When did you write your first book and how old were you? I wrote my first book by hand in a spiral-bound notebook when I was 16 years old. It was a really bad gothic romance set in Cornwall, probably because every gothic romance I’d read at that point was set in Cornwall, certainly not because I’d actually been there. I gave it to my mother for Christmas, and she’s been after me to publish ever since.
Fortunately for me, as well as my readers, my writing style and choice of subject matter have matured. I actually have two books coming out within two days of each other. My contemporary romance, Bittersweet, comes out from Lyrical Press on December 5, and my holiday novella, Santa’s Helper, releases December 7 from The Wild Rose Press.
How much of the books are realistic? Well, I can tell you right up front that Santa’s Helper is total fiction. For the most part, so is Bittersweet, though I have so much experience with horses over the years, it’s definitely in my comfort zone. I have assisted veterinarians with my own horses in many less than ideal situations, like one horse that needed more than a hundred stitches. Since we didn’t have electricity in our barn, we were running work lights off a gas generator so he could see what he was doing.
What is the hardest scene you have had to write (published or not)? I think one of the most difficult scenes I (and my wonderful editor at Lyrical, Dianne B) have had to handle is a somewhat less than consensual sex scene. Since it plays a pivotal role in the plot, it needed to be handled. The difficulty we had to handle was how much to tell and what we could simply leave to the reader’s imagination. There were a lot of rewrites, but in the end, I think we dealt with it in an appropriate way to move the plot along without trying to shock readers.
What is your favorite character you’ve written (published or not)? I really like Jack in Santa’s Helper…a lot. He’s that American icon, the poor boy who pulls himself up by his bootstraps. But I’ll let you in on a secret, there’s a secondary character in Bittersweet who I absolutely adore (sorry hubby). If this guy showed up on my doorstep and asked me to marry him, I’d drop everything. I won’t tell you who he is, just that he ends up with his own, still-to-be-published story. It was when I finally let him have his say that he showed me how great he is.
I just wish sometimes that my characters wouldn’t wait until the midnight oil’s burning to show themselves.
So, are you a morning person or a night person? Yes. Ha, ha. I like any time of day in which I can find some quiet. Sometimes that’s late at night. Sometimes it’s early in the morning. Generally, I guess I’m more of a morning person. There’s something empowering and reassuring about watching the sun rise in the morning.
Do you sleep with the light on? Why or why not? Absolutely no light. I’ve been known to get up at night and pull my flash drive out of the computer because the little glowing light on it is irritating me. Total reversal from when I was a kid. Then I had every light on I could talk my parents into leaving on.
You mentioned having horses earlier. What is your favorite animal? That is a tough one. I love my old hunt mare to distraction. She’s a horse who’s always done everything I’ve asked of her—from hunting and eventing to playing polocrosse, which she’s waaaayyyy too big to be doing. But you know, you just can’t cuddle up to a horse and watch TV. We also have cats and dogs. Whenever I’m writing, they all usually end up in the office under my feet, on the chairs, just wherever they can find a spot to park themselves. I love putting animals in my stories when they fit.
The newest additions to our household are two Jack Russell/Border Terrier crosses. They are so cute and so sweet. Hubby likes hunting terriers. I like snuggling terriers. These crosses seem to be both.
So, what’s next with your writing? I always have multiple works-in-progress. I don’t want to say I have a short attention span, but I need several things going at once. That way, if I get bored or stuck with one story, I switch to another. The downside of that is there are a few never to be finished stories in my files. Whatever. I love to write, and I write very fast.
I am working on a third installment in my Silkie series. It will be Taylor’s story, but I have to tell you, I’m struggling with coming up with the right heroine for him. He’s such a great guy and he so underestimates himself… If anybody has some ideas on who would fit him, let me know what you think!
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Great interview, Laura! I too, am a huge animal lover and your life surrounded by our furry friends sound idyllic to me. I am off to download both your new books right now, I'd love to incorporate animals into my books more often.
Laura is waiting to hear from you! Comments?