Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Today I’d like to introduce you to a special friend; Laura Bradford or as some of you might know her as, Elizabeth Lynn Casey. I met Laura about five years ago. Our daughters went to the same dance studio in St. Charles, Missouri. The first time I chatted with Laura she was diligently typing away on an Alpha Smart and I interrupted her to find out what she was doing. I took a break from grading papers and we began to chat. It turned out she was writing her second novel FORECAST OF EVIL (one of my favorite books). I was so excited to meet a real live author…Over the years; she’s shared her journey with me and encouraged me to start writing again. We’ve celebrated her success and my successful rejections (yeah, you all know what I mean) almost always over lunch at Olive Garden. Laura and I both moved away from St. Louis at about the same time. She moved to New York and I moved to Iowa. I hope you enjoy the interview and will hop over to her websites and buy one or two of her books…

Laura has two websites: http://www.laurabradford.com/ (romance) and http://www.elizabethlynncasey.com/ (mystery)
Me: First, tell us about your most recent book? (DEADLY THREADS was released today!)
Laura: DEATH THREADS, the second book in my Southern Sewing Circle Mystery Series, is a fun book! And by fun, I mean, fun! The people of Sweet Briar, South Carolina have long prided themselves on a history that saw them rising from the ashes (at the hands of Yankees during the Civil War) in Cinderella-style. It's a history they've prided themselves on for over a century.

It's also a history that's been wrong...a fact uncovered by local author, Colby Calhoun.

The truth isn't quite so pretty.

And for Colby, it could prove deadly.

Me: Could you tell a little about how your path to publication?
Laura: I wrote my very first book, JURY OF ONE, while raising two small children. It took me five years to write that book. I sent it (first) to a small press who was relatively new at the time. They responded after a few months with a no, but a desire to look at it again if I made some changes. Six months later, I sent it back and got a deal. I wrote three books for them--all of which were picked up for Harlequin's Worldwide Mystery direct to consumer book club. In 2008, I was contracted by Berkley Prime Crime to write their new Southern Sewing Circle Mystery Series. Two months later, I secured my first of three contracts (so far) with Harlequin American Romance.
Me: Even though you are “living the dream” do you ever doubt yourself?
Laura: Sure. When SEW DEADLY first came out and I realized how visible it was in B & N's across the entire country, I got worried. Could I sell that much? Would I fail?

I'm happy to say I did fine...hitting B & N's mass market mystery national best seller list at # 5 for the first few weeks along with other national lists as well. That said, I'm sure I'll panic again. With each new book.

Me: Best advice to aspiring authors?
Laura: Write every day. Read, read, read. And listen to your gut (but make sure it's your gut your hearing and not your pride).

Me: How did you get your agent?
Laura: I was already published with a small press when I got my Agatha nomination in 2005 and a book club deal with Harlequin's Worldwide Mystery. Those things--coupled with a fun (and complete) manuscript for a chick lit novel--caught the interest of several agents. I chose the one I thought would be best for me and then we joined forces. Sadly, that chick lit manuscript didn't sell (though it did earn some great rejections). But, as you can see, I've keeping busy with other projects.

Me: Do you Twitter? Blog? Facebook? Make your own book trailers?
Laura: I blog Monday-Friday on my website: http://www.elizabethlynncasey.com/

I also have an Elizabeth Lynn Casey page on Facebook (which I enjoy).

And I do twitter, but mostly via my Facebook page.

Me: Do you have a writing routine?
Laura: I am a morning writer. It's rare I write in the late afternoon/evening unless I'm on a tight deadline. And I find that I like to write away from home (Panera is a favorite) during the early part of the book when distractions at home affect me too much.

Me: Are you an outliner?
Laura: No. Every time I try to write with an outline, the characters take over and do what they want anyway.

Me: Typically, how long does it take you to write your first draft?
Laura: 2 months.

Me: Do you have a favorite book?
Laura: Mary Higgins Clark's A CRY IN THE NIGHT is the book that made me want to write mysteries rather than the children's books I'd always envisioned.

Me: At this point in your career, do have a critiquing partner or beta reader?
Laura: No. I have a goal/motivational partner...but in terms of critiquing my work?No.

Me: What is the name of your next book and when does it come out?
Laura: My next book is a romance and it will come out in July. A Mom for Callie will be part of the Harlequin American Romance line. It will be in stores (Borders, Wal-mart, K-Mart, etc) for one month starting July 12th. After that, it's only via online venues like www.eharlequin.com until it sells out!

Me: Do you have manuscripts in a file that you haven’t queried or submitted to anyone yet?
Laura: I have a suspense novel that is done--start to finish--but still needs a good 20 K increase. It's a fabulous concept and could really be something fun. The stumbling block is finding time to complete it between contracts. But I will. Soon.

Me: Do you do school visits? Book signings? Library visits?
Laura: Absolutely! I love doing all of the above!!! Especially school visits! It's my way of paying it back!

Me: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Laura: I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was ten. I was playing at a friend’s house one day (it was raining) and we'd run out of things to do. So she got out a stack of paper and said we should write a children's story. I did... And from that moment on it's all I've ever wanted to do.

