Could You Tell Us About Yourself?
I’m currently a computer science student from Montreal and I’m an environmentalist who founded the website Climate Change Guide. I’m also interested in politics, technology, and mental health.
What made you write your book (s)?
I wanted to share a lot of my personal life experiences and raise awareness about multiple issues, particularly OCD, bullying, and the simulation hypothesis. Specifically, a large percentage of my first novel is based on my real-life experiences dealing with OCD and bullying. The names of the bullies and the names of schools have been altered but what happened to me in real life is very similar to what happened to my main character.
How many hours a day do you write?
The amount of time I spend writing is not constant and varies over time.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
There is not one thing in particular that I find difficult, but it is just that I find writing a novel a huge challenge overall. I’ve written my first novel over a period of two years, and I started brainstorming for my second novel.
If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose and why?
If I could time travel and speak to George Orwell, the author of “1984” and “Animal Farm” (two books that I read in summer 2022 and which was one of the inspirations for my second novel which is political satire) that would be interesting. I would like to know how much of his story was inspired by real world events during his lifetime and what he wanted to tell the world through his book 1984.
What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
I write on my desktop in my bedroom which is usually quiet.
How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
I like to talk about it to many people on social media as well as to my family and friends.
Do you listen to music while you wrote your book (s) ?
In general, not in particular. However, I think that music could be quite helpful to many writers; it depends on the person.
Where do you get your idea (s) for your book (s)?
For my first novel, a great percentage of the story is based on experiences I went through and also there are a lot of events in the book based on things that I’ve seen on the news (especially in American politics).
What is / was your writing process like?
For my second novel, I decided to add ideas over time in a document for brainstorming. I’ve written a great amount of ideas in that document on my smartphone. I plan to write the official manuscript in summer 2023.
Do you try more to be original or rather give readers what they want?
For my first novel and second novel I had a vision for what I wanted the story to be, and I went with that vision. I was not too concerned about what a particular type of reader would want; I wrote a story that I think needed to be told.
How did publishing your (first) book?
My first book was self-published on Amazon
What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
For my second novel, I worked on a brainstorming document for several months. When a good idea went through my mind, I would write it down on my smartphone. I read a lot of news articles and watched a lot of videos related to American politics and this would inspire my ideas for this project.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
For my first and second novel, the main character is basically a fictional version of myself and they share the same first name as I, Laurent. I’m thinking of doing something similar for my third novel as well if I get the chance to write it. I like to add traits from myself into my main characters. In both the first and second novel the main character has OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder, a condition I struggled with for most of my life.
What’s your favourite and least favourite part of publishing your book (s)?
My favorite part is developing the story itself. My least favourite part is that I’m not sure how to reach more people in the marketing phase.
How did you come up with the title for your book (s) ?
For a long time, I thought of having a book called “The Angel of Death” but the story changed in my mind over the years and eventually the title changed to “The Angel of Death Origins: OCD, Bullying, and Questioning Reality.” Essentially, the main character is an author who writes a successful fantasy novel about a character that is part human and part dragon. This character is an excellent fighter and is named “the angel of death.” However, my actual story is mostly about the mental health struggles of the main character, Laurent Casino, who wrote the fantasy novel of the angel of death.
If you could meet your characters, what would you say to them?
I think I would tell them to stay optimistic even in dark times.
Which of the characters in your book (s) do you relate to the most and why?
The main characters of my first and second novel are both based on me, so they are the ones I relate to the most.
How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
I think someone who is interested about mental health and is also curious about the simulation hypothesis (the concept that we could be living in a computer simulation).
What did you edit out of your book (s) ?
I edited out unnecessary details and infodumps.
What was your hardest scene to write?
Emotionally, the hardest chapter for my first book was the one about bullying in high school. The great majority of the content of that chapter is based on experiences I went through in real life. It is also one of the longest chapters in my first novel.
How long did it take for you to write a book?
I think I wrote most of the plot after one year but it took at least two years in total, including the editing process.
What do you hope your readers take away from your book (s)?
I think it would be awesome if people could have more empathy for those who struggled with OCD, bullying, or other mental health challenges. My first novel does a deep dive into the mind of someone suffering from OCD and post-traumatic stress from severe bullying.
What was the hardest part of writing your book (s)?
The editing part of writing my first novel was the hardest one. In fact, because of my OCD I was very worried about making typos and it took me quite a while to get to the final draft. I had to accept that I can never be absolutely certain there were no typos and if needed, I could always make an updated version in the future
How did you feel when you first published your book (s)? Scared? Excited? Nervous?
I was a bit nervous about getting negative feedback, but all the people who read it so far told me they enjoyed it.
Where can people who are interested in your book, buy your book?
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
I am currently working on my second novel which is a dark comedy political satire.
After writing your book (s) what is your advice to people who want to become writers?
Keep in mind that it is a long-term project and try not to get too overwhelmed in the beginning; go at a steady pace. Try not to rush things and remember that quality is more important than quantity.
What are common traps for aspiring writers and have you faced any of them?
For a long time, I was not sure whether to self-publish or to get traditionally published. It is still a struggle.
Is it something more you want to tell us which I forgot to ask about?
For my first and second novels, my main goal was to spread awareness about several issues. Also, the main goal of my website on climate change, is to spread awareness about humanity’s most important issue. I think my passion for spreading awareness about important topics is my main driving force in writing my novels.
Laurent Cousineau Media Links