Welcome to another Thoughtful Thursday! Today we welcome Laura Drumb to the blog.
Laura, thank you for being here and spending time with us.
What is the inspiration behind your writing?
The red soil of Oklahoma, from which the name of the state is taken, is a strong part of my inspiration. I write Christian historical fiction centered primarily around its heritage and people from the past, sharing those stories with others who need to discover God’s love and grace as I have done. History is our greatest teacher and who better to do that than the Holy Spirit? To emphasize a perfect blending of both aspects of my inspiration, I chose a picture of a valley in southern Oklahoma that shows that famous red dirt to put on my FaceBook Author page as the banner photo on which to display my writing motto. It is taken from two Scriptures, Romans 15:13 and Ephesians 1:18, which are meaningful for me personally and I hope will shine through all my writing as I live them out through my words: Called To Hope – To Live in Joy!
Do you have a favorite author or book?
Love Finds You in Lahaina, Hawaii by Bode Thoene is my favorite Christian historical romance. It seamlessly blends fact and fiction in a fascinating tale from Hawaii’s long ago past woven with a story from the VietNam Era that captivated my imagination from page one. The book displays for me what historical fiction can and should be and set the bar high for my own writing. The twists and turns kept me guessing until the very end, and although the romance is secondary, the author skillfully drew me into the story and had me longing for the happily-ever-after ending that made the suspense worth it all with its many layers and secrets. I pray I can write at this same level someday! There have been several others that made deep impacts on my heart and thus on my writing but this one stands out above the rest.
How have you surprised yourself during your writing journey?
When this debut novel won First Runner Up at the prestigious Write Well, Sell Well Christian Writers Conference in 2014, no one was more surprised than I was! It was a strong validation to me that others in the publishing world found my words worthy of attention, and I am still in shock over that blessing. In addition, although I knew God called me to write for Him, I had little confidence that readers would truly embrace my novel’s theme and characters with the same passion I felt when writing the book. However, the Lord had a humbling surprise waiting for me through the amazing reviews that came in consistently once it was released in 2017. These included several personal testimonies by my reading audience as to its impact on their hearts, which I was not expecting to happen. Not my doing at all, but completely the work of God’s Spirit. I am deeply grateful to see God working through this story to change lives. He powerfully used it to change my own as I wrote but it has thrilled me to see how readers seem to agree!
What book are you currently reading for fun and are you reading anything for research?
I have just recently completed reading The Science and Art of Tracking by Tom Brown, Jr. I needed to better understand how a character could track using ancient skills in order to solve a mystery in my current book, and on the advice of a fellow author I bought and read this book so I could write the scene more authoritatively and accurately. In addition, I have a future book where this skill will come in handy as well, so when I eventually get to write it, I will skim back through the countless underlined points in this research book and perhaps discover some new ones, too. I love it when research overlaps from one work to another and when it helps me make a story come alive because of its details. The last book I read for fun really was not that exactly but nevertheless fascinating and intriguing. It was Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. Fiction based on a true story, I shed many tears over its tale of stolen children from long ago and the web of lies told to cover up how they were bought and sold as though they were pets. So very sad! Very well written book, however. Currently, I am reading two novels: Mustang by John J. Dwyer and Hidden Peril by Irene Hannon. I cannot wait to finish both!
If you could sit down to dinner with three authors, who would they be and what would you discuss?
It is very difficult to select only three! But I suppose the three guests I would choose would be Rene Gutteridge, Jocelyn Green, and James Scott Bell. They have written prolifically about history and current events from a Christian worldview, as well as on the craft of writing itself, and I feel I have much I can learn from each one. Questions to ask them would include: **How do you sustain the same level of writing, or even improve that, from one book to the next?**How have you been able to streamline the writing process so each book does not take several years to put together, in particular with a series?**How do you set a production schedule, especially if one is self published, and then stick to it so as to meet deadlines without a nervous breakdown?**Can you point out the advantages and disadvantages of both traditional and self publishing, then share why you chose one over the other as well as how you got started?**Do you have any tips for those just beginning on how to avoid wasted hours, manage distractions/interruptions, and get your writing completed in a timely manner?
Can you think of anything you wish you had known before you started writing?
Definitely the importance of careful research and planning before writing a single word of a story! Knowing that ahead of time would have saved me endless headaches. Eventually as I read extensively on the craft itself and attended conferences to learn as much as possible about it, the pieces began to fall into place over time but I regret wasting so much time early on when it was not necessary. There are several details I see as essential to my writing now which I found boring at the beginning and thus did not put the effort I should have into each one. They include creating character sketches/arcs, a detailed outline, and specific plotting. With flexibility to adjust each of these as I go along, I have found having them completed first will save me time and energy in the long run. And also provide me with far more pleasure as I write rather than frustration when I box myself into a corner I hadn’t planned on. In addition, learning to listen to my characters as they tell me their story rather than the other way around opens up tremendous possibilities for plot points that had not previously occurred to me. I never understood this until I did it the first time, and it was exciting and intriguing. So now I talk to my characters all the time and ask them to tell me what they want to have written about them.
What’s next for you as an author?
My top priority is to complete the sequel to my debut novel From Now Until Forever which is what I’m working on at the moment (title not yet revealed). Once that is released in the near future, I want to begin writing a series I have plotted out on the Choctaw people which will be contemporary suspense romance rooted deeply in history. I have already done some extensive research into the heritage of these people, as well as for several other projects waiting in the wing, and I am excited about where all these books will take me as an author in the years to come. My prayer is my readers will want to go along for the ride! My primary marketing strategy has been to do book signings as often as possible so I will continue that with the new book as well. I do them in churches, homes, schools of all kinds and at all levels, libraries, senior centers—anywhere there is an audience eager to attend and listen. I love to connect with new readers by talking about my novels to groups, doing readings from them, and sharing about the vast research I have done for each one. I believe this brings a personal active touch into marketing, as opposed to relying on Amazon to passively do that for me. So far it has been quite successful. In addition, I hope in the near future to officially launch a speaking ministry to women, to share the message of God’s powerful love and forgiveness to those who are hurting in various ways since that has become my target audience through my writing. The Lord has called me to boldly take this step and reconfirmed it for me several times, as I have already done some presentations and been asked to do more. Whether in churches, neighborhoods, or community organizations, as long as God continues to open the doors, I will step through, using my writing and my faith as the key.
Laura L. Drumb Bio
Laura L. Drumb writes Christian historical fiction and has several novels in various stages of production, with the first in the Forever series being released in 2017 and the second due out soon. Her passion for history began when traveling throughout Europe as a child with her family and has grown more with every encounter she has with the people, places, and events that have influenced our world in the past. In between her writing projects, she loves to spend time with her husband, two grown daughters and their husbands, and seven grandchildren, always eager to pass down this heritage to them. She also loves to read, travel, scrapbook, and is active in her church, and in addition runs her own health and wellness company. She can be reached at email@example.com or at her FaceBook author page—Laura L. Drumb, Author, www.facebook.com/lauraldrumb.