Author Interview: Laurel Osterkamp

Welcome to my tour stop for The Next Breath by Laurel Osterkamp. This is an adult contemporary novel and the tour runs November 17-28th with reviews, interviews and guest posts. Check out the tour schedule for all the posts. Read my review of The Next Breath here

Jed has cystic fibrosis, and his struggles with that were so realistic and moving.  Can you tell me about the research you did in order to write Jed's character?
I don’t know anyone who has cystic fibrosis, so I decided to read a lot and I was amazed at the generosity of all the people who have CF, and who share their stories online - especially Eva Markvoort, who ran the blog, The blog still exists, but sadly, Eva died in 2010. She was suffering from chronic rejection three years after her lung transplant, but she was amazing: loving, strong, and an incredible writer. There is also a documentary about her, which streams on Netflix, called 65 Red Roses. (Parents often teach their children to say “cystic fibrosis” by telling them to say “65 Roses,” hence the title. Eva added in “red” because it was her favorite color.)
I love the story-within-a-story concept.  Did you plan on the book including Robin in the past and present or did that idea develop as you wrote?
Yes, I knew I wanted to do flashbacks from the beginning. Robin’s character arc has always been about self-discovery, so what better time of life to write about than her college years? But when I first started writing, I didn’t know that Jed wrote the present-day play that Robin was performing in. That’s sort of amazing to me now, because it’s such an integral part of the story.
The magical realism was such a nice surprise.  It took The Next Breath to an even deeper level of intensity for me.  Can you tell me about the process you used for this inventive concept?
By magical realism, I’m assuming you mean the parts when Robin feels Jed’s presence, like during her dreams, or during the play? That too was sort of something I stumbled upon as I was writing. That line about “feeling his shadow” was just something I threw in while I was writing the dialogue for Jed’s play, and later when I read it back, I realized how much I liked it. So I decided to emphasize it and make it a theme. Often times, the writing I am most proud of happens by mistake!
The ending really surprised me.  Did you always have that ending planned or did it come to you as you wrote?
I don’t like to plan out my endings. I usually have a strong idea of where the story needs to be, but (and forgive me if this sounds silly) the way I know if I’m happy with my book’s ending is if I cry while I write it. I bawled when I wrote the last couple of scenes for The Next Breath- not because I think they were incredibly sad, but because of the emotional release that came from writing them. So I was like, “yeah, this ending will work.”
I've loved all of your books.  What's next for you?
Thank you, Kelli! I want to do one last book for Robin, because I don’t think her story is quite done. But I’m also thinking she won’t be the only narrator for this last story. So far, I have her in NYC, doing another reality show, only it’s like Project Runway, and she helps a ballet dancer turned model who is in a lot of trouble. Stay tuned! J

About the Book

nextbreath-osterkamp-ebookThe Next Breath, 313 pages

I kiss him, choosing love over honesty, which is a choice nobody should ever have to make…"

Robin loves sweet, responsible Nick, with his penchant for Beethoven and Ben Folds Five. But she also still loves her college boyfriend Jed, an irreverent playwright plagued with cystic fibrosis. Now Robin is struggling to reveal her secrets and confront her past, as she finally performs in the play that Jed wrote for her, eleven years ago. Will Robin have the strength to keep her promise and stay true to her heart?

Alternating between present-day scenes, college flashbacks, and segments from Jed’s play, this tear-jerking yet uplifting tale illustrates how life is finite but love is infinite, and the road to recovery begins with the next breath.  

Goodreads | Amazon

 About the Author

Laurel Osterkamp becomes very attached to her characters, and it’s hard for her to stop writing about them.  The Holdout, November Surprise, Blue State, Campaign Promises, American Angst and The Next Breath all feature the Bricker family, as their stories continue. (But you can read any of these books in any order.) You can find Laurel on Twitter but she needs to work on sending clever Tweets. A better idea is to follow her blog at Laurel teaches in Minneapolis, MN, where she tries to stay warm, spend time with her two nearly perfect children and husband, and find the time to write.  Her other novels are Following My Toes and Starring in the Movie of My Life. Visit her at


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Ends December 3rd, 2014


  1. That is really interesting that she didn't know about the play when she started writing. I'm really excited for the next Robin book! I agree that there's more there and I think I could read about her forever!
    Thank you so much for hosting a tour stop!

  2. Thank you, Kelli, for signing up for my tour after you'd already reviewed The Next Breath. I really love any chance to be featured on your blog! Have a great Thanksgiving!


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