Joining me on the couch today is author Laura Greenwood, who like to write (that’ a given), cook and bake. Thank you, Laura, for taking the time to chat to me. Please sit down, get comfortable and let’s begin.
About Laura Greenwood
Laura is a speculative fiction & romance author, often mixed together! Whether it’s shifters, princesses or theatre lovers, the stories she writes are the ones that get stuck in her head!
When she’s not writing, she likes to cook and bake, as well as read a wide variety of genres. She’s also a Brownie Guide (or Girl Scout if you’re in the US) leader.
Her main series, the Paranormal Council, is a paranormal romance series featuring shifters, necromancers, witches and more.
What’s the name of your new book?
Creatures: A Limited Edition Collection of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance
Tell us a bit about the collection
Creatures is a collection of otherworldly tales from today’s indie-favorite New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling authors!
You are about to enter the realm of Creatures, a boxed set packed with more than twenty enthralling tales of urban fantasy and paranormal romance! From witches to vampires, shifters to fae, and every dark creature known to lurk the pages of fantasy fiction, you’re sure to find yourself up past your bedtime and reading well into the witching hour!
So curl up on your sofa with a steaming cup of tea and PreOrder today if you dare brave the beasts!
If there was a film or TV adaptation of your book, who would you like to see play your characters?
In all of my books, there is only one character I have that has an answer for this! And that’s Rory from The Necromancer’s Prey. She’d definitely be played by Mila Kunis. While Mila is shorter than Rory is, they share the same kind of look, and Mila’s spunkiness from other roles would suit Rory perfectly!
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Sometimes names are important, sometimes they’re really not. I have a variety of ways in which names come to me. Some, such as Annabelle (What Lies Beneath the Mask), Rory (The Necromancer’s Prey), Arabella (The Vixen’s Bark) and Raven (Hidden Smoke), just come to me as part of the character, and then they’re stuck with them!
Others actually have a meaning. Arabella and Rory’s other halves (Bjorn and Alden respectively) have names relating to what kind of shifters they are. Bjorn’s name means “bear”, whereas Alden’s means “wise” (he’s an owl shifter). Equally, the couple in The Dryad’s Pawprint, Kemnebi and Xylia, mean “panther” and “from the woods” respectively, as they’re a panther shifter and a dryad.
And then there’s the odd few that have names just because I liked the sound of them when I was looking Eaton (Hidden Smoke) and Caden (Moonrise) are two such.
With my co-written book, Ocean’s Serenade (part of the Creatures Box Set) the names Ronan and Coral were settled on after hours of debate!
Where do your ideas come from?
Where don’t they come from is probably the better question! I think that most of my ideas probably stem from things that go on around me, and then spring to life when I’m switching off, and twist into ways that I use for my stories.
But mostly my books come from the characters themselves. I’ll have a picture in my head, and the characters will then tell me about what happened to them. It sounds kind of crazy, but it makes writing the easy part. The only annoying thing is when they tell me something I don’t like, and I have to roll with it because it’s part of the story! (Yes, Rory. I’m looking at you there. Just couldn’t behave could you?)
Have you always liked to write?
Yes! I remember getting our first computer. I think I was about seven at the time. I used to write really short stories about my beanie babies. Thankfully, those stories seem to have disappeared, and I only have a really weird story about space birds left of which to be embarrassed!
When I was slightly older, and at secondary school (so somewhere between 11 and 15), I used to write a TV series with my friends. It wasn’t a real TV series naturally, but it was written to be one. Think Fawlty Towers type format and humour. We re-read these as a group recently, and somewhat surprisingly, they’re not as bad as we thought they were!
Properly writing fiction, I probably started around eighteen, but wasn’t published until I was twenty-two, and didn’t self-publish for another two years. But now I write all the time. It’s an intrinsic part of who I am!
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
I have several pieces of advice actually!
1. Accept that you’re going to make mistakes. This is probably the MOST important thing I can think of. I’ve made mistakes in my publishing, several of them. And I’ve learnt more from making those mistakes than I have from not.
2. Your cover is SO important. Seriously don’t get it wrong! One of the above mentioned mistakes was the cover of my first contemporary romance. The original cover was gorgeous, and I still love it, but what it didn’t do was convey genre. At all. I’ve replaced it now, but the damage was already done I think.
