Lauren A.R. Masterson interview


A little introduction:

“Start at the beginning, and when you come to the end, stop.” –Mad Hatter from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


Lauren A.R. Masterson aka Alice Liddell graduated from Columbia College of Chicago with a degree in Fiction Writing. During her college days, she began working as a freelance model eventually making it her full-time profession after graduating. She toured nationally, met scores of creative people, and had many adventures. After retiring from modeling, and experiencing a divorce, Alice felt the drain of her creativity. But after finding a loving and supportive community she began exploring her writing talent and art again. Alice is now a regular in the local Chicago writing communities and is dedicated to enhancing her craft.

When did your love of books begin?

My Mum read to me when I was a young child, starting when I was a baby.  She taught me how to read when I was three years old, and continued reading to me every night for many years.  I had a massive home library of books as a child, and was reading at a college level by the time I was about eleven years old.

When did you start to have the wish to become an author?

Ever since I can remember.  I would make up little stories and my Dad would write them down for me before I learned to read.  Once I could read and write, I spent most of my freetime writing stories and making drawings for them.

How have you found the process for becoming an author?

I'm privileged in that I am a legacy writer.  My Mum is also a writer, and I have other women writers in my family history; including my late aunt who was a librarian and historian.  I was groomed for writing since I was a young child.  My Mum gave me books like Strunk and White and would edit my first manuscripts for me when I was about 12 years old.  I was given every opportunity and resource to become an author, including my parents sending me to Columbia College Chicago.  I received my degree in Fiction Writing in 2011 and learned from my professors deep insight into the writing and publishing industry.
From 2008-2013, I worked full time and toured as a professional model.  I made many incredible connections with creatives all over The States, especially here in the Midwest.  The most important connection being my best friend of over 10 years, Bryan Thompson.  We started out as model and photographer, and together, created our own fashion magazine (Cloud Orchid Magazine) starting in January 2013.  We went on to publish 27 issues of the magazine.  We then evolved into Cloud Orchid Publishing and began publishing creative books and full novels.
From there, I became a part of the local Chicago writing community and my former professor, now mentor and friend, Tina Jens, took me under her wing.  Through her guidance, I went on to have my first novel published in April 2018 with Ink Smith Publishing (Love of the Sea).  Since then, I went on to publish four more books with my publishing company Cloud Orchid Publishing, and have plans in the future to publish more of my books through other publishers.

What would you say to those wanting to become an author?

Getting a book published is only the beginning.  So many hopeful writers think the goal is just to get the book published and then you magically become "rich and famous".  There is so much work that goes into the publishing process (editing, presales, creating bios, doing hype interviews, etc), and then the full time job that is marketing your book after release.  Getting people to buy your book is just as much work, if not moreso, than getting your book published in the first place.

Tell us about your book/books:

I am a prolific writer and have a massive catalogue of books currently in the pipeline.  I have a total of 89 more books besides the ones mentioned below that are in different stages of completion.  As well as, I know there will be more collaborations in the future with my best friend, Bryan Thompson.  Frequently, when readers roll up to my booth at conventions the first question they ask is "Who wrote all these books?" and when I answer "I wrote all of these." their jaws hit the floor.  I spent my childhood and teenage years writing and drawing every spare moment of every day.  Then in college, I wrote on average about 600 pages per semester.  Now in my adult years, I'm focusing on taking all those stories and bringing them into the world, one book at a time.

"A Dog for a Dog" in the Ludlow Charlington's Doghouse: an anthology supporting Friends of Chicago Animal Care and Control.

