Friday, June 25, 2010

Laurean Brooks Interview

Please join me in welcoming author Laurean Brooks. I met Laurean through The Sweetest Romance Author Group. Not only is she a very talented author, she has an awesome personality. In celebration of her visit today, I snuck off with some of Miss Mae’s special recipe lemonade after our online chat last night. So grab you a glass, sit back, and enjoy!

[Anne] Welcome, Laurean. It’s good to see you’re in once piece after last night’s chat with the Sweetest Romance Authors and Desert Breeze Publishing’s own Gail Delaney. Wow! What an informative chat we had. Thanks to all those who participated! Oh, and guess who walked away with the #1 Sweetie Award? Yep, yours truly. I’ll be proudly displaying it here on my blog in the next day or two.

[Laurean] Congratulations on winning the scavenger hunt, Anne. That award will make a nice addition to your blog. (Gazes around the room) Is that a plate of brownies over there? Pass me one, please, and do I see lemonade? (Winks) Did you borrow that from Miss Mae? I'll never tell. Please hand me a frothy glass. Mm-mm...delicious! Thank you. (Takes a bite of the brownie and savors it before she swallows.) Now, I'm ready to take on the world. Hit me with the questions.

[Anne] LOL. Alright. Let’s begin with who first inspired you to write?

[Laurean] That would be my fifth-grade teacher, Miss Mary who enjoyed my oral book reports. I did my best to impress her because she made me feel special. The fourth of seven children, my parents were too busy to give individual attention. Reflecting back, I learned what a difference a few words of encouragement can make in a child's life. I never forgot the words she announced to the class, “One day, Laurie will become an author.”

[Anne] As a youngster, did your writing or imagination ever get you into trouble?

[Laurean] Me? Ha! Funny you should ask that. The same teacher who encouraged me also reined in my imagination. One day Miss Mary assigned our class to write an essay on Columbus' adventures, to be read orally. I think the ending, where “the natives captured the famous explorer, stuffed him into a cannon, and shot him back across the ocean,” nearly threw her into shock. As a ten-year old, I was pleased with my latest creation, as was the class. But one look at Miss Mary's scowl told me she was far from happy. She ordered a re-write “...and make it a little more realistic.”

The reprimand put a damper on my confidence. Before I penned something, I'd ask, “Is this realistic enough?” Four years passed before I mustered the courage to give my imagination wings again. But when it did...! I won't go into detail, but the story was about a desperate Oscar Mayer wiener, charred, tossed in the trash can, then running for his life. You have no idea the horrors that wiener faced. BTW, my ninth-grade English teacher laughed so hard she cried.

[Anne] LOL. I bet that was a doozy of a story. Who were your favorite authors, and do you think they have influenced the way you write?

[Laurean] I believe we are all influenced by what we religiously read, watch and listen to. These things become part of who we are. So, yes, I believe Emilie Loring, and Victoria Holt, among a long list of inspirational authors, molded the way I write today. Over the past decade, I've kept a stack of inspirational romances on my night table. But, hey, every now and then I get a craving for suspense. From the books I've devoured, I hope I've learned the essence of writing romance.

[Anne] Laurie, why don't you tell us about your latest release? What do you want readers to come away with from this story?

[Laurean] Over the Coals is one of five short romances, in A Summer Collection Anthology. Released last month by Victory Tales Press, I was delighted to be included with talented authors, Rita Hestand, Cheryl Pierson, Laura Shinn, and Rebecca J. Vickery.

A summer cookout makes Jill Landers question her initial assessment of the boisterous Rob Canter. Is the cocky womanizer the true Rob, or is this man masking a dark secret? Jill plans to dig until she gets the truth. But...will she be prepared for what she unearths?

This story is about making snap judgments when it comes to first impressions. Appearances can be deceiving. Jill Landers learns that lesson. People-watching is her hobby. She sits on the sidelines and analyzes those around her, considering herself a good judge of character. But her assessment of Rob Canter soon proves her wrong. The gregarious public Rob and the nervous, evasive private Rob are polar opposites. What does it mean? Well, folks, you will have to read the story.

Before we form a negative opinion of another, we should stop and ask, “What makes this person act this way? Is she/he having a bad day?” It's best to cut the other person some slack since we have no idea the pain she/he might be carrying from the past. We want others to cut us slack, so we should do the same. Besides, God instructs us to be merciful in order to receive mercy. And I certainly want mercy!

