Today we welcome Laura Bradford as we travel to New York and learn how candy corn, Multiple Sclerosis, Walt Disney, and sea lions play a key role in Laura’s writers life. Grab some paper, crayons and sharpened pencils and get comfortable …
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m what you might call a geographical mutt. I was born in New Jersey, but have also lived in Connecticut, Ohio, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, and now, New York. I’m a mom (best job ever), a doorman for the family cat, a baking enthusiast (and fruits-of-my-labor eater), and a lover of all things chocolate. My “happy places” include Walt Disney World, the beach, and a small town called Tie Siding, Wyoming.
In which genre do you write?
I have written most extensively in cozy mysteries (amateur sleuth whodunits), but have found my way into Women’s Fiction, as well.
How many published books do you have?
To date? Thirty-three.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
Oh, I remember that day well. I was ten years old and playing at my friend’s house. It was raining outside and we’d exhausted all of our favorite go-to activities (Barbies, and back-up dancers–don’t ask). My friend pulled out a stack of paper, a box of Crayola Crayons, and some sharpened Number Two pencils in anticipation of the children’s books she suggested we make. A few hours later, armed with my first self-written book in tow, I walked in my front door and told my mom I was going to be an author when I grew up.
What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?
When I’m in the final push of a book, I crave a bowl of Brach’s Candy Corn and a tall glass of milk. Not sure why, but if I don’t have those two things, the book isn’t going to get finished.
What does your ideal writing space look like?
It would be a big, bright, sunny room with long billowing curtains (billowing because of the ocean breeze coming through the window of my ocean front writing room). There would be built-in bookshelves on the non-window walls–stuffed with the books I’ve written, my favorite books to read, and pictures of the people who make me happy.
I’d have a big desk to accommodate my laptop, my notes, and my bowl of deadline candy corn. Next to–and facing–the big floor to ceiling windows would be a big, comfy oversized/overstuffed chair where I’d actually spend most my time writing, plotting, dreaming…
Now let’s contrast that to my actual writing space, shall we? Me, jammed into the corner of my old, tired living room couch with a stack of notebooks beside me and the cat curled up on top of the notebook I’m trying to consult.
But hey, a gal can dream, can’t she?
List 3 interesting facts about yourself.
*I was one of 13 kids in my very small elementary school who had their appendix out within a 2 week time period.
*Thirty of my thirty-three books published to date, have been since I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
*I can recite the old Big-Mac ingredient list (1970’s era commercial slogan for McDonald’s) backwards. Fast.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
The nugget that grew into A Daughter’s Truth, came to me in a flash while driving around Amish Country in Pennsylvania. I passed a quiet cemetery and found myself picturing a young woman, standing over a family member’s grave, staring down at a locket someone had left beside the simple gravestone. Right away I had to know who was buried there…who the girl was….what was inside the locket…and who put it there. I simply had to write this story to find out.
If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would have a coffee date with Walt Disney. And more than actually ask him anything (although it would be fun to pick his brain), I’d like to show him (via pictures) how much joy he’s brought to families (including mine) by way of his imagination. I’m seriously in awe of everything that man set in motion.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?
That I’m not as much of an introvert as I once thought–or once was. I always thought the life of an author was just about writing. That’s it. How wrong I was … When my first book was published, I was asked to give a talk at a library. I was terrified and it felt like I had a bag of cotton in my mouth the whole time I was speaking. But somehow, along the way, I’ve actually come to enjoy getting out and talking at libraries and other reader events.
If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?
Ha! Where do I start? 1) Would you like a breath mint? 2) We have guests–can you lick your nether regions somewhere else, please? 3) Do you really not get the notion that if you trip and kill me on the way to get your food, there will be no one to feed you?
What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?
Wow. Tough question. If I’m craving fun, I’d say Walt Disney World (with the kids–who, by the way are now in their 20’s). If I’m in need of slowing things down a wee bit, I’d say Lancaster County (Amish Country) in Pennsylvania. In the late fall. And if I’m in need of utter peace, I’m going with my friend’s home in Tie Siding, Wyoming. There’s something about standing on her back deck, looking at the mountains that makes you realize how really small you are and I think that’s a worthwhile reminder for us all sometimes. It’s very quieting.
Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on …
This is an easy one as I do this, from time to time, when I need a break. I head down to NYC (it’s about a 50 minute train ride along the Hudson River) in the morning. I have breakfast at a favorite haunt on West 72nd Street, and then I trek across Central Park to the zoo and watch the sea lions do tricks for their food. I know the names (and can tell them apart) of each sea lion they have and I not-so-secretly dream about getting out on the rocks with the trainers and tossing a fish into a sea lion’s mouth (and trust me, that is the only thing that could ever make me hold a fish–alive or otherwise–in my bare hands).
Tell us about your most recent book.
A Daughter’s Truth is my 2nd Women’s Fiction novel, and it’s the book I’ve been getting the most reader written letters about. People are telling me it’s making them “feel all the feels.” I think a lot of that is because at some point in life, we all find ourselves at a crossroad. Maybe we’re there because of illness, or a big change in life, or via other people’s choices (like Emma is in the novel). But no matter why we’re there, we all have the same choice in that instance: will the moment define me or will I define the moment.
Thank you Laura for stopping by Meeting the Authors. It was fun and interesting to learn more about your background. I look forward to adding A Daughter’s Truth to my to be read pile! –Camilla
Book Blurb for A Daughter’s Truth:
Emma Lapp tries to be the perfect daughter, to earn the loving embrace of her family and her Amish community in Pennsylvania. Yet she can’t quite win her mother’s smile—or her forgiveness for a transgression Emma can’t quite place . . .
Emma knows she’s a reminder of her mother’s greatest sorrow, having been born on the same day Mamm lost her beloved sister. The one bright spot has been the odd trinkets anonymously left at her aunt’s grave each year on Emma’s birthday—gifts Emma secretly hides because they upset her parents. But the day she turns 22, a locket bears a surprise that sends her on an unexpected journey . . .
Searching for answers, Emma travels to the English world and finds a kinship as intriguing as it is forbidden. But is this newfound connection enough to leave behind the future she’d expected? The answers are as mysterious, and as devastating, as the truth that divides Emma from the only family, and the only life, she’s ever known . . .
Where we can find it:
A Daughter’s Truth is available in print, digital, and audio. It can be purchased via Indiebound.org, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, Apple Books, Amazon, and more.
US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2G1VGfH
UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2YI2Cpi
Connect with Laura:
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/
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And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …