Thursday, April 16, 2009

Author Interview with Laurean Brooks

The blog camera pans the laughing audience while the band plays "Tiptoe Through the Tulips." The notes come to the end and the blue curtain parts and Carol Ann runs on stage clapping and laughing.

"Wasn't that great? I've been complaining about this Ohio weather for so long and then this morning I saw my neighbor's garden full of red tulips in bloom. Glad I could be an inspiration to our fabulous band today."

Band director bows.

"Nice to be back in the studio again. Today I'm excited to introduce my guest author, Laurean Brooks. Laurean has loved to write ever since a fifth-grade teacher
encouraged her by announcing to the class, 'Some day Laurie will become an

Laurean kept that seed tucked away in her heart for decades. Today, it has
become a reality. Her first book, an inspirational romance, titled, JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS was recently released by "White Rose Publishing."

When not browsing antique malls with her husband, or walking her spoiled
labs, Laurie enjoys church-related activities, Christian television, worship
music, and quiet time communing with her Creator.

Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome my guest, Laurean Brooks!"



CAROL ANN: Laurie, I'm so happy to have you here with us today.

LAUREAN: It's so much fun to be here in the studio with you.

CAROL ANN: I love the book cover for your brand new book.


LAUREAN: Thank you. The cover artist did a fantastic job.

CAROL ANN: Would you mind sharing a bit about your book?

LAUREAN: JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS is based on my mother's life. The year is 1938. Jenny Hinson's abusive father has deserted the family four years earlier, taking the oldest son with him. The family is left in dire financial straits. When the cotton crop, their main source of income, fails, Jenny has only one option. To accept the invitation from a Chicago aunt to move north and seek employment to support her mother and younger siblings.

Due to the paternal abuse, Jenny holds a bitternerss and distrust toward the male gender. So when Austin Grant makes off with her luggage at the train depot, Jenny labels him a thief. But what could he possible want with a lady's vanity case?

She consoles herself with the thought that she will never lay eyes on the man again. Wrong! Guess who takes swaggers up to take the pulpit in her aunt's church? Austin Grant. And now he is coercing the congregation to donate money "supposedly" to aid victims of a tornado-ravaged town.

When the reverend asks for volunteers, Jenny enlists with one goal. To find proof that Austin is a con artist and thief. But when she catches him with his hand in the mission strong box, she doesn't report it. Why? Surely she hasn't fallen for the guy!

Catastrophes strike with every encounter between Jenny and Austin. From getting locked in her aunt's storage shed with the illustrious Austin, to falling off a stool right into the thief's arms. The story ripples with humor, but the anger issue towards her father continues to raise its ugly head. She incurs frequent nightmares of the beatings.

God is dealing with Jenny to forgive her father, but she resists. "He doesn't deserve it," she argues. In a twist of fate Jenny meets up with her estranged brother who asked her to visit their terminally ill father. She is faced with a decision that will alter her life. Will she hold onto bitterness and distrust of the male gender, or will she come to grips with her haunted past and forgive her father?

Holding onto her anger means forfeiting a future with the man who has stolen her heart? Stolen her heart? But Austin Grant is a thief and a con artist, isn't he?

CAROL ANN: Congratulations on this new release, Laurie. What do you consider the hardest aspect of being a writer?

LAUREAN: That's easy. Sticking to a schedule or routine. Cutting time out to write, post, promote and still take care of household chores is not easy. Organization is a skill I lack. I could use some suggestions here. LOL. And since I'm a panster (one who doesn't plot), routine stifles my creativity.

CAROL ANN: I consider myself organized, but I have the same problems. I love your comment that routine stifles your creativity. I never thought of that before, but it is so true! Okay, so I'm a pantster, too. In your writing process, what comes first?

LAUREAN: Definitely the story idea comes first. I ask, "What if....?" I don't do outlines. I know how I want the story to begin and how I want it to end. But except for a few scenes in between, the rest is a surprise to me. The characters take over early on. Like I mentioned earlier, I am a full-blown panster. I sometimes wish I could do outlines and stick to them, but it stifles my story and then I hit a brick wall.

CAROL ANN: You sound like you are describing my writing process. Maybe this is how most pantsters operate. Tell me, what stumbling blocks have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

LAUREAN: One comes to mind. In Chapter Seven of JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS, Jenny takes her first plane ride in a small aircraft. It was necessary that I describe Jenny's experience. Since I have never flown, I was clueless. I searched the internet for World War II stories of pilots in combat. But even with the information I had gathered, something did not feel right. I laid the manuscript aside for a couple months. When I picked it back up, I skipped that chapter. A couple chapters later I went back and wrote the flying scene.

I don't recommend skipping a scene. It is not easy to connect the story to make it make sense, once you move ahead. I learned my lesson.

CAROL ANN: I know other people who write a bunch of scenes and then piece them together. I don't think I could write that way. I'd get too confused. **laugh** How about a personal question? Who can you always count on to make you smile, even if you are feeling down?

LAUREAN: This may sound silly, but I have two adorable Lab-mix dogs. A male and female who are siblings. The female (Yipper) is chocolate, the male (PeeWee) is black. When I feel disquieted or unsure of my next move, all I have to do is sit down on the front porch steps. Both dogs are all over me. PeeWee ends up with his front legs stretched across my lap while Yipper lies down on the other side of me waiting for a belly rub. These dogs bring me joy at my lowest times.

CAROL ANN: Peewee and Yipper? **laugh** Those are great names! And Lab-mix dogs are fantastic. I had a collie lab and she was the most affectionate, loyal, and funny dog. I still miss her. But, she weighed nearly 100 pounds. So..Peewee? Gotta laugh. Okay, a change of subject. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

LAUREAN: Yes. Everyone is influenced by what they read, view, and think. I have heard of criminals and rapists who attained their ideas from books. But on the up side, I know people whose lives have been profoundly changed by an inspiring book. The Bible is the greatest example. And books like "The Purpose-Driven Life" has sold millions and influenced many.

CAROL ANN: Let's pretend that you are sitting in a restaurant with several friends when someone thrusts a microphone in your hand. You have one minute to give a message of hope to the world. What will you say?

LAUREAN: "Mmmmm! The food here is delicious!" (Only kidding.) Let's see.... I know. "Folks, please listen to me. I know these are difficult times. The future of our country is uncertain. But remember this. The world is not controlled by its leaders, no matter how great or how mighty. God is the controller and Creator of the universe. He loves you and will look out for your welfare. Turn to Him, read the scriptures, talk to Him daily, and give Him the glory He deserves."

CAROL ANN: You did great with no time to really think of that answer. Here's another. What do you have under your bed?

LAUREAN: **laugh** Besides a dozen sweaters that have been stuffed inside that plastic storage bag since I started having hot flashes? (That was seven years ago.) Guess I should give them away before they rot. But they can't rot if air doesn't get to them, right?

Besides the sweaters, I have a stack of books I plan to read when I get the time. Then there's a small box of music tapes.

CAROL ANN: I gave away all my wool blazers rather than put them under my bed. **laugh** Who is the hero in your life?

LAUREAN: I would have to say Jesus. He's always there for me. I wrote a blog post on January 21st on the White Roses in Bloom blog, which your audience might want to read at Jesus has brought me through things I could not have survived without him. One major thing was a brutal divorce that resulted in losing contact with my then 10-year-old son for four long years. Ecrutiating beyond words. We have rebuilt our relationship since.

CAROL ANN: I can't even imagine what you must have gone through. Laurie, I'm so sorry but our time is up. Time flies when you're having fun. I've really enjoyed having you with me today, and I wish you many sales on your wonderful book. Before we go off air, can you share some links where readers can find out more about you and your books?

LAUREAN: I thought you would never ask. Besides the White Roses in Bloom blog , your readers will enjoy The White Rose Publishing site And let's not forget my personal blog, Laurean's Lore.


Ashley Ludwig said...

Laurean - thanks so much for sharing your heart today. I'm a huge fan of the era - for Journey to Forgiveness - and I look forward to reading this!

I agree with you - when I'm down, nothing centers me like spending some quality time with "millie" our beloved 70lb dog. I sincerely believe, looking into her soulful eyes, that God gave us dogs to teach us what unconditional love is all about.

