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Giveaway and a Guest post by Lauren Blakely - How to Artfully Weave Pop Culture into Novels

24 Jan 2013
Today i have something exciting for you all - a guest post from Lauren Blakely the author of Caught Up In Us. She is also sharing an excerpt from her book AND she is giving away 3 copies of her book!

I think this book sounds really good. You all know i am a fan of New Adult books and this sits at the higher end of the age category with a recent college graduate as the main character so it should be a little different to most NA's.

About the book

Synopsis - from goodreads

Five years ago, Kat Harper fell into a dizzying summer romance with her brother’s best friend Bryan. It was a mad, crazy love full of kisses all through the night — but he broke her heart and she had to move on.

Five years later, Kat is finishing her graduate degree and building her business as a jewelry designer, when Bryan, head of his own successful company, walks back into her life. Bryan has been assigned to Kat as her new business mentor and the rules are clear. No hanky panky permitted. That works for both of them. Kat needs to grow her business to help her parents; Bryan needs to run a clean operation after his former business partner’s romantic scandal that rocked his firm.

Kat can handle that because she's totally over him... right? Except, he still makes her laugh. And he remembers all the things she likes. And he's more handsome now than he was then. Then there’s the spark between them — the simply undeniable chemistry.

Can they resist each other? Or are they willing to risk everything for a second chance at first love?

Hot To Artfully Weave Pop Culture Into Novels

By Lauren Blakely

There’s just something about a movie kiss.
You know what I’m talking about -- when you’re watching a great romantic comedy or an epic love-across-time tale. And finally - finally - the hero and heroine lock lips.
If it’s a good kiss, you kinda get a little tingly inside too. The Spiderman and Mary Jane Watson upside-down-in-the-rain-kind of kiss.


That’s why movies play a large role in my just-released novel CAUGHT UP IN US. The main character, Kat Harper, is a big movie fan. But she’s more than just a cinephile. She wants a love like in the movies. The kind where you make the big gesture, where you run through the terminal to stop the plane from taking off kind of love.

Naturally, movies are woven throughout the story. But, as a writer, I had to be careful and meticulous about which movies to mention. That brings me to the purpose of this post -- how to balance pop culture references like songs and movies in a novel. You want to have enough to give a flavor of the character, but you don’t want too many because that can overwhelm the story. You also want to pick the right ones.

For instance, in one of my earlier drafts of CAUGHT UP IN US, I was thinking of great love scenes from the movies. Titanic, Shakespeare in Love, Cruel Intentions -- those films all have some heart-stopping moments when the characters finally come together. And I’d originally mentioned them in one of the love scenes in my novel. But as I re-read the scene, the references to the movies “threw” me out of the scene. I was no longer thinking about the characters in the story. I was thinking about those movies. So I had to cut those references because I want readers to feel in the moment with the characters. Kat is now “feeling” that she’s experiencing that movie kind of passion, without naming specific films. The heat of the moment is just not the time to rattle off a long list of flicks!

The other thing to be careful of is finding the right movies to reference. I happen to love the film The English Patient. But yet I know that is a divisive movie. Some people love it, and some can’t stand it. So rather than risk ticking off the readers who can’t stand it, I left it out of the story. Kat might love the movie, but she never admits it in the novel! And, I also can’t just rely on the movies I personally like. I like a lot of movies from the ‘80s. But some of the readers of this genre aren’t necessarily Sixteen Candles fans. (What? Not  Sixteen Candles fan? Well, they just haven’t seen the movie then!)

What movies then are fair game to reference? My “litmus test” is that the movies must have broad appeal and be free of “cringe-worthy” factors, and that I be judicious in using them. In CAUGHT UP IN US, you’ll find references to Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect, Casablanca, Babe and even The Hangover, among others. In the end, movie and music references should be like a good spice - use them sparingly, but use them well!
“Tell me where your love of movies comes from.”

