Demi: Not everyone is lucky enough to have cheerleaders for their writing. Tell us about the tribe you assembled to help pull your first books together.
Laura: A support system is a vital “ghost writer”… even though at times their opinions will beg for exorcism! I enlisted the support of family, friends, clients, teachers, and even grocery store associates. This squad became essential in the home stretch (which meant the last four years of my process!) One dear friend took my handwritten scrawl and transferred it into a computer document. Her faith prevented my novel from resting peacefully ’til death. Editing and revision brought former English teachers and trusted friends to the table. This was the season I learned to pull on steel britches to wade through the criticism, critique, and gushing ‘well dones.’ (I tried to remember creating is a JOY!) I realized how necessary fresh eyes were to the completion process. As writers, we fill in the blanks and see volumes of detail – which were only printed in our head. Those who guide and advise are your biggest supporters over and over again, lining up to receive their copy of your published work!
Demi: How did you find your first publisher?
Laura: It was a very different process back in 2004. I reached out to a literary agent friend of a friend who said, “Google ‘self publishing’ and ignore the first five hits.” His caution was warranted (and still is today) as vanity press is tempting and your ego dreams of selling your adapted novel to Hollywood. I chose a small publishing house out of Philadelphia for my first three books but was cautioned, even while attending their own writing seminar, that big change was coming… and it was. The lesson which remains the same is that the author ust be the motor behind the work. You must shout from every rooftop and expose yourself and your writing to the world. This is why my fourth book was published with guidance of self-pub expert Demi Stevens of Year of the Book press. Demi helped me revise and convert my earlier novels so they’d also be available in eBook.
Demi: You’ve recently turned one of your books Invisible Woman into an awesome business—Awakening Goddess Retreats. How did that come about?
Laura: When writing Invisible Woman my goal was to reach readers individually and create a unique experience within the pages. My dream was to make the fictional retreat come to life… through live events and social media interaction. The process has begun! Awakening Goddess Retreats is growing and thriving and the possibilities inspired by Invisible Woman are endless.
Demi: Your 16-year-old son is also a published author. How did that experience come about, and how has it helped him so far?
Laura: My children were young when I was working on my first novel but I always felt if they saw there were real people behind the books they would know anything was possible. For Teague, storytelling and illustrating were part of his gifts at a young age. When he was 8, I transcribed his story and added construction paper illustrations to give copies of Smythers and the Night Before Christmas to the family. After linking up with Demi, we were able to professionally publish Teague’s first book, along with the sequel Smythers and the Restless Night. Currently Teague is at work on his first fantasy novel. How exciting!