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A Q & A with Author Laura Drake by @JannRyan

October 2, 2017 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

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?

Laura: Attorney.

For more information about Laura, here are her Links:




Writers in the Storm

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

Jann Ryan | A Slice of Orange

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.



Some of Laura’s books are available below. The rest can be found here.



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Between the Lines with Kara Lennox

March 12, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , ,

 Kara Lennox is the bestselling author of more than fifty published novels of romance and romantic suspense. She has been published by Silhouette and Bantam Books as Karen Leabo, and currently writes for the Harlequin American Romance, Silhouette Desire and Signature Select lines as Kara Lennox. Some of her more popular series for the American Romance line are How to Marry a Hardison and Blond Justice.

When lies turn to attempted murder, they must hunt down the truth together…to prove her innocence, protect an honest man and save both their lives.

Q) You have an amazing backlist of books that spans two decades. How do you continue to generate new and fresh ideas?

A) Actually, sometimes I’ll be brainstorming a book, and I’ll say to myself, “This is good. This is really … oh, wait, I already wrote that book.” And certain themes appear over and over in my books. (For instance, my heroines are often struggling with independence vs. commitment–because it’s a struggle I find to be endlessly rich.) But I never seem to run out of ways to spin a story. I like to be inspired by nonfiction stories, I eavesdrop everywhere I go, and everything I read or see has the potential to inspire a story. I keep notebooks full of snippets of dialogue or interesting characters, pictures, ideas for settings, interesting jobs. I don’t organize it, just leave through them sometimes to see what strikes me.

Q) Your work has been primarily geared towards series romance. In your opinion, what advantages does publishing as part of a series have over single title publication?

Series romance offers lots of advantages. It’s a great place for a new author because there is a built-in audience. By writing shorter books, you have the opportunity to publish more titles, which gets and keeps your name out in front of the readers. And although I wouldn’t say royalties are ever “predictable,” the payouts are perhaps a little less erratic and you can make some estimates as to what you’ll earn on a given book. The specific requirements and guidelines for each line give the author a framework to build on, so you don’t have to reinvent the whole wheel each time you write a book. Harlequin does a great job publishing foreign editions (and selling sub rights) so your book lives on in many different editions for years to come. And if you are very prolific, or you have more than one kind of books you like to write, Harlequin can accommodate you.

Q) What is your process for self-editing your manuscript before you submit it?

It varies from book to book. Some books just write cleanly from beginning to end, so I might only do one edit plus one polish. Others are just disastrous from the start and I end up ripping them up, rearranging parts, throwing out whole chapters. I usually make one pass through the rough draft and make notes on what has to be done, then work up a game plan so I can schedule my time and not miss any deadlines. My husband will read the manuscript when I’m done, and I will go through one last time to address his comments.

Q) Are you a planner or a pantser?

I’m definitely a planner. I outline everything ad nauseum. I love structure, I love pulling apart stories to see how they work (or why they don’t work).

Q) What does your writing work day/schedule look like?

I write Monday through Friday, usually in the mornings. I try to get my page count done before lunch and leave the afternoons for other writing-related activities (research, judging contests, online classes, proofreading galleys. It doesn’t always work that way; sometimes it takes me all day to get those pages written. As a deadline approaches I’ll put in more hours, evenings and weekends, but I try to keep a sane work schedule. I’m not one who thrives on deadline pressure.

Q) What advice would you give a new writer who is looking for a career in publication?

Just keep showing up. Selling that fist book involves hitting the right editor with the right material at the right time. So your chances are increased the more you write and the more you send out. Keep trying to get better. Try different things; write in different genres to keep yourself motivated and challenged. Read writing books and take classes. Network and attend conferences. Immerse yourself in it. Just in the past couple of years I’ve had a lot of friends make that first sale after working at it for many years, so don’t give up or think it won’t happen for you. I have a stack of rejections that could choke a horse, collected both before and after I sold my first book. Keep improving your craft and keep sending stuff out.

Brenda Parrish is a member of OCC/RWA and is currently hard at work at her own fiction. She recently finaled in the Jane Austen Made Me Do It Contest! You can follow her on Twitter @itsBren

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