3. Write! Write what you love (notice I didn’t say write what you know, because unfortunately I don’t know any hot male shifters!) and write a lot. If you want to hop genres, then do. If you want to write in just one niche, then do. Both of those have their advantages and their disadvantages, but it’s about finding what works for you.
4. Writing the book is the easy bit. Marketing is way harder. Just be careful where you spend your money!
How long does it usually take you to write the first draft of a book?
It depends how much I procrastinate. But my quickest turn around was The Necromancer’s Prey, which I wrote in about a week. If I didn’t get distracted I could do a lot better!
What are you working on now?
As I’m writing this, I’m working on several things!
Hidden Smoke: This a fantasy romance with assassins and court politics…and has been a long time coming! This kind of fantasy is what I started writing, but up until May, I’d never actually published any. I’m just putting the final touches to it as I type.
Ocean’s Serenade: This is a paranormal romance that I’m co-writing with J & L Wells. It’s got mermaids, romance & magic, and is exclusively a part of the Creatures Box Set. So far it’s been an amazing experience!
The Vampire’s Bite: This is more in the planning stages, but is the 4th book of my Paranormal Council series, involving shifters, vampires, romance and more. I love this series, and actually I’ll be sad when I write the last book (but that’s still some time away).
Moonflight: This is only a short story, and serves as a kind of prequel to Moonrise, my first sci-fi romance! I really enjoyed writing this one. Just polishing it up so I can submit to an anthology!
How has your environment or upbringing impacted your writing?
This is actually a hard one to answer. I know that my upbringing has, but it’s hard to actually quantify that.
All of my characters have a little bit of me in them, some more than others, and some I won’t admit to. I have one character who had events in her past that are similar to some in my own. Because they’re so central to the story, I’ll never actually fully admit which parts are based on truth, and which are just there for the plot, but those events from my life definitely shaped what I wrote.
A happier example of how my upbringing shaped my writing is in my most recent contemporary story, Recruiting Love (which is included in the Charity Anthology, the Summer of Us). I actually purposefully gave Jill some of my childhood memories from visiting Honfleur on the French Coast, and making moules marinière with my Grandad. Those are real memories, and I actually got a text from him this morning saying he loved that they were in there!
What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your book?
Probably the mating habits of panthers. Not something I ever thought that I’d be researching! Though I’ve also had to look up specific dates for historical events (for my forthcoming time travel) including the exact date that Anne Boleyn gave Henry VIII the book that sparked the Reformation and his break from Rome, and specific weapon techniques, which weren’t things I ever thought I’d be looking up.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I write multiple sub-genres of romance, but mostly refer to myself as a Speculative Romance Author so I can cover them all…except my Contemporary Series!
Balancing them can be tough. But at the moment, I have a main series (the Paranormal Council, which is paranormal romance) that has a more rigid release schedule, and then I write other genres around that schedule.
For example, in April I released two paranormal romance books (The Necromancer’s Prey, book #3 of the Paranormal Council, and Spellbound, a spin-off) and a contemporary romance companion novella (You Know I Do), as well as writing a contemporary novelette (Recruiting Love). In May I released two fantasy romances (Assassin Princess and Hidden Smoke) as well as Recruiting Love as part of a Charity Anthology. In June I’ll be releasing the 4th book of my Paranormal Council series (The Vampire’s Bite) and a Sci-Fi Romance (Moonrise).
If I didn’t jump between genres, then I’d get frustrated! So it’s something I have to balance anyway!
Where did your love of books come from?
I’m not really sure. I’ve loved them for as long as I can remember. I have a problem with my eyes that meant I (apparently) learnt to read properly around the age of two. So I guess from there.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
The most recent one! Whoever they are!
I do tend to find that after writing a book, the most recently finished characters are my favourite. However, I think my absolute favourite has to be Arabella Reed from The Vixen’s Bark. Don’t ask me why, but there’s something about her! So far, she’s appeared in all the Paranormal Council books, and I don’t see that ending soon.
Are your characters based on real people, are they imaginary or a combination of both?
Most characters are just from my head. However, there are three in What Lies Beneath the Mask that are at least partly based on real people, but I’ll only tell anyone about one of them!
The secondary character in the book, Hayley, is very much based on my best friend, Anna. They have their differences (for example, Anna is a scientist rather than a costume designer like Hayley), and they look nothing a like. But the interactions between Hayley and Annabelle (the narrator) are very similar to those I have with Anna. It’s her no nonsense approach and strength that are taken from my best friend more than anything!
Available formats: ebook