Whoo Hoo! Laura, it's such a pleasure to have you here! Thanks for visiting with us today!
Let me start by thanking AJ for hosting me on her blog today—it’s great to be here!
Tell us how your writing career began.
Sure, well, in one way, I’ve been a writer my whole professional life. I’m a historian by training and have published two non-fiction books in American history. But my fiction writing career began about three years ago following a head injury. When the worst of the migraines passed, I had a pretty intense desire for creative outlets, including fiction writing. (I also took up the guitar during this period too!) My neurologist said that when a brain has an injury, it compensates by creating new neural networks around the injured part of the brain, and that can sometimes create new interests or even personality traits. So, who knows if that’s really what accounted for my newfound interest three years ago, but that’s when I completed the first draft of what became Forever Freed, my novel-length paranormal romance that releases this Friday, May 20, from The Wild Rose Press.
Wow! That's an incredible story. So, tell me, what do you feel is the most important lesson you learned in your path to publication?
Most important lessons?
1) Write, write, write some more, and then keep writing. Write through writer’s block. Write through rejections. Write new stories even while trying to sell old ones. I think of writing as a muscle—it needs exercised frequently to keep it in shape!
2) Not everyone’s going to love my writing. And that’s okay. I mean, I want people to love my stories and characters because I do, but it’s not realistic to think that your writing will appeal to every editor, agent, or reader.
3) The business of marketing is as important as good craft and compelling characters and plots if you want your book to get maximum attention, exposure, and readership. And the marketing and promotion side of things takes a major time commitment.
I've learned this recently myself. Promotion is key. So, of your published works, tell us which story is your favorite and why.
Ugh, I can’t pick! I love all my stories for different reasons! It would have to be a tie between Forever Freed and Hearts in Darkness, my contemporary romance that released three weeks ago from The Wild Rose Press. I’m totally in love with the hero of Hearts and its premise, but Forever Freed was my first, and the hero Lucien Demarco’s loneliness and yearning resonate with a deep, not-often-uncovered part of myself.
That first manuscript always holds a special place in our hearts, doesn't it? What are you working on now?
I have several projects in different stages. I'm beginning final edits on a women's fiction manuscript I completed in January. I'm glad I gave it the time to simmer, because now I'm really excited to come back to it! Soon, I expect to receive first round edits on the first in a four-book fantasy romance series I sold to Entangled Publishing based on the Greek Anemoi (directional wind gods associated with the seasons). North of Need will release in November 2011. Then I need to get on to writing book two in the series!
You are a very busy woman! So, aftering finishing a manuscript, do you take time off or dive right into the next story?
Usually I need a few weeks to recuperate and shift gears—this is more true if the finished project is a novel and not a novella—those don’t take the same amount of transitioning. I actually wrote Hearts in Darkness as a procrastination boondoggle in the middle of working on my women’s fiction, which turned out to be the most non-cooperative manuscript I’ve ever written! LOL So I went from writing one, into writing the other, and back. After I finished Forever Freed, I took a good month off to recuperate and fill up on sleep because I mostly wrote that manuscript from about 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. for about 11 weeks straight.
I LOL. Yep, we write whenever and however we can, don't we? Do you have critique partners or belong to a writers group to help with all these projects?
I am uber lucky to have both! My best friend is my primary critique partner. Lea Nolan writes YA paranormal, has a great agent, and is about to shop her first series (everyone send your collective good lucks out into the universe for her!). Plus, last summer, my state RWA chapter formed a critique group and I was lucky to get one of the 12 initial spots. We meet once a month and critique a chapter from four members’ works in progress each time. Those ladies have become some of my closest friends and, because they now know my writing so well, I totally trust them to offer feedback on anything I’m writing. Both experiences—with Lea and the Maryland Critters—have made me a huge fan of critique parters/groups. I think it’s key to the writing experience to get the input of other writers, as opposed to friends or family or readers, because writers are going to be able to bring that critical eye regarding things like craft and pacing and characterization and prose that non-writers often don’t know to critique.
Okay, now for some Fun...
Does your husband/signficant other read your work? And if so, what's their reaction?
Not usually. Though my husband is an avid reader, he trends towards non-fiction, and, within fiction, isn’t interested in the kind of supernaturally stuff I like and write at all. However, he will read if I really press him, and he’s a totally fantastic copyeditor!
Jay Leno or David Letterman?
LOL John Stewart!
Oh, geez, I have the alcohol tolerance of an infant! I tend to be a fruity drink kinda girl.
