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Friday, December 2, 2016

Hope at Christmas: Author Interview with Laurie LeClair

How did you come up with the idea of your Christmas themed book?
The idea for a Christmas-themed book began the moment Gabriel Angel was born in my mind years ago. I wanted to know if a man who had lost everything could find faith again. In 2014, I finally wrote that touching book, The Heart Remembers. It took me two more years to try to do justice to that first book and write the sequel, The Gift Of Hope. The holiday themes of hope, faith, love, family, and friends continue with this heartwarming series.

Could you give me a short synopsis on the story for my readers?
The Gift Of Hope (An Angel Mountain Novel) - Can a man who has lost faith in others dare to believe in the magic of the Christmas Angels to lead him and the townspeople to the faith, hope, and love they need to save Angel Mountain?

What made you decide to do a Christmas themed book?
There’s something about Christmas that brings out the best in people. We’re more giving of ourselves and more compassionate to the plights of others. It’s a wonderful and humbling time of year. Also, I wanted to write an inspirational holiday book to touch on the meaning of hope and faith in each of us and how just clinging to them can bring us through the worst of times and carry us to be the best people we can be.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?
Growing up, we would go to my grandmother’s house where she, my aunts, and my mother would cook pork pies and another Portuguese dish for Christmas Eve. “Santa” would arrive a few hours later with his sack of gifts, select a present and call out the family member’s name listed on the gift, and that person would have to sit on Santa’s lap and take a picture as they received it. Everyone in the family – more than forty of us – would get a present and have our turn. 

The next day, everyone would go back to my grandmother’s house where she made the best chicken and stars soup, a big ham dinner, and serve delicious desserts my mom and my aunts made. My dad, my aunts. and uncles would spend the afternoon playing cards, my mom and her sisters would catch up and gossip, and all the cousins would play and share our new toys. Also, we’d have a little birthday party for my mom (my family’s miracle Christmas baby).

Today, I continue that tradition of making a pork pie every Christmas Eve and my husband and I watch my favorite movie, It’s A Wonderful Life. On Christmas day, my husband and I spend a quiet morning opening gifts. Later, we cook Christmas dinner together while catching up on the phone with family and friends who live far away.

What’s next? (future books, novellas, special appearances you want to mention)

I have so much going on the rest of this year and into the new year. I’m working on my new series for Tule Publishing! The three, sweet contemporary western books will be out in 2017. Also, I’m plotting my next book in my romantic comedy series, Once Upon A Romance. I love writing these funny romances and the next one – number 11 - will be out in early 2017. More books in this series are on the schedule.

Any special awards or achievements you’d like to mention?
I have an honorable mention award for one of my books, cover awards for three others (one was for the cover and the blurb), and Amazon bestselling status with some of my books in the romantic comedy series. Honestly, after writing for twenty-six years, I just feel so blessed to be writing the books. I love and connecting with readers who love them.

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been give that you’d like to share?
Write the “crappy” first draft – no stopping, no editing, just write. Get the words down. Edit later. Polish again and again until it shines. As the great Nora Roberts says, you can’t edit a blank page. 

What do you know now about writing and publishing you wish you had learned sooner?
On writing: I don’t know who said this, but it is something that resonates with me now. Being a writer means you always have homework. Study your craft and keep studying it. It is a never-ending process that helps you grow as a writer. 

Find what works for you. I would attend a workshop, hungry for tidbits, and immediately follow the speaker’s advice, hoping that it would be the “secret code.” I wasted a lot of time chasing someone else’s method that was great for them, but not so great for me. Knowing who you are and how you operate – on a learning level and in your writing process - is invaluable in discovering the key to unlocking what works best for you.

On publishing: What worked then, doesn’t necessarily work now. What works now, will not always work in the future. The one thing that is guaranteed in this industry is that it will change and you must adapt and change with it or you’ll be left behind.

Any last words or tips?
DON’T GIVE UP ON YOURSELF! If writing is your dream, don’t allow your fears to dominate you so much so that it stops you from pursuing that dream. The time will pass no matter what you are doing in your life. 

Five years from now, wouldn’t you rather look back and know you tried your best to go after your dream than to curse at the time you wasted not doing anything to further your dream?

That's all for today's interview. If you'd like to know more about Laurie's current and future books, click on her link:

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