Welcome Laura, Thanks for joining me here today. First off what inspired you to be a writer?
I think I’m mostly inspired by a deep need to express myself and to do something with all these voices that run wild in my head, having conversations, imagining different scenarios, getting into an occasional argument.
Can you tell us a little about your road to publication?
I started in 1998 with the intent of writing these gripping, epic novels—but that didn’t exactly work out. After reading a story to my kids in 1999, I decided to write picture books. However, after about one hundred rejections, it was clear that picture books really weren’t my thing. In 2001, I read HOPE WAS HERE by Joan Bauer and absolutely fell in love with the young adult genre. After writing two so-so novels, I started BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT in 2002. I was offered representation by my agent in April, 2004, and she sold it to Harcourt one year later.
What prompted you to write your books? Are they based on true life or are they completely fiction?
It seems that most of my stories were inspired by a setting or object, for some reason. BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT was inspired by a rusted sign that was posted in front of a charming old house three miles from my home. I would pass this sign for years and always wonder about the owner. What is she like? Will she ever find a renter for her shop? Is she cranky and longing to retire? I knew I had a story when I asked, what would happen if a young girl showed up on her doorstep?
Can you tell us a little about your latest book release?
BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT is a humorous, multi-generational story about family—both the one we are born to and the one we create for ourselves. It’s about a young girl, Abbey Garner, who was left to live with her great-grandmother and her struggling beauty salon and what happens when someone finally does rent the shop!
Would you take us through your typical writing day?
On an ideal writing day, I’ll shuffle the kids off to school, take a couple hours to answer emails, work on the computer, do laundry, the barn work, etc., and then settle down to write by 11:00 a.m. I work until I hit my target word count of three thousand words, and then spend the rest of the day marketing, attacking a monster to-do list and getting my boys to their sporting events.
Do you think about your readers when you write a book?
No, I don’t. I think about the characters, their story, and nothing else. I think if you’re true to the characters, the readers will connect.
What sort of things do you do when you’re not writing?
I spend a lot of time working on the computer, hanging out with my family, watching my boys play baseball or basketball games, and reading.
What are some of your favorite things?
Family, horses, baseball, old musty-smelling books, the good feeling you get after church, camping, gerbera daisies, white lights on trees, historic main streets, town festivals, Australian Blue Heelers, watching dog shows on TV, my iPod, and sheets dried on the clothesline.
Many writers speak about writer’s block. Do you ever have that, and if so what are some things you do to get over it?
First, I figure out why I’m stuck. If it’s because my personal life is out of control and I have no sense of peace, then I’ll take a break for a few days to get things done. If I’m unhappy with the story and its direction, then I might do more characterizations and outlining. But, if my writer’s block is from procrastinating, it’s usually because I’m intimidated. That’s when I’ll apply the butt-in-chair, shut-up-and-write theory!
If you could say one thing to a new writer what would it be?
Buckle up. It’s going to be a long, but amazing ride!
If you could say one thing to the children reading your books what would that be?
When it comes to writing what’s next for you?
I’m now editing a novel that was inspired by my family’s favorite vacation spot. This year, I also plan on finishing an adult novel, and a young adult novel inspired by headstones. (Creepy, huh?)
Are you available for signings, school visits and writing workshops?
Yes! Anyone interested can go to the contact page of my website: http://laurabowers.net