What are your hobbies?
Honestly, since I’ve gotten into the writing, it is my hobby! It’s the thing I want to be doing with my non-work, non-family time, anyway! And now that I have so many writer friends, writing is even more reinforced as not only a job but a source of friendship, camaraderie, and entertainment for me. And I love it!
Yep! I have a German Shepherd / Collie mix namedHere's more about Laura,
. He’s nine years old and cute as hell but totally bad! Jackson
and keep reading below for the excerpt and blurb to Forever Freed...
A multi-published author of paranormal and contemporary romance, Laura Kaye’s hot, heartfelt stories are all about the universal desire for a place to belong. Laura grew up amidst family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with the supernatural. Though an avid fiction writer as a teenager, a career as a historian took her in other directions until recently. Now that Laura’s inner muse has awakened, she’s constantly creating new story ideas! Laura lives in
Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
Blurb for Forever Freed...
My heart may not beat, but that doesn’t mean it’s not broken.
After an isolated century mourning the murder of my long-ago family, I crave the irresistible scents of joy and love that radiate from my new neighbors, a single mother and her young daughter. I’m starved for their blood, and for the healing respite from my ancient grief that will accompany drinking down their life-giving emotions. Now to lure them in.
But they surprise me. Little Olivia accepts me without fear or reservation—talking, smiling, offering innocent affection that tugs at my long-lost humanity. Her mother, Samantha, seeks me out when she should stay away, offering sweet friendship, and calling to the forgotten man in me. They lure me in.
Aw, Dio, Lucien, run and spare them while you can…
And here's the excerpt (and hang on to you hats, ladies, this is a good one):
We walked the avenue for a few minutes and before long found ourselves in
Cadillac Square, a large oval plaza in the middle of downtown. Samantha pulled herself on top of a table and rested her feet on the attached metal bench below.
I sat next to her and watched her lips and throat work while she ate. The tightness in my jeans finally forced me to look away.
“Are you sure you don’t want to try some? It’s really good.”
I glanced back to her and found her smiling. “No. Thanks, though.” I tried like hell not to focus on her long pink tongue.
“Oh, come on. Are you really going to make me eat alone?” She held the ice cream closer to my face.
I smiled in defeat. It appeared I was going to have to eat some ice cream. When I still didn’t take her up on her offer, she tilted the cone towards me and touched it to my nose.
I flinched. I didn’t know what facial expression I wore, but it set her off laughing with abandon. She laughed so hard she almost dropped the cone. It was irresistible. I had to join her.
“I’m…I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me. Here…” She held up a napkin and wiped the cold cream off my face. The smell of her radial artery set my mouth to watering, and I longed to lean forward and lap at the slender length of her exposed wrist.
I smiled and looked at her intently. “This is a dangerous game you’re playing, Samantha.”
She shivered. “Oh really? How is that?” The flirtation in her voice was unmistakable. And enthralling.
Before she even saw me do it, I scooped some of the offending cream on my finger and wiped it messily across her lips and chin. She screamed and laughed. I swallowed hard at the soft feel of her lips.
She turned to face me on the table. When our laughter settled, I sat holding my cream-covered finger up in front of her. She used the soiled napkin from my face to clean off her own. Then she saw the ice cream still on my hand.
“Sorry, that was my only napkin.” I grimaced at the ice cream and Samantha huffed. “Who doesn’t like ice cream? Do you want me to get rid of that for you?” She met my eyes and arched one eyebrow.
The mild scent of her adrenaline intrigued me. “Please,” I said quietly, observing her with interest.
She grabbed my hand by the wrist and pulled it down to her face.
I gaped at what she intended to do but was so captivated my finger was in her mouth before I’d grappled with whether or not to allow her to do it. My brain exploded with the sensation. Ah, Cristo. So warm. So wet.
Her pulse beat through her tongue. I fought not to gasp out loud. My eyes stung as blood threatened to rush in, as happened when I fed or felt threatened or aroused. It took all my concentration to will the blood away.
“There,” she whispered as her lips slid off the tip of my wet finger. Her heart thundered in her chest. The blossoming scent of her arousal was mouthwatering. “All better.”
And check out her fabulous book trailer (copy and paste the click the link)...
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Do yourself a favor and check out Laura's releases. You won't be disappointed! Here are all the places you can find her on the web:
Publisher Website: http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=800
Thanks for joining me today, Laura! Congratulations on all your fabulous projects!