Featured Author: Laura Drake

headshot_Laura-DrakeLaura Drake is my kind of a writer.  She’s as obsessed with writing as I am, and yet her work ethic blows mine away at the moment.  (I couldn’t imagine waking up that early in the morning to write…read the interview and you’ll see what I mean!!)  I love her passion for her work, her addiction to books (like me, she loves to read!!), and best of all,  Laura is celebrating her first book release.

I think its important to support new authors, and I confess, I’m really excited about Laura’s career.  This girl isn’t a one-book wonder…she’s signed multi-book contracts with two different publishers, with Laura’s next book (a Harlequin Superromance)  out late summer.  Now let me step aside so Laura can take the floor.

Laura, welcome to the JaneBlog, and congratulations on the release of The Sweet Spot!  It’s so exciting to have you here with us during the launch week of your first release!   Can you tell us what you like best about being a part of the writing industry?

The community.  Either online or in person, writers are so open and giving. I’ve met many famous and successful ones, and to a person, they’ve been approachable and kind. I’m moving to Texas next year, 250 miles from a RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter, and I don’t know how I’m going to make it…I may just have to start a chapter!

Is there anything that has surprised you about writing or publishing your books?

How different the process is, between publishers. I’m writing for two, and they couldn’t be more different in their approaches, and their rules.

A Love as Big as Texas . . .
Charla Rae Denny was the perfect wife with a perfect life, content to keep the home fires burning while her husband, JB, competed as a champion bull rider. Then their son died in a tragic accident-and everything fell apart. Divorced and saddled with a hill of bills and a failing ranch, Charla must now cowboy up to put her life back together.
James “JB” Denny doesn’t stay where he isn’t welcome. So when Charla shut him out of her grieving heart-and their home-a year ago, he took comfort where he could find it. Now after seeing beautiful Charla again, he wants it all back. She can’t work the ranch alone, and deep in his heart he knows he can be the man she needs. But after so much history and heartbreak, can JB convince Charla to take a risk and give their love a second chance?

Some writers like to let plot ideas percolate and grow for a while before they start writing the story.  Would you say this applies to you as well?

Well, I should. Maybe someday, I’ll be able to. But right now, I’m addicted. If I’m breathing, I’m writing.

What’s your typical day like when you’re between writing projects?

Given the answer above, you can probably guess! I have to force myself out of my office to knit, quilt or read.

Was there anyone or anything that helped inspire you to be a writer?

It evolved from my love of reading, and my mother was my role model there. I remember watching her read when I was very little, and wanting time to hurry so I could learn to unlock the secret code of reading!

Do you have a writing schedule or any writing rituals to help you achieve your daily writing quota?

None I’d recommend! I get up every morning at 3 am (weekends too,) pour coffee, and get to work. If it’s a good day, I spend until lunchtime writing. If it’s one of those ‘chip out of stone’ days, I keep my behind in the chair until I make the word count; sometimes 12-14 hours.

Tell us what your current release is about, in 2 or 3 sentences.

When her only son is killed in a tragic accident, Charla Denny retreats to a world of grief and Valium. Her reeling husband takes up with a blonde buckle bunny half his age. Their ranch, which supplies bucking bulls to the Pro Bull Riding circuit, is split up in the divorce. Jimmy gets the bulls, Charla, their valuable semen. It’s a story of forgiveness and rediscovering love at the end of a long dirt road.

What’s are you working on now?

My ‘biker-chick’ novel, Her Road Home, is due out in August from Harlequin’s Superromance line. I’ve agreed to a 3 book contract for stories set in the same small tourist town of Widow’s Grove.

What’s your favorite time of the day and place to write? 

Early morning! My office is upstairs, in one of the kid’s ‘empty nest’ bedrooms. I have a ficus and a palm tree outside my window with birds nesting – including a hummingbird pair! I love listening to them gossiping as the sun comes up.

Name 3 books you hope to read soon.

Jane’s, The Good Woman (It’s next up on my Kindle!)
The Wool series by Hugh Howey
Stephen King’s new one, Joyland
Yeah, I’m eclectic.

What’s your astrological sign? 