Coming Soon: Succumb to Darkness
Dark Fantasy Vampires
Evanangela falls from grace, her soul burned and blackened as she is reborn into a vampire.  Àmichemin adopts her into the vampire court and shows her a life of brutal slaughters masquerading as elegant affairs at Seigneur Verseau's side.  She must find her place in the realm of the damned and somehow regain her virtue.  Can she keep her secret and survive?
Coming Soon: Be Mine
Back Cover Description TBA
Love of the Sea
Mermaid Fantasy
As crown prince, Cormack is required to take a bride and his place as king. His father’s choice is Princess Nephara of their neighboring ally, the Kingdom of Caraway. But the appearance of Asrai, a fiery mermaid determined to get what she wants, and an heir to her own throne, has Cormack wondering where his heart’s loyalty lies.  Exiled from her underwater kingdom, Asrai is determined to do whatever is necessary to return to her throne, but Cormack, once a means to an end, has enchanted her. Can Asrai get the best of both worlds, or will she sacrifice her heart for her kingdom?
Geisha Hands
Fully Illustrated Japanese Historical Fiction
Geisha Hands is a fully illustrated historical fiction novel that brings geisha culture to life in a whole new way. Yukie is a maiko on the verge of her erikae, the turning of the collar ceremony to become a full geisha. But the competitive nature of the hanamachi and glamour of working as a top ranked geisha have Yukie feeling anything but certain about her future. Join Yukie on her journey to find her place in the rankings and possibly find love thanks to her sister and mentor, full geisha Katsu.
Tearing Down the Wall
College Romance
Freja is starting her first year away at college. Her world is turned upside down on move-in day when she bumps into her old crush. Alex was all set for fun and easy dating his first year at college, until Freja falls back into his life. On the cusp of an exciting modeling career, Freja must juggle her life as a student and as an up and coming celebrity. Campus life takes a dark turn and Freja finally meets her match Can Alex help Freja hold the pieces together? Tearing Down the Wall is a story that tells of how kindness, trust, and love can break down the walls we build around our heart when it has been broken too many times.
Freja's Baby
Teenage Pregnancy Romance
Senior year of high school is fraught with challenges, but Alex and Freja realise they're in for more than they bargained for after a romantic romp at the prom. Freja must now endure the persecution of navigating school as a pregnant teen while Alex struggles to find the balance of support and respect for Freja. With the new life comes the balance of an unexpected death. Can Freja and Alex keep their relationship together, or will Freja face motherhood alone?
Freja's Baby Shattered
Loss/Grief Comfort Romance
Freja thinks she’s above all the typical high school hype, until she faces the greatest challenge of all – teenage pregnancy. Now her dream romance with Alex is being torn apart by mean girls and a rapidly changing future.The worst is yet to come when Freja loses the baby through violent means. Alex must face his bright future slipping between his fingers as Freja loses her sanity, and ultimately, nearly loses her life. Can Alex still hold together the pieces of his shattered family, or will he leave Freja behind in the darkness forever?
Regency Era Fantasy Novella
Issac, an elderly bachelor seeks the help of the town wise woman, Mirande, to seek a companion. His wish is granted with the gift of a water nymph maiden named Pandora to care for as his charge. Together they discover her magical abilities to provide food and comfort to transform his home. His newfound confidence attracts the interest of the Lady Brighton. Will he stand true to Pandora, or will he break his promise and lose the true treasure in his life?
Poetry Collections:
All of my poetry collections combine my poetry with my artwork and Bryan Thompson's photography.  I have synesthesia where I taste colors and I taste words.  This has a huge impact on my writing style and in my poetry collections, I let my synesthesia run wild.  Each is titled with the particular theme of the poetry contained within.
Synesthesia - Darkness
Synesthesia - Depression
Synesthesia - Experimental
Synesthesia - Nature
Synesthesia - Love
Synesthesia - Fables
Synesthesia - Pandemic
Art Books:
We The Fallen
Featuring photography by Bryan Thompson and short stories and poetry written by me.  Model Zzy takes an apocalyptic run on the Chicago redline at 3am.
Featuring photography by Bryan Thompson and short stories and poetry written by me.  Model Nettie Harris basks in the afternoon light and tells tales of forbidden love.
Photos of featured Cloud Orchid Magazine crew models by Bryan Thompson, and other photographer crew members as noted, capture the chilling horror of the prison. Crippled Inspiration is a full retrospect of the 2012 caravan trip to OSR and all the adventures that unfolded, real or imagined. This collection features photos from the 2012 OSR caravan trip by photographer Bryan Thompson of Graffiti Photography (and other photographers as noted) and the COM crew. This retrospective look at the OSR adventure is reflected in the creative and non-fictional accounts by Little Alice.
