A few months ago I had an idea to do Fresh Faces interviews. In the spirit of New Authors Fellowship, these would be interviews with authors who haven’t had a full-length novel published. This is the first one and features Laurie Lucking who got in just under the wire. Her debut novel is scheduled to release in 2018. Congratulations, Laurie!
What is your name?
What is your alter ego? Student, parent, day job, etc. or are you a full-time writer?
Attorney turned stay-at-home mom
What do you write?
Young Adult Fantasy with a strong thread of romance
How long have you been writing?
About 4.5 years
What inspired you to start writing?
When I first became a stay-at-home mom, I loved the time with my son but felt I needed a new project. The crazy idea to write a book entered my head one day, and I hesitantly sat down at my computer and wrote a scene. Instead of fizzling out within the week, as I fully expected, my interest in writing quickly grew into a passion, and I’ve been at it ever since.
How do you integrate your faith into your writing?
Hopefully in a way that’s widely accessible.
I never really intended to incorporate my faith into my writing, but while drafting my second manuscript I found my main character’s journey wasn’t complete without a faith element. She starts out believing that her status as a palace servant makes her insignificant, both to other people and to God, but realizes over the course of the story that God is looking out for her and truly values her regardless of her station in life.
Describe your current WIP or more than one (make it a short elevator pitch)
For my current WIP: The prince humiliated her because of the scars on her face. Now he’s under a curse in need of her help, and they’ll only survive if they can find a way to see past each other’s flaws.
For my novel, Common, which is set to release in 2018 from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing: One person knows of the plot to overthrow the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished.
What is some bad writing advice you’ve received?
“Write every day.” I know it’s a great method for a lot of people, but based on the way I write and the place I’m at in my life, trying to write every day would lead to frustration and stress and wouldn’t make the best use of my time. Instead, I spend most of the week getting everything else done so that I can dedicate a few days to writing.
What is the best writing advice you’ve received?
It sounds so basic, but the advice “keep trying” has been the most crucial to my writing journey. I think most first-time writers are very naïve about how challenging the writing and publishing journey is—I know I certainly was. You think: I’m a smart person, I’ve written lots of papers, I love reading—now that I’m writing a book, I’ll go straight to up-and-coming author status, right? It’s so important for writers to realize there’s a learning curve to crafting an effective story, just as there’s a learning curve for any career. But if you keep trying and are willing to learn, eventually you’ll start to see progress and you will get better, even if it doesn’t jump you straight to the best-seller lists.
Have you been to a writer’s conference?
Yes – four of them!
I attended two local SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conferences, a writing workshop put on by Writer’s Digest, and most recently, Realm Makers—which I hope to return to many, many times.
What was the best part about attending?
Being surrounded by fellow writers is an amazing experience. Everyone is eager to discuss their work, pass on advice, and commiserate, and it’s an opportunity to share the roller-coaster ride of the writing journey with so many others who understand and have had similar experiences. We writers are a unique brand of crazy, but conferences can be a great reminder that we’re not in this alone.
Do you pants, plot, or something in between?
Something in between. “Plotster,” I believe, is the term they coined to describe odd-balls like me. I start out knowing who my main characters are, where the story starts and ends, and the major plot points. But I figure out the secondary characters and the less-significant events of the story along the way. I like to know where I’m going, but I’ve found that I need to start digging into the story before all the pieces fall into place, even though it’s not the most organized method of writing.
Who is your favorite character from fantasy?
Ella from Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (definitely the book, not movie!). I read this book so many times growing up that Ella almost felt like a friend. She was easy to relate to as a fairly ordinary girl without remarkable beauty or talents, but she showed such admirable spunk and resilience in the way she handled her curse. And she won the prince over with her intelligence and sense of humor—isn’t that how it should be?
What is your favorite fantasy book?
Ugh, it’s so hard to pick favorites! I’ve read many incredible fantasy stories, but I’ll choose The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble since it really stands out among the books I’ve read in recent years. I just adored the relationship between Clara and her sister, the sweet hints of romance, and the way the fantasy elements were seamlessly woven in throughout, giving it the feel of a folktale. But most of all, I was struck by the theme “There is no cure for being who you truly are” and the author’s gorgeous prose—it was one of those books that I wanted to start over again as soon as I finished it.
What is your favorite fairytale?
At the risk of being boring, I have to say Beauty and the Beast. It’s a typical answer for a reason, after all! I love the magic and romance, but for me the character growth is what makes Beauty and the Beast stand out from other fairytales. And I always felt a strong connection with Disney’s version of Beauty, as a fellow book-nerd who never quite fit in.
Who is your favorite princess?
This is a hard call for me, but I’m going with Princess Fiona from Shrek. She’s tough, smart, hilarious, and vulnerable. Plus, she totally rocks the scene where she knocks out Monsieur Hood. But ask me on a different day, and I’d probably give a different answer.
Who is your favorite prince?
Another tough one! I’m thinking Aladdin, or Prince Ali, I suppose. He’s cute, daring, generous, funny, slightly awkward, and a great singer. And it always tugs at my heartstrings when he’s singing the “Riff-raff, street rat, I don’t buy that…” reprise—it’s a great lesson in seeing past people’s circumstances to who they really are.
What is your favorite fantasy movie?
To me, the Harry Potter movies just can’t be beat. The books are still better, of course, but on the whole they did a phenomenal job with the music, casting, and creation of Rowling’s story world. What I love about the Harry Potter series, whether the books or the movies, is that they’re so magical, yet easy to relate to—they cover epic, world-changing events, but also more mundane aspects of life, such as attending class and dealing with friendship squabbles. And it was so fun to see aspects of the wizarding world like Hogwarts, Quidditch, and house elves come to life onscreen.
Thank you Laurie for being my first brave interviewee. I will definitely be looking for Common when it debuts!
You can find Laurie here: