Wednesday 28 August 2013


Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I’ve always been scribbling, since I was old enough to hold a crayon. I didn’t believe, until recently, that other people would want to read what I wrote.
I have, at various times, worked in criminal justice, in a library, and in government. Dreams change, but writing has always been with me.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
 My newest release is THE OUTSIDE, the sequel to THE HALLOWED ONES. It’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
 I’m published by the wonderful folks at Harcourt. I feel very fortunate to be part of such a great team – they are such a pleasure to work with.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
 It usually takes me a few months. I like to noodle around with the idea and structure it a bit in a journal before actually starting to write. I find that the more real estate I allow the book to take up in my head, the faster it goes.

What genre would you place your books into?
 THE OUTSIDE is a YA thriller. It has some elements of horror and contemporary fantasy, as well.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
The funny part about this series is that I didn’t set out to make it YA. It just came out that way…I knew that I wanted to tell the story from the perspective of a young Amish woman who was dealing with issues of conformity and autonomy. I was completely unaware that it was YA until I turned it in to my agent.
So I guess…the answer is that I didn’t consciously adjust my writing. The story just developed on its own in a YA way.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
Katie is my favorite. Katie was an interesting character to write because she's very strong in a quiet, enduring kind of way. And she’s a young Amish woman – which was a very exciting challenge for me to write! Katie struggles to develop her own moral compass, independent of her parents and community. That requires a great deal of fortitude, just as much fortitude as dealing with the evil creatures in her world.

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve always been scribbling, ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon. I loved stories – my mother was a librarian and was always reading to me – so I always wanted to try to tell my own.
Writing as Laura Bickle and Alayna Williams, I wrote four urban fantasies. Two are best summed up as “Ghostbusters in Detroit with dragons and arson” (EMBERS and SPARKS). The other two, DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE, are about a criminal profiler who uses Tarot cards to solve crimes. 
My most recent work includes a pair of dystopian fantasies, THE HALLOWED ONES and THE OUTSIDE.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
 I have a hard time coming up with titles that “stick.” THE HALLOWED ONES was originally called THE GATE, to symbolize the boundary between the Amish world and the world outside, safety and chaos. But THE HALLOWED ONES fits the story better – it evokes a mood and creates more curiosity, I think.
And the same was true for the sequel. THE OUTSIDE was originally THE SHINING ONES when I was drafting.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
 One of my favorite tools to use in naming characters and places is This website allows me to search by meaning, so I can give my characters names that really fit their personalities and challenges.

Are character names and place names decided after their creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
 I name the character when I create him or her, and the name becomes a part of the character.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
 I keep notebooks of character ideas. So my characters are pretty well laid-out before I start writing. There are always some surprises and new developments, but I like to know what I’m starting with. They always grow and change as the story develops, which feels pretty organic to me.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I do plot before I write. I like to have a roadmap that shows me where I’m going. Usually, I wind up somewhere more unexpected than I began, but I like to keep track of character arcs and the pacing in the story.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
The only solution I’ve found to writer’s block is pushing through it. If I let the block fester, it becomes larger and more difficult to surmount. If I keep nibbling at it, it disappears.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
I collect comic books, Tarot cards, and action figures. I recently started taking karate classes, and have been known to break out into spontaneous belly dance (but never when anyone’s watching!).

Where can readers follow you?
My website is I’m also on Facebook and Twitter, usually exclaiming over cute cat pictures.
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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today! I really appreciate it!