Me: How did you celebrate your first sale?
Laura: My very first sale, ever? That would be my first small press mystery and I remember a drawing my kids made for me and a balloon. It was special!

Me: Mystery and romance are quite different. How difficult was it to switch genres? Did you have to spend a lot of time reading romances?
Laura: It wasn't as difficult as I would have thought. I just trusted my muse when writing the first romance and it didn't steer me wrong. I did read fairly extensively in the line I wanted to sell to, but more for feel than to truly analyze.

Me: Where do you find inspiration for your novels?
Laura: The radio, primarily. Those little 5-10 second newsbytes they run through in the morning between music sets. LOVE those!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Laura. She’s just wonderful!

Now for the fun stuffLeave a comment and get one entry, post a link on your blog (leave me a link, please) and you get another entry, go to Elizabeth Lynn Casey’s blog post for today (5/4/10) and leave a comment about this interview and you get a third entry! (I’ll hop over there on Friday and add entries from there.) I’ll assign you a number for each entry and then use random.org to select four winners. Each winner will receive one signed book. I’ll announce the winners on Friday around 5 p.m. Good luck, everyone!


  1. Dru--Thanks for stopping by. :) I'm glad you enjoyed the interview!

  2. Hi

    Fab and informative interview. I like how Laura is able to write romance, mystery, suspense and chicklit! Wow!!

    And great advice about listening to your gut but ensure it's your gut not your pride! LOL! How true is that?

    Thanks for this.

    take care

  3. Great interview! I love the fact that even with six books on the shelves, Laura still feels that niggling doubt. And works through it.

  4. Another great author interview. They provide good insight into the whole process, how careers are made. Very inspiring. Thanks so much, Sharon.

  5. Great interview, Sharon. I loved meeting Laura. *Hi Laura* :)

  6. Sharon,

    Thanks for posting a great interview.

    The only thing better than a good mystery, is a good mystery with a generous helping of history written in. Can't wait to read this one!

  7. I've stopped over at everyone's blog and thanked them for stopping in and meeting Laura...except Lynn and Joe. :( I can't find your blogs or links...

    Lynn--Thanks for stopping by. Laura is just wonderful!

    Joe--I lost your email address...I hope you are doing well. Thanks for checking out my interview with Laura. :)

  8. No blog for me. Just a guest on Laura's ELC every once in a while.

  9. Okay, so I went over to Elizabeth's blog and left a comment much earlier today and then forgot to come back and leave one here! Doh! I'll add your contest to my sidebar right now!

    The book looks fantastic. Love a good mystery! And signed? Even better! How lucky you are to know Elizabeth.

  10. I forgot to link my blog!


  11. Carolina--Thanks so much for the link. Laura is a wonderful writer and an awesome person.

  12. Great interview - Laura's had quite a journey! I didn't know she had an Agatha nomination - cool!

  13. Sharon, this was a really great interview! I enjoyed the questions posed, and Laura's insightful answers. I particularly liked this thought: "...make sure it's your gut you're hearing and not your pride."

    Thank you! And best to you both!

    My blog: http://somethingshewrote.blogspot.com/

  14. Wow, that's an impressive writing career. Thanks for posting the interview.

    Frere Jacques is one of the first songs I ever learned. Did you know it's also on the backing vocals of the Beatles' "Paperback Writer"? Give it a listen and you'll hear it during the verses. Very cool, I think.


  15. What a great interview! I always love to read about writers' paths to publication.

  16. What a fab interview, Sharon! I really feel like I know a lot about Laura now! You did her proud!

    xoxo -- Hilary

  17. Susan--She's something really special and I wish her all of the success in the world. :)

    Janna--Thanks for stopping by. You have a lovely blog, very sweet...

    Anne-Marie--I was kind of close on the spelling (wink) of the song...Thanks for stopping by and reading Laura's interview.

    Stephanie--Thanks for stopping in. :) She's got a great story....

    Hilary--Thanks so much! If I could I'd walk around with a blowhorn telling everyone to buy her books, but I'm sure someone would probably lock me up and give me some medicine.... :)

  18. Great interview, Sharon. Very inspirational! I'm a big mystery reader myself, so will definitely check out Laura's sewing circle mysteries! They sound like fun.

    Love her advice: "Make sure it's your gut you're hearing and not your pride".

  19. Thanks for sharing this with us Sharon, it is so helpful when an author fills us in on the various aspects of their career. The questions you asked were excellent.

  20. Excellent interview!

    I admire romance writers -- my whole writing group does.

    When we try to come up with love stuff, it comes out all funny.

    We need tips!

  21. What a great interview! Looking forward to reading this book. :)

  22. Hema--Thanks for the plans on checking out Laura's books. :)

    Sean Patrick--I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. Laura/Elizabeth is a wonderful person.

    Jennie--Yeah, I'm not so romantic either... :)

    Angela--I picked it up on Thursday. I haven't started it yet. I've had a rough week. I'll post why later...Thanks for stopping by. :)