A mysterious Ojibwa petroglyph has carried Justine Cook back in time to the moment her unseen enemy is born. But something is wrong... Separated from those she loves, she finds herself in a strange world surrounded by people she has only known in dreams, and stalked by a man who now haunts her reality.
And time is running out. Knowing that even the slightest misstep could change the future, Justine must call on the strength hidden within her to save the lives of those she has left behind as she uncovers A Home for the Stars.
Author interview ~
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.
I always wanted to write… from the time I was little. My mom used to write the stories out as I told them to her. Then I would draw the pictures. From there it was just an obvious choice in school and college for me.
What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
I enjoy musical theatre and just performed the part of Ginger in ‘Gilligan’s Island- The Musical.’ I’m also in a Celtic Band as the lead singer and I like to read, hike and swim.
How do you start your day (a routine of sorts?)
I get out of bed and get my coffee LOL. Then for nine months out of the year I go to my job as a special education parapro in my local middle school. During the summer, I get up, get my coffee and try to get about three hours of writing/business down before the kids wake up.
Finish this: “I can’t write without…”
Being in the mood
If I had to spend a week on a deserted island, I would need…
My Gilligan’s Island Castaways LOL Just kidding… I would like a stack of books and my phone so I could play my music. I can’t live without my music.
What career did you think you’d have as an adult?
I thought I might be a vet or a forest ranger. I like combining my love of animals and the outdoors.
What is something about you that would surprise people?
I’m kind of adventurous and once sang ‘Shout’ onstage with the Drifters.
Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?
Yep! I teach special education in a middle school.
Where do you get your ideas?
Usually from personal experiences or people that I have known.
Do you have a manuscript(s) in your drawer? If so, will it ever see the light of day?
I have old books that I wrote and they will NEVER see the light of day in the condition they are currently in!
If I wasn’t an author, I might be…?
A camp counselor or forest ranger
Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?
I have a team of beta readers who give me their insights.
Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?
I have always wanted to write but I love the writing style of Anita Shreve and strive to be like her in her vivid and gentle descriptions.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (or this book?)
I think the patience and waiting was the hardest. You just have to sit back and continue on with life while you wait to see what is happening. Hybrid publishing is nice in the regard that you don’t have to do that. You can be on your own schedule.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you’d change?
I don’t think so. Even the pitfalls have made me who I am as writer and business woman.
How do you market your work?
Any way I can LOL! I’m active on social media and I try to do the grassroots approach and get to know local librarians, bookstore owners etc… Meeting people is a really fun part of this job they never tell you about.
What are you working on now?
An historical fiction novel set in the Westward Expansion era. Kind of ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’ meets ‘Tombstone.’
What is a bestselling book you’ve been itching to read?
Where the Crawdads Sing… can you believe I haven’t read it??
Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?
Absolutely! Most all of my characters are a mish mash of people I know. And I only write about places I have been so I can get that organic experience.
Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?
I really love when Dylan and Justine are running for their lives in the first book, ‘Evening in the Yellow Wood.’ I really love writing action sequences.
Do you have a favorite character?
Hmm… I so love Justine because I feel like she’s me in a lot of ways. I also love Adam because he is based on one of my old students.
Do you have other books you’d like to talk about here? (The research, how you came up with the idea for your story, etc.)
My historial fiction is set during one of my favorite time periods, and I loved reading the diaries of young women traveling on the Oregon Trail. It was really eye-opening.
What would your dream job be if you didn’t write books? (assuming this is your dream job!)
Finish this sentence: “If I could write about anything, it would be…?”
Growing up in the country on the lake. It was an experience!
What was some unique research you had to do for a book?
I read the Oregon Trail diaries of teenagers for my historial fiction piece.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Never give up. Never, never, never. If you can’t NOT do it, then keep it up, the rest will come.
What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?
Downfalls are bad reviews, waiting, promises made and not kept and the best part are all the wonderful people you meet- fellow authors and readers included!
Favorite band or music?
Hard question! I’m in a Celtic band so I obviously love that type. I also love bluegrass, classical and anything that has a soft rock 70s, feel. If you listen to the soundtracks of my books, you’ll often find a mixture of those.
Favorite book and/or movie?
I love Where the Red Fern Grows… and Lord of the Flies. I know, really REALLY different types of books. I also love Stephen King and his ode to the craft ‘On Writing’ is one of the best.
Place you’d like to travel?
We travel a lot and one of our favorite places is the mountains. Recently we visited the Black Hills and Estes Park and were really, REALLY sad to leave. As far as places I’ve never been, French Polynesia is right up there. I’m into surfing and there are some cool breaks in Tahiti that should not be missed.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you so much for embracing these stories. It makes all the hard work worthwhile when I know my story has touched someone, so don’t be afraid to reach out and let an author know how it affected you.
To connect with Laura ~