Laura Drake is a New York and self-published and author of Women’s Fiction and Romance. Her debut, The Sweet Spot, was a double-finalist, then won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award. She’s since published 12 more books. She is a founding member of Women’s Fiction Writers Assn, Writers in the Storm blog.
Laura is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.
Author Laura Drake is a woman of many talents. In addition to being a wife, grandmother and motorcycle chick who loves to flyfish, she’s my friend. Her books reach in and grab your heart and soul. Let’s see what Laura has to say about her latest book and her love of writing.
Jann: How important is the setting, themes, plot in your stories?
Laura: VERY! I’m writing Women’s Fiction now, so themes really resonate there. I’m so not a plotter, but so far, I’ve managed to bumble through. Settings – especially important in my Western Romances.
Jann: Congratulation on the April 19, 2022, release of your Women’s Fiction book, The Road to Me. I love the tag—Trouble with the Curve meets Peace, Love and Misunderstanding. Did you have this tag when developing the book or did it come to mind after?
Laura: After – and it’s the first book I’ve had a tag for!
Jann: Tell us about your characters, Jacqueline Oliver and her grandmother, Nellie, and their story. What major conflicts do they need to work through?
Laura: Oh my gosh, so many. See, Jacqueline was raised by her barely functioning alcoholic mother. Her grandmother would sail in, shower them with love and gifts, and then sail out, a few days later. Jacqueline thinks it’s because her grandmother didn’t care…but she’s wrong.
Jann: You were introduced to the rodeo world and Pro Bull Riding. You sold your Sweet on a Cowboy series after several years of submitting to agents and editors and finally to Grand Central(Forever). I remember how excited you were to receive a three-book contract. And to top it off, the first book in the series, The Sweet Spot, won the 2014 Romance Writers of America RITA for Best First Book. What a thrill it must have been for you. Tell us about the book and your experience winning the award.
Laura: The agony of defeat – until the thrill of victory! I was rejected 417 times over the course of 3 books (but who counted?). I was so desperate, because I knew this book was special. It wasn’t until an editor came to town, and I think it was YOU that asked me to pick her up at the airport and bring her to a scheduled dinner. She was stuck with me on the Orange Crush for TWO HOURS. Eventually, she asked what I wrote, and I pitched her my book. She asked me to send the beginning to her. I reached in the back seat and handed it to her (hey, I said desperate, right?) She was a bit surprised but promised that she’d read it on the plane home. Sure enough, Monday, she contacted me and said, ‘The first thing we need to do is get you an agent.’ Yeah, like I hadn’t thought of that…
I was stunned when my name was called…my agent and I just screamed for it seemed like minutes. Nora Roberts presented it to me (squee!) and whispered in my ear, ‘This is the best RITA.’ I sure wasn’t arguing! One of the best memories of my life.
Jann: Did winning the award advance your writing career?
Laura: You know, I was shocked. I was sure it would be the start that would launch my career. So after, I contacted my editor and said, ‘Okay, now how do we take advantage of this for marketing?’ She told me that the award mattered to authors, but didn’t mean anything to readers. Wow. But sadly, she was right.
Jann: You have published five more western romances and four small town romances. Your first Women’s Fiction, Days Made of Glass, published in November, 2015. Would you tell us about the history of this book?
Laura: I self-published it, because though all the editors who read it loved it, they said that there wasn’t enough of an audience for a Western WF. They were right – but I didn’t care. It’s the book I wrote for my sister, who I lost at 32 to cancer. Nothing in the book is autobiographical, but the sisters’ relationship ours. Many readers have told me that it’s their favorite of all my books, and it has the highest star rating. That’s all I care – that it touched them.
Jann: What do you want readers to come away with after they read your books?
Laura: ALL the feels. Laugh, cry, and everything in-between.
Jann: Love the picture on your website for The Road to Me. Is it a road somewhere on Route 66? It reminds me of California Highway 395 on the way to Mammoth Lakes.
Laura: It’s not 395 (I so love that road), but somewhere in Arizona, I think.
Jann: What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next project?
Laura: I just turned in my next Women’s Fiction to my editor. Tentatively titled, Amazing Gracie, it’s about a woman soldier returning from Afghanistan with heavy guilt. She takes her nine-year-old sister on a road trip to save her from the mother’s boyfriend, but her sister ends up saving her.
Jann: I know you love road trips on your motorcycle and fishing? Do you have any adventures planned this year?
Laura: Always! I’m lucky to now live within 15 miles of two lakes and a river and am fishing at least once a week (weather allowing). We’re planning on several motorcycle trips this year.
Jann: What kind of writer are you? A page a day or a burst writer?
Laura: My daily word count goal is 500. Yeah, not much, I know, but I work until they’re good words. I write every day, so they add up. It takes me 7 months to write a romance, 9 to write a Women’s Fiction.
Jann: Are there any words of inspiration on your computer, in your office or in your mind when you write?
Laura: I have a chunk of fossilized dinosaur poop on my desk. It reminds me that anything I’m worried about today won’t matter in a million years. And, not to write crap.
Jann: Do you have a website, blog, twitter where fans might read more about you and your books?
Laura: I have a Facebook group that is full of snark, wisdom and interaction—come join us! It’s Laura Drake’s Peace, Love & Books. Twitter & Instagram – @lauradrakebooks and my website is Laura Drake Books
I love doing Author Q&A’s and doing one with a good friend is great. Thanks Laura for giving our readers a peak into your writing, books and life. Good luck on the release of The Road to Me!!
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