I write young adult science fiction and fantasy, sometimes paranormal. Basically, something in my story has to be weird. I’m still celebrating getting an agent this year for my YA Fantasy with Vietnamese and Maori-inspired elements, in which a princess agrees to marry a foreign king in order to search for her sister’s assassin. Sound interesting? You can find more details here.
Right now, I’m working (incredibly slowly, see “HOW”) on a YA sci-fi manuscript about a pastor-in-training and giant, poisonous slugs. That thing about something being weird? It’s highly possible I’m overdoing it on this one.
I’ve always loved reading (to the point of obsession), and I’ve written for nearly as long as I can read. For many of my adult years, that “writing” was only in my head. Didn’t want to let go at the end of a book?—I imagined a sequel. Recording a show on TV stopped before the movie ended?—I made up the ending for myself.
When I finally did sit down and write, my attempts at novels always seemed to peter out after three chapters—until I discovered YA. That was my voice. The words flowed.
My inspiration can come from anywhere: a line in a song, a painting in a museum, a scientific fact. From there, it turns into a question, like for the YA Fantasy I mentioned: what if you had to marry someone from another country and you had no common language to communicate?
As for the practical side of writing, I used to have this great system where I worked part-time, then drove home and immersed myself in my manuscript, writing for 1-2 hours before my kids came home. It was ideal, because I had frequent dedicated blocks of time with my story. Even when I wasn’t writing, it was on my mind, and I’d scribble scenes in a notebook I carried everywhere.
Now I’m searching for a new “how.” Due to a chronic illness in the family, my daily alone time is almost zero. The worry about that person stretches into my free time, edging out scenes and dialogues that used to sprout without active work by me. I’ve given myself a few months break, and I’m trying to creep toward writing again, but it’s hard. I’m working on figuring out a new system.
Regardless of when I manage to write, I’ve described the nitty gritty details of my writing process on my blog, and I’ve also created a beat sheet you can download for free from my local SCBWI chapter website if you’re interested. It combines aspects from different well-known writing advice sources.
Laura grew up in Michigan but dove into a whirlwind romance just after college, which meant moving to southern Germany without a job, but with a lot of love. She and her husband married in a blink of an eye later, and they’ve now lived there happily for more years than seem possible. By day, Laura manages process and system projects, and she’s a mother of two. Nights and stolen daytime hours are devoted to living in her head: writing young adult science fiction and fantasy novels. Laura is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and her work is represented by Zoe Sandler of ICM Partners.