Laura's Winner is:
We're on location today! For those o' you just now joinin' us aboard the deck o' this huge frigate, please grab yerself a mug o' refreshment from the pirate at the bar there. Ah ah...no peeking under his patch, then come have a seat with us on one of these here half barrels. Don’t trip over the coiled rope; they need those for tying us to the wharf when we come back ashore and be careful ye don't fall into the hold mates. Oops...did I say they would tie US to the wharf? So sorry! They'll tie the ship to the wharf! Oh my, and we've only just gotten started.
Laura Hogg is with us today and she’s celebrating the upcoming release of the print copy of her novel, Descent into Darkness, which is already in e-book format. Laura lives in Colorado so thank you for joining us aboard the ship today. Maybe Duncan will join us later, who knows.
Deanna: Tell us a bit about YOU as a person that your readers might not know.
Laura: Oh, good question. I’m trying to think of something I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned before. But not something common like I’m the oldest of all girls (but I am). Hmm, oh, I ran away when I was two-years old. My babysitter had fallen asleep, and I walked right out of the apartment. After calling the police, my parents found me, having wandered around downtown, talking with some teenagers. (That seems so out of character for me! I was painfully shy growing up.) Also, I was originally from Kentucky, though my parents weren’t. My parents were friends with the colonel’s daughter. ;)
But about me as a person...besides being on the quiet side...well, I never got my driver’s license. I married as a teenager to my younger boyfriend, and my new husband had a car. My family was struggling, so it wasn’t like I could have afforded anything to do with a car. But, as a young bride, I was lucky my husband drove me around. Then in my twenties, I took the bus to work and campus. I had gotten a job with a daycare, so I could bring my daughter along. I was home schooling her and wanted her to make friends. The daycare let me bring her for free. I taught my daughter to read at a young age, and during my college classes, she’d sit behind me with her little pink backpack, read the lesson plan I had put together for her the night before, take out her books, and do her work quietly. She’d write down any questions she had and we’d go over them together after my classes. After school, we’d hop on the bus and go to the daycare where I worked, and she’d play with her friends. She’s in college now, going to the school I got my degree from, and I’m still married to her dad. :)
Deanna: You should be proud that she’s going to the same college you went to, congratulations. What happened in your life that made you want to become a writer?
Laura: I was first a musician, but when I was seven, we lived in a large, very old house. We had a chapel in there. The piano rested in the chapel, and I’d practice on it every day. I would write stacks of poetry and keep them on top of the piano. In high school, even though deeply spiritual, I was quite the rock and roller, as shy as I was. I wrote songs for my rock band. In my twenties, I started writing stories, then in my thirties, dared to submit them for publication. My mom was a writer, having been a journalist and a folk singer in the sixties. She inspired me my whole life. She was a poetry whiz as a child, having won contests and was working on a spiritual book when I lost her.
Deanna: Do you write under a pen name?
Laura: No, Laura Hogg is my real name. My husband’s family is from Scotland, so we pronounce Hogg with an accent. It comes out rhyming with rogue. And...my parents actually named me Lara, after a character in a movie, but somebody screwed up on my birth certificate and put a “u” in my name. So I guess Laura is my legal name even if my name is really Lara. I go by both.
Deanna: Is there a certain type of character that is easier to write than another?
Laura: Yes, the gentler ones. I’m a gentle soul and though I go for the alpha male, my hubby being an alpha type, I sometimes find it a challenge to write them and have to think about that. Strange, I know.
Deanna: Do you read in the same genre that you write in?
Laura: Yes, and more.
Deanna: What is the most unusual thing you’ve ever written about?
Laura: My novella Double Vision is set partially on the astral plane. That’s where my characters fall in love.
Deanna: Has anyone ever given you strange advice concerning your writing that you followed?
