Today we’re pleased to welcome Laura Strickland to the 20QS spotlight.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m so pleased to be here today! I love connecting with readers who are familiar with my work and meeting new readers as well. I’ve been a writer since third grade when I penned my first story, which had the highly original title of The Haunted House. Since then I’ve never stopped writing, delving into the world of Celtic history and time-traveling via my mind. If I can gather up some readers and fly them back in time with me, all the better! When you go to my website, you’ll see that my mantra is “Lore, legend, love …” and those are the things I try to bring to my writing. I’ve published tales of Highland bad lads, resurrected Irishmen, a generous Viking, and the descendants of Robin Hood. If you read my books, you’ll find a heaping measure of magic and always, always love that can’t die.
Speaking of Scottish bad lads … my latest release, titled His Wicked Highland Ways, features one of the worst—or best, depending on how you look at it. Finnan MacAllister has come home to Glen Mhor to avenge his father’s death and regain his ancestral home. He also intends to chase Jeannie MacWherter, the widow of his brother-in-arms, Geordie, from the glen. Finnan is convinced Jeannie deliberately broke Geordie’s heart and so decides he will break hers in turn, with seduction being his weapon of choice. Jeannie has never met a man like Finnan—an ex-mercenary, flawless with the sword, scarred, tattooed, and gorgeous. Will she be able to resist him, even to save her own heart? His Wicked Highland Ways is published by The Wild Rose Press and was released on April 24, 2015.
3. Please share a little about your previous books
I’m proud to say I’m the author of The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy, which tells the tale of Robin Hood’s descendants and includes Daughter of Sherwood, Champion of Sherwood, and Lord of Sherwood. I’ve also written a series of four historical fiction books set in the ancient Celtic world: The God’s Song, The Shadow Ground, The Waking Dream, and The War Raven, as well as my first Scottish Romance for The Wild Rose Press, Devil Black and two Christmas stories, The Tenth Suitor and Mrs. Claus and the Viking Ship. Recently I branched out into a genre I absolutely love with my first Steampunk romance: Dead Handsome: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure.
4. Have you always written in the romance genre? If not, what else have you written?
My Celtic series, written some 10 years ago, is historical fiction but with strong romantic elements. Just as in life, I feel every story involves the heart, and that love turned the world even in our ancestors’ times. Since my first publication with The Wild Rose Press, though, I’ve concentrated on the romance genre, mostly historicals set in Britain and Steampunk romances set in my home city, Buffalo, New York.
5. What or who inspired you to be a writer?
The credit for that goes to my sister, Dorothy, who loved to read and took me with her to our local library branch from an early age on. We shared books as well which, since she was ahead of me in school, pushed me to read beyond my level. I fell in love with language then, and wishing to continue the stories I read led me to write my own. I’m still in love with language and still cherish the time spent writing my stories.
6. Where in the world are you?
I live in the town of Hartland, New York, about 25 miles east of Niagara Falls and just nine miles south of beautiful Lake Ontario. Hartland was chartered in 1812, back when this part of New York State was unexplored wilderness—the Niagara Frontier in truth—and covered with lush forest. Plenty of trees still survive on my property, and deer still visit the creek from time to time.
7. What do you love best about being a writer?
I love everything about the writing process, from the first spark of inspiration to the final galleys. The latter is helped by the fact that I have a wonderful editor who makes it easy for me. If I had to pick one thing about writing that delights me most, it’s that moment when the story begins to write itself and I slip into the audience, just recording what I see and hear in my mind.
8. What’s the biggest challenge being a writer?
For me, it’s promoting my work. When I signed my first contract, I never realized that promo is a full-time job and that if I love my stories I need to reach out and offer them to readers. Since I’ve never been one to “blow my own horn,” that’s difficult for me. My dearest wish would be for a band of pixies to appear at my door and say, “You go concentrate on the writing; we’ll do the promoting.”
9. What’s your favorite romance trope?
I’d have to say my favorite romance trope, and one that seems to recur fairly frequently in my work, is the lovers who sacrifice for one another, especially in matters of life-and-death!
10. What’s your typical writing day like?
It begins early, early, early! I’m usually up well before anyone else. We heat our home exclusively with wood, and in autumn, winter, and spring I’m the one who kindles the fire and gets the house warm. In summer, I hear the birds begin to sing. That’s the best part of the day—just me and my dog, Jessie—bliss for me, as it’s when I cozy up and write.
11. Where do you usually write?
On my comfy sofa right beside the woodstove, with my music playing—Jethro Tull or Steeleye Span if I’m writing English historicals, the Tannahill Weavers or Robin Williamson when I’m far away in Scotland, and Vasen when I take on the Vikings. For the Steampunk? Anything that makes me think of my home city of Buffalo, from The Who to classic rock and Victorian-era folk.
12. When you’re writing, is it coffee, tea, soda, or water?
Water, all the way!
13. Do you have other creative outlets? If so, what?
I enjoy playing and writing music—piano, flute, and Celtic harp. In the past I also did embroidery work, both pattern and free-hand. Lately, though, writing seems to eat up all available time—just like housework!
14. What books are you reading now?
Because I work for a library system at my day job, I’m fortunate enough to get my hands on a wide variety of books. Usually, I read whatever catches my eye when it comes across my desk. I also love to read books written by my fellow Wild Rose Press authors because there’s such a wide variety of genres and a huge amount of talent. The last Wild Rose publication I read was Hunger Moon (Loki’s Wolves Book 1), by Melissa Snark.
15. Name three of your favorite television shows.
“Coronation Street,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Survivor”
16. If you could have dinner with any author–living or dead–who would it be and what would be on the menu?
I’d love to share a meal with Sir Terry Pratchett, who is one of my absolute favorite authors. I love the brilliance of his writing with its humor, satire, and wicked imaginativeness. What would be on the menu? Sausage onna bun, of course, as served by the inimitable “Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler,” resident extraordinaire of Discworld. Why not live dangerously?
17. If you couldn’t be an author, what other job would you choose?
I’m happy to say I have a day job I love almost as much as writing. Working for a library system, I have the privilege of being around books every day and helping make sure our patrons get the materials they need and love. If I couldn’t write books, I’d still insist on being involved with them!
18. What are you working on next?
And next and next and next! One thing of which my readers can be sure is that I’m always working on something. Usually I have lots of ideas for books in the offing and just can’t wait to get to them. Right now I’m in the process of finishing a Scottish historical romance set directly after the Battle of Culloden that revolves around the legend of Bonny Prince Charlie, tentatively called Honor Bound: a Highland Adventure.
19. Anything else you’d like to share?
Just that I’m honored to bring enjoyment to readers through my stories. It takes two to make the magic of a book: the author’s and the reader’s minds meet in the world between the pages. So a big “thank you” to everyone who reads my work!
20. How can people find out more about you?
Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Strickland/e/B001KHSACW
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