Today, M.L. Gardner is proud to bring you USA Today bestselling author, Laurie Breton! Laurie has penned 10 novels and 1 novella, the most recent being the Jackson Fall Series, a deeply emotional romantic journey which I have personally enjoyed and recommend. She’s an expert at telling a story, having done so since childhood, and her focus on relationships goes beyond the typical boy meets girl romance novel and demonstrates the realities and complications of real love. Laurie is an author with a full-time job and a passion for painting and picture making. Click the Jackson Fall Series covers above to buy her books.
What is your name?
Describe your books/genre to our readers.
I am currently working on the latest book in my Jackson Falls Series, which has received fabulous reviews and built a solid fan base. It’s women’s fiction/romance; here’s a quick description of COMING HOME, the first book in the series: Aspiring songwriter Casey Bradley is just eighteen years old when handsome, charismatic singer Danny Fiore storms into her life and turns it upside down. Danny has a voice that rips her heart to shreds and leaves it bleeding, combined with a single, blinding ambition: to become a rock star.. Neither of them plans on falling in love, but sometimes, the heart has a mind of its own. Together with guitar wizard Rob MacKenzie, Casey writes the songs that catapult her husband to a fame beyond their wildest imaginings. But life with Danny isn’t everything she expected; rivers of darkness flow through her troubled marriage, and every time Danny breaks her heart, it’s her best friend, Rob, who picks her up, dusts her off, and glues the pieces back together. It isn’t until tragedy strikes that Casey realizes how lost she is, and begins to question who she is and what she really wants from life. As she searches for herself amidst the wreckage, she discovers the bittersweet truth that the choices a woman makes at thirty may differ vastly from those she made at eighteen.
How and why did you become an author? Do you write full time?
Oh, how I wish I could write full-time. But, alas, I’m addicted to luxuries like groceries and electricity and toilet paper. So I’m still working at the same day job I’ve had for 28 years as an administrative assistant at the local branch of our state university. I’ve been writing since I was eight years old, and the road to publication was long, slow, and twisted. I worked on the same book (Coming Home) off and on for two decades before it occurred to me that if I really wanted a career as a writer, I needed to a) finish the darn thing, and b) overcome my natural shyness and SHOW IT to somebody. After that, it got easier. I wrote the second book in the series, Sleeping With the Enemy, and a third, unrelated book, Black Widow, before I found a couple of teeny-tiny online publishers, in the early days of e-books (around 1999), who put them into print. My fourth book, Final Exit, caught the interest of a New York agent, and he got me a three-book contract with MIRA to write romantic suspense. This was followed by a second three-book contract before, in a purging of midlist authors, I was released. By this time, I was burned out, writing a book a year on deadline while still working a full-time day job, and I didn’t write a word for five years. Eventually, I started writing again, and to my surprise, the voices in my head (which had left me completely for those five years) turned out to be Casey Fiore and Rob MacKenzie, from Coming Home, the book I’d finished fifteen years earlier. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I listened to them and kept writing. Halfway through the book, I realized this could be a series and, since the publishing landscape looked very different than it had five years earlier, I decided to pull out those first two books, blow off the virtual dust, and self-publish them on Amazon. Thus, a series was born. In addition to Coming Home and Sleeping With the Enemy, there’s also Days Like This and a short novella, The Next Little Thing. Within the next few months, I’ll finish the current book (tentatively titled Redemption Road). I love self-publishing! It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.
What inspires you?
I love to take long rides on the back roads of Maine. It’s so beautiful here, and I do my best thinking when I’m driving. I nearly always come home with new and fresh story ideas. Sometimes, I’ll drive to the coast and walk the beach, especially during the off season, when there aren’t many people there. It’s my happy place, and always renews me when I’m feeling down or discouraged or just plain tired. My other favorite place, which has also given me a ton of story ideas, is the city of Boston. I love to take day trips to Boston and just walk the streets, breathing it all in. Although I’ve lived in Maine all my life and love it here, if I were allowed to live a second, parallel life, it would be lived in Boston.
Describe a typical day.
My typical day revolves around my day job. I’m up early (usually between 4 and 5), and I try to squeeze in writing time before work. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t. I spend time on my Facebook fan page, do some tweeting, and deal with any other marketing I may be involved in. After work, I again try to squeeze in writing time, with varying levels of success. I often say that, if not for that pesky day job, I could write four or five books a year. But reality tells me that if I wasn’t working, other things would fill big chunks of that free time, and I’d still get just one book a year finished.
What are 3 fun things we should know about you?
1. In addition to being a writer, I’m also a painter and a photographer. 2. I love bright colors. When we first bought our house, everything was beige and white, and on Sunday mornings, when my husband was at work, I would sit and cry because I hated the blandness so much. It took me several months to convince hubby that it was okay to paint the walls. Now, my walls are full of color, and I find better things to do with my Sunday mornings! 3. I’m addicted to Lay’s potato chips and Diet Coke. I take my morning caffeine cold, icy, and carbonated. And keep it going all day.
What advice would you give to new authors?
Learn your craft! I can’t say this enough. I see a glut of poorly-written (some of it barely literate) self-published books on Amazon, because so many writers aren’t bothering to learn how to write before they try to sell. I certainly don’t advise spending twenty years writing and rewriting the same book, the way I did. But spend time reading books and magazines on writing. Find a critique group. If your English skills aren’t up to par, consider taking an adult ed brush-up course on grammar. Do these things before you try to publish. Oh, and write. Write a lot. Most of what you write at first will end up in the trash. It doesn’t matter, because you’re learning to write, and the more you write, the better you’ll get. We all write trash at first. That’s how we learn. I spent two decades inhaling books on fiction writing, as well as monthly magazines such as Writer’s Digest and The Writer. I read, and learned, and wrote, and learned, and wrote some more, and learned, and threw out millions of words, and learned, and…are you seeing a pattern here? When I was ready to seek publication, I joined an online critique group and continued to learn. It’s the most important thing you can do for yourself, because putting out a bad book is roughly akin to shooting yourself in the foot. Put out a well-written, solid story, and readers will keep coming back for more.
Connect with Laurie Breton
Blog: There’s a blog (Musings From Exit 112) that you can reach from my website, but I hardly ever post anything. I had to choose between blogging and sleeping, and I chose sleep. 😉
I hope readers will give my Jackson Falls series a try. I’m in love with the characters, and plan to continue writing about them as long as there are still stories inside my head and readers keep asking for more! If you’re interested in romantic suspense, my six Mira books can still be found online. Most of them are out of print, but can be picked up secondhand very cheaply at Amazon, and probably other retailers. The last two are also available as e-books. The first four are paperback only. The titles, in order, are: Final Exit Mortal Sin Lethal Lies Criminal Intent Point of Departure (ebook available) Die Before I Wake (ebook available) Thanks for the interview. Happy reading, everyone!