An avid reader since birth (her parents claim she often kept them up late begging to hear just one more story), Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of romance, and her debut novel, Common, will release in 2018 from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. Laurie is the Secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of www.landsuncharted.com, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more about Laurie and her writing by visiting www.laurielucking.com.
Welcome to the blog, Laurie! I’m so happy you could join us today!
So tell us… When did you first start writing?
I left my career as a lawyer to become a stay-at-home mom about five years ago, and needed a project to keep my mind occupied. The crazy idea to write a book entered my head, and I couldn’t quite shake it. I’ve always enjoyed coming up with stories, but I had never bothered to write any of them down. Once I summoned the courage to give it a try, I fell in love.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on a story that I hope will become the second novel in my Tales of the Mystics series. (The first book, Common, will release in early 2018!) It has elements of both Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, and tells the story of a teenage girl who is humiliated by the prince because of the scars on her face, then must risk her life to help him overcome a curse.
Sounds very intriguing! 🙂 How fun!
Can you tell us about one of your favorite characters you’ve written so far?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. I’ll go with Gretchen, who is featured in Common as a fellow servant and good friend of my main character, Leah. Gretchen was fun to write because she’s so full of spunk and energy! She’s funny, loyal, a bit of a flirt, and a tad dramatic—all of which makes her the perfect counterpart to shy, sensible Leah. Every scene involving Gretchen couldn’t help but have some comic relief 🙂
What’s something you love about your home state?
I grew up in Wisconsin, and people there are so fun, kind, down to earth, and very proud to be Wisconsinites! Also, Culvers 🙂
Minnesota has been my home for the past 10 years (14, if you count college), and I love that there are beautiful lakes and ponds everywhere. And they coined the phrase “Minnesota nice” for a reason, the people here are amazing!
What’s one of your favorite books?
Eeep, another hard question! I’ll go with The Mermaid’s Sister, by Carrie Anne Noble. The prose is just SO beautiful. There were so many lines and paragraphs I had to go back and read again because they struck me so forcefully. I really connected with the protagonist, Clara, as she navigated the difficulties of changing relationships and finding her place in the world. And it had a perfect blend of family, friendship, romance, adventure, and fantasy, which are all elements I gravitate toward in both my reading and writing.
What is one of your favorite Scripture verses?
Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
I love that reminder of how much our heavenly Father values us, spoken by his own Son! And I tend to be a worrier, so I often need to go back to this passage for reassurance that God has it all under control and will take care of me and my family, even if it’s not in the way I envisioned.
Love this. Thank you for sharing.
Can you tell us about a special moment from your writing journey so far?
I am blessed to have the most incredible critique group. They aren’t afraid to make the challenging suggestions I need to hear to improve my writing, but are also a constant source of encouragement. When I got to share the final chapter of my first book with them, their enthusiastic responses were both humbling and gratifying. Even though my manuscript still needed a lot of work, it helped me realize that despite its imperfections, my story had the power to make an impact and touch people.
What’s been one of the most challenging aspects of writing?
Overcoming discouragement can really be a struggle for me. Whenever I get feedback that a certain scene or character isn’t working, or see an author who seems to be so much more successful than I am, the doubts pounce quickly and I wonder why I bother doing this. I’m so grateful for my family and especially my writing friends, who never fail to provide the support I need to keep trying.
Name a few authors who inspire you.
Only a few?? Okay, I’ll try to narrow it down 🙂 Shannon Hale was one of the first authors who motivated me to write young adult fantasy because her characters are real and relatable, yet also inspiring. And she is such a positive voice for women in the publishing world. Melanie Dickerson writes beautiful romances and is so kind and responsive to her readers and fellow writers. And Mary Weber puts so much raw emotion and vulnerability into her books, in addition to being a beacon of encouragement in the writing community.
Can you share a word of advice to other writers out there on the road to publication?
Be patient with yourself, and take the time to grow into your writing style. There are so many careers out there that people spend years preparing for, but for some reason writing often isn’t treated that way. I completely get it, because I started out very impatient to get published, too. But that kind of attitude causes writers to become discouraged so easily, and to want to put their work out there before it’s really ready. So take a deep breath, plan to be in it for the long haul, and know that if you persist and are willing to learn you will get there eventually. And when that time comes, you’ll be so much more prepared for publication because of the wait!
Great advice, thank you, Laurie. It’s been so nice chatting with you today.
Thank you so much for having me, Savanna! Now I’m going to turn around and ask you guys the tough questions! What are some of YOUR favorite books, characters, and / or authors?
Readers, don’t forget you can learn more about Laurie by visiting the pages below.
Readers’ Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1191276077665496/
Have a great week, everyone!