Interview with Laura Lee McKellips

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm either at work, playing softball, or reading.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I am a member of several book blogs on facebook. I have found most of my favorite books through those blogs.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a short story in high school around 10 handwritten pages. The people on the bus would read each chapter as I finished them.
What is your writing process?
Well I still have a day job so most of my writing is late at night. I have the basic outline done then I sit down in front of the computer and just start typing. I let the story unfold one plot point at a time. Once I finish with the chapter, I go back and add some flair and spice. The little details are always added to each chapter once I've read through it a few times. I edit each chapter as soon as I finish with it to help streamline the process. Once I finish the book, I read through it once more before sending it to my beta readers. After they read through it, I send it to my editor.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't know the first one I read but the one that really got me started on reading was Where the Red Fern Grows. I love the book to this day. I stayed up late every night reading. It was also the first time I ever cried over a book. The world he created was something special and very hard to do.
How do you approach cover design?
I know what I want on the cover and explain it to my designer. I either take the pictures for my cover or I sit down with my designer and search shutterstock. Once I settle on a picture, she works her magic on it. She's amazing and very creative.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Gone with the Wind: It is my all-time favorite book. I didn't know anything about it when I started it and just got swept away in Scarlett's life.

Where the Red Fern Grows: It was the book that got me started in reading.

Collide: This book introduced me to the Indie World and was the only that showed me I could publish my own book one day.

The Prize: My first Julie Garwood book. I fell in love with the style, characters, and history of it. I now own almost all of Julie Garwood's book because of this book.

Going to the Castle: This was my first harelquin romance book. It was the one to start my love of romance with history mixed in.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly romance but I do other themes sometimes. Romance is almost 95% of the books on my kindle and in my room.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Kindle Keyboard, I bought it for a cruise I took in 2011. I couldn't pack all the books I wanted to take so I bought it. I don't regret my decision.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Describe your desk
Nonexistent, I don't write at a desk. When I sit down to write, I'm normally in my bed with my lapdesk. My notes are spread out around me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Tennesee between several battlefields. My story Cursed Soldier was influenced by the history of the Civil War that surrounded me. I live within minutes of one of the top 10 bloodiest battles and it was one of my school trips almost every year. It was easy to write my book with the effects of the war within driving distance.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing short stories in high school but then dropped it while in college. I picked it back up when I started writing fanfiction. I met some really great people who helped me grow as a writer. They also pushed my to write a real book.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Lily is a event specialist and her best friend is getting married. She meets the brother of the bride and they clash over details of the wedding. They have to learn how to work together so they can create Courtney's dream wedding.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to publish a book but I never thought it would be picked up. When I learned about indie books, I knew this was my sign.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It has gotten my book into platforms like iTunes that I just couldn't reach.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting to read my final product and know that I wrote it.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything, they are the reason that I wrote my second book. They wanted more from me and gave me the courage to write more.
Who are your favorite authors?
Maraget Mitchell, Julie Garwood, Gail McHugh, Katy Evans, Penelope Douglas, Suzanne Collins, Iris Johansen
What are you working on next?
A post Civil War book set in Savannah, TN. It will feature a former POW and a young widow. Two broken souls meeting in the dusty streets of Savannah.
How do you name the characters in your books?
I researched the names in Cursed Soldier. I wanted time period names that would translate into now. I also wanted their names to mean something. Benjamin means son of the South while Alexandria means protector of man.

The names in The Woman Behind the Letters were all older names. I looked up cenus from the 1840s and 1850s for the characters for the new characters that I introduced.

Courtney and Lily featured modern names so it was easy to name them.
Published 2016-01-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 61,840. Language: English. Published: September 17, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » Romance » Historical
Phillip and Rachel have both experienced extreme loss, but life has a way of healing even the deepest hurt and anger. Two broken souls meeting in the dusty streets of Savannah.
Series: Sorority Sisters Duet. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 100,130. Language: American English. Published: December 31, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Clean & wholesome
Attraction flares between Lily and Eric as they planned his sister's wedding. Will these two independent people come together to create Courtney's dream wedding? Or will they explode before she walks down the aisle?
Series: Sorority Sisters Duet. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 89,450. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Clean & wholesome
A chance encounter between Courtney Worth and Jacob Scott will lead them on a journey to love and understanding. A woman scorned with a life-changing secret threatens their happiness and future together. Will Jacob and Courtney band together to deal with the secret? Or will they fall apart?
The Woman Behind the Letters
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 73,930. Language: English. Published: March 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » Romance » Historical
You read her letters in Cursed Soldier; now find out what happened to Kathryn between Benjamin's letters and the war.
Cursed Soldier
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 102,420. Language: English. Published: August 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Benjamin is a cursed Confederate soldier still alive 150 years after the Battle of Gettysburg searching for a way to break his curse. He meets Alexandria, a tour guide at Gettysburg. Is she the key to his problem or will he accept his curse?