Formerly writing as Laurie Grant for Harlequin Historicals and other publishers, she is the author of sixteen previous books and the winner of 1994 winner of the “Readers’ Choice Award” in the short historical category and has been nominated for “Best first medieval” and “Career Achievement in Western Historical Romance” by “Romantic Times.”
When not writing her historicals, she loves to travel, read, read her email and write her blog.
How did you come up with this story? Was there a specific ‘what if’ moment?
I thought what if a Christian woman who had been poor suddenly inherited great wealth? How would that change how she saw herself and her world, and how her world saw her? How would that affect who she loved? And I confess one of my all-time favorite oldies is “Silence is Golden”—if you listen to the words after you read the book, you’ll understand.
Every novelist has a journey. How long was your road to publication? How did you find out and what went through your mind?
I was published before in the ABA (secular fiction) as Laurie Grant, starting in 1987. As far as the love scenes, mine were relatively mild. But there came a day when the Lord gently but firmly closed that door and showed me He wanted me writing for Him. I sold the first book I ever wrote as Laurie Grant. My then-agent phoned me to let me know—we didn’t have computers and email then!
I thought I had it made, but I’ve had my fair share of rejections since then. I tried selling an inspirational medical suspense without success, and was on the verge of quitting when Steeple Hill began their historical line. At my agent’s urging, I submitted to them and found my niche.
Do you ever bang your head against the wall from the dreaded writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
Everyone has it from time to time, but I don’t have time to indulge it. Sometimes the only way to beat it is one difficult word at a time, or to make a list of several things that could happen in this chapter.
Novelists sometimes dig themselves into a hole over implausible plots, flat characters or a host of other problems. What’s the most difficult part of writing for you?
The middle of a manuscript is a difficult time for me, and I’m there now with my third book for Love Inspired Historicals, but by the time you read this, hopefully I will have slogged my way out! I frequently find I’ve “written myself into a corner” and it’s challenging (and sometimes fun) to write my way out.
How do you climb out?
By chaining myself to the computer, and STAYING OUT OF MY EMAIL.
Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy attic nook?
My office at home. I can’t write except in silence (no music) and solitude.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I work full-time outside writing (I’m an ER nurse) so when I can write, it’s usually in the afternoon after I get up, from about 2:30 till I have to quit to make dinner or to go to work again. If I didn’t work the night before, I usually don’t write till afternoon, doing household errands and chores in the morning and eating lunch before writing. Evenings are for TV and email, unless I’m on deadline.
Some authors report writing 5-10 thousand words a day. Do scenes flow freely from your veins or do you have to tweeze each word out?
It varies. Sometimes two pages is very painful to write; other, great days like yesterday, I can write an entire chapter–10 pages, and the time flies
Briefly take us through your process of writing a novel—from conception to revision.
I usually write in the same time period—the post-Civil War west and usually Texas, so there’s little new research to do. I’ll write three chapters before I attempt to thrash out a synopsis, and then send that proposal off to my editor via my agent.
Then I start writing the book. Sometimes I don’t get revisions till the end, sometimes from the proposal stage. I like the latter way better—it’s certainly easier to revise before the book’s all written.
What are a few of your favorite books (not written by you) and why are they favorites?
Katherine by Anya Seton, and The Windflower, by Laura London, classic historical fiction. I love any historical by Tamera Alexander—she really writes appealing characters and her research is sound. I loved the “toxic church trilogy” (my name for it) by Shelly Bates, especially A Pocketful of Pearls–it was so different! And of course Karen Kingsbury’s books—not only for her great family sagas but for the way she fearlessly addresses difficult issues today.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve heard?
Nora Roberts once say something to the effect that having writer’s block and waiting for inspiration is a luxury you shouldn’t allow yourself. If I waited for my muse, I’d never get anything done.
What do you wish you’d known early in your career that might have saved you some time and/or frustration in writing? In publishing?
That selling one’s first book is no guarantee that you’ll ever sell another—you have to keep improving and refining your craft, that your first agent might not be your only agent, and that you might have to reinvent yourself.
How much marketing do you do? What have you found that particularly works well for you?
Five years have intervened since I last sold, and much has changed, so I’m doing more than I ever did before—blogging, advertising in “Romance Sells,” and sending out promo copies. When I was selling before, I sent out cover flats to my entire mailing list—some 200 people—but increasing postage costs make that impractical, and I’ve lost my snail-mailing list with the death of my ancient DOS word processing program. (Did I mention I hate change?)
Do you have any parting words of advice?
Read endlessly the type of book you want to write. Don’t get so overly caught up in working for writers’ organizations and contests that you forget to write. And remember Who gave you this gift of writing, and serve Him first.