The Story Behind My Blog's Title

The Story Behind My Blog's Title
Why is my blog named "My Father's Oldsmobile"? Click on the car and find out.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Author Interview: Lorean Brooks

Today I get to welcome Laurean Brooks to my blog. Laurean writes Inspirational Fiction; and apart from being a wonderful author, she's a kind and encouraging person! I've had the pleasure of getting to know her through The Sweetest Romance writer's group. I'd like to encourage you guys to join this group for a chat next Thursday. I'll post the link next week. But right now, let's get to know Laurean.

Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in a rural, farming town in Tennessee. My graduating class consisted of 16 students. Everyone was like family. Our class still gets together a couple times per year. Today, I live in a small town nearby. I worked in manufacturing, then trained as a legal secretary. Today I write, enjoy church involvement, playing fetch with my two Labs, and when not otherwise committed, accompany my hubby to auctions.

When did you first become interested in writing?
In fifth grade the teacher assigned book reports due every 6 weeks. I always picked mysteries. Don't remember the titles or author, but I read several in a series, about a gang of kids who solved the town's mysteries. When I read the book reports aloud, I'd end with cliffhangers. Half the class fought to be next in line to read the book. One time after I'd just caused such a commotion, the teacher announced, “One day Laurie will become an author.”
Miss Mary planted the seed, but that seed did not come to fruition for three decades.

I love it! Can you tell us a little about the ups and downs on your journey to publication?
My first two stories, nostalgic essays, were published in our local Hometown Magazine, December 2002. The spark ignited a flame. Over the next year I added 20 stories to the collection. Then on January 1, 2004, I made a resolution to begin a full length inspirational. Journey To Forgiveness, a historical about my mother's life, was birthed. Between a full-time job and family illnesses, the manuscript was not finished until March 2007. After waiting three months for the first publisher's reply, I submitted to The Wild Rose Press. Five weeks passed.
On August 20, 2007, ninety minutes after my brother passed away, I received an email requesting the first 50 pages of the manuscript. The next months were harrowing. TWRP loved “the rich story and interesting characters,” but the hero/heroine did not meet early enough. If I would do a major rewrite, cutting the first two chapters, they would “look at it again.”
I tore the story apart, cut those chapters, then weaved them in throughout the book as back-story. I re-submitted. Again, my editor “loved the story, but...” my hero and heroine did not meet often enough. They must interact every 10 pages or so “to hold the reader's interest.” I took the manuscript, found places every 8 to 12 pages where a break would make sense, the squeezed in nine more interaction scenes. These mostly humorous scenes turned out to be my favorite ones in the book.
I signed the contract in April 2008. and after months of edits, Journey To Forgiveness released in February, 2009.

Wow, what a great story.
How do you approach a new project? Do you research and plot before you write? Or do you have a general idea and just go to it and see where it leads?
Plot? Huh? What's that? (Laughing) I'm a full-blown Pantster. I do some research beforehand if I'm writing a historical, or about a topic of which I know little. Otherwise I know how the story begins and a few things I want to happen along the way. But, for the most part, I give my characters free reign to say and do whatever pops in their heads and out of their mouths.

Tell us about your latest release.
Over The Coals is part of a 5-author collaboration, titled, A Summer Collection Anthology. Released on May 15th, 2010, the book includes riveting stories by talented authors, Rita Hestand, Cheryl Pierson, Laura Shinn, Rebecca J. Vickery, and er... me.
Over The Coals is a story of emotional trauma and healing, built around a summer cookout. I began with the idea that my heroine, Jill, would have most of the problems and growth. After all, her fiance' stole her credit card, charged it to the hilt, then skipped town with another woman. But by the third page, while Jill is forming her opinion of the gregarious hero, Rob, I began to ask, “What would make Rob flirt with women and clown around? Maybe it's a cover-up for the real Rob. A front to keep people, especially women, from getting too close.” So I came up with a traumatic experience, one that would make Rob take on a dual personality. You will have to read the story to find out how Rob was traumatized.

