Laura Drake is a New York published author of Women’s Fiction and Romance. Her romance series, Sweet on a Cowboy, is set in the world of professional bull riding. Her debut, The Sweet Spot, won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award. She also published a four-book small town romance series with Harlequin’s Superomance line. Her latest women’s fiction released January 2016, and she has just accepted an offer to write three more western romances for Grand Central.
Laura is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. In 2014, Laura realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.
Jann: Today I’m chatting with Author Laura Drake, who writes about ‘Ordinary women at the edge of extraordinary change’. Welcome Laura to A Slice of Orange.
I know you had a long road to publication. However, when you did sell your first book The Sweet Spot you won the 2014 Romance Writers of America Rita for Best First Book. What was that like?
Laura: I’m still pinching myself – it was the highlight of my life (but don’t tell my husband – he thinks he is 😉 After writing three books, and living through 417 rejections, I’d only hoped to be published. A RITA was beyond my wildest dreams! I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve watched the video of that . . . it’s like a well-worn touchstone I use to prove to myself I can do it, when I’m struggling with the writing.
Jann: You also have a love for Women’s Fiction and self-published Days of Glass. Where did the idea for this book originate and share a bit of your experience self-publishing the book?
Laura: I fully intended on Glass being NY published. When I finished it, and my agent submitted it to Publishers, they all loved it, but didn’t think the market for Western Women’s Fiction was large enough to acquire it.
I didn’t care – this was the book I wrote in memory of the sister I lost to cancer, twenty-five years ago. None of the events are biographical, but the relationship between the sisters in the book is ours.
Self-publishing – The control, the technology and the learning curve – I loved every part of it!
Jann: You have a new book deal for a Western Romance Series. The first book is scheduled to release July, 2018. How exciting. What’s it about?
Laura: I’m very excited (when I’m not nauseous, thinking about the deadlines). It’s tentatively titled, Hand Me Down Dreams, and it’s the story of the perfect country girl-next-door, and what happens when her boyfriend won’t come off the rodeo road to marry her. Sounds fun, and it is, but if you’ve read any of my books, you know there’s some heavy stuff in there!
Jann: What kind of writer are you? A page a day or a burst writer?
Laura: I’m a tortoise, a workhorse, a slogger. I take my deadline, and figure out how many words I need to write a day to make it. I add a 10% ‘stuff happens’ factor, and that’s it. I write every single day. For me (and everyone’s different), it helps me stay immersed in the story. Since I’m a pantser, that’s critical.
Jann: What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
Laura: It was from our very own Char Lobb (who the Charlotte is named after, for anyone who doesn’t know). She told me after the first time she met me that I’d be one who ‘made’ it. At first, I thought she said that to everyone, because really, how could she know? I asked her about it when I knew her better, and she explained that she could see that I would keep at it, until I did. She was right. So miss that beautiful soul.
Jann: What’s the worst?
Laura: Whenever someone tells you they have THE answer. The method, the outline, the character sketch, the anything. There are as many ways to write a book as there are writers. You have to discover what works for YOU. I have a theory, that our brains already know how to do this, but they’re not talking – we all have to learn through trial and error. Try everything – but don’t listen when someone tells you what will work for you.
Jann: What sound or noise do you love?
Laura: My husband saying my name.
Jann: What sound or noise do you hate?
Laura: Voices raised in anger.
Jann: What profession other than your own would you love to attempt?
Laura: Photographer! But I cut people’s heads off in photos, so…
Jann: What profession would you hate to do?
For more information about Laura, here are her Links:
Jann: Thank you Laura Drake for chatting with us today. We’ll be sure to talk again next year when your new Western Romance is released. If you have any questions or comments for Laura, you may use the comment box below.
Jann Ryan grew up with the smell of orange blossoms in Orange County in sunny Southern California, where she has lived her entire life and dreamed up stories since she was a young girl. Never an avid reader, she was in her thirties when she picked up her first romance quite by accident. She fell in love with happily ever after and has been reading romances ever since.
Wanting to put pen to paper, Jann joined of Romance Writers of America®. Currently, she is working on a romantic suspense series set in Stellar Bay, a fictitious town along the California central coast to fulfill her publishing dream.