Laura, when did you first know you wanted to be an author?
I was quite the bookworm as a child. It wasnâ€™t long before I wanted to write my own stories. Writing is just something that I have always done.
What makes you passionate about writing?
The initial idea. I normally get them when Iâ€™m in the shower or washing the dishes and BANG. Once the seeds have been planted in my brain, I can barely wait to write it all down.
What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
I might sound excruciatingly annoying now, but it was remarkably easy. I wrote my book with relative ease, I loved the idea and I was bursting to write that first novel. I think I needed to prove, to myself, that I had it in me. It helped that I had a publisher in mind, Iâ€™m sure. I had worked with Crooked Cat Publishing before as they had accepted one of my horror stories for an anthology. I had to wait until they were open to submissions. I sent it. They liked it. And that was (unbelievably) that.
Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Not with the process of writing the novel, but every writer receives rejections along the way. I used to really stew over them, but now I move on immediately. Just because a piece of writing isnâ€™t what one person is looking for is absolutely no reason to give up.
So true, Kai. What books have most influenced your life?
I loved English Literature at school. I got to read works such as Nineteen Eighty-Four, Macbeth and Frankenstein. I read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights as a teenager and they certainly had an impact. The first adult contemporary fiction book I read was Puffball by Fay Weldon. I absolutely adored it and I went on to read every other book by Fay that existed. If there was one book that I wish I had written, though, it would be Dracula by Bram Stoker. Itâ€™s my most favourite read.
ImagineÂ that. Please tell us about your book, Black Eyed Boy.
I wrote it with a YA audience in mind. I wanted to write something that I was sure that age group would enjoy and identify with, but also I was determined to come up with something new. I hope that it what I have achieved. It is a contemporary romantic book, but with a dark, rather gothic, secret at the centre. Here is the blurb:
Emily is fifteen. She feels like a ghost in her own home as her parents seem increasingly lost in their own worlds, and only has her best friend, Billy, for company.
Then Emily meets Dylan, the mysterious and gorgeous new stranger in town. With his unusual eyes and irresistible charm, she is soon smitten. But with Billyâ€™s growing jealousy and a series of devastating family tragedies, can they last? Should they?
Dylan is hiding a powerful secret; a secret that could change Emilyâ€™s life forever.
Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
It depends what Iâ€™m doing. If Iâ€™m working on a flash-fiction piece then I much prefer to make it up as I go along, the freedom is exhilarating. I wouldnâ€™t dare do that for a novel though. I am quite strict with myself and I tend to know precisely what each chapter ought to contain.
How interesting. Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
I would have to say Laurence and Stephanie Pattison, my Crooked Cat publishers. They have made my life-long dream come true and they have been amazing throughout this experience.
Whatâ€™s your secret to making the characterâ€™s in your books come to life?
It just happens. I can always visualise them clearly. I know how they sound, what they would say and what the tone of their voice would be. I know their body language and all of their flaws. Flaws are crucial as they create a real well-rounded individual who is easy to believe in.
Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?
Reading. I own a silly amount of books yet I canâ€™t seem to stop buying more. I love films, various kinds. I enjoy a good horror, thriller or a comedy. I also make things: hair accessories, jewellery, cushions and cards.
How do you come up with your characterâ€™s names?
I love coming up with the names. Itâ€™s funny how we associate various character traits with Christian names, isnâ€™t it? They pop into my head almost as though they picked themselves sometimes.
They do, don’t they? What is the best complement you could receive from a reader?
I have had some absolutely amazing reviews for Black Eyed Boy so far. Most of them ask for the sequel ASAP and that is a spectacular compliment. The fact that your reader wants more. You canâ€™t ask for better than that.
Where can readers go to find your books?
Tags: black eye boy, coming of age, Crooked Cat Publishing, Fantasy, fiction, friendship, love story, middle grade, paranormal, pre-teens, teens, ya, Ya fantasy, YA romance, young Adult, young adult book, young adults