Thank you, again, for sharing your heart. And thank you, Carol Ann, for such a GREAT interview!


Miss Mae said...

Exceptional! Love it! And doesn't Laurean look like a movie star???

Congrats on your book, Laurie. It sounds an amazing tale, and I can just imagine the struggle she goes through. This must be a gut-wrenching read. Was it hard for you to write?

Mary Ricksen said...

Carol your blog is just beautiful!
Laurean, your book has the same abuse theme running through it as mine. I get it completely. The best of luck to you in sales.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Laurie and Carol Ann. Lovely interview. Carol Ann, you ought to have your own talk show! I love it. Great book, Laurie. Your message shines through. Wishing you luck with sales and all you do. You know I'm in your corner, cheering you on.

Carol Ann said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by and sharing in Laurean's day. She is out of reach right now, but when she returns, I'm sure she'll respond to your comments.

Laurean Brooks said...

Thank you for your flattering comments about the book, Ashley, Mary, and Sharon. And my picture, Miss Mae.

And thank you for the wonderful, lively interview, Carol Ann.

I am so sorry about being late. We had a death in the family. My beloved black lab of 7 years, Peewee died from what we think was a snake bite. I couldn't find him, so I called and called. He finally came staggering up into the yard, breathing labored. We noticed his nose was swollen. Peewee sat down and when he struggled to get up, he squealed and fell over on his side. Before we could do anything for him, he was gone.

My hubby and I buried him in a corner of the back yard. Needless to say, this has been a hard day. PeWee's sister, Yipper is taking it hard, too.

lastnerve said...

Carol, Awesome blog! laurean, I loved the interview and I am so sorry about your dog. I know he must be like a baby. My prayers go out to you that the hurt will diminish as time goes on and you have a peace that replaces it instead.

Kara Lynn Russell said...

Sorry to hear about your black lab passing away. It really is like losing a member of your family.

Marianne Evans said...

Great blog, Carol - thanks - and yes, Laurean sounds like she's describing your writing process and mine as well!! Story ideas blooming from the "what if..." - sans outlines, character driven...Very illuminating - and the new release looks GREAT!

Teri Wilson, Romancing the pet lover's soul said...

Laurie, I'm so, so sorry about your beloved Peewee. As a dog lover, I totally understand your grief. The really weird thing is, not five minutes ago my son found a snake in our yard and I made him sweep it out into the street. I think that's only the third snake we've ever seen at our house.

Your interview was wonderful and your book cover is absolutely stunning!

Blessings, Teri

Teri Wilson ~ Romancing the pet lover's soul

Laurean Brooks said...

Thank you Kara Lynn, Teri, Val, and Marianne, for dropping in and commenting, even though I was sooooo tardy. And thank you for your prayers over our loss. Time is still the greatest healer. My little mischievous PeeWee will not be forgotten.

Marianne, it sounds like we have the panster thing in common. Sometimes I do wish I were an "outliner." I might get more accomplished. But that isn't the way God made me.

Nicola did my cover. That's why it's awesome.

Larry Hammersley said...

Laurie: I enjoyed reading the interview. Sorry to be so late in getting in here. I left you a message in our sweet romances group. I can see you have a nice sense of crafting stories. I'm impressed. 1938 eh? A good year. I was born that year and it was a rough time for Mom and Dad in those days. Larry

Linore Rose Burkard said...


I usually don't enjoy reading a synopsis of stories, but yours sounds great!
Many blessings,
PS: To CarolAnn, very entertaining format for an "interview." Let me know when you'll let me in the studio, too!

Laurean Brooks said...

Carol Ann,

First of all I want to thank you, Carol Ann, for hosting me today. It was loads of fun. Wish I could do it again. A lot of friends dropped by even if I was (gulp) AWOL for most of the day.

Larry and Linore,

Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot to me. And the format of this interview was unique. I loved it!

Larry, the book is based on my mother's life. I used the year 1938because it was the year she left for Chicago.

Carol Ann said...

The bookcover is really gorgeous. I fell in love with it. Should have known that Nicola Martinez was the cover artist. She does fantastic work.

Linore, I'd love to host you on my blog. We can talk at our next ACFW meeting.