Joining us today is Laura Burks, author of Altered, a young adult paranormal romance mystery novel.
Thank you for being here, Laura. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
Sure, and thanks for letting me join you today.
I live in the Deep South with my husband and our two teenagers. As most houses with teenagers, things can get very hectic, but fun. The most exciting part of my day is hearing what they’ve done and their accomplishments. High school and college can be so interesting seen through the eyes of your kids.
As for the other part of my day, when I’m not writing or keeping up with whatever life throws at me, I work part time giving back to my community teaching a “Get Real About Violence” course in our local elementary schools. A few months out of the year I work with middle school students in our Youth Legislature Program.
And for fun, I love the outdoors, boating, vacations, watching movies and just hanging out with my family.
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
The writing bug found me when I wasn’t looking. Writing, for me, came in many different forms – freelance, poetry, speeches, and then the big bug hit and had me itching with ideas. I held the idea of Altered for a short time, and then I shared my thoughts with my family. With their encouragement, I began that very same day.
It was March, 2009 when I wrote the first line of Altered. It was finished in a few months, or at least I thought it was. Then I learned how to edit. Editing can be a nightmare at times, and it’s not just for new writers. Every book written goes through so many stages until it’s ready for submission. Being new, I had no idea what it really took to have a book published.
Here’s the back page blurb for Altered:
Hearing her name started it all…
All eighteen-year-old Jenna wants to do is have a slow paced and predictable summer in the small town of New Roads with her grandfather. But on Friday the thirteenth, the unpredictable occurs when she mysteriously hears a voice leading her to a buried book. Jenna is unaware that a secret curse lies within and she’s just unleashed its hold.
As writings appear in the book strangely matching her vivid dreams, Jenna’s curious nature takes over pulling her deeper into the mystery and the connection to her family. What she didn’t expect to find was a forbidden love and a choice to save a life.
Will Jenna’s choice remain a secret? Or did the secret choose her?
Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?
Although I’m not a teenager anymore, and I won’t say how long ago that was, I’ve always been drawn to the young adult genre. They’re fresh, fun, and every age from teen on up can relate. I like the voice, the atmosphere created, and the ease of being able to grasp the story. In today’s market, young adult novels are probably selling more to adults than ever before. I guess I’m not the only one who is captivated by this genre.
What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?
Because I have two teenagers myself (well, one is almost twenty) my favorite part is the innocence of the characters and how you can create their growing, learning and maturing at just the right times.
The greatest challenge in writing for the young adult market is to not give in to what society sees, but to show other sides of their personality that’s just as important. I find the media doesn’t always give the youth of today the credit they deserve. If you really give them a chance, you’ll see very caring, loving, wanting to be accepted young adults who are trying to find their way.
Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?
I’m working on two young adult novels. At this time, neither is paranormal. One of the novels is a shared project with my daughter.
I’ve had several requests for a sequel to Altered, and the idea is very tempting. So far, the paranormal romance mystery element seems to be going over very well. With that in mind, I might change one of my novels to that sub-genre. Like I mentioned, it’s very tempting.
What inspired you to write it?
My family’s encouragement inspired me to start writing, but the adrenaline once I started kept me going. It’s like a strange, but good, addiction to want to finish full circle. I found myself craving to want to learn more and hone the craft of writing. I felt like a sponge soaking in everything I could to learn the market: writing, editing, submitting, rejections (yes, you have to learn to accept those, too) publishing, and now marketing.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
Altered is available in both print and epub and can be purchased on Amazon, Wings-press.com, or ordered through your local bookstore. I also have a website with order information. Here are all the order links:
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
Yes, I have a website with novel excerpts, more about me, a book trailer video, reviews, contact and order information, appearances, my blog, a facebook fan page, and more. Please feel free to contact me. I love hearing from readers. Here are the links:
What is up next for you?
Right now I’m concentrating on marketing my novel, Altered, and gearing up to finish my other novels. I’m having a lot of fun meeting other authors and readers throughout the online community as well as meeting them face-to-face.
I’m also going to be on “The Around Town” show, which is local in my area, in October. I’m very excited about that. If possible, I’ll have the link posted on my website.
Do you have anything else to add?
Of course, I always do. Being able to share what was on my computer for my eyes only for so long with others is such a humbling experience. People ask me if I’m excited to be published. My answer to that is yes, but in a grateful way. If it weren’t for Wings ePress giving me the chance, and the readers support and encouragement to continue writing, I’d still be in the edit mode wondering what if.
To those out there that are wondering if you are a writer or not, don’t worry. All of us who write, whether published or not, ask that question all the time. Being published is not what makes you a writer. What makes you a writer is your desire to be one.
Thank you for spending time with us today, Laura. We wish you much success.
Thanks for having me today. And I wish you much success as well.