Laura: Yes. A psychic asked me if I wrote screenplays. I said no. She said I needed to learn how because my story Romeo vs. Juliet would make a great movie and be very successful. I was intrigued, but then to my horror, I lost my mother suddenly and didn’t write much or even touch my guitar for over a year. Then one day, I was in a large library, just browsing down a long, dusty row of books. I got a strong urge to go down a certain aisle of books. There were many that covered how to write a screenplay. It’s almost as if I sensed my mother urging me to check them out. I took a few, spent some time reading and studying them. Then I took on the difficult task of converting my novel Romeo vs. Juliet into a screenplay, condensed the book and added new scenes. That book involves a chase through different eras in history, so I had fun writing in brand new scenes, for example, a sock hop in the 1950s, and others. I only submitted to a few big agents and heard nothing then just set the screenplay aside. When I get the urge to submit again, I will.
Deanna: Good luck with that, I hope someday you do resubmit it. What is your favorite genre to write in?
Laura: Historical and paranormal, especially time travel. I’ve read a lot of time travel books by many authors. From science fiction authors, the stories I read tended to end negatively, as good as the stories were—sad endings more often than not. From romance writers, I could count on happy endings—yeah! I love happy endings. Most of my work is romantic, but my time travel series are not set up the same way as any book I’ve ever read, neither sci-fi, nor romance. My characters travel to several eras usually, in one book. Romeo vs. Juliet is a series.
Deanna: What was the most fun job you’ve ever had, and did it have an impact on your writing?
Laura: I was on the opening staff for Denver’s Hard Rock Café. At that time, I wasn’t writing fiction, but I wrote songs and guitar or piano parts for my band. Some of my work shows my great love of music though.
Deanna: What do writing and music have in common?
Laura: Have you ever heard this one? Q: What do you say to a musician (or you could sub for writer) who knocks on your door? A: How much do I owe you for the pizza? No, seriously, you starve for a while, years, unless you have a day job. But it will happen with persistence, I truly believe. However...writing and music both require the same great love to pursue for years on end with little financial returns in most cases, at least in the beginning. Do it for love or not at all. The money will happen later. That’s what I told my daughter, also a writer and a musician. I told her to pursue her writing dream but to get a good day job while she waits the years it will take to make it. I have a lot of respect for other writers (and musicians) knowing how hard they work, and I adore readers. :)
Deanna: Finish this sentence - Wouldn’t it be cool if....
Laura: …someone on the bus was reading my book! On my ride home from work every night, I glance at the titles in people’s hands hoping for the day.
Deanna: A funny writing coincidence?
Laura: I found out recently that my historical novel Descent Into Darkness, set during the Napoleonic Wars era (I was a French major in college) has the same name as a vampire novel.
Deanna: What’s the weirdest thing anyone has said to you concerning your art?
Laura: In music...after a gig, a guy approached me at the stage, looked at me for a long pause and said merely, “You have great hair.” I almost fell off the stage, shocked. As for writing, I had a stranger contact me via email, having seen my author’s page, and ask for help breaking in with a genre I knew absolutely nothing about. I’m mainly a romance writer, and he wrote technical manuals. I have no connections in that area. When I told him so, he asked for money; that creeped me out.
Deanna: Please share your book links with us and an excerpt so we have a hint of what your book is about.
Laura: Here’s a blurb for my latest release, Descent Into Darkness, out with Moongypsy Press:
Blurb: Duncan Amberley has come back from war after fighting Napoleon’s men on a ship. Clarissa Hale is a lovely shopkeeper with a great sense of humor; a heroic heart rests inside this insecure, intelligent beauty, and she will be called on to prove it. Clarissa and her love are pitted against each other for the sake of their families and there are some terrible accusations. She will be in constant peril as she gathers evidence to convict Duncan’s dangerous brother of a harrowing crime and his heart breaks when he discovers something about Clarissa’s sister. Can their love survive the results of their investigations? They devise a dangerous plan to get to the truth, which brings them into the heart of Napoleon’s camp in 1812 Russia as spies. Risking everything, they must get to the truth.
Laura, Descent into Darkness sounds like an exciting read. I wish you luck with all your sales and in writing your upcoming novels as well.
Readers - Laura is giving away a copy of her novel to one lucky person drawn from those who leave her a comment today or Friday. She'll be around for those who want to ask questions or just chat with her. Leave your comment and she'll post her reply here.
Good luck to all and thank you so much for joining us today! Please feel free to refill yer mugs, maties! Arggghh! There be shrimp and lobster off the barby and lots of other refreshments so stick around awhile and enjoy the party!