By Valerie Franchi, Contributing Writer
Region – Lauren Grimley of Shrewsbury never really liked fantasy novels when she was growing up in Grafton.
“Although I had a vivid imagination, I was never a fan of fantasy while growing up. I have my middle school students to thank for turning me into a “fang” fan,” she said.
Grimley, who has taught seventh-grade English at Trottier Middle School in Southborough for 11 years, just released her second urban fantasy novel, “Unveiled.”
The novel is the sequel to “Unforeseen,” which was published last year, and continues the story of heroine Alex Crocker, who has a supernatural gift and lives among vampires.
Grimley said that authors J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer and Charlaine Harris are among her inspirations. “They are all wonderful female authors, who started out as I am, a little-known writer with a story to tell,” she said.
After reading numerous fantasy series, Grimley decided to put aside the realistic fiction novel she had been working on since her college years at Boston University, where she majored in journalism and English education, and try fantasy.
She wrote “Unforeseen” in the summer of 2010. “It came to me so fast,” she said about the novel. “Some nights I stayed up until two or three in the morning.”
Most of her students haven's read the Alex Crocker books as they are intended for a more mature audience. “A few of them have, but it is up to their parents to decide,” she explained.
Even though they can's read her books yet, it hasn's stopped them from being very proud of their “famous” teacher. “The Creative Writing Club students threw me a party to celebrate the release of my first novel,” Grimley said.
While many of her fellow teachers and students will be relaxing this summer, Grimley will be hard at work on the third book in the series, as well as writing the first book of a young adult trilogy. “I wanted something that my students could actually read,” she joked.
The romance series is a twist on the “Midas Touch” myth, but instead of turning objects to gold, the main character has the power to make boys fall in love with her.
Grimley spends her summers on Cape Cod, where her parents live since their retirement. Her mother was an English teacher at Gibbons Middle School in Westborough and her father taught elementary school in Northbridge. “I guess I followed in their footsteps,” she said.
The students at Trottier Middle School are taking advantage of having a professional writer as their teacher. Grimley started the school's Creative Writing Club and will teach a seventh- and eighth-grade elective class in creative writing next fall.
Although writing is her passion, for now she has no plans to give up her day job. “I love both jobs,” she said. “Eventually, I would love to write full time, but for now it isn's going to pay the bills.”
Grimley is also writing a series of short stories based on three minor characters in the Alex Crocker series. She will be self-publishing these with the proceeds going to different charities, including the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
“My mother just finished treatment for breast cancer for the second time,” Grimley said. “She was diagnosed this time just as I finished the first draft of those stories.”
She noted that her mother is doing great and she is hoping to release the short stories online this summer.
“Unveiled” is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and will be released in paperback early this summer. To learn more about the author and her novels, visit www.laurengrimley.com