Hi, I’m Laura, I’m the author of several books including paranormal, fantasy and contemporary romances. I grew up in Yorkshire (northern England) but now live in Staffordshire (it’s in the middle!) and love living in the country.
When I’m not writing I love to read a wide range of genre, as well as cook and bake. I’m also a Brownie Guide Leader (that’s the 7-10 year olds in Girl Scouts for anyone in the US!) and I also work in catering.
I like to write whichever weird and wonderful tale comes into my head, which makes identifying the genre difficult even for me! My first series, Alventia, are novellas centred around Keira, aka Sleeping Beauty, and her Prince Philip, along with their allies Hansel and Gretel. It’s a tale that very much told itself as I started to write it!
You can keep up to date with any of my writing progress by signing up to my Newsletter here: https://goo.gl/A3tI1s
When and why did you start writing?
This is quite a hard one for me to pin down! My first book released in 2015 (when I was 22) but the real answer is probably about the time I was 7. We’d just got our first computer, but it wasn’t hooked up to the internet (or at least I don’t think it was!) It lived in my Mum’s room and I used to ask to go on it so that I could open word and write stories about unicorns (I’ve read some of them…they’re basically what you’d expect from a seven-year-old!)
Why I started writing more seriously is something I know though. I was probably 18/19 and I was suffering from depression. Writing was my way of dealing with that, and while it took me a fair while to actually do anything with my writing, I’m certainly thankful for it!
What inspires your writing?
The more accurate question is probably; what doesn’t! I’ve been inspired by everything from fairy tales to my Mum’s flipchart in varying degrees. My first published novella was a fairy tale retelling, and I still love them, even if that series has taken a back seat. Other inspirations for my books include my favourite musical, The Phantom of the Opera, and the Amsterdam Red Light District (but not in the way that you think! It’s far more complicated than that!)
There are little inspirations in my books too, like Mum’s flipchart which makes a brief appearance in something that isn’t out yet, and there’s a chapter inspired by my relationship with my Dad in The Vixen’s Bark. My contemporary romance, What Lies Beneath the Maskis absolutely littered with in-jokes that I share with my best friend too, my homage to the fact that she encouraged me to write that book, and had a lot to do with shaping it into what it is today.
Personal experience plays a role too (though unfortunately I don’t have any personal experiences with attractive alpha shifters!) What Lies Beneath the Mask is the main example of this, even if most people I know wouldn’t realise that if they read it. But there are little things that my other characters do too that are partly down to my experiences!
So, yes. The answer is pretty much anything! It’s amazing what will make me go “oh yes, that would work perfectly!”
What has been your worst moment as a writer?
Probably the moment that I realised how wrong I’d got the cover for What Lies Beneath the Mask. It has a different one now, but before it was a woman’s face with a mask. I stand by the fact that the cover completely summarised what I thought the story was about, but I also recognise that it wasn’t working. Thankfully, I was able to get an inexpensive cover that struck the balance between the emotion I wanted to convey, and the genre, to replace it with.
Do you have any writing rituals to get you in the mood for writing?
Not particularly! I sometimes watch shows about murder in the background (think Snapped, Fatal Attraction, Fatal Vows etc) but that’s mostly because it’s something my Mum does when she needs to switch off, so I think it just became habit! I also tend to drink a lot of tea and stare at my screen attempting to procrastinate!
If you could, what would you go back and tell yourself as a writer starting out?
I’m not sure really. There’s a lot of things that I wish I’d known when I that first book was published, but then I probably wouldn’t have learned so much if I’d known. Maybe that there’s a limit to how much money you can push into something, especially if it’s not working. Saying that, I’m probably still waiting to properly learn that lesson though!
What do you believe make for great writing?
A compelling story. And I’m saying that with my reader hat on rather than my author one. I mean a good cover, a good blurb and the right marketing are all important, but they don’t make the writing good. I’ve also read books where the writing was fantastic but the story was dull, and they’re the ones I ended up putting down. So, a compelling story. That’s definitely the trick to great writing.
How do you measure success as a writer?
I’m not sure I’m quite qualified to answer that quite yet! But I did have an amazing moment after my latest release when someone actually referred to themselves as a fan of mine. That review, more than any of the others, made me feel like I’m on the way to becoming a successful writer!
