Laura Simmons grew up in northern Virginia and spent most of her career working for various Department of Defense contractors in the Washington, DC area. She has a fascination with all things metaphysical. She enjoys writing, jigsaw puzzles, adult coloring books, vacationing at the beach with her husband, and studying tarot cards and other types of divination systems.
About the Book:
Astral travel and a deadly secret make for a gripping paranormal romance from start to finish.
Amber Macklin’s world is cruelly shattered when she loses her baby girl three months after her husband’s sudden death. Her cousin, Bryce, comes to her rescue, moving her into his home for fear she will kill herself from the grief. He provides solace and a shoulder to cry on, and he has loved her as more than a cousin for a long time. Amber and Bryce soon discover they are not blood relatives, which opens the door for romance as he pulls her through her darkest hours. When Mike, a college friend of Bryce’s, stops by to visit, Amber senses a deadly secret behind his nice guy persona. She has a frightening dream that Mike is trying to kill her and recurring sleepwalking episodes where she draws detailed pictures of him torturing her. Deeply troubled, Bryce uses his ability to astral travel to investigate Mike and uncover his terrifying past. Mike has had his eye on Amber for some time, and when he learns that Bryce and Amber have become lovers, he is furious. Mike abducts Amber and takes her to his rural Georgia hideaway, and Bryce must rely on his astral abilities to track her down. But will he be too late?
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Q: 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?
I am multi-published.
Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?
My first book was published with a vanity press, Outskirts Press. I had a good experience with that company, so I published my next two books with them. I chose this route because I work a full-time job and don’t have the energy or time to do everything myself. I like to save my free time for writing and marketing.
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
It took about two months from the time I signed until I had a finished product.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
I was excited and terrified of what people would think of my book. I didn’t do anything to celebrate other than let my friends and family know that my book was available to purchase.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
I sent out copies to bloggers who expressed an interest in reading my book for an honest review.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
As a writer, I think I have become much better at creating tension and suspense, and I am more aware of when I am dragging out a chapter or scene. I want my books to be page-turners with few dull moments. Although, each reader has their own preferences and all I can do is my best and hope that the majority of people who read my stories enjoy them. Before I became a published author I could barely use Facebook, and Twitter intimidated me with all of those hashtags. Now I’m comfortable using both of them and have recently figured out how to use Pinterest. I think I’ve come a long way!
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
When I started this journey I didn’t know how time consuming marketing my books would be, or how long it would take to receive reviews. That has been the biggest issue for me. As far as the publishing industry as a whole, I’m delighted that there are so many opportunities now for indie authors to publish their stories. It makes selling a book more competitive but at the same time, there are so many unique and different stories to enjoy reading.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
To me the most rewarding thing is when I receive a review where the reader loved my story and can’t wait for the next one.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Make sure you have your work professionally proofread or edited, and it is also a good idea to find some beta readers to give you feedback on your story before you publish it.