Tuesday, June 26, 2012

meet author: Laura Smith

Please share your bio with us and anything else you would like readers to know. 

author Laura Smith
I was raised on a dairy farm in Northeast Minnesota. I was married two weeks after I graduated high school. Four years later, I was facing divorce and single parenting. Fast forward 5 years and I re-married. We were looking forward to an amazing life together, another child or two only to be faced with disappointment, loss and heartbreak. Through it though we somehow managed to grow and strengthen our relationship and our faith. Now, aside from my full time job, I do wedding, senior, and family photography and am involved with our area Bethel Sozo healing and deliverance Ministry which was birthed out of Bill Johnson’s church in Redding California. It is amazing!

 What are some jobs you've had in your life? Have they influenced/inspired your writing? 
I have had numerous working experiences from night auditing, nursing assistant, Medical record technician, medical receptionist, cashier supervisor, and now as a medical coding specialist. Every one of those places I encountered hurting people and that always made me want to write inspiring things to help them dig out of the dark pits they had fallen into.

Can you share some writing experiences with us? 
When I was very young, (too young to even know how to write my own name) I would sit on the kitchen floor at my grand parents’ house and “write” stories and then read them out loud while my grandparents played cards with their friends. It was all gibberish but I knew it was very inspiring! I also started writing inspiring articles for a previous employer’s monthly newsletter. I have had one poem published many years ago that won an award and currently I write regular medical coding articles for my employer’s quarterly provider newsletter. I also do presentations for our local coding chapter.

Tell us briefly about your book and what you feel is the most important topic/sub-message you share.
In All Things; Giving Thanks When Hope Seems Lost is my spiritual journey through, divorce, single parenting, raising a bipolar child, desiring a baby so desperately and then after being told it wasn’t possible, becoming pregnant and then losing our miracle through miscarriage. I share the most intimate and painful moments through those experiences and the amazing vision the Lord gave me when I was at the deepest part of despair that instantly healed my broken heart and gave me hope and a purpose to live again. It’s about a faith so strong that it caused instant healing and allowed me to be hopeful in all things life throws at me, knowing that He has a plan and we just need to see things through His eyes to see the gold in these life issues; because there is ALWAYS gold.

Like all authors, you have had your fair share of rejection letters. You obviously did not let the letters deter you. How did you keep your determination without getting discouraged?
It’s funny you should bring that up. I think this was truly the hand of God protecting me from all of those rejections. A dear friend of mine had a book published and shared with me about her publisher Halo Publishing who was so wonderful to work with. I hesitated for about two weeks before I contacted them and submitted my manuscript which by the way had been sitting on the shelf for about 4 years for fear of rejection. The screener called me the very next day and was very excited to publish my book. The owner of Halo, Lisa Umina called me personally one day while I was at the hair salon and told me she had never done this before but she sat down to read my book and closed her office door so she could finish it without being interrupted! She said she was so inspired by it that she had to set it down numerous times just to absorb the messages. Wow, she had me in tears and of course I had to explain to my stylist why.

It has been my experience, some things come quite easily (like creating the setting) and other things aren’t so easy (like deciding on a title). What comes easily to you and what do you find more difficult? 
I find writing to come easily to me. It has always been a heart’s desire and I feel that when something is your heart’s desire that God put it there for a reason and makes that task easy. After I have finished a project either writing or photography job which I also do on the side, I always doubt myself and hesitate before presenting it to my customer or in this case publisher.

Please describe to us your relationship between you and your editor. What makes an author/editor relationship a success? 
The best thing about Halo’s editor is that she allowed my story to be in my own words. She didn’t attempt to change anything in order to appear to others to be something different. A previous editor I had look at my manuscript wanted me to sugar coat certain aspects in order to sound more “holy” I guess. I did not agree with her. I am a Christian absolutely without a doubt and I long to see people find peace and healing and freedom but not at the expense of selling myself out to become pretentious. I’m a real person and I feel that other real people need to see that.

What inspired you to write? 
I used to write short stories when I was in 4th grade. But later, it was my grandfather who inspired me to want to pursue writing. He used to write articles for a local newspaper about his journeys through life and had such an amazing gift. I just had to wait until God wrote my story.

Do you consider yourself a born writer? 
Well since I’m just getting going in my 40’s I’m not so sure about that but I do know it has always been a very deep desire within me to write.

Helen Steiner Rice
Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read? 
My favorite poet is Helen Steiner Rice, as far as books there are numerous favorites; Bill Johnson, Francis Frangipane, Danny Silk, Kris Vallotton, John Bevere are at all the top of my list.

When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your books and writing?  What do you hope they will say about you?
Her inspiring books helped so many find healing through so many of life’s struggles. She allowed herself to be used mightily and by God at any cost to help others find peace, forgiveness, and healing. She was not a pretentious person but valued her purpose on this earth to help others. She dearly loved her family and if you were her friend, you were a lifelong friend. She just couldn’t shake that Northern Minnesota accent though.