To satisfy your craving for summer romance, check out A Summer Collection Anthology at Create Space, Amazon, and on Smashwords: Download at a discount price until June 30th with Promo code: YV52C

[Anne] Sounds like a great story, Laurean. Do you have a favorite scene from Over The Coals?

[Laurean] Hmmm...In Over The Coals, I enjoyed the sassy dialogue for all the characters involved in a volleyball game at the cookout. But my favorite scene between heroine and hero is when Jill pulls a devastated Rob toward the hall tree and instructs him to look into the mirror and repeat these words of affirmation. “For God so loved Rob...” Rob breaks at this point.

[Anne] What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantster?

[Laurean] Okay, here's the scoop. I have been a full-blown pantster, one who knows the beginning of the story, a few things in the middle, and how the story ends. But recently I've started to jot down a sentence or two about each scene I want in the story, before I write. This way I can connect the dots, but it still leaves plenty of leeway for the characters to go off on wild tangents. Nothing is set in concrete, but using this formula I at least have a general idea how to get from one scene to the next. It beats hitting the all-too-often brick wall.

[Anne] I had a hunch you were a pantster *grin*. Okay, say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book. Where would you most likely want to go? (Okay so maybe this isn't very likely to happen but since I'm writing the questions...)

[Laurean] Ireland, Scotland, Wales...any place where I can stand on the edge of a high cliff to watch and hear the thunderous crash of waves, and taste the salty breeze of the ocean on my tongue...hear the cry of sea gulls. Am I romantic, or what?

[Anne] You've just been informed that Over The Coals is a NY Times bestseller and now Hollywood wants to turn it into a movie. What actors would you choose to play your main characters?

[Laurean] This is a tough one. I'm not up on current movie stars, being a Turner Classics fan. A young Luke Duke of Dukes of Hazzard would make a charming Rob Canter and a young Lindsay Wagner, (Bionic Woman) would make a gorgeous Jill Landers. I have a perfect celeb for the blonde, secondary character, Tina Hamlin. None other than Goldie Hawn. LOL.

[Anne] Nice choices! Now, Laurie, transport yourself ahead five years. Where are you? Dream big.

[Laurean] I'm standing on the balcony of my chateau high up on the mountain above Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri. I think...yes, I see it now, Anne. You, Sharon, and Shawna live nearby. We tried to get Miss Mae and Celia to join us in Branson, but Miss Mae wouldn't leave the Georgia mountains and we'd have to rope Celia to pull her out of Texas. Rebecca and Laura live on the other side of the mountain. They have opened their publishing company on Branson's Highway 76 strip. Each morning we girls meet to discuss our day over lattes, lemonade, and fudge brownies. After we finish our girl talk, we hit those computers to pound out our next best sellers. Ahh-h Branson! So close to heaven!

[Anne] Oh, I love Lake Taneycomo! I can so see that happening. We’ll have to snatch a copy of Miss Mae’s special recipe for the lemonade though *wicked grin*. Okay Laurean, if you could write your own epitaph and had plenty of space, what would you want it to say about your life?

[Laurean] Let me think. Here's what I hope it would say. She served God, loved her family and others, and had a soft spot in her heart for animals...especially dogs, birds, and cats. Laurean Brooks' written words brought hope, healing and a realization of God's unconditional love to many.

[Anne] Wow! Nice job! Do you have anything new in the works? Elaborate, please.

[Laurean] Three WIPs simmering on the back burner and one I've finally moved to the front. This is the story I've discussed in chats and in personal emails.

“A young woman raised on a Wyoming ranch seeks escape when her stepmother plans a party and demands she announce her engagement to the obnoxious, but persistent, rancher's son. Melody Larsen finds the solution to her problem in a Help Wanted listing in the Denver Post. All she has to do to obtain the Colorado ranch hand job is don her late father's western clothes, apply a mustache, and flee to Colorado. Disguised as a man, Cord Ryker will never guess his new ranch hand is a woman. Perfect solution, right? We'll see.

[Anne] Don't know about that. Sounds like an accident ready to happen. (Rises and extends her hand to Laurean) Laurie, thank you for coming. It’s been a blast!!!

[Laurean] ( Rises to hug Anne) Anne, thank you for inviting me to your awesome blog for a chat. This was so much fun!

