I am so excited to welcome Laura on the blog again for an interview! If you missed Laura’s post, be sure to check it out here.
Tell me a little about yourself:
I come from a small town in Vermont, which I believe inspired much of my book. I have been a fan of fantasy for a long time, but forgot how much I loved it until I read Harry Potter as an adult. I was then hooked on it again and started reading tons of fantasy novels before deciding that I wanted to write one of my own. I love teaching and helping other writers too. I am a simple girl that loves reading, writing, spending time with family and spending time in nature.
What inspired you to first start writing?
I have always loved writing and was writing stories at the age of 7. In high school my dad wrote a play called Seniors about relationships between older people, like the ones he grew up with, his parents, aunts and uncles etc. Our town did a production of the play and he received a standing ovation. I was so proud that all of the people in the audience were applauding my father’s words that came from his own heart and mind. I decided then that I wanted to write something of my own and have the courage to share it with others. I wrote my first novella not long after at the age of 16, however the courage to be able to share my writing took a lot longer to achieve.
What was the first book you had ever written?
I wrote my first novella entitled Benchman at the age of 16, I have shared it with very few people but I still have it, hand written in two notebooks. Perhaps someday I will type it out and work on it some more and then publish it. We shall see. 😉
Which teachers growing up inspired you to write and why?
I had a sixth grade English teacher that taught us how to write short stories in a believable way. I wrote one in her class and at the end of the year she gave me the English award for highest achievement that year. When she handed me the book and certificate she said, “I think you show real promise with your writing. If you stick to it, I think you could be a published author one day.” I didn’t really believe her at the time, but now I am very appreciative for her support.
I also had a creative writing teacher in H.S. that taught me how to extend and add more detail to my stories in order to create not just short stories but novels. He was also extremely supportive and told me that I had talent.
Then in college I had a creative writing and public speaking professor that had been a published author and he answered a lot of my questions about how the publishing industry worked. He also read my novella from H.S. and told me that I did have a lot of talent and that I should have the courage to share it.
Are you a plotter or pantser?
I usually have some very basic notes written down about character’s backgrounds or details that I want to include in the story, however, I try not to plan too much. I write when I am inspired to write, when the characters and story is speaking to me. That is not to say that I do not write every day though. I try to write something every day. If not part of my novel then a blog post or notes for future stories or edits or pieces of my workshops that I teach. But the novel writing I save for when I am really in the mood and really inspired.
What genre have you not written in but are interested in pursuing?
I love mysteries particularly ghost story mysteries like the ones that Karen White writes. I loved her Tradd Street series. I would like to write something similar one day, an old Victorian house, a trapped ghost that is trying to get a message to the living. I love that stuff and have always wanted an old house, although I do not have one currently.
Do you prefer music or silence when you write? Why?
I am a mother and I have a fulltime job so believe it or not I have become accustomed to writing with all kinds of noise, my son talking to me, his kids TV shows playing in the background, silence, music, it doesn’t make much difference to me. Once I am in the zone nothing from outside of my head stops me. 🙂 I guess I am lucky in that respect.
What is the most difficult part of writing?
I think switching from one novel to another is the hardest. I get used to one storyline and one set of characters and then to start a whole new one can be difficult. I recently started a novel that is more of a drama story about a young girl growing up in the country in 1912, (not at all fantasy) and it is challenging to stay engaged with it. I am not feeling a huge connection to the characters yet, although they are starting to grow on me more and more, so I know I just have to continue to stick with it. I am curious how their story will turn out. 🙂
How do you overcome writers block?
Writers block definitely is a real thing and it can be very hard to overcome. However, it is not impossible. I have pieces of this included in some of my Writing Counselor workshops because it is often something people struggle with. I also would love to do a workshop completely devoted to this topic. There are tons of different ways people can overcome this issue; however for me what works best is to take a break for a while and do something else like read. Then I do a specific writing mediation and ask for guidance and inspiring ideas. Typically within a week or so of doing this, I do have either a very vivid dream or an idea that comes to me in some other way. I provide a free version of my meditation that I use, complete with instructions on my writers support Facebook group Wise Warrior Writers. The link is listed below. I hope anyone interested will join me there.
Do you have a group of writers to help you along the way? Would your recommend this to other authors?
I do, and yes I definitely recommend it. I follow a group on Twitter called Turtlewriters, #turtlewriters, they have been very supportive and helpful, but I decided that I wanted more. I wanted to start one of my own. So as stated above I created the Facebook group Wise Warrior Writers. The link is listed below with my contact information. I hope people will join me there!
What are 5 important things that help you write?
I think number one; is it is important to have a tight network of supporters both online and physical support. My family is a tremendous support system of mine. I also have a group of like-minded spiritual friends one of which is my business coach. They are all helpful and supportive of my writing and coaching.
