Monday, February 7, 2011

Interview with Laurie Alice Eakes

Award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes wanted to be a writer since knowing what one was. Her first book won the National Readers Choice Award in 2007, and her third book was a Carol Award finalist in 2010. Between December of 2008 and January of 2010, she sold thirteen books to Barbour Publishing, Avalon Books, and Baker/Revell, making her total sales fifteen. Recently, she added a novella to that collection, as well as having her first book with Baker/Revell, Lady in the Mist, picked up by Crossings Book Club, and three of her books chosen for large print editions by Thorndike Press. She has been a public speaker for as long as she can remember; thus, only suffers enough stage fright to keep her sharp. In 2002, while in graduate school for writing fiction, she began to teach fiction in person and online. She lives in Texas with her husband, two dogs, and too many cats even for her.

[Anne] When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer, Laurie?

[Laurie] I think I was about ten or eleven. I was a poet then, but starting to dabble in fiction.

[Anne] Will you tell us about your latest book.

[Laurie] Lady in the Mist is the first book in The Midwives series. On her way home from a disastrous lying-in, midwife Tabitha Eckles encounters an Englishman in the early morning mist where no Englishman should be in 1809, as England and America rush toward another war. Consequences of the lying-in she’s just left and the charming, but possibly deadly, stranger, and the young men disappearing from the village on the Virginia shoreline, plunge Tabitha into a world of intrigue and danger, where she has hard lessons to learn about love and self-forgiveness.
[Anne] What inspired you to write this story?

[Laurie] Would you believe a project I wrote in graduate school for history? It was on midwives in history, and the more I researched, the more I realized how fascinating these women were. “Women of Power” is what I called my paper. You can read more about that journey on the Romantic Times blog on Feb. 8, and even more detail on my own blog from the January 3 posting.

[Anne] How did you go about researching your book?

[Laurie] I read books, diaries, obituaries, books published from as long ago as the 1670s. . . an overwhelming cornucopia of materials from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. Being at a university, I had access to a rich assortment not open to the general public, as a rule.

[Anne] Do you have anything new in the works?

[Laurie] Oh, yes. From December, 2008 and Jan. 2010, I signed contracts for thirteen novels. In January, I sold two novellas. Right now, I’m writing the second of my career ladies series for Avalon Books, then will start my second Regency for Baker/Revell (the first one, A Necessary Deception is out in October of this year), and I just turned in my second book in the Midwives series, also from Baker/Revell.

[Anne] Wow! Congratulations on your wonderful success! What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

[Laurie] I am a definite plotter. When I started getting methodical about this, I started selling books. With my schedule—three novels and two novellas to write in 2011—outlining first makes the process go much faster.

[Anne] If you could be anyone of your characters, which one would you choose to be and why?

[Laurie] Oh, Tabitha, because she gets Dominick. LOL

[Anne] 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?

[Laurie] Great Britain—all of it—England, Scotland, Wales. I’ve been to continental Europe three times, but have never gotten to Great Britain.

[Anne] Oh, I’d love to go to England, too. What type of books do you like to read when you’re not writing?

[Laurie] I read a lot of mysteries and young adult because I don’t write those, so I’m not constantly second-guessing the author; however, I do read in my own historical romance genre and wish more had suspense, as my books do. I love a good suspense plot.

[Anne] Name three things you can’t live without (excluding spouses and family because that’s a given).

[Laurie] Books, pets, . . . hmm. . . It’s a toss-up between coffee and chocolate.

[Anne] Great choices, but I’d have to go with the chocolate :-). What advice would you give to any aspiring writers out there?

[Laurie] Finish something. It’s the best advice I ever got and I pass it along.

[Anne] Where can we find you on the web?


[Anne] Where can we purchase your books?

[Laurie] Anywhere you purchase books—,,, your local bookstore.

[Anne] Is there anything else you’d like to add?

[Laurie] If you drop by my web site, I have excerpts from all my books up there. As soon as I get the final edition of my next book cover, I’ll be updating and changing things a bit, too, so do come and enjoy.

Thank you, Laurie!  I want to wish you continued success in your writing career.