Monday, January 28, 2013

Featured Author Interview: Laurie Alice Eakes


Laurie Alice Eakes is an award-winning author with more than a dozen books in print or under contract.

Laurie Alice used to lie in bed as a child telling herself stories so she didn't wake anyone else up. Sometimes she shared her stories with others; thus, when she decided to be a writer, she surprised no one.

She also teaches on-line writing courses and enjoys a speaking ministry that has taken her from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast.

The following is a January 2013 interview with Laurie.

1.   Tell us a little about yourself. 

Recently, I moved from a city of 180,000 people, to one with nearly 2.5 million people, and I feel more at home. Does that say something about me? Yes, I am an urbanite. Although I love visiting the country, especially the mountains, and I love lonely stretches of beach, I prefer to be able to pick up the phone and have Thai food delivered to my door within the hour, to more space on a day to day basis.

2.   How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write? 

Yes, I always wanted to write. When I was about ten I decided I would be a novelist one day. It took a while after that due to a lot of boring and not so boring factors, and finally I did what one needs to do—sat down and got serious about it. I met writers. I got a master’s degree in writing. I got a critique group and an agent. I sold my first book two and a half years later.

3.   What do you think is significant about Christian fiction? 

Christian fiction is more than a cleaned up love story. To me, if you take the spiritual thread out, you have a different story. What makes this significant is that it causes an extra layer of conflict, a layer that holds an important life message secular fiction doesn’t offer. For example, in my book A Flight of Fancy, (Revell, 2012)  my hero and heroine would not suffer the guilt, nor my heroine her belief that she is being punished, if they had not had a faith and Christian principles they violated. It heightened the internal and romantic conflict that they had these struggles between their bad behavior and their faith.

4.   How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write? 

I hope they love them and are entertained. In addition, I hope they go away feeling more in touch with their own relationship with the Lord.

5.   What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why? 

My humanness loves positive, glowing compliments and reviews. The negative ones used to send me into a tailspin of downward emotional spiraling. And in the end, the most important reviews or letters or comments on my books are those where the reader has been moved to examine her own heart and relationships. If I make one person’s life better even with a drop of learning to forgive herself or others, a reminder how much God loves her, or any of the other themes I explore, I feel that I have fulfilled the Lord’s calling.

6.  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ? 

Trust. Oh, most definitely trust. In the past fifteen months, I have moved three times—and we’re talking hundreds of miles moves—written three novels and two novellas, edited three novels and one of the novellas, and written two proposals that sold four more books. I ended up having to write 4/5 of my recent release, Choices of the Heart, in a month. 80,000 words, and then I had eleven days to write a 200-page novel. I simply prayed my way through those six weeks, believing the Lord would guide my mind and my fingers. 

Then, of course, being a writer is like riding a rollercoaster. One has to trust that one is doing what the Lord wants, and if the next contract doesn’t come, He has something else for you.

Yes, trust is the biggest lesson I have learned—and also that one must ask for help when one needs it.

7.   Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life? 

I’d like to be able to settle in one place and build strong community relationships. Also, I want to expand my speaking ministry, perhaps get my Ph.D. one day, and perhaps children.

8.   What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I love to watch movies of all kinds with my husband, visit the mountains and the beach, and explore different kinds of food—restaurants, not cooking it. I also love long conversations with my friends.

9.  What can you tell us about your latest novels? 

In the past four months, I have had three books and a novella released.
Choices of the Heart is the third book in the midwife series. Esther is the daughter of the hero and heroine in the first book, and carries on the long tradition of midwifery amongst the women in her family. But then something terrible happens to her, something she blames herself for, and she thinks running away is best for her family. She ends up in the Appalachian mountains in the 1840s, potentially the catalyst that recommences a family feud, when two young men, each on an opposite side of the conflict, want to court her. It’s not light reading, as Esther struggles with coming to terms with her past, regaining her faith, and making choices of the heart that do not, for the first time in her life, involve only her.

[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]
The Carpenter’s Inheritance is my fifth book under the Heartsong imprint and the first one with Harlequin owning the line. Lucinda is a lady lawyer in 1893, and Matthew is a carpenter. Both believe they are doing what the Lord has called them to do—until their callings conflict with their love for one another.

A Flight of Fancy is the second in the Daughters of Bainbridge series, which are Regencies. Cassandra is a Regency version of a nerd, and wants to fly balloons. Geoffrey, Lord Whittaker, isn’t comfortable inheriting the title. He liked the business and mechanics of the mills he inherited from his uncle. These issues, as well as an attraction to one another they don’t do well at controlling, causes conflict throughout the first book in the series, A Necessary Deception, which is about Cassandra’s eldest sister. In A Flight of Fancy, Geoffrey and Cassandra are about to get married, but tragedy strikes, and Cassandra has reason to believe she is being punished, and hides her broken heart in her ballooning. Geoffrey is swept up in the Luddite rebellion, striving to save his inheritance, and win Cassandra back.

[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]
10.  What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead? 

My next release is A Reluctant Courtship, a Regency from Revell focused on the youngest Bainbridge sister, who, in books 1 and 2, has made unwise choices in the men she’s decided to fall for. When she falls in love again, she determines he will be innocent of any wrong-doing, but has too much reason to believe he isn’t.

In December, my sixth Heartsong will be released as the third book in a series with three other authors. It’s four simultaneous stories with interlocking characters set around the instigating event of a real train wreck in 1856 Hillsdale, Michigan.

11.  What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?

One thing about e-mail and social networking I absolutely love is that my friends and fans in other countries are just as accessible as are my friends and fans in North America. Now electronic versions of my books make my books accessible and affordable overseas. And I hope I can visit in person one day.

12.  Do you have any parting words?

I appreciate this opportunity to reach out to readers, and I love to hear from readers. You can find me on Twitter @laurieaeakes and on Facebook—I’m the only Laurie Alice Eakes—or through my web site contact form or blog.

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