Today I welcome fellow historical romance writer (and fellow native of Western New York!) Laura Strickland to the blog.
What author first inspired you to write your own stories?
Wow, this is a difficult question because I read voraciously as a child (I still do). I can remember reading the book Shadow Castle by Marian Cockrell and weeping hysterically when I finished it. When my Mom asked why, I wailed, “It was so good!” I never wanted those good books to end. Eventually, it dawned on me that if I wrote the book and made up the story, I could continue it as long as I liked and return to those fantasy worlds whenever I wanted. I wrote my first book, which I gave the tremendously original title The Haunted House, in third grade and never looked back from there. I wrote my way through high school, passing manuscripts around among my friends, and soon after I got married entered the magical Celtic realm. So many wonderful writers contributed to my learning process along the way. Not sure I can choose just one!
Do you cast people to play the characters in your stories?
No, never. In fact, I’ve often thought if a movie were ever made from one of my books, I’d have a terrible time accepting any actor/actress to portray my characters. I think it’s because my characters become so real to me. They spend months living and conversing in my head (sometimes they go right on conversing even when I’m trying to do something else). I know them right down to their scars and warts, their foibles and faults. I picture them so completely I’d almost need to create cyber beings to represent them. If only scientists would come up with a working holodeck – remember the one from Star Trek? How I envied the Enterprise crew the time they spent in there! Anyway, then I could program my characters to be my characters!
What is on the top of your to be read pile?
Right now, it’s Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie. Of the many books I’ve read over the years, I never actually got around to that one. But for Mother’s Day my husband, who knows how much I love the music of the late Johnny Cunningham, found the CD of a score Johnny had written for Peter and Wendy, a stage show. I’ve been listening to the CD non-stop and enjoying it so much, I’m eager to read the story, and figured I should start at the beginning, with Peter Pan.
Coffee or tea?
Unquestionably tea, and there’s a reason. The women of my maternal line have long had a special relationship with the brew. My grandmother, Edith, ran a tea room in Bowring Park, St. John’s, Newfoundland and I suspect that’s where she began reading tea leaves. My mom carried on the tradition; I can remember women gathered in our kitchen or dining room hunched above their overturned cups, waiting for their turn so she might interpret the scattered tea leaves inside. Watching, listening and taking my turn, I learned what the symbols meant and how to see them, discovered that there was a certain way to hold the cup and not all the “seeing” was done with the eyes. I’ve read some leaves in my time and now my daughter has followed in my footsteps. It’s an unbreakable chain all the way back to Edith’s ancestresses who hailed from fey Scotland and probably thought there was nothing so strange about having the Sight.
What time of day is your best writing time? Up early with the birds or wake up in the middle of the night with an inspiration and have to go write it down?
I’m definitely a morning person. Actually, I’m usually up before the birds! In the summer, when the windows are open, I hear them begin singing to the new day. I’m usually also up before my alarm goes off, pricked by that inner urge telling me if I get up I’ll have time to write, write, WRITE before the rush of my day begins. While this is fine in summer, it’s a lot harder to crawl out of bed on those cold winter days when it hasn’t yet even thought about getting light!
Don’t Miss Champion of Sherwood
When Gareth de Vavasour, nephew of the Sheriff of Nottingham, is captured by the outlaws of Sherwood Forest and held for ransom, he knows he will be fortunate to escape with his life. Amid the magic and danger that surround him, he soon realizes his true peril lies in the beautiful dark eyes of Linnet, the Saxon healer sent to tend his wounds.
Granddaughter of Robin Hood, Linnet has always known she is destined to become a guardian of Sherwood Forest, along with her sister and a close childhood companion. She believes her life well settled until the arrival of Gareth. Then all her loyalties are tested even as her heart is forced to choose between love and the ties of duty, while Sherwood declares its own champion.
Where to Find Champion of Sherwood
A Bit More About Laura
Born and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland has pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Though her imagination frequently takes her to far off places, she is usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario with her husband and her “fur” child, a rescue dog. Author of the Scottish romance Devil Black as well as The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy consisting of Daughter of Sherwood, Champion of Sherwood and Lord of Sherwood, she is currently working on the second book of a new Steampunk romance series.