Author Interview: Laura M. Drake

What is your name?*

Laura M. Drake

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

My first stand-alone novel that takes place in a world between life and death called the In-Between. It’s an enemies to lovers, stand-alone paranormal romance novel.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

My first trilogy is fantasy, and I like to tell people it’s sort of like Harry Potter meets Avatar: the Last Airbender with a touch of Anastasia thrown in. It’s got elemental magic, a magical academy, a country on the brink of civil war, a missing princess, and a group of four best friends. My second series is a quartet of Japanese ghost stories based on my time living in Japan. (No, I didn’t encounter any ghosts, but all the cultural details and even some of the spooky things were from my friends and time there. I love Japan!) Some of the reviews compare it to The Grudge, so they’re perfect for readers looking for something spooky. Another reader had a fun comparison calling it a crossover of Luigi’s Mansion and Persona 4. It’s an interesting blend of romance, lots of suspense, and a hint of humor mixed into the plot and culture. I’m trying to build my brand as an author whose books are completely clean and appropriate for people of any ages. I’ve had kids as young as eight read my stories and men and women in their sixties enjoy the stories, and I love trying to create an engaging world that anyone could enjoy without having to worry about the content.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

My least favorite part of writing is the very end of the revision process and when I read each chapter aloud. Even though I love watching the book get better, it’s so slow and boring. I’m generally facing serious burn-out at that point because I’ve already gone through so many revisions, and I just desperately want to be done.

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

I love the very beginning of the writing process when I first talk through my plot idea with my sister. She’s an English teacher and always asks all the right questions. I get completely stoked about the new world and the new ideas for the plot, and I can’t wait to start writing right away! Also, I love after the book is published and I get to hear good reviews. They make me grin like few other things can.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

Ooh, good question. I’d love to take Tolkien’s world building skills, Shannon Hale’s humor/originality, Sarah J Mass’ excellent description, and Julianne Donaldson’s ability to make me fall in love with her male MC.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

haha oh no. It’s hard to explain why having her father stolen by a Japanese ghost is for the best, but I guess I’d tell Selena that in the process of losing (and looking for) her father she grew into herself and found someone else to love and support her.

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

If I’m playing poker with Emmie and her friends and and the MC of the book I’m currently reading, I’m honestly not sure who’d win haha. I’ve never played poker in my life and have no idea about the rules, so I’m definitely not going to win. It’s not a game in Emmie’s world, so I’m not sure they’d do much better than me. I guess that means the MC of my current read would win. Hopefully, we wouldn’t play for very big stakes since we wouldn’t know how to play.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

“Area of expertise” haha That seems like a bit of a stretch. If I HAD to choose something I was good at, it’d be cranking words out and not letting worries about not getting it right the first time stop me. I’m all about getting it down and figuring it out as I go, then tightening it up with revisions. I think some people worry too much about writing something perfect or amazing and end up not really writing anything at all. Another thing I’ve really learned to do better at is receiving feedback. I think one of the biggest traps to avoid (especially as a new writer) is being scared of sharing your work and receiving feedback. You shouldn’t let fear of people pointing out your writing flaws deter you but make you into a better writer. It can be hard to hear at first, but when I see how much better my stories get after listening to feedback, I’m always so grateful.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I’m currently on a writing break for November since I just cranked out my entire Japanese Hauntings series in October. I was facing some serious burnout and decided to focus on my marketing for the month. But I’m stoked to jump into my stand-alone novel in a few weeks and get back to writing. I’m hoping to release that book in early 2022, plus another book in a series I’m co-writing under a pen name. (So I’ll keep it a secret for now. hehe) Here’s a link to both of my current series.