Welcome, Laura. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I think there’s a little of me in every character I write. I try to make each one unique with their own little habits and quirks, but honestly, a lot of those come from me or those close to me.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Probably writing fiction! I almost become the characters when I’m writing and you can find me going through a wide range of emotions as I walk with them in the stories. Sometimes I’m laughing out loud with no one there, or crying over something that’s happened to them. You’d think I’d see it coming, but I never do. It’s why I love it so much.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I think I always wanted to be one, but I would just never let myself think that was a possibility for me. Even in college, I’d take classes and wish I could be a writer but never considered switching my major to it. One day, I was reading a Christian magazine and saw an ad for Jerry Jenkin’s Christian Writers Guild. I decided that day I would take some classes and see how it went. I was published in several magazines before I even finished the classes. I think that’s when I realized I could actually do it—that I actually was doing it.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love stories that teach other things. Like how The Secret Life of Bees taught about bee farming, or how Water for Elephants taught about circus life. I’m fascinated by a lot of things. I tend to lean towards literary fiction, or women’s fiction—especially Southern fiction. It’s also what I’m drawn to write.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Are you saying I’m sane? I’ll take it, lol. I’m a single working mom of 3 kids who also writes as a ministry. I stay super busy all the time. But I do know when to cut it off. I took a year off of my fiction writing last year because my kids needed more of me as we went through some major changes in our family. I guess the key to keeping your sanity is knowing your limits.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Actually, that’s one of my favorite things to do! I think names say a lot about a person, and my characters are no different. I spend a lot of time thinking about the name, researching baby names, and paying attention to the names of people I meet. Once I have the name, the character starts coming to life. So, it’s a key step for me.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
This answer would have probably been very different a few years ago. But, now that I’m a single mom, I’d say that raising a family on my own is my biggest accomplishment. It’s harder than I could have ever imagined, and I’m not always happy that I’m in this position alone. But I’m very proud of how my kids are doing, the new version of family we’ve created, and that I’m able to get us through each month financially by myself.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
An elephant, hands down. They seem so strong and wise. Plus, no one messes with them. If they could be invisible, that would be my dream.
What is your favorite food?
Ok. I’ll admit that I have a serious problem with donuts. I would eat a donut over anything anyone offered me as a last meal. The chocolate cake ones are the best thing man ever made.
I had half of a chocolate cake donut Saturday. I don’t eat much of that kind of thing, because I’m losing weight, so I talked James into eating half. It wasn’t hard to do. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I think I still struggle with whether or not my writing is “good enough.” Even though I’ve been published in various magazines, blogs, and have a book that is being well received. I always wonder if I have what it takes. I think this is something every writer must deal with though. It’s the nature of art.
We all have those moments, no matter how long we’ve been writing and publishing books. Tell us about the featured book. It has an interesting title.
Delia Gray is a frazzled working mom of three who is struggling to keep it all together. During one of her most overwhelming days, she discovers letters from her mother who died when Delia was ten—something her mother asked her father to hold on to until he felt Delia needed it most in motherhood. Through those letters she discovers not only more about the woman she lost, but about the secrets of a happy motherhood. It’s basically about what every single mother on the planet goes through. At some point (if not all the time) while we are mothers, there is a season of complete and utter exhaustion where we are trying to do it all and clearly can’t. As it turns out, these problems cross generations no matter how much the world changes.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Joanna Fripp. The mere thought of that woman’s name could cause the hairs on the back of my neck to rise and my hands to knot into fists. A thorn in my flesh from the first day I met her, she became more like a jagged log in my side when she moved across the street. Being around her could change me into someone I didn’t know. Someone I didn’t like. But it was the neighborhood get-together about six months ago—the one I couldn’t avoid—that made me wonder if maybe I was the one who had a problem.
That was before the letters, of course. Before I knew the truth about Mama. Before my entire life—my very identity—shifted as if the world had tilted one degree off normal.
It was the first pool party of the year. The one meant to celebrate the kids’ first weekend out of school. But there was something about the smell of coconut sunscreen and hot dogs on a grill that had a way of drawing the entire neighborhood. Matt was working, again, but promised to be home in time and actually made good on that. Hours before, I’d returned from a three day workshop in which I’d given two keynotes and taught classes. Exhaustion would’ve been an improvement over the way I felt.
The kids were beyond their normal rambunctiousness. I didn’t blame them; the pool opening meant reconnecting with all the friends we’d missed during the winter months. For the moms, it was a time to look forward to settling in by the pool in the warm evenings, chatting it up while our kids played nearby. I’d actually get to enjoy a conversation with someone over the age of twelve. Bliss.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
The book is available on Amazon.com and through my website. To learn more about me, they can stop by my website http://www.laurafrancesauthor.com/, find me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/laurafrancesauthor/, or sign up for my randomly spaced newsletters to keep in touch with what I have going on writing-wise. I love to hear from readers and get feedback of any kind.
Thank you so much for having me,
Laura, it’s my pleasure to have you.
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