So many of you have written to me expressing how much you enjoy reading western historical romances. I'm happy to introduce Laura Drewry, one of my friends from RWAonline on this Make-believe Monday. Laura's first book, Here Comes the Bride was published by Kensington in 2005. If you like reading western historical romance, you'll enjoy this one.
Laura, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you're working on now.
Laura: I have a new book, CHARMING JO, coming out in September. In the meantime, I'm working on a proposal for a western historical trilogy that's been a lot of fun to create. I'm very superstitious about jinxing myself (don't laugh at me! LOL), so I don't want to get into too much detail about it, but let me just say this - all hell breaks loose in these books. After this, I have a couple contemporary stories I'd like to work on. That will take me a lot of practice, though, because I find them so much harder to write.
Laura, I certainly would never laugh at that. There's a bit of magic and mystery to creating a story and to be honest, I don't like to talk abut my stories until that first draft is done.
Mark Twain said, "You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." How do you fill your creative well to keep your imagination in focus?
Laura: I read, I try to take in as much as I can when I'm outside or even in the mall, and I listen to what people are saying. I find that because the world is so busy, we can tend to get caught up in our little worlds and forget that there's so much more out there. So what I've started doing is studying the people I see (not my friends, but strangers who are driving or walking by). Who are they? Where are they from? Where are they going? Why? What joys and tragedies have they lived through? I don't know that this actually keeps my imagination in focus, but it sure keeps it busy!
Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?
Laura: My characters take over right from the get-go. I do my best to try and rein them in, but it never works. They always take over and run the story in directions I would never anticipate. They say things that shock me, and I'm the one typing the story! I don't know how it happens, and I'm sure anyone who doesn't write probably thinks I'm completely off my nut, but that's how my stories get written.
Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?
Laura: No, not so much. Though I will admit to 'borrowing' certain words and expressions from my family. One of my favorites is my Grandma's expression 'gawkarse'. When I introduced Bart as the brother in HERE COMES THE BRIDE, I knew it was an expression he'd have to use.
As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?
Laura: The first book I ever remember owning was On The Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was probably 6 or 7 when I won it at a neighbors birthday party and it immediately sucked me in. Made my parents' life easy, though, because for the next several years they had easy gifts for me for Christmas and my birthday. I've kept the whole series, too. Love them all.
If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?
Laura: Honestly - it would be a romance. I'm far from perfect, but I do believe if we'd all just let ourselves love each other, the world would be a much
better place. And I think that's what we get from a romance novel. It shows us that love can build bridges, it can climb mountains and it can do everything all the other cliches say it can. We just have to believe in it.
Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?
Laura: Your imagination needs to be exercised. If you dream a scene and are able to get it down before you forget it, more the better. But in between those dreams, you need to stretch your imagination. You need to slough off the restraints of being an adult and put your mind back to when you were a child and everything was exciting; everything had possibilities. Every idea has the opportunity of being a great story - it just needs someone to tell it. If you've imagined an idea or a scene and it's not working for you right now - save it. Jot it down and file it away. It might not work in the story you're writing now and it may never see the light of day. But you never know what other ideas will spin off that one when you re-read it a year from now.
You're right. Children don't put limits on themselves the way we do as adults. Ideas are out there waiting to be caught like fireflies.
Laura, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a glimpse into the creative world we authors live in.
Thank you, Debra, for including me!
Visit Laura's website at www.lauradrewry.com