Sagittarius. And boy, am I. Klutzy, stick-my-foot-in-my-mouth, loving, physical being, that’s me.

If you could meet one person who has died, who would it be?  What would you want to discuss with him/her?

There are so many! I’ll keep to writers, to try to narrow it down…

I think it would have to be Mark Twain. I so love his subtle humor; I’d love to talk about writing, and what he thinks of this world we live in now. What a conversation that would be!

You’re offered an all-expenses paid vacation to a destination of your choice.  Where would you choose to go and what two things would you want to do there?

Oh, that’s easy because it’s on my bucket list! I want to take that paddlewheel cruise, down the Mississippi. I haven’t spent much time in that part of the country, and I want to see Savannah, Naches, oh yes, and Graceland!

Five favorite things to do on a weekend?

Ride my motorcycle, camp, fly fish, ride my bicycle, and lay under my avocado tree with a cat, and a good book.  Not all at the same time, obviously.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

It came from Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture.) He said, “The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.”

Five things every writer should know?

Don’t stop writing
Don’t stop learning
Always strive to make your next book better than the last
Reach a hand back, to help the next writer
Revel in the process of writing. Because if you don’t, you’re not going to stay with it long enough to succeed.

Three things you know now that you wish you’d known before publishing your first book?

It’s going to take way longer than you think
No one is going to teach you how the publishing process works; you have to find out as you go.
Be patient. It’ll happen.

What does success mean to you?

Gaining a loyal following of readers, who ‘get’ what I write.
A RITA would be nice, too…

Name 5 words that fit your personality according to you.  And 5 words that fit your personality according to your best friend.

Wow, that’s a fun one!

ME:                           My Best Friend (I just asked her)

Determined               Funny
Independent             Loyal
Klutzy                        Dedicated
Thrill-seeker              Unpretentious
Caring                       Orderly

Name 3 – 5 books you’ve read this year.  Which ones would you recommend to your girlfriends?

The Good Daughter  – and no, I’m not sucking up. I just leant it to Jenny Hansen!
Before and Ever Since – Sharla Lovelace’s RITA nomination book
All God’s Creatures – Carolyn McSparren
The Sleeping Night – Barbara Samuel
Me Again – Keith Cronin
Wow, I could keep going . . .

What three words would you use to describe your book?

Emotional, funny, HEA

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

Being a writer is it. I tried to become an author for 15 years before selling. This is the best job in the world.

Last thing you do before you turn in for the night?

Kiss the cat. Then the husband.

What or who has inspired you most in life?

My mother and my sister

Why do you write?

To find out what I think.

Laura Drake grew up in the suburbs outside Detroit, though her stories are set in the west. A tomboy, she’s always loved the outdoors and adventure. In 1980 she and her sister packed everything they owned into Pintos and moved to California. There she met and married a motorcycling, bleed-maroon Texas Aggie and her love affair with the West was born. Laura rides motorcycles: “Elvis,” a 1985 BMW Mystic, and “Sting,” a 1999 BMW R1100. In Texas, Laura was introduced to her first rodeo, and fell in love. She’s an avid fan of Pro Bull Riding (PBR, ) attending any event within driving distance, including two PBR National finals. Laura now lives in California with her family. She is hard at work on her next novel. For more information on Laura Drake, please visit:http: //lauradrakebooks.com/


Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Laura!  Friends, don’t miss out on reading The Sweet Spot and to learn more about Laura, be sure to check out her website.  To help Laura celebrate her new release, I’m giving away to two lucky winners a JP tote bag, a copy of The Sweet Spot, two of my books, Odd Mom Out (in honor of Laura as she’s another motor-cycle riding mama like my character, Marta!),  and She’s Gone Country (because the hero, Dane Kelly is also a PBR bull riding champion and I’m a sucker for rodeos and sexy bullriders),  a $5.00 Starbucks gift card, chocolate and lots more fun reader goodies.  Want a chance to win?  Tell me, do you like rodeo events?  Have you ever been to a rodeo?  If so, what is your favorite event?  Contest runs through Thursday night and I’ll announce the winners on Friday.  Good luck!

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