[Anne] You’re a classy lady, Laurean! And what an imagination. Branson…look out!

Now don’t run off people. Laurean will answer any questions you have, so refill your glasses and get comfortable (Picks up plate of brownies and offers Laurean another one, then refills both their glasses). Chocolate and lemonade! Mmmm…


Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Anne and Laurie, wonderful and enlightening interview. Laurie, you are a gifted and talented writer and awesome friend. I am so honored to be included in your Branson dream. I've never been there but hear it is indeed God's country. Over the Coals sounds like a fun and sizzling hot summer read. Wishing you all good things, my friend.

Celia Yeary said...

Good morning Laurean and Anne--Laurean, you were asked for a rewrite at age ten? You got an early start--I still don't have the hang of rewrites.
I loved Over the Coals in the Summer Collection. Wonderful, touching story, with just the right amount of emotion. Celia

Miss Mae said...

Hello Anne and Laurie,

You girls been sipping the lemonade already? hee hee Too early in the morning for me, I'm just started on my jug of coffee!

Love the interview, what fun! And I've read, and enjoyed, Laurie's books. I think it's awesome she turned her mom's story into a full-length novel. Reminds me of what Catherine Marshall did with "Christy". :)

Laurean Brooks said...

Hi Sharon, thanks for dropping in. Grab a glass of recipe, a brownie and chat awhile.

Hey folks, this is my friend, Sharon Donovan who writes description the way an artist makes find strokes with a brush. Smooth and flowing.

Wishing you God's best.

Laurean Brooks said...

Yes, Celia, my mind was already out-of-control at the tender age of ten. But hey, how does Miss Mary know that's NOT how the Columbus story REALLY ended? Hee-hee.

Thank you for dropping by. Sorry you can't leave Texas to join us in Branson, but maybe an occasional visit? Meanwhile, cowgirl, grab a brownie and some lemonade and tell us abour your latest western WIP.

Laurean Brooks said...

Yeah, Miss Mae. I tried to tell Anne, that the pitcher is a hand-me-down from Pappy Beauregard. She shoudn't have "borrowed" it. But, I will see that it's returned good as new.

When Anne saw the pitcher filled with lemonade, she grabbed it and ran. I guess she thought you might hide it from her if she asked. Hee-hee.

Grab a chair and some munchies. We might even let you have a glass of the recipe. There. Now tell us what you've been up to.

Gail Pallotta said...

What an interesting interview, Laurean. I'm looking forward to the retreat at the lake. Congratulations on Over the Coals. It sounds like great summer reading.

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Laurie and Anne,
Such a fun interview. I would love to read this weiner story. LOL Drag it out!!! My grands would go crazy for it. Thanks so much for including me in your Branson future. The lake looks wonderful and I can see Laura and I as publishing moguls (wink-wink) with all of you as our star authors. LOL Now, I need one of those brownies and I must be off to publish something.

Anne Patrick said...

Hi ladies!
Oh my, it looks like we're about out of brownies. No worries, I have another batch baking in the oven. While I'm waiting for them to get done I believe I'll have another little snort of MM's famous lemonade.

I know what you're thinking MM. But it's never too early for your delicious brew :-).

E.A. West said...

Laurie, you have me intrigued about the story of the Oscar Mayer wiener. LOL :) I love the brief description you gave of your latest WIP. It sounds right up my reading alley!

Enjoy the lemonade (wink, wink) and have a great day!

Diane Craver said...

Great interview, Anne and Laurie!

I didn't know you had so many siblings and so glad your 5th grade teacher gave your encouragment so you became a writer. Hopefully, my kids got enough individual attention - we were blessed with 6. My husband and I many times would take one child with us and allow him or her to choose an activity to do with us while the others stayed home. I think they enjoyed that kind of attention.

Laurean Brooks said...

Oh Gail! It's not a retreat. We are MOVING to Branson. Won't to join us? LOL

Munch on a brownie, then take a sip of MM's lemonade, and you will be ready to go!

Thank you for stopping by, but I fear it was really the lemonade that drew you here. Hm-mmm.

Laurean Brooks said...

Rebecca, I don't think I still have the weiner story. I kept a lot of stuff in a scrapbook. Poor little wee-nee! (I never threw anything away, but my mother is the "burn" Queen. If she found it lying around... chunk!)

Grab another brownie and a lemonade to go before you rush off. And thank you for dropping by.