What inspired you to write this story?
As a whole, we make snap judgments about people from first impressions. Most of the time those opinions stick. Later, we may discover we are way off-base. I wrote Over The Coals to show how wrong our opinions can be, and to instill others to take a closer look “before” passing judgment.

That's an imporatant message.
Can you give us a little history on the characters, including how you developed them , and what endears them to you?
Jill Landers, like myself, enjoys sitting on the sidelines to observe people. She also asks personal questions. Questions that make Rob Canter flinch. I enjoyed developing Rob's dual personality. Funny, outgoing, flirtatious...but when confronted with touchy questions, he flees. I like the way Jill persists until she gets to the truth. She loves Rob and will not let up. She knows healing must take place before she and Rob can have a relationship built on trust.

What do you hope to be able to accomplish through your writing? Any long term goals?
My desire is to write inspiring stories to not only entertain and evoke laughter, but stories that pull the readers into the characters' minds to make them feel their pain, struggles, heartaches, and finally joy. When it all comes together, the couple realizes nothing is impossible with God.

Any ideas for future projects?
My current project is a short story about two secondary characters in Journey To Forgiveness. Since this pair added humor to JTF, I wanted to take off with their relationship then submit it as a short story to the “Humor Anthology” due to come out next year. Besides, that, I'm working on a sort of pre-quel to Journey To Forgiveness that stars the heroine's aunt as a young woman in 1923. Another one on the back burner is a modern-day cowgirl story. The heroine flees Wyoming and a manipulative stepmother by obtaining a a ranch hand job in Colorado. Only problem is during her phone interview, her new boss mistakes her for a guy. The only way out is to dress the part. Melody really needs the job. You can imagine the humorous possibilities that could result from her cowboy disguise.

Trivia time! What's your favorite movie, food, and place to vacation? Also, any other hobbies?
You mean besides Gone With the Wind? The Two Worlds of Jennifer Logan stuck in my head when I first watched it in the late 70s. The heroine (Lindsay Wagner) finds a beautiful 19th century dress in a trunk in her attic. When she puts it on and looks in the free-standing mirror, she's taken back in time to meet a wonderful, charming man who is in danger. She must save his life somehow, by changing history.
Favorite food? Chocolate, and if you add caramel and pecans, all the better. Rocky Road or Moose Tracks ice cream is good, too. For vacations, I love Branson...the clean air, the shows, mountains, lakes, restaurants, shops, the hospitable people.
As far as hobbies, most are unaware of my knowledge about herbs, natural alternatives, supplements, etc. My cabinet is stocked like a pharmacy, only it's full of supplements. No drugs for this gal. I don't even take a headache pain reliever unless Ginger can't take it away. Popping a couple ginger capsules actually works better than a headache remedy.

Other than your book, do you have any recommendations you'd like to pass along? If writing is in your blood don't let anyone steal your dream. Steer clear of those who try to discourage you from your goal. Often these are family members. So, though we can't always avoid them, it may be best to avoid the topic of your latest writing endeavor. Hold that dream close to your heart; allow no one to rip it from you.
In the meantime find a good critique partner who will encourage and help you hone your writing skills. Be sure to ask God for direction, then go for it. Never, never, never, never, never, give up!
Laurean, this was great! Thanks for visiting today.
For more about Laurean:
To purchase her books:


  1. Enjoyed this interview and getting to know Laurean! Thanks to both of you!

  2. I've had the pleasure of reading all of Laurean's works. She has great skill of setting the reader directly into the "place". I loved how, in JTF, you truly felt you were in that era with listening to old radio shows, news about Hitler's advances in Europe, etc. In "Jonquils" she brought you into the cold and ice of the season, but the hope that breaks through with the blooming of this fragile flower. And "Over the Coals", you could smell the burgers cooking in that backyard barbecue, and when Rob was picking peaches...oh boy, did I crave for that juice to be sliding down my chin!

    The underlying theme in her stories are forgiveness, acceptance, and courage in facing your fears.