Where you have lived and what you have experienced can influence your writing in many ways. Are there any specific locations or experiences that have popped up in your books? 
Oh sure, I write a little about the dairy farm I grew up on and the area we live in now. We live in a very redneck community in the country. I can say that because they are all relatives. But I wouldn’t trade one of them. They would give you their last cup of sugar or the shirt off their back to help you out. It’s nothing to come home from work and find half a dozen family members on their 4-wheelers riding back and forth through mud hole they found alongside the road after a rain. I LOVE it! If I was in my play clothes, I would jump out and join them.

Is there any particular book that, when you read it, you thought, "I wish I had written that!"? 
Yes! John Bevere’s “The Bait of Satan” Amazing book!

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If yes, how did you ‘cure’ it? 
Not really because I am so busy with my regular job and family, photography etc. I write when I’m inspired. I don’t have the luxury (yet) to just sit at a desk write but I hope someday that will come to me. Plus I write from my life experiences so those are memories not created in my mind.

Have you had any training to become a writer? 
Just a creative writing class I took in high school, and one English class I took in college that was so stringent on proper everything that it took the fun and excitement out of it. I found it very odd that a writer would be expected to write with exactly the same set of “rules” when each of us are created so differently and we all receive information differently.

What type of books do you mostly write?
Non-fiction inspirational. Although one day I would like to write children’s’ books. There are so many children facing so many difficult life events such as parents splitting, parents or grandparents dying of cancer, that I want to help them somehow make it a little easier to get through those things.

Does your family and friends inspire any of your books, characters, or plots? 
It’s all about my family and our experiences so absolutely yes.

Can you share with us a little about your current book? 
I am currently working on book #2 in the In All Things series called “Expect a Miracle!” It is about my dad’s two year journey through cancer. Through his entire life, he was a very bitter and angry man with no relationship to speak of with his immediate family, siblings, and even his own children. I will share how God worked in all of our hearts during that time and beyond

What do you like most about writing? 
The picture I get in my mind of how the reader will be blessed or how the lord may use my experiences to help heal someone facing the same things I have gone through.

 Do you find it hard to balance your personal writing time with your other job(s)?
Yes, it is very difficult at times. I have to steal away time on rainy weekends or in the winter when our activities are not so busy.

Tell us about your writing space?
Kitchen table, recliner, park bench… It’s whenever and wherever I can find the time and place.

Is there anything you'd go back and do differently now that you have been published, in regards to your writing career?
Not really, I believe everything happens in God’s perfect timing. If we move in our own timing things don’t always turn out how He wants them to.

How do you see the future of book publishing, both traditional, electronic, and print on demand?
I feel that traditional publishing is in severe trouble. P.O.D. is okay for family and friends who like signed copies or would like a keepsake but I see the world as such an instant gratification culture that e-books are going to be the norm.

What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I do a lot of praying and then I get a mental picture of how I see the order of the book unfolding. Then I create a list of chapter titles to follow that order. It may not be the way other writers do things but it works very well for me with my very busy life.

Do you do a lot of research for your books? 
With this first one, it was all based on my own personal experiences so other than putting together notes from my journals, there wasn’t any research. My current book however requires all of my dad’s medical records in order to create a timeline and specific events. This all took time and money to gather.

Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
 I have not yet but it is in my future plans.

Do you do first drafts on a computer or by hand? 
I find that my writing hand can’t keep up with my brain so the computer is much more efficient.

What advice would you give to a new writer? 
Don’t rush your project. My first manuscript sat on my shelf for 4 years until I felt it was the right time. And when it was, God worked out all the details.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where?
I am in the middle of a virtual book tour and working on scheduling a few speaking engagements at some local Women’s Aglow meetings. Use this space to tell us more about who you are.

Anything you want your readers to know. Include information on where to find your books, any blogs you may have, or how a reader can learn more about you and writing. 
I would just like to add that along with all of the issues I have shared in my book, the most impactful message is for anyone, men and women who have been touched by miscarriage or abortion there is a very special message just for you within this book. I strongly encourage you to read it because the Lord wants you to know, there is healing.

You can find my book at Halo Publishing: www.halopublishing.com As well as all major online book sellers such as Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com etc.; they can purchase either the paperback copy or as an e-book. Of course if you purchase the paperback through Halo, you will receive an autographed copy.

You can follow my virtual book tour as well as any other events and upcoming books on my Facebook and Twitter pages which I regularly update.

I thank you for taking the time to share with my readers about being an author. 

Learn more about this book and author at the Spotlight post here.

Leave a comment telling me something you learned about the author today and I'll add you to a drawing for this book.  US residents only please. Want a second entry visit yesterday's post and comment there.  Follow the blog hop icon below and get third chance to win there too.  Drawing will be held July 2nd. Be sure to leave a way of contact.

This interview and a copy of this book was provided for the giveaway by the author and A World of Ink Network.


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