Laurean Brooks said...

Thanks, E.A. Yeah, Oscar Mayer had a rough life. As far as I know he's still running, a lapping dog at his heels.

Thanks for dropping by. Grab some goodies to go if you have to rush off.

Laurean Brooks said...

Diane, you are right. Each child needs a certain amount of individual attention. When I was a child, the latest baby got it all and the rest of us were tossed out to pasture. LOL.

And my mother would rather be in the garden than in the house. I guess it was her only respite from us kids.

Thank you for dropping by. Take time to eat and sip on the lemonade. It's guaranteed to make you giggle.

Shawna Williams said...

Laurean, that ending sounds like something my youngest would write. She's got quite the imagination too.

Laurean Brooks said...

Shawna, you'd better look out! Your little girl may get stuck with re-writes. LOL

I'm glad you stopped by. Thank you for commenting. You are an awesome writer.

Margie Church said...

Laurean, it's always a pleasure to learn more about you. I'm happy to hear your teacher saw what a treasure trove of talent you have. Best,

Laurean Brooks said...

So sweet of you to say it, Margie. Though, I was otherwise a shy child, writing became an outlet to allow the wild side to burst out.

I fear I was more of a disturbance than a treasure trove when I read my creations orally. LOL

Here's a brownie and a glass of lemonade. Sit and stay awhile.

Danielle Thorne said...

Great interview. Good luck with the new anthology.

lastnerve said...

Loved the interview guys! Love me some Anne! Sorry I haven't stopped by sooner than now. Grabs some lemonade in a toast to all the awesome ladies!

Laurean Brooks said...

Thank you, Dani. And I pray your current WIP is purring right along.

Which reminds me...between book signing prep and other things, mine has fallen by the wayside the past week.

Sit down and have some refreshment. Miss Mae's lemonade should do the trick. I might even help your cantankerous computer. LOL

Laurean Brooks said...

Hey there, Val. A glass of Miss Mae's lemonade should rev up your engine.

Glad you could make it by. Anne and I have almost finished off the brownies, or I'd offer you one. LOL.

lastnerve said...

that's fine, I had brownies for dessert! LOL The lemonade is wonderful, a very distinct taste! ;)

Laurean Brooks said...

Val, Miss Mae's Gradpappy Beauregard created the recipe up in them thar hills. No one knows "exactly" what is responsible for the distinct taste. But...we can guess. "Hic-cup!"

Anne Patrick said...

Long time no see. How are you my friend?

Hey, I have a new batch of brownies if anyone is interested. Help yourself. And have some more lemonade *offers Val a refill*. I see the jug is just about empty. Laurean, you're suppose to leave some for the guests *wink*.

Donna B said...

Lovely interview ladies! Mmmm glad there were a few brownie crumbs left (as she scoops the plate). Sorry I'm so late. I'm glad to see you had lots of company. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing more of your writing Laurean. It's always wonderful!

lastnerve said...

LOL Figured Miss Mae had a part in the lemonade!

Hiya Anna! I know, I feel like I've been gone for so long. Still in school and now have the kids home for the summer so that means all the neighborhood kids as well. It's such a busy time right now. I love reading the emails and seeing what you guys are all up to but I'm 65,000 + emails behind so I'm tring to catch up lol

Anne Patrick said...

Wow! I went on vacation for a week and came home to 850 emails. I can't even imagine 65,000. Girl, you're going to be busy for the next year.

So glad you dropped by, Val. It was good hearing from you!

Laurean Brooks said...

Oh, Val! It will take an act of God to get through that many emails. Let's all start praying.

But, it is great to have you back. We've missed you a LOT.

Laurean Brooks said...

Hi Donna!

Good to see you. Sorry we only have crumbs left. Anne said she put another batch in the oven. Sit awhile. They should be out any minute. And if you will be good, I'll smother yours with icecream and caramel sauce.

Thank you for dropping by. You are a wonderful encourager.

Laurean Brooks said...

Anne, thank you for hosting me and this party. (Looking around). The crowd had thinned down, but we enjoyed a wonderful time.

Keep writing those awesome suspense stories. I just read yesterday that the top ebook sellers are romantic fiction and suspense. Hey, you, Miss Mae, and Sharon, have taken both categories.

Congratulations! (Sounds like I need to work a little suspense into my stories.)