Number two; challenging myself is also important. I have challenged myself by switching genres from fantasy to this new book which is more of a realistic time period drama. It is tough, but it has proven so far to be good for me. I am also challenging myself to take my writing out of novel writing and blog writing and using it to teach and coach others by starting my writing coaching business, so that is a great new endeavor for me.
Number three; I would say reading is very important. It helps to inspire creativity and compare writing styles. Just remember you have your own style and your own voice and that is okay.
Number four; would be staying connected to what my goals are but more importantly why I have the goals that I have. All too often people create these huge goals for themselves without any thought to the why or the intention of the goal. It is important to remember what you are trying to gain so that you can work toward feeling that intention regardless of what avenue you take to do accomplish it.
Lastly; I would say it is hugely important to be grateful for what you did accomplish and what you do have. I am grateful everyday for my support network, for my ability to write, for the guidance I receive and for the opportunities that have presented themselves to me. Even if an opportunity didn’t work out the way I thought it would, if I learned something from it, it was not a waste and I am grateful for it.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on so many things it’s crazy but awesome! Right now I have someone creating my cover for my second Elven Quest novel, entitled Elemental’s Favor., which I will be publishing later in 2018. The book has undergone its edits and I am having it beta read now so it will be ready to publish. I am so excited to share the next leg of Isobel’s journey with everyone, (she is the main character of the first novel, The Burden of Destiny). The sequel is great because it introduces a lot of new conflict and characters into the story.
Secondly, I mentioned above that I am launching my Writing Counseling business and am working hard to create fantastic online workshops to help writers cope with things like writers block, conquering your fears, areas of publishing, how to take the “overwhelm” out of writing and add it into your daily routine, etc. I will also be offering one on one coaching sessions to give writers more individualized attention, looking at their writing together and offering advice and support. In addition, I am a Freelance editor and was using the website Upworks for this, but I am now adding it to my website so people can contact me through my website to hire me for Freelance Editing for their novels. I will also continue to post blogs every 1st and 15th of the month. Lastly, of course I will continue to work on the new 1912 drama novel and see where that story takes me.
Can you share an excerpt from one of your novels with us?
This is from the second book Elemental’s Favor:
He held out a hand and helped Isobel to her feet. Just then they heard a yell from Nathaniel as several Carachi knocked him to the ground slicing his chest and arm. Just as they took a step toward him Isobel heard a howl from behind her and out of a corner of her eye she saw several beasts run by her and Airyion’s legs. They watched as a pack of wolves ran toward the Carachi clawing and biting them. Then she heard a zing and an arrow flew by her ear, hitting one of the Carachi in the back. Another arrow flew from the trees and another and another. She glanced up and saw only branches. The arrows flew through them, one after another, hitting the Carachi as the wolves continued to circle and attack them….
Before you go, is there any tips or advice you can give other aspiring authors?
I give a lot more detailed advice on my blog posts and in my workshops but I can offer a few pieces of advice here: 1.) Give yourself time to write and try to feel good about using that time for that purpose, you are worth it! 2.) Make sure you connect with others and have a support network set up for yourself. 3.) Before you embark on the publishing world try to do as much research as you can. It is very confusing out there and there are a lot of great avenues offered and a lot of not so great avenues so try to research as much as you can first. 4.) Write goals for yourself, but also make sure to include the intention of that goal. Why do you want to achieve that goal? What will you gain from it? How will it make you feel? All of these things are important to think about. 5.) Lastly, but probably most importantly, be kind to yourself! We all have inner critics and it is easy to read another book or look at someone else’s blog or re-read what you have written and tell yourself its not good enough or no one will like it. That is not true and it is a dark hole to fall into. We all have our own unique voices, won’t you share yours?
Where can we find you online?
Facebook support group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/311357982714998
More About Laura:
Laura Thompson grew up in a small town on an island that sits in the middle of Lake Champlain in Vermont. She has been writing short stories since the young age of seven and has been an avid reader for longer than that. Although Laura is an adult her imagination is still as active as it was as a child only now, instead of using it to create make believe games she harnesses it through writing.
Her first novel was written and completed at the age of sixteen while taking a creative writing class and although not published Laura still feels it was the first step on her path of becoming an author. Laura started writing the Elven Quest Series in 2007, “I had not written for pleasure in a long time and one day the characters from The Elven Quest Series entered my mind and wouldn’t leave. I had no choice but to sit down and write their story. Two years and over 800 pages later three novels are finished and I’m so excited to share them with the world.”
Laura holds her Masters in Higher Education Counseling, has a BA in Sociology and has recently begun a Writing Coaching and Freelancing Editing business. In grad school she co-wrote the published ethical theory model entitled Key Factors in Making Ethical Decisions Model, a chapter in the textbook: Ethical Decision Making for the 21st Century Counselor (Counseling and Professional Identity) by Donna S. Sheperis and Stacy L. Henning. Laura currently resides in Massachusetts with her husband Daniel, wonderful son William and cat Luna.