Laurie, thanks for hanging out with me today! With your Free Men and Dreamers series, You have written some of the best historical fiction novels I've ever read. How did you get to be so dang cool, and do you give dang cool lessons?
Wow, thanks, Tristi! (Would you mind calling my kids and telling them I'm cool?) I used to be cool, back in the seventies. Well . . . not really cool, just sort of lukewarm. (Now I've gone and blown my cool cover, haven't I?)
Seriously - how do you do your research? What is your process?
I begin by reading up on my topic, then when a thread catches my attention, I find an expert and interview them or, if possible, I visit them. I've met some brilliant U.S. Park Service people who gave me wonderful tours. I've trudged through battlefields, climbed through forts, visited old houses, etc. University libraries are treasure troves of information. I keep a list of friendly, helpful researchers who've assisted me in the past at these institutions and they have worked hard to help me locate obscure things like historic maps and letters that keep the storyline historically accurate and informative.
I think organizing the research and the sources is the real key. I maintain several charts and spreadsheets with all my research details. It sounds tedious, but once I've got my plan plan laid out, the research flows and I can write with confidence.
Do you have a set writing schedule?
No. I wish I did, but my life is in real flux right now with an aging mother, and grandchildren close by. I want to always put people first, so the writing takes a hit some days, and some days I write from sun-up to sundown.
What are you working on right now?
I'm finishing up the fifth and final volume of my "Free Men and Dreamers" series titled, In God is Our Trust, which we're hoping to release in late spring. Then the marketing will ratchet up as we spread the word about the books before the start of the bicentennial of the War of 1812, the setting of the story.
I've got the beginnings of a delicious political suspense novel I began during a hiatus in Free Men. I can't wait to dig into to that again. I'm pitching this one to the national market so cross your fingers and wish me luck!
Good luck, Laurie! One last question before you go. If you could invent a machine that would in some way make your life easier, what would that machine do?
Oh, I've wished for this gift a million times! I'd invent a machine that could teleport me anywhere I needed to go so I could visit faraway family members and friends whenever I wanted. I love to read history and write about it, but what I most want is to make it, with the people I love.
That sounds like an awesome machine. Thanks for stopping by - it's been a lot of fun!