          “I think it’s because of what movies have always meant to my family. All these big events in my life were marked by movies. When Nate was in eighth grade and won the election for class president, we all went to see the re-release of Raiders of the Lost Ark, because it was this great action adventure, and I gripped the armrest when Harrison Ford raced against the boulder. The time I was picked to design the cover of the junior high yearbook we went to see Ocean’s Eleven. That’s just how we celebrated things. I even remember when my grandmother died. We went to the memorial service. I was twelve and I read a poem at the service, and then we decided that we should see Elf. Which probably sounds like a weird thing to do after a funeral.”
            Bryan listened intently. “No, it doesn’t. Not at all.”
            “It was really the perfect movie to see, because I think we all just needed to not be sad every second, you know?”
            “It actually makes perfect sense,” he said. I looked at him and the honesty in his face and his eyes. He understood. He got it. He got me. I kept going.
            “But I guess it all started with my mom. She’s a huge romantic comedy fan, so she started showing me all the great ones. Sleepless in Seattle. Love, Actually. Notting Hill. You’ve Got Mail.”
            “And do you still love romantic comedies?”
            “I make jewelry. I drink caramel machiattos. I wear Hello Kitty to bed. Of course I love romantic comedies,” I said with a smile as we neared my house. But I didn’t just love them. I wanted to live within them. I wanted a love like in the movies.
            Bryan cleared his throat. “I think there’s a romantic-comedy we haven’t seen at the theater. Do you want to go again tomorrow?”
            “Yes,” I said, and I’m sure it came out all breathy sounding.
            We saw the movie the next day, and it was the kind where you long for the hero and heroine to kiss, and when they do, near the final frame, you feel this tingling in your body, and you want to be kissed too. I stole a glance at Bryan only to find he was stealing a glance at me.
            “Hi,” he whispered in that voice he’d used when he talked about Paris.
            He reached a hand towards me, slowly, his eyes on me the whole time, as if he were asking if it was okay. I nodded a yes. He ran his fingers through my dark brown hair, then his mouth met mine, and we kissed until the credits rolled, slow and sweet kisses. His lips were the softest I’d ever felt, and his kisses were of the epic kind, the kind that made you believe that movie kisses weren’t just for actors or for stories, that they could be for you, and they could go on and on, like a slow and sexy love song that melted you from the inside out.
It sounds great doesn't it? I am looking forwards to seeing how the movie theme will tie in with the rest of the book. I am also loving the cover as it has a beautiful simplicity to it (and anyone else recognise the cover models?). What did you think about the guest post? It is strange to think how much thought authors must put into these little details books but as a reader i know that hearing a character mention something i love makes me like them even more.

If you are interested in reading more about Lauren and her book you can visit her blog here i think it looks very pretty ;P
Lauren is also planning on doing a big Amazon gift card giveaway if Caught Up In Us reaches the top 1000 (or higher) on amazon. Fingers crossed for Lauren and i wish her lots of success with the release of her debut novel.
As Lauren is such a nice person you dont even need to wait for Caught Up In Us to get high in the amazon charts before getting a giveaway as she has 3 copies of the book to giveaway here. Enter using the rafflecopter below and the giveaway is open to anyone who can recieve ebooks gifted from Amazon or B&N.

You dont need to leave a comment to enter the giveaway but they are always appreciated. I am interested to know if you like the sound of Laurens book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I seriously can't wait to read this book! :)

  2. Me too :) I should be reading and reviewing this soon :D

  3. yay I can't wait to read what you think of it! :)

  4. Caught Up In Us has reached the top 1000 on amazon (#585 as i write this) so as promised Lauren is doing a gift card giveaway on her blog here :) This is for members of the goodreads New Adult book club so join :D

  5. Thank you for the awesome giveaway -- would love to win!!

  6. Congratulations on the success of the Book Release ;-)

    1. I am so happy for Lauren that her book is doing so well :)

  7. How awesome that the book is doing so well! I can't wait to read it.

  8. Looking forward to reading this one. =0)

  9. Congratulations on your first book! :)

  10. This books sounds so great! Can't wait to read it! :)

  11. This book sounds really good can't wait to read it

  12. Winners have been contacted! If you have won a copy Lauren will send you the book soon.

    In the future if you say you have done an entry please can you do it. I had to disqualify someone and i dont ever want to have to do that again :(


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