Sunday, December 11, 2011

Behind the Book Mania ~ Author Spotlight on Laura Browning

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 11:46 AM
Hello folks. Please help me welcome the bright and talented Laura Browning. The author of multiple published titles, she has graciously consented to answer a few questions and share a bit about her Brotherhood of the Guardians series.

Thanks for taking time out of this crazy holiday season to stop by and share with us today, Laura.

Good Morning, Mac.  Thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog. November and December have been very busy months for me, but it’s a wonderful kind of busy. In addition to a holiday novella and a contemporary romance that just released from two different publishers last week, I’ve also been busy in my own little paranormal world with a vampires series I’m bringing out independently. So, bring on the questions.

You got it. Here we go…
Many authors begin writing because they love to read. Is this true of you, and if so, did you write your first book because you were inspired, or because you thought, hell, I can do better than this?

I adore reading, and I always have. As my careers—first as a TV news producer and now as a high school English teacher—also demand a lot of reading of either factual or literary work, my personal reading has focused more and more on entertainment. So I read romance with the occasional deviation into authors like Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Dan Brown. My love of telling stories has always been there. As a kid, I can remember “reworking” fairytales in my head, changing the events to somehow include me. I completed my first manuscript in longhand when I was sixteen and gave it to my mom for Christmas. It was a really bad gothic romance. Really bad. Mom loved it, but then, that’s her job.

Wow! You’ve been busy and accomplished much! TV news producer and an English teacher, huh? *checking to make sure grammar check is on* Ahem...I’ll bet mom treasured your gift, no matter how rough the draft. And speaking of rough drafts, besides a critiquing partner, is there someone you let read your manuscript before submitting?

Well, I’m not sure I dare admit this since it seems to be so much the norm…I don’t have a critique partner. I once forced my husband to read a manuscript, but sigh, all he came back with was a couple of grammatical corrections. I took that to mean that my male characters must act like real guys. I’m hard enough on myself, honestly, I’m not sure I could take much more. So—no—I don’t really let other people read what I’m writing until I have it about as complete as I believe I can make it. That’s not to say that if the right partner came along I wouldn’t be adverse to it. I’ve made a career of reworking and rewriting my own and other people’s stories. Maybe a critique partner would save me some time. I’ve been known to get about 30k into a manuscript, decide something’s not right and completely rewrite it. Two of my current releases, The Silkie’s Call and Winning Heart, went through that before I ever submitted.

Oh, yeah. We are our own worst critics, aren’t we? Which of the Characters you’ve written most resembles you, and why?

Wow, that is a tough one, but I guess Wynter, from Winning Heart. In addition to her love of horses, there are aspects to her character that might be more like me. She likes a good practical joke, even if it’s one that gets her in trouble. She’s tough and does what she has to do, but also still has an inner core of mushiness and awkwardness that keeps her from being too hard.

Sounds well rounded and fun to me. My favorite type of heroine. Okay, best advice you were given concerning your writing?

Write for yourself, not for the market. I think that does two things. It helps you develop your voice as a writer, and it keeps the joy in it. No matter how much we love something, there are always going to be days when it feels like a job.  I wish I had listened to a version of that before I left college. I probably would not have turned my back on writing fiction for Journalism for as long as I did. But then, I also believe our experiences help us become who we are, so who’s to say I didn’t need all that time as a journalist to make me a better fiction writer.

Amen to that. Life experience can't be purchased and adds color to our pallets, as people and writers. What author influenced your writing the most?

There are so many. I like Nora Roberts because of her spunky heroines. LaVyrle Spencer was probably the first author to really show me you didn’t need exotic locations or danger to create a great story. Wonderful, heart-wrenching and heart-warming stories are out there in everyday life. Dean Koontz and Stephen King help me remember that in the world of a writer’s imagination anything can happen.  Finally, J.R.R. Tolkien for incredible world building and excellent storytelling. The last three have influenced my steps into paranormal with my Silkie books and the Brotherhood of the Guardians.

