiences in the world. That’s one of the joys of writing: how the story becomes more than what one thought it was, how the page reveals insights and feelings I didn’t know I had. 

I particularly love In the Midnight Room because the women are not types. Together, their lives – each so different from the other – reveal something of the complexity of being a woman. I also think it is a very American story, in the sense of America as a place shaped by those who come here from elsewhere. 

What was the most magical thing that happened while IN THE MIDNIGHT ROOM
I like the moment when Coral recognizes her own hand.

If you could introduce Engracia and Coral to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Now that you’ve brought it up, I might even do this. I would introduce Engracia to Avis from my first novel We Are Called to Rise. They are both strong and fragile, and they might be able to help each other. If I introduced Coral to the child Bashkim from that book, her sons Gus and Isa could teach him to play baseball.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m at the very end of a novel that my agent calls a literary thriller. It’s not a classic thriller, but I hope readers will not be able to turn away. And already my mind wanders to the next novel. I’d like to work with something that scares me.

How many books do you read each year?
I start forty and read perhaps fifteen. Not many for someone who teaches and writes. I used an e-reader for a while, and it was possible to read much more because a book was always at hand, but the quality of my reading was not as good. The ideas did not stick; I rarely was swept away. I seem to need pages to set the words in my mind. 

Can you define love in your own way?
There are so many variants of love, but I suppose it comes first as the willingness to put the other ahead of the self.

What is your happiest childhood memory?
I have many. I had kind parents and five siblings and I was a very happy kid. I loved riding my bike. I loved the rush of air and the freedom of going on my own and the experience of solitary adventures.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I would go back and fix a mistake that did damage out of all proportion to the error. How many of us have a moment like that, hanging there, unreachable?

Most horrifying dream you have ever had?
Oh, I have bad dreams. They’re not suitable for print. Unless one were Stephen King.

  • 1. Because nothing will turn out the way you are expecting
  • 2. Because Las Vegas is not what you think it is
  • 3. Because the key is the music
  • 4. To know what June said in the synagogue
  • 5. To find out how a toad can help the world
  • 6. To wake up to a green world in the Philippines
  • 7. To walk along a row of beans in Mexico
  • 8. To laugh
  • 9. To cry
  • 10. To feel

From the author of We Are Called to Rise comes a novel about the interconnected lives of four women in Las Vegas, each of whom experiences a life-changing moment at a classic casino nightclub.

What is it about the Midnight Room?

In a choreographic tour de force, Laura McBride twirls four women through a Las Vegas nightclub, turning their separate lives into a suspenseful, intricate dance of mothers, daughters, wives, and lovers.

The One Who Falls in Love: June hires a charismatic black man to sing at her club, but her fast-paced lifestyle runs aground as racial tensions mount.

The One Who Gets Lucky: Honorata leaves the Philippines as a mail-order bride, then strikes it rich in the Midnight Room.

The One Whose Heart Is Broken: Engracia finds bad luck in the Midnight Room and becomes enmeshed in Honorata’s secrets when she confronts a man with a gun.

The One Who Always Wondered: Coral struggles with her mysterious past until a desire to help Engracia steers her to the Midnight Room.

Wise and heartbreaking, jubilant and loving, ’Round Midnight is about the intensity and intimacy of four women’s lives, lives that are connected by secrets, courage, tragedies, and small acts of kindness. This brilliantly conceived, passionately written novel will resonate long after you turn the final page.


"In the opening pages of Laura McBride’s new novel, June Stein dives off the Haverstraw Bridge and straight into the reader’s imagination. I love how June, and the vivid, complicated women around her, often fail to act in their own best interests while they still win our affection and admiration. And I love how McBride brings to life the fast-changing city of Las Vegas through their intertwined stories. ‘Round Midnight is a passionate, gripping and beautifully written novel." Margot Livesey, author of Mercury

"Laura McBride reminds us of the invisible threads that bind us together as she weaves the stories of four very different women into a haunting tale of love, loss, and the power to endure. A compelling, transporting, and deeply wise novel. I was enthralled from the first page. Laura McBride is a stunning storyteller." Patry Francis, author of The Orphans of Race Point

"I’m not one to pull out the term “Great American Novel,” but Laura McBride’s sublime ‘ROUND MIDNIGHT demands nothing less. Gorgeous, engrossing, moving, and at times wickedly funny, this brilliant novel pulled me in and didn’t let me go until the shattering final sentence. This is the novel you need to read right now." Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year and A Fortunate Age

"[A] jewel of a nov­el. Haunting and unpredictable, ’Round Midnight is the beautifully told story of how fates intertwine in ways we can’t plan." BookPage

"A dangerous romance and a captivating character make "Round Midnight memorable...illuminating...thrilling...heartbreaking...You'll fall in love." Dallas Morning News

"When Laura McBride starts a novel, her characters lead the way as she writes." The Denver Post

"It's not often that a work of literature is able to move its readers to slow down and savor its signifigance, coaxing them into prying open its complexities one by one with a sense of wonder and anticipation. Equal parts intricate and graceful, 'Round Midnight accomplishes just this." The Daily Californian

"Redemption in doing the right thing, the solace of accepting fate, perhaps, echoes through 'Round Midnight. McBride crafts passages of sterling imagery and diction....Mostly, though, she tells an honest Las Vegas tale about life and fate, with characters, not caricatures." Desert Companion

"A beautiful novel about families and love and complications of human relations....Superb." The Batavia Daily News

"Through outstanding character development and beautifully crafted storytelling, McBride uses the stories of four seemingly insignificant women to weave her tale into the readers' heartstrings." Deseret News

You can purchase In the Midnight Room at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LAURA MCBRIDE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of In the Midnight Room by Laura McBride. 


  1. "What would I find in your refrigerator right now?" The bottled tears of a dietician. And on the front I've taped up at least three pictures of kitties.

  2. All the spoilables like milk,eggs, veggies and fruit were given to my family in town. Whilst I'm out of town awaiting the birth of my 3rd grandson who is now overdue. I'm my daughter's backup plan to help get their 6 year old to school.