Born and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland has pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Though her imagination frequently takes her to far off places, she is usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario with her husband and her “fur” child, a rescue dog. Currently she is at work on the third book of the Guardians of Sherwood series.
What inspires you to write?
As a child, I loved to read. Nothing made me happier than going to the local library with my sister, picking out half a dozen books, and then losing myself in them. Sometimes I was lucky enough to find a truly special book, one that offered not just a story but a complete world. I invariably felt a sense of loss after finishing one of these wonderful books – I wanted the tale to go on and on. So my fertile imagination began making up what might have happened after the end of the book. Eventually, it dawned on me that if just I wrote the story, I could continue it as long as I liked and take it in any direction I wished. I’m still inspired by the “what if” factor – most of my stories have been prompted by some form of that question. I guess I always wanted to be the writer who could create a special world, like those in the books I loved – and that’s still my wish.
Tell us about your writing process.
I still write using a spiral notebook and pen, and scribble the words madly, often illegibly, just as fast as I can get them on the page. I tend to be an early riser – I get up while it’s still dark outside so I can have a quiet span of time all on my own, to write. We heat our home with wood, so as the first one up in the winter I kindle the fire and then settle down with the dog at my side to enjoy the best part of my day. In summer I hear the first birds begin to sing while I write away. There’s nothing to interrupt the flow of words in my head. Later, I type the story up from the notebook, making the first edits as I go. Of course, that’s just one of many editing overhauls. I always say editing is like housework: never quite done.
I am definitely a “seat of the pants” writer. I’ve never created a character sketch, mainly because my characters tend to create themselves. I’ll start with a flash of an idea – or a “what if” question – that sets things rolling. After that, my characters become real people to me, and I just watch and listen as they live their lives. Sometimes even I don’t know how things are going to work out, until they do. It’s great and addictive fun.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes, I definitely listen to my characters, though I never talk to them. I’m the unseen observer who both sees and hears the story as it unfolds. My story rolls out in front of me very much the way a movie might. I take note of details: the inflection in a voice; the expression in a pair of eyes; even the song of a bird and the weather. Hopefully, that all translates to the reader and gives a complete experience.
I listen to what my characters say and watch what they do, but I don’t interact with them per se. They are on their own; they make their own choices and speak their own lines. When a story really gets rolling, I sometimes have trouble keeping up with the conversations. I might be busy doing something else, such as shopping, cleaning the house or with my job at work, and my characters go right on interacting with each other. I’ve been known to scribble their words and even details of what they’re doing on any scrap of paper at hand, from old envelopes to store receipts. I’ve often thought it’s a bit like automatic writing.
What advice would you give other writers?
Believe in your work and never give up! Write for your own satisfaction, because publication is never guaranteed. If you find joy in the writing itself, you can’t lose and the rest will follow so long as you keep a positive mindset. I can’t emphasize that enough. Keep faith in the truth that you are a writer and your writing is worthy of publication, and it will be so.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
In the beginning I tried the traditional publishing route. I did publish one Romantic Suspense with a mainstream publisher, Walker and Company. But after that the nature of publishing began to change; things began to tighten and the major publishers leaned towards well-known author names and guaranteed sales. It took me a while to embrace the idea of electronic books. When I encountered The Wild Rose Press, I was so impressed with how they do business and treat their authors I decided to write a book aimed exclusively for their guidelines. Thus was my first book for them, Devil Black, born. It found instant acceptance with The Wild Rose Press and has been successful for me. I’m now writing my fourth title for The Wild Rose Press.
So while I have tried traditional publishing, self-publishing and electronic publishing, I believe authors must embrace whatever’s out there. Self-publishing is a viable option; however, I’ve found there are problems with promotion, which is a huge bugaboo all on its own. It is no longer enough to produce a book. We have to get it out in front of the reading public. It helps to have a publisher behind you for that, so you’re not just floating in a boat on this huge, book-clogged sea.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think it’s a brave, new world. Print on demand (POD) has changed the face of publishing. It used to be a publisher would contract a title and do a run of books; that cost a lot of money and made publishers hesitant about taking chances on new writers with unproven track records. Now books can be printed when they are ordered so there is no back stock of unsold books. Smaller publishing houses can be competitive. I hope we will see more publishers like The Wild Rose Press, who treat their authors fairly and equitably. It’s a great advantage for the reader, too, because it opens up a veritable smorgasbord of choices and endless reading enjoyment.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Historical Romance, mainly set in Britain and Ireland.
What formats are your books in?
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