Not In Kansas - A Steampunk Connection 2013
Our friends at the Colour Law collaboration created their event Not In Kansas to celebrate local designers and the talent of their crew and friends. Designs by Twig Noir, Silversärk, Moda Muñeca, and RFD by Rachel Frank. Combined with the talent of stylists and models, all captured by the incredible photographers on the scene.
Featuring photography by Bryan Thompson and short stories and poetry written by me.  A chilling narrative about the horrors of American asylums with photography taken at the West Virginia Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.
Here, Now
Featuring photography by Bryan Thompson and short stories and poetry written by me.  Model Katlyn showcases the yearning that is young love.
Plunge the Soul into the Quick
Featuring photography by Bryan Thompson and short stories and poetry written by me.  This photo narrative was taken at the Ohio State Reformatory with model Brooklyn Sky showcasing the unrelenting bleak existence of the prisoners once confined there.
Featuring photography by Bryan Thompson and short stories and poetry written by me.  This playful narrative reminds us all what it once felt like to be young and brash.
Featuring photography by Bryan Thompson and short story by me.  This story tells the tragic tale of the whaler's wives that were left behind when their men went out to sea to hunt the behemoths to keep the lights on.
Twig Noir - A Closer Look
Featuring photography by Bryan Thompson and short stories and poetry written by me.  Model Twig Noir showcases her handmade fashions at the Ohio State Reformatory in all its glorious majesty.
Absent Ventriloquist
Featuring photography by Bryan Thompson and short stories and poetry written by me.  This narrative is not for the faint of heart - detailing the grueling existence of a mind warped by mental illness.
Pallid Hours: Autumn Freed
Featuring photography, short stories and poetry written by me.  A colorful narrative that captures the beauty and glory of the changing of the leaves in autumn.
Featuring photography by Bryan Thompson.  This book is an exercise in words and how we use them by showcasing different powerful words in different forms, forcing the reader to contemplate the impact those words can have.
Abandoned Bride
Featuring photography by Bryan Thompson and short stories and poetry written by me.  A powerful narrative about the agony and shame of my divorce and the ugliness behind the veil.  The photos were taken at the Ohio State Reformatory to fully encapsulate the feeling of devastation and abandonment.
The Asylum: What happens when no one can hear you scream?
Featuring photography by Bryan Thompson and short stories and poetry written by me.  A chilling tale of the atrocities committed at Victorian insane asylums that will give you nightmares.
Swine Flu: Totalitarian Justice Served for the Human Pigs that Fly
Featuring photography by Bryan Thompson and short stories and poetry written by me.  Photos were taken at the abandoned hospital in Gary, Indiana.  Written in 2018 during the Swine Flu outbreak, it is poignant and chilling to read in the context of 2020.
Accompanying Video Art Project for Swine Flu:
Dreams and Flashbacks - a monograph
Featuring photography by Bryan Thompson and short stories and poetry written by me.  A playful narrative with the stunning and vibrant model Josalynn Lark.
Videos from the Ohio State Reformatory Projects:
Videos from the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum Projects:
Videos from Other Abandoned Site Projects:
Cloud Orchid Magazine (17 issues)
Featuring full color photo fashion editorials with interviews from the creative teams here in the Midwest.
L'art D'Obscurite' Magazine (3 issues)
Featuring full color photo fashion editorials with interviews from the creative teams from around the world, as well as Bryan Thompson and I.
Videos from Our Fashion Projects:
TableTop Roleplaying Game Guides I've Written:

What do you love about the writing/reading community?

I love the local writing community that I'm a part of.  It's tight knit and super supportive.  We frequently do events together.  Sometimes we share tables and participate on panels together.  We have both in person and Zoom open mic events to encourage people to read their writing, receive feedback, and just enjoy the community.  We also have a private Zoom "writing room" where we hang out and work on our writing together, just to have the company.  It's made all the difference for my work as an author knowing that I have friends at my side who understand and support what I do.

If you could say anything to your readers what would it be?

It means the world to me that my readers choose my books to read.  I love when y'all reach out to me and tell me what you think about my stories, good or bad.  Knowing that my works bring joy, comfort, etc to others is an incredible privilege.  I first and foremost write things that I personally enjoy reading.  So, knowing that others enjoy it too is amazing and rewarding.  Thank you for your support!

Where can people connect with you?

Twitter: LittleAlice06
Instagram: littlealice06
Instagram: khrarts


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