Quite an impressive and understandable list. We share some favorites. My first foray into the wonderful world of reading came when my dad gave me his copy of The Hobbit when I was nine. From that moment on, I was hooked. So, you’ve already been published with The Wild Rose Press and Lyrical Press. Why did you choose to Indie publish your vampires?

That was a tough decision, but it really came down to some story details that I felt I couldn’t compromise on. However, they were situations that I knew from experience would make a publishing house nervous.  The other factor that weighed in for me, was I simply wanted to see if I could do it all. The process has been a rewarding one that has only increased my respect for the job that editors, publishers and graphic artists do.

I can’t even imagine all the work involved, but you’ve pulled it off with style. Love the sharp look of your covers, by the way. What was the germ of the idea behind your Brotherhood of the Guardians story?

Ha, ha… What if the vampires were really the good guys—like guardian angels? And what if the heroine first encountered the good guys as a kid? That was the beginning of the idea for the first book in the series, The Guardian Michel (like Michelle). These good guys, though, really have no idea of where they came from. The vampire lore is something that’s gradually coming out through the series. Book three, which just came out at the end of November is where the door to their heritage really opens up.

Still reworking those fairytales in your head, I see, and sharing them with the rest of us now, thank you very much. Where can we find the books in your Brotherhood of the Guardians series?

Barnes and Noble and Amazon You should read them in order – yeah, it’s a series. But guess what? They’re all priced $2.99 and below. Do I think my writing’s cheap? Nah…I want people to read it, and since I’m the writer and the publisher, I can afford to sell them at a lower price. And it certainly doesn’t mean I’m turning my back on publishing houses. Indie publishing is hard work. Sometimes it’s nice to leave it to someone else. Lol.

I hear that! My hat is off to you. Just the thought of going it on my own gives me hives. So, give us a peek, if you would.

Here’s a short excerpt from The Guardian Michel, book one in the series. It’s when Michel first sees our heroine, a woman he loved and lost more than a century earlier.
He watched her for as long as he dared. He had just walked out the coffee shop door when he caught her scent and searched frantically until he found her.  His instincts would never let him forget, but he still feared to believe them, to trust them. Not after all this time. He had dreamed of her, but hardly dared to believe that this time it was true. Many women possessed her coloring, her beautiful honey hair and creamy skin, but never in all these years had he inhaled her unique scent. Now his body thrummed with the need to go to her, take her. His. She had been and would be again.
As soon as he saw her leave the rental office his gaze lasered in on her. Liliane. His Liliane. By some miracle of God, she had come back after all these years.
But not to him… 

Nice. That snagged my attention! Thanks so much for coming by today, but before you go, where can we find you, Laura?

Thanks so much for hosting me today. I love hearing from readers, so you can contact me through my website on Facebook at Facebook @ Laura Browning Author and on Twitter @ LauraBrowning4

Psst... For those of you who leave a comment, including an email address so Laura can contact you, she will hook you up with book 1 of this vampire series. Woot woot!

Trouble commenting? Click on comments at the top of this post.


Nancy said...

Very nice interview and congrats on all the recent and upcoming book releases!

Tara MacQueen said...

Great interview! I have a short film producing background and an English Literature degree. Congrats on the release.

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Thanks for visiting, ladies. I'm always amazed at the level of accomplishment present in so many of my fellow authors. The romance genre draws the cream of the crop.

Anonymous said...

Nice interview, Laura. You've been one busy lady lately! Good luck with upcoming books! Karen

Andris Bear said...

Love the excerpt, Laura! I don't know when you find time to do all the publishing work yourself, but my hats off to you! Good luck!

Rene' Brumfield said...

Enjoyed reading the interview and can't wait to read Laura Browning's books,just the little bit about it has definitely peeked my interest.

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Thanks for coming by, Ladies. I don't know where Laura finds the time either, but I know her excerpt whet my interest.

Leeta said...

Great blog today. Thanks so much for the interview Laura. I love learning how authors became authors. I'd be interested in reading your books.

Laura Browning said...

Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. I had a lot of fun. I'll be contacting everyone over the next couple of days to get their books emailed to them. Happy reading!