She earned a degree in music, and worked for many years as a freelance musician, music teacher, band director, and instructor in private music lessons on harp, piano, winds, and brass.
Laura is the mother of 7 boys and 2 girls, and lives in Minnesota.
Her latest book is Blue Bells of Scotland: The Trilogy.
You can visit her website at www.bluebellstrilogy.com.
About Blue Bells of Scotland: The Trilogy
Shawn Kleiner has it all: money, fame, a skyrocketing career as an international musical phenomenon, his beautiful girlfriend Amy, and all the women he wants—until the night Amy has enough and leaves him stranded in a Scottish castle tower.
He wakes up to find himself mistaken for Niall Campbell, medieval Highland warrior. Soon after, he is sent shimmying down a wind-torn castle wall into a dangerous cross country trek with Niall’s tempting, but knife-wielding fiancee. They are pursued by English soldiers and a Scottish traitor who want Niall dead.
Thrown forward in time, Niall learns history’s horrifying account of his own death, and of the Scots’ slaughter at Bannockburn. Undaunted, he navigates the roiled waters of Shawn’s life—pregnant girlfriend, amorous fans, enemies, and gambling debts—seeking a way to leap back across time to save his people, especially his beloved Allene. His growing fondness for Shawn’s life brings him face to face with his own weakness and teaches him the true meaning of faith.
Blue Bells of Scotland is both a historical adventure and a tale of redemption that will be remembered long after the last page has been turned.
Welcome to Beyond the Books, Laura. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
Blue Bells of Scotland is my debut novel.
What was the name of your very first book regardless of wether it was published or not, and if not published, why?
Friday’s Child. It was not published because I was 24 when I finished it, and had just had my third child. Life got in the way, and I only sent it to 4 publishers before deciding I didn’t have the time or resources to pursue writing and publication.
For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?
After a great deal of research and discussion with other authors, both online and in real life, about current publishing options, I took the route of joining other writers to start an independent publishing house, rather than seeking an agent or established publisher. There are now 9 books out under Gabriel’s Horn, from 6 authors, and more coming soon.
How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
They didn’t bother me. I was well aware that even when you choose a publisher carefully with an eye to a good match, even when your work is good, there are many other factors involved. For instance, they can only publish so many books a year. They may have a dozen or a hundred very good ones, but it doesn’t mean they’re able to work with that many authors. So I expected to have to make many submissions and didn’t take it personally.
When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
Gabriel’s Horn Publishing is a local publishing co-op. I like it because we have a lot of freedom in what we publish. My book, for instance, might be difficult to place because it doesn’t fit neatly into a genre. But we also have the oversight of a number of us working together weekly to make sure the writing and production are of good quality.
How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
I’m pretty low-key about celebrations, and I have 9 children to feed. I think maybe we went to the Chinese buffet. Or maybe I just had a glass of wine!
What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?
I did a giveaway at goodreads. Shortly after that, I did a virtual book tour.
If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
There are pros and cons either way. I see benefits to working with a traditional publisher, but I’ve been quite happy with my decision. It’s been a learning experience, an adventure, lots of fun, and has brought many wonderful people into my life.
Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
I would find a writers’ critique group much sooner. They are a great help and motivation. In the early days, I wasn’t even aware there were such groups.
What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
Pending approval of the topic, I am scheduled to be on a panel discussion at the Historical Novel Society’s conference in San Diego next June. I’m pretty excited about that.
If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
Professional orchestral trombonist. In fact, I did play semi-professionally on trombone, harp, and flute for more than fifteen years, for symphonies, pit orchestras, ballets, small ensembles in churches, and jazz bands. I loved every minute of it! The best weekends of my life were the ones when I was out until 2 a.m. playing trombone with a big band, and up again at 6 a.m. to go play flute for church!
Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
If by some magic I could choose, I’d be as torn as I’ve always been between writing and music. To an extent, I have combined the best of both worlds, as I still teach music lessons and occasionally perform on harp.
How do you see yourself in ten years?
I see myself having more books published, both fiction and non-fiction. I expect to be an established writer such that I can make it my full-time career.
Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Keep writing, keep dreaming, keep creating stories and characters, and keep submitting.