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Lauren Wilkinson Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

American Spy (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Lauren Wilkinson
Lauren Wilkinson was born July 19, 1984 and grew up in New York. She earned her MFA in literary translation and fiction from Columbia University, and has taught writing at both the Fashion Institute of Technology and Columbia.

Her debut novel, called “American Spy”, was released in the year 2019. It was published by Dialogue Books in the United Kingdom and Random House in the United States. Her work is from the thriller genre.

Lauren did not write the novel from an outline, but wishes she could have. She would attempt working with an outline only to find herself going in a different direction whenever she would write a scene.

She penned the book again and again. She wrote some bad drafts and was told this ain’t it. After working on the novel for eight months, she put in some hard work, but knew right away her agent was correct.

In order for to keep going, she looked for different places of conflict. She is a child raised while the Cuban Missile Crisis is happening, and the world is close to disaster. On the one hand, she is afraid of communism, yet falls for a Marxist. For Lauren, this is the only way she knows how to make a plot. Then she just sits down and begins writing.

She wanted Marie to be disoriented, since Marie had no idea at all how she would be perceived in the new culture she was going into. Lauren wanted to go against the trope where somebody goes undercover and that is it. However, anybody in a new culture and undercover, it is not something intuitive.

The book begins with an explosive start, because Lauren loves those. She also knew that people would want to read the first few pages to see if they wanted to buy it. It made her decide to give them a bit of razzle-dazzle, and throw all she had at them.

Lauren has found that self-care is not something she has to make time for. It has become a necessity. The quality of her writing is far too low if she doesn’t give herself a bit of time recharge and rest.

First thing she does after she wakes up is make a list of all the things she would like to get done that day. The very last thing is brushing her teeth.

Should she get stuck while writing, she goes and does an errand. Since she is a list maker, anything that helps her check something off of her list gives her some happiness that comes when you accomplish something. She will also do the dishes, take a nap or a shower, or make a meal. Lauren just tries to focus on doing a task, something that requires her to quit trying to force ideas out of her brain.

When she is writing, she prefers to start at about four in the morning, since her brain feels the freshest at that time. It is also pretty quiet during that time, too, both in the real world as well as on social media, which helps to limit her distractions. She would write until about two or three, sometimes she would take a nap and get back to writing in the evening.

This is something that she doesn’t want to do in the future, since it is so unhealthy to write this way. On top of that, she would get diminishing returns after spending just a few hours writing. It meant that a lot of time was spent forcing writing that wasn’t coming. She wound up wasting time, rather than using her time as productively as possible.

Lauren was a Center for Fiction Emerging Writers Fellow in the year 2013. She has also been supported by the Djerassi Resident Artists Program and the MacDowell Colony.

Her work has appeared in places such as: New York magazine, Granta, The Believer, and The New York Times, among other places.

“American Spy” was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. The novel was also a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” pick and it was included as one of Barack Obama’s Recommended Reading List in 2019.

“American Spy” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2019. What if your sense of duty required you to betray the guy you love?

The year is 1986, it is the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer who works for the FBI. She is brilliant, but she is also a young black lady that works in an old boys’ club. Her career has stalled out, her days are filled with nothing but monotonous, and she gets overlooked for every single high-profile squad. When she is given the chance to be a member of a shadowy task force that aims to undermine Thomas Sankara, the charismatic revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, she says yes. He has become a target for American intervention due to his Communist ideology.

She does so despite the fact that she secretly admires the work Sankara does for his country. And she joins the task force despite grieving the mysterious death of her sister, whose example led Marie to taking this career path to begin with. It is also despite the fact that she suspects she is getting offered this job because of how she looks and not due to her talent.

Over the year that follows, Marie is going to observe Sankara, seduce the guy, and pretty much have a hand in the coup that is going to bring him down. Doing so is going to change everything that she believes about what it means to be a lover, a sister, a spy, and a good American.

The book combines allegory and spy fiction with a splash of pan-Africanism and updates the espionage thriller with some blazing originality. This novel is tender, suspenseful, and funny; it is always incredibly honest and brilliant. Lauren is able to render the spy world with depth and vivacity, and she shines a light on what it is truly like to be a black woman in America.

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