AJ: Laurie, thank you for granting me this interview. Please share a bit about your books.
LS: A Kiss Before Dawn was penned after I made the decision to disassociate myself/my life, from a mentally abusive family. Shortly after, my creative side woke up again. Not only was it a story that screamed to come out, it was also a cleansing for me in a sense. It was a fairly emotional book to write. Although exhausted and emotionally drained when I finished, it became the stepping-stone to a new career.
I wrote Right Out of Nowhere out of the sheer joy of being outdoors. After the seriousness of my debut novel, I needed to justify my own family values, which are a stark contrast to what I experienced while growing up. I added some humor as well a few more levels of plot.
Öand then there was book number three. I wrote the first couple chapters of two new works and submitted them to Emily Reed and asked her which one sheíd like me to write first. Twelve on the Tug Line is about a female dog-musher, and Positive Lightning is about a blind woman who wants somebody to train a seeing-eye-dog for her. Emilyís reply was, ďSo few people write about disabilities, and even fewer write them well. I want you to pursue Positive Lightning.Ē Itís my newest release.
AJ: When you were in high school, did you enjoy creative writing?
LS: I absolutely loved creative writing in high school. I spent many of my early years writing poetry as a form of escapism. But it wasnít until college that the desire to write a book was born. I wasnít ready to do it yet, but I knew someday I would.
AJ:† What made you decide to become a writer and what are your ambitions for your writing career?
LS: I really didnít consider myself a writer until after my first book was picked up by Blue Feather Books and subsequently released. But once I got the bug, I couldnít stop writing.
I think every authorís ambitions are to improve their craft with each book. Beyond that, Iíd like each of my works to transport the reader into a different environment and experience through my words, sights, smells, and sounds that they may never have before.
AJ:† A thread common to both of your books is the characters' relationships with animals, a love you have in your own life. How did you get drawn so strongly to animals, and at what age did this interest develop?
LS: Since early in my youth, animals have been my friends, family, companions and my refuge. There was so much conflict between myself and the rest of the human family it was quite normal for me to disappear into the woods for hours with a dog or two, and oftentimes on horseback. Frankly, until I was in my twenties, people scared the hell out of me. So all that time spent in peaceful solitude, I developed an intense appreciation and curiosity of how animals interact with one another.
AJ:† Tell us a bit about your main characters. What makes them unique or interesting.
LS:† All of my main characters share one thing in commonÖ the intense love of the outdoors. Through their eyes and ears, I want readers to see and experience things they may never have before. As you know I post a daily photo on Facebook and have maintained that if I could make just one person a day look around, and make discoveries of their own, I would be fulfilled.
AJ: If you could cast a movie about your book, whom would you cast for your lead?
LS:† Iíve been asked this question before and have always found it difficult to answer, as there is no right or wrong choice for the lead. I like readers to develop their own impression of what my characters look like. While I may have someone in mind (which I donít), any given person might disagree and come up with someone else. Itís all a matter of individual taste.
AJ:† How much research do you have to do for your stories?
LS:† It depends on the book really. A Kiss Before Dawn required no research whatsoever as Iíd had horsemanship and veterinary experience. Right Out of Nowhere and Positive Lightning required more. In RON, I had to learn how to fly a helicopter, which unfortunately had to be through the use of the web. PL required extensive research into the daily life of a sight-impaired person. I was fortunate enough to meet and become friends with a woman who had lost her sight and had trained her own guide dog.
AJ:† Do you write full-time or part-time?
LS:† Iíve been fortunate enough to be able to write full-time. With the daily stresses of a job outside the home, I donít think Iíd be able to write.
AJ:† Do you write on a computer, dictate, or write longhand?
LS:† Computer all the way. First of all, I want to be able to read it. My handwriting is okay at best and when my hand gets tired, itís worse than a doctorís scribble. I only use my digital recorder when I have something brief to say. As I write I often go back and read what Iíve written to get into the flow of things again, so typing on the computer is best for me.
AJ:† Where do your ideas come from?
LS:† I have absolutely no idea. I could be out riding, walking the dogs, or in the car, not thinking about anything in particular and suddenly an entire storyline pops into my head.
AJ:† What is your favorite part of the writing process?
LS:† Call me weird, but the best part in my opinion is when Nann Dunne gets a hold of my story and begins the edit. Between the two of us my story will be spit-shined and polished.
AJ:† What are you currently working on, and when can we expect to see it published?
LS:† 2015 will see the publication of the sequel to A Kiss Before Dawn. The working title is In the Stillness of Dawn.
AJ:† How long does it take you to write a book?
LS:† I am a panster through and through. So it depends on how much my characters are talking to meÖand behaving. Sometimes they get bored and run off to make mischief. Generally it takes me between 6 and 9 months to get a story down.
AJ:† You take wonderful photos. How did this interest develop? Writing and photography are both creative pastimes. Which do you enjoy more and what do you get from each?
LS: Thanks, I appreciate the compliment. While I've always liked taking a photo or two, interestingly, my obsession for having a camera in hand really came on while living in western New York, when I started writing. I put it down for a while because I didn't have a camera that had the ability to take the shots I wanted, ie. zoom and action shots of wildlife.
I can't honestly say I enjoy one more than the other, as they both speak volumes for and about me. Writing gives me an outlet for the countless stories I have in my head and photography helps me focusÖ it quiets my brain and actually relaxes my body and soul.
AJ: Thank you for sharing so much with me, including one more of my favorite photos you put on the web, that of you at home with your dogs.