Laurel is the author of Waterwight (review coming soon) and “Miss?”. Both titles can be found on Book Club Reading List.
How did you come up with the idea for Waterwight?
I woke from a dream (on my Mum’s 86th birthday) in which I was running away from bad guys and had to fly across a large body of water. Halfway across, I started to fall. A flying frog came out of nowhere and said, “Grab hold!” I did, and he got me safely to the other side of the water and then died in my arms! I shared that dream with a friend and she said, “Oh my gosh! You HAVE to write a story about that!” The rest poured out of me!
Who is your favorite character? Why?
I’d have to say Orville is my favorite character because not only is “he” the one who inspired the whole story, his evolution in the story continues to fascinate me. I’m not done with him yet! There will be more challenges for him in the rest of the series. I can’t give away any more!
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
I used the names of real people (mostly children) I know or met while writing Book I, and in most cases, I used the superpowers they told me they’d want as inspiration for scenes.
What made you want to write in this genre?
I coached high school writing groups for several years while I was teaching English and after I left teaching, several of my students were writing fantasy adventure. I thought I might try the genre “someday,” but it was the dream and my friend’s suggestion that pushed the “DO IT NOW” button in my brain! I plan to write in as many genres as possible over the course of my lifetime because each one presents a unique challenge, and I do love challenges!
Did you have to do any research for Waterwight? What kind?
I did some basic research on the characteristics of the different animals you’ll encounter in Waterwight because I didn’t want anyone to say, “They don’t do that!” Of course, I didn’t find any evidence that frogs fly, but the stuff I DID find out about frogs really helped me to describe many of the scenes in which Orville plays a key role.
What can you tell us about your plans for the sequel? How long until book 2?
I’m working on the sequel now and have told people it will be done by the end of this year. YIKES! I have a lot of work to do, especially since I’m working on several other books at the same time. By the time you publish this interview, “Haikus Can Amuse! 366 Haiku Starters” should be available! But I’m really excited about the new world the Waterwight characters will have to explore in books II and III, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to deliver on my due date.
Tell us about your journey to becoming an author. Where have you found the most success or difficulty?
I’ve been our family storyteller since I was a youngster, and my friends would tell me I should write books. I journaled through my high school years, but didn’t keep it up regularly while I was in the Army and raising children. I started journaling again during my first year of teaching 7th grade English in a difficult school because I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing each day, and those journals provided the details for my first novel—“Miss?”—which is a loosely fictionalized account of that year.
I’m still working on the “success” aspect of writing (in terms of being able to make a living), but I do believe I’ve been greatly successful because of the feedback I get from my readers! There’s nothing more rewarding (well, I suppose money would add to the “reward”!) than having total strangers tell you they couldn’t put your book down.
The difficult part is in establishing the workday routine. As an Indie author, you’ve got to make writing your full time job. If I didn’t have a spouse with a job that paid the bills, I don’t believe I’d make that time for myself, so I consider myself to be very fortunate. My dream is to tell him someday, “You can retire now, darlin’! I’ll pay the bills!” (At least I have a pretty good record of crazy dreams!)
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
Make writing your full time job. And don’t wait to find an agent! Publish yourself, and get your work out there!
Thank you, Laurel! Readers, watch for my review of Waterwight coming soon!
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