    I encourage everyone to read her books. You won't be disappointed.

  3. Hi Laurean,
    What a great interview. I have Journey to Forgiveness on my TBR list, and I can't wait to read it. It sounds so good. I was interested in your herbs. I too take herbs and supplements.

  4. Laurean is unable to post on my blog, so I'll be relaying messages for her.

  5. To Gail from Laurean,
    "Thank you for dropping in. I hope you enjoy "Journey To Forgiveness." Writing it was a long process. I shelved it for almost a year, at the half-way point. But I never gave up on the story. It was my mother's story and begged to be written.

    "Glad to meet a fellow herb-user. Sure beats the side effects from pharmaceuticals...if it's NOT necessary to take them."


  6. To Miss Mae from Laurean,

    Hi, Miss Mae. Thank you for dropping by Shawna's blog...and for your wonderful comments. Sheesh!Hope I live up to them.

    Coming from a female Alfred Hitchcock, who raises the hair on your head. plus makes you shake like Jello under the covers (pulled up over your head BTW), these words mean a lot.


  7. Inspiring interview, ladies! Laurie, we've been friends for a long time and you know I love you and your books. I've yet to read Over the Coals, but if it's anything like your previous, I am in for one sizzling hot summer read! You are a gift, dear friend. Never change. Your star has only begun to shine bright!

  8. HI Laurean and Shawna,
    Wonder interview and I love Laurie's storytelling abilities. She turns her characters into your friends and you hold a memory of them long after reading her work. Can't wait to read your sequels, Laurie. Especially the humorous one. LOL

  9. Hey Laurean, wonderful interview. Keep those stories coming!

    Love ya!

  10. Oops, that was supposed to say wonderful interview. Need to limber of my fingers. LOL

  11. Great Interview. I can hear the tone of a Southern Lady in the words alone. Your book sounds interesting.

    I especially love your advice of don't let anyone still your dream. That is so true and so sad that we would have to tell that to writer's because there are actually those who would try to do exactly that.

    Thank you for your heart and insight, Lorean. And Shawna, thanks again for opening your site to introduce us to another writer.

    God bless you both.

  12. Hi Shawna and Laurean! First off, GREAT INTERVIEW. Second, love love love Laurean's work. Journey to Forgiveness is still one of my all time favs. I don't have much time to read very much anymore, but am always on the look out when Laurean has a new book out. She's a very talented writer! Hope both of you have a wonderful day and keep all that literary goodness coming our way!


  13. To Jan Marie from Laurean:

    "I appreciate you stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the interview. So did I. Shawna's a wonderful host. God bless you"

  14. Great interview Laurie & Shawna!

    I truly enjoyed JTF & pray God's blessings on Laurean for her success.

  15. Sorry I'm late, Laurie & Shawna! I love the story of how you rewrote parts of your Journey to Forgiveness and the scenes you added ended up being your favorite ones. Isn't it grand how God had this published at such a great time - those humorous parts were meant to be included. I'm looking forward to reading your mother's story.

    Btw, I remember that Lindsay Wagner movie - great pick.

  16. Wow what a detailed interview - lots of info! Thanks Shawna and Laurean. Its hard to imagine a high school class of 16. I remember liking those school book reports - maybe that's where I got to enjoy doing reviews. I'm so glad that you stuck it out and were willing to work with editors to get your book out. It isn't an easy process. I agree it is important to seek encouragers and critique partners who will help with the craft. Lots of good comments and experience you have shared.

  17. I just want to thank all of you for visiting my blog and making Laurie feel welcome.

  18. I'm so glad to hear there is going to be another story with characters from Journey to Forgiveness. You write beautifully! Best of luck with your books.

  19. Hi Laurie and Shawna,
    Great interivew. Love reading about an author's journey to publication.

    Best of luck with all your projects

  20. Hi Laurean, I visited too early and now I'm probably too late! The story of my life. And very interesting interview. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your books. Linda


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If you're curious about the story behind the name of my blog, click on the car. :)