Tuesday, March 3, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Laura Bradford


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Laura.  Welcome to The Gal.  I have to say - I was VERY impressed with Suspended Sentence and can't wait to read more from you.
            Let's start out with something easy: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Laura Bradford:
Let's go with my "bio" first, and then we can loosen things up a little ...

Laura Bradford (aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey) has wanted to be a writer since she was ten years old.  Today, she is the author of several mystery series, and a handful of romance novels.  She is a former Agatha Award nominee and the recipient of an RT Reviewer's Choice Award.  Suspended Sentence is the fourth book in her Amish Mysteries series and her twentieth traditionally-published release overall.

As for the rest of me, I'm a mom (greatest job ever) who also happens to love reading, photography (I like looking at pictures as much as I like taking them), baking, playing games, and catching up with friends.  I also love all things Disney (it makes me smile), have a slight (or not so slight) candy corn addiction, and could walk miles if I'm placed on a beach.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Laura Bradford:
Hmmm...
  1. I have developed a bit of an obsession for the shows on HGTV - Property Brothers, Love It or List It, Rehab Addict, and my new favorite, Fixer Upper.  I love to see the way visually creative people can totally transform a space.
  2. Other than the above mentioned obsession (satisfied at night while I'm falling off to sleep), I don't watch much TV.  At all.  Unless you count Survivor... ;)
  3. I can recite the old McDonald's Big Mac slogan backwards.  And fast!
  4. If I couldn't be a writer (or teach kids to write), I would do something with baking.  I love, love, love to bake.
  5. One of my bucket list items?  To drive a Zamboni.  Seriously.
The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Laura Bradford:
Reading myself?  That would have to be the Little House on the Prairie series.  I devoured those books - countless times over!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Laura Bradford:
Lynn Cahoon's Mission to Murder.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Laura Bradford:
I was about ten years old and playing at a friend's house on a rainy day.  After a few hours of Barbies and "back up dancers" (don't ask), we decided to pull out some plain white paper, pencils and crayons and write a children's book.  From that moment on, I never wanted to be anything other than a writer (and a mom).  I pursued work in journalism after college to pay the bills, but it was after the birth of my second daughter that I turned my attention to the fiction I'd always wanted to write.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Laura Bradford:
I'm kind of like a cat in this regard.  Though instead of moving from sun spot to sun spot around the house (although that is tempting), it really just depends on my mood.  Sometimes I'm at the dining room table, sometimes propped on my bed, sometimes on the living room couch with my feet on an ottoman.  When I really need a change of scenery, I'm off to the cafe at my local Barnes & Noble.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Laura Bradford:
I tried outlining way back when, but it didn't work for me.  Too many things changed along the way.  So now I do what I call "bulleting."  I bullet out about 5 chapters at a time - who is on the page, what's going on, what clues are revealed (if any), etc.  It really helps keep me on point!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Laura Bradford:
I've always loved this question.  My ideas come from the tiniest of things sometimes - a sentence someone says, a news clip on the radio, a subject that intrigues me (in a good way or bad way), and sometimes from the characters themselves (weird, I know, but still true).

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?

Laura Bradford:
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 originally planned.  She kept me on the edge of my seat and made me worry about Jenny McPartland's safety in that book.  I've read it dozens of times since my first read at fourteen.  I still have that original copy.  It's yellowed and the pages are starting to fall out, but it is my most treasured book.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Laura Bradford:
Keeping the procrastination at bay.  But I have to say, I've been doing really good about that this past year!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Laura Bradford:
A good plot, of course, but characters you care about is what drives it home.  Without rich characters, a book is nothing special.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Laura Bradford:
This is a tough one.  I don't really see myself in any of my characters, although my friends like to point out similarities in both Claire Weatherly (the protagonist in my Amish Mysteries) and Tori Sinclair (the protagonist in my Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries, which I write under my pen name Elizabeth Lynn Casey).

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why did you pick your particular genre?

Laura Bradford:
Because Mary Higgins Clark made me love mysteries!!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Laura Bradford:
Another tough question.  I'd like to think my voice is a little different and I spend a lot of time making my characters be people you feel like you know ... and want to visit with again and again.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Laura Bradford:
After this week's launch of Suspended Sentence (#4 in my Amish Mysteries), readers can expect a #5 next year and ... hopefully ... more beyond that.
            Then, in regards to my Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey), the 10th book in that series - Wedding Duress - comes out next month!!  There will be a #11 and #12 after that.
            And finally, next year, I will be launching a third cozy series.  It's a bit early to talk details, but I can say it will be a fun one, and the first book has already been written (I'm working on the 2nd now).

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks for stopping by, Laura.  It's been great having you.  These future books (including the mysterious third cozy series) have me intrigued. :)
            One more thing before you go: Where can we find you?

Laura Bradford:
Readers can find me on my website (it's a cool site, so be sure to check it out).  I also have an author page on Facebook that I'm on every day.  
            And, I'm on Twitter (although I'm not a very good Tweeter).


About the book:
The national bestselling author of Shunned & Dangerous returns to the Amish community of Heavenly, Pennsylvania, where shop owner Claire Weatherly has come to appreciate a simpler, more peaceful way of life.  But dark secrets are about to complicate things - and lead to murder...

After the Stolzfus barn catches fire, Claire is awed by the response of the community.  Hundreds of Amish men gather together to raise a new barn for the family in a matter of days.  But in the midst of the work, a human skeleton is unearthed.  Found with the remains is half of a friendship bracelet last seen on Sadie Lehman, an Amish teen long believed to have left her strict upbringing for the allure of English ways.
            Now Detective Jakob Fisher - once a member of the Amish community himself - is determined to solve the young woman's murder.  With Claire's help, he must dig into the past and bring to light long-buried secrets - secrets that someone is willing to kill to protect...

2 comments:

Laura Bradford said...

Thanks so much for having me here today!!!

Meghan H said...

You are very welcome, Laura. Feel free to come back any time :)