Today, as promised, is the second spotlight interview. The guest is one who has become more than a fellow author, but also a client...and she has a brand new redesigned web site that I invite you to visit.
Laurie Alice Eakes graduated from Asbury College, spent many years in misadventures (including teaching high school English), moving about the country (including four years in Iowa), and throwing herself into more research than writing. Just when she thought she was settled in the Shenandoah Valley, she fell in love with a guy from Chicago and moved there. After freezing for two years in Illinois, and getting her Master of Arts degree in writing from Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, she and her new husband moved back to Virginia, but to the DC area instead. She wrote Family Guardian, then work turned her life insane, and she got paragraphs rather than pages written. Now she is almost back on track and writing nearly full-time, but not fast enough for the many novels she needs to finish.
Now, we can hear from her:
1. You used to be known primarily as a Regency author, even though you have recently branched out into other genres. However, Family Guardian falls into the Regency category. Where did you get the inspiration behind this particular story?
Fragrance. I love scents--nice ones that is. One day I heard a woman talking about aromatherapy, so bought a couple of books she recommended and ran across a book on the history of perfume called Fragrance. It was out of print, so I tracked down the author and bought my copy right from him. It gave mea nice twist to a genre where about everything seems to have been done already.
2. How much of your own experiences influenced the characters of Rowena and Tristan? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?
Rowena, being the heroine's older sister, is the lovely and outgoing one who always got the attention. I'd say I probably subconsciously took this from my shy teenage years when my sister could steal one of my boyfriends, or guys in whom I was interested, without even trying.
The rest is pure fabrication. I was never in love with any of my sister's boyfriends. Tristan is a bit of a dreamer, and I think I am, too. Are not all writers?
Clarissant is definitely her own personan overboard nurturer, yet that serves her well and is part of the secret of her success. She and Tristan share the same trait of loyalty, which is something Rowena lacks.
3. What themes exist in Family Guardian that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?
I don't think I start out writing to a theme, that all my themes develop from the story that comes into my head first. In Family Guardian, I'd have to say the themes developed center around life perspective. Although dreams can get us through rough parts in our lives, we reach a point where we have to let go of them to grasp the reality right in front of us that is actually far, far better.
4. What was your most difficult part to write? Your favorite?
This story was not in the least difficult to write. It flowed out as we wished all stories would. I think the chapter that took me the longest was the one where Tristan learns the truth about Rowena and Clarissant, what they have concealed from him. I wanted to get across his sense of betrayal and anger, but not anger for the reasons the reader might expect. That took much tweaking.
Favorite part? The part that is excerpted on my Web Site. The by-play between Tristan and Clarissant. For some reason, when I wrote that part, I knew the book would sell, even though a highly respected crit partner told me to change it. I knew it was right, and I am usually pretty quick to change something if someone objects to it.
5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
The next thing I have coming out is an essay in a nonfiction anthology called Scripture to Live By. Working full-time with a horrendous commute curtailed my writing, and I am just now catching up from that live-draining experience and some other disruptions in my life. I'll keep people posted on dates when I get that far in my blog.
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