What’s your biggest fear as a writer?
With What Lies Beneath the Mask, I worried that readers wouldn’t “get” the message that I was trying to put across. While I didn’t know all the ins and outs of the story when I sat down to write it, I did have several things that I wanted to make an impact; that the story was about the heroine and her journey just as much as it was for the couple – if not more, the importance of friendship, and that even the even the bad stuff can be overcome, but it’s probably not as easy as just saying “I love you”. Thankfully, from the reviews, it seems like the readers do get it! I don’t worry about it so much with my other books thankfully, but then their subject matter is slightly less personal (though I love them all equally!)
I didn’t say “bad reviews” for a very good reason. Well, two actually. The first is that they’ll happen anyway. Not everyone will like everything and you shouldn’t expect them to! The other is because one of the most useful reviews I’ve ever had was a 2 star on my first novella. I actually surprised myself by feeling okay about it, but more than that, what the reader said helped me to fix the issues going forward!
Describe your latest book to our readers
Which book to pick! I’m three days off from a launch, while having one go live in December, so I’ll put a small bit about both!
What Lies Beneath the Mask is a story about friendship, love and overcoming the past. The main character, Annabelle, is haunted by the memories of her abusive ex, and that stops her from truly opening up to anyone; until Jack. Jack is the leading man in their amateur production of The Phantom of the Opera, and sees Annabelle for who she really is, not who she thinks she is. There’s also costume designer, Hayley; Annabelle’s best friend and roommate, who probably has as big a role in the story as Jack does! It’s a contemporary New Adult romance, and while there are some suggestive moments, there’s no actual sex scenes. I thought that they’d detract from the story I was trying to tell.
The Dryad’s Pawprint is my first paranormal romance and opened the floodgates to a series that’s now running away with itself in my head! It’s standalone and follows panther shifter, Kem, and dryad, Lia. They met a year before the events of the book and felt instantly attracted to one another, but haven’t seen each other since. Now the pressure is on Kem to marry someone else, to form an alliance between two of the Paranormal Councils. But he can’t stop thinking about Lia, especially when he sees her again…
What would you like readers to take away from your writing?
I want them to feel satisfied. I want them to be able to close one of my books and think, “yes, that was good”. Enjoyment is basically it!
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Just do it! Write anything and everything you want (because otherwise those characters in your head? They’ll drive you crazy!) But I don’t regret a moment I’ve spent writing, and because I write what I want, I don’t imagine that I will. So yes, write all you can!
What’s next for you?
My two most recently finished drafts (that are releasing in February and March) are a paranormal romance and a paranormal retelling of Romeo & Juliet; The Vixen’s Bark and By Any Other Name, respectively. The Vixen’s Bark is a standalone set in the same world as The Dryad’s Pawprint, and is the story of two of the side characters, neither of which behaved themselves and stuck to my plan! By Any Other Name is a faithful retelling of Shakespeare, which almost made me cry when I wrote the end and realised what I had to do with my characters!
And then we have my WIPs! So at the moment I have three more planned books in the Paranormal Council series (The Necromancer’s Prey, The Vampire’s Bite and The Storm’s Kiss, titles subject to change) which have vague plots running around in my head! And I have a fantasy titled Raven on my laptop (when I don’t have a title I just save the document under the name of the lead character). That one’s going to be a standalone (at the moment) but next year I’m planning on a big sword & sorcery fantasy series! I also have a passion project on a back burner called Rhodopis, which is a retelling of the oldest known Cinderella story, set in (and originating from) Ancient Egypt! So a lot of busy busy months ahead!
Three years ago, Annabelle escaped from the man that had been abusing and controlling her life from the age of seventeen. Now, Annabelle guards her heart fiercely, from everyone except her best friend, Hayley.
As the assistant director of an amateur performance of the Phantom of the Opera, Annabelle needs everything to be perfect. When strange events and notes start to plague Annabelle’s time at the theatre, the true extent of her ex-boyfriend’s obsession begins to make itself known.
Then, there’s Jack; the charming leading man determined to break through the walls surrounding her heart – even if he doesn’t know why they’re there.
Can she let herself trust him? Or will her past continue to haunt her?
A standalone romance with a HEA.