Interview with Laurie Gilbreath

When did you first start writing?
I first began telling stories to my mother before I could read or write. She'd write them down for me. I think I wrote my fist poem when I was about 3 years old, and it went something like this:

I like mice
Mice are nice
They eat ice......
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is a historical romance. I was voraciously reading Regency Era romances, and I found so much similarity between the graces and proprieties in those books and the old southern southern belle traditions. As a charm school graduate myself, I wanted to write a story that was set in the 1820's in the south, so I did.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love to write, and though every writer should constantly be improving their craft, we all know that feeling of putting down the pen (or closing the keyboard) and thinking, "I got that. That was....it." It would be great to hear from Random House or Harper Collins tomorrow, but the chances of that are similar to the chances of the latest Auburn Basketball star going to the NBA. Indie publishing gives every dedicated writer a public voice.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I am brand new, so I hope that maybe a year from now I'll be able to answer this question with lots of enthusiasm.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It depends on why I am writing. Sometimes just creating the story is an adventure. Often it is a form of therapy, and finishing a work feels like being declared sane (if only for a moment). There are times when it puts to rests old ghosts by allowing me to say, in my own way, those things we all wish we could say. Most of the time it's just weaving the words. I love words.
What do your fans mean to you?
Not sure I have any fans, though friends and family and the odd reviewer are very encouraging. When I DO have fans, though, I promise to buy all of them pizza and unicorns!
What are you working on next?
Right now I am working on lots of "work related writing." I'm a freelance writer and editor as well. But I am also trying to slog my way through a fantasy story that is stuck in my head. As someone who is used to writing romance, humor, and the odd creepy suspense story, fantasy is a learning curve - a sharp one. I also have a few things I am tinkering with, such as a suspense/thriller story about a woman is running from something, but she has no idea what, and a humorous story about a former southern belle who has to plan her debutante mother's funeral after her mother is killed on the 16th hole of the country club golf course....in a freak ball washer accident.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love the Bronte Sisters and Jane Austen, like every good romance lover. I also enjoy Nora Roberts, and no matter how depressed I think I am, and of the books detailing the adventures of Stephanie Plum make me laugh. I enjoy Stephen King but can't read him when alone, and I admit to still reading my mom's old Erma Bombeck books from time to time. J K Rowling is a big favorite, whether I am a kid or not. And Sharon Creech (I taught elementary school for many years) - I cry every time I read "Walk Two Moons." If I am feeling somber and reclusive and like donning an all white wardrobe, then I reach for Emily Dickinson.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My children, my diva fluff ball Malti-tzu, who will make my life miserable if I try to stay in bed for too long. I have dark days, but in the end, I cannot think of a single viable reason to stop living or getting out of bed when I consider the people around me and the things there are still left to experience. I am usually not one of those morose, brooding authors, and I'm not an introvert. Not sure how that happened.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to sing, I enjoy getting back into shape, I love my kids (they are hysterical and scary smart). I admit I'm a bit of an online junky at times, and my kindle reader is often busy. I go through phases of creativity with bad painting, bad piano playing, bad acting, and bad housekeeping. And since my freelance writing is going well, I find I'm busier than I thought I would be.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I blog, and I read blogs. I look at magazines while waiting at the doctor's office and see what gets how many stars (though if it looks interesting I don't care about the stars). I talk to friends and read facebook posts. I wander through the bookstore, and if a book's jacket teaser sounds like a good read, I buy it online.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I was in first grade, and we did a writing exercise. We chose a picture that had been cut out of a magazine, and we were to write a story to go along with it. It only had to be three sentences, and the purpose was to practice handwriting. My saga of the crying baby on the doctor's scale who was sick and was about to get a shot went on for three of those handwriting dotted line paper pages. I am pretty sure my mom still has that too.
What is your writing process?
I used to just get accosted by an idea and write like a mad woman. Then, if I was lucky, the fury would last until the story was finished. These days I have finally learned (to my chagrin) the value of things like outlines and note-taking and such. It was very humbling to discover that being organized can actually help...However, I still will write down something that grabs me on anything I can find and save it for later.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I have always loved to read, and I went through the litany of Little House, Anne of Green Gables, and very cool Judy Blume books. But Madeline L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time" just....floored me. I read it over and over. Then, in junior high school, I borrowed a friend's book, which never was a classic or anything, called "Lisa Bright and Dark," about a teenage girl with manic-depression. I could feel everything that character went through, and that was when I realized how character-driven I was as a writer.
How do you approach cover design?
For my first self-published book, which was about a marriage shaken by adultery, I used some props I had at home and took them to a photographer I knew - my porcelain cake topper, a few partially used candles, and a rich velvet throw as a backdrop. He did an amazing job. For the other ebooks I have published, I gave an idea of the theme of the book and the characters and let the experts do their thing.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Jane Eyre - the simple, deep, girl gets the handsome, brooding hero

The entire Harry Potter series - any book series that makes an entire generation of kids start reading again is amazing

Nicholas' Sparks' "The Wedding" - I'll cry if I say why, and I don't want my mascara running

The Help - mainly because of the great discussions my mom and I had about her own growing up. She never had a nanny or maid, but lots of her friends did, and I heard some of her cool "when I first started teaching" stories as well

Fahrenheit 451 - Honestly, it wasn't my favorite book when I first read it in high school. Now a part of me considers it prophetic

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers - I feel hope every time I read it
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything except slasher horror and technical manuals.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use the kindle cloud reader on my Ipad
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small college town in the south. I was lucky to attend a laboratory school on the campus of the college, and it was designed to encourage creativity and individualized learning. This gave me the opportunity to explore my creative bent and imagination freely. I got to write stories, poetry, write and produce my own plays, and create. The only downside was getting picked last for kickball (smile).
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Facebook is awesome for this. Also, having a blog and web site helps tremendously. Other than that, local bookstores that will promote regional authors' books are great because you don;t have to be a multiple best seller to do book-signings, interviews, etc.
Describe your desk
My desk is a long folding card table. It's all we had. It's covered with cups of pens and sharpies, my laptop and second monitor, sacking file bins, an external burner, and pictures of my awesome kids. And there's usually a stack of papers and a big glass of Coke Zero there as well. The best part is the view of big old southern live oaks just outside the window.
Published 2014-01-19.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

He Remains Faithful
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 72,530. Language: English. Published: February 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Inspirational
Kelly´s life has turned out differently that she thought it would. She finds herself restless, frustrated, and lonely. Mike knows that all is not well in his house. He feels the distance between himself and Kelly, but he isn´t sure how to build a bridge. Andrew is a success in the ad game, and Kelly's colleague. He is a man of character, and he always makes the honorable choice. Always.
Magnolia Secrets
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 58,450. Language: English. Published: February 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
When Lillianna and Alexander are caught in the scandalous trap of one of Lillie's rivals, he flees to Natchez, Missisippi, and she is exiled to her cruel aunt's home in New Orleans. A year later, Alexander attends a ball at Celeste LaBelle's quadroon ballroom and pleasure, where he sees Lillie standing across the room. Why is she there, and why does he want her more than ever?