SIX MINUTES WITH LAURA SMITH:
Author Laura Smith joins LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author! Laura is the self-published author of The Stable House, Saving Hascal’s Horrors and The Castle Park Kids. Laura also writes poetry and blogs.
How did you get started writing?
I’ve been writing since before I could read. My first book was a fully illustrated book about dinosaurs that I wrote when I was five and fastened together with pieces of thick yarn. I don’t know what drew me to writing besides a love of reading. When adults ask you what you want to be when you grow up, as a kid, it’s a puzzling question. You’re just starting to learn about what you like to do, and your idea of adulthood and working is still being shaped by generalizations (doctors check your heart, police officers arrest bad guys, office workers dress up and type on the computer, etc.), but you don’t really know how you want to spend your adult days. Writing was a concept that I could grasp, and I just started to copy my favorite picture books and eventually develop my own original content, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
After filling dozens of notebooks with short stories and journal entries over the years, I finally got some direction in college as to how to publish my work. So, I started to send poems and short stories to literary journals. It took a few years and many submissions, but I eventually started to get my poetry published. Since then, I’ve been published in: Rune Magazine, Voices from the Garage, Falling Star Magazine, Blast Furnace Press, The Lavender Review, James Dickey and Torrid.
Just before I graduated from college, my fiction writing professor encouraged me to turn one of my short stories into a novel. That story became the first chapter in my first self-published book, The Stable House. I went through the traditional process of submitting my book to publishers and agents in an attempt to get published. Around this time, the world of self-publishing was beginning to become more affordable and accessible, so I decided to try my hand at self-publishing. I’m still working on getting published in the traditional sense and getting myself an agent, but it has been nice to get my work out to the public and make my own decisions in the publishing process with the three books I have self-published.
Who influenced you?
I was named after Laura Ingalls Wilder, and as soon as I had the ability, I began to pick up her books, but because I started writing so young, I would have to say that I was first influenced by my collection of picture books (Mother Goose, Golden Books, etc.). As I learned to read and continued to read, both recreationally and academically, new authors kept me interested in reading and writing including Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, Betsy Byars, Ann M. Martin, E.B. White, Stephen King, Harper Lee, Jennifer Weiner, etc. I’m also heavily inspired by movies. When I see a well written movie, it inspires me to write, and I borrow from movies more often than I borrow from books. Books keep me wanting to write, and movies show me how to write.
Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
My tastes in stories are very diverse, and they keep changing throughout the years. I’ve gone through different phases, but I generally stick to books that are grounded in the real world and are about regular people in contemporary settings. I’m not into fantasy or romance novels, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten away from the horror and mystery genres. I still love Wilder’s Little House series and like to read the entire series every few years. Lately, I’m drawn to stories about motherhood and regular struggles, and I’ve been re-reading the classics like The Catcher in the Rye, Jane Eyre, and other famous novels that I first read in school.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
I would tell them to write as often as possible, even if they aren’t writing publishable material. They should write whatever they want, no matter how unique or competitive the genre because if they’re not writing what they want, it’s not worth their time. Also, they should learn as much about the publishing industry ahead of time as possible and start submitting pieces early because it takes so long to get published, and the earlier they succeed in getting published, the easier it will be to stick with it.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I typically write in the evenings in my living room with a movie playing in the background, but I write in many different places, whether it be by the lake while fishing, on the hill behind the office building where I work, or in my bed. As long as I have quiet and focus, I can write anywhere and on anything.
What else would you like to tell us?
I would like to invite people to like my Facebook author page. It’s a work in progress, but I would really like to connect with other authors, readers, and anyone who wants to engage in conversations about the writing world.
Laura, thank you very much for spending six minutes with LitPick! It is so interesting that you were named after Laura Ingalls Wilder! Thank you for sharing that with us.
Self-published on Amazon and CreateSpace:
The Stable House
Saving Hascal’s Horrors:
The Castle Park Kids