NEWS FLASH: Gail Hess is the winner of Nancy Herriman’s book! Gail, please contact Edith at edithmaxwellauthor at gmail dot com.
Liz here, and I’m excited to welcome Laura Bradford, the author of the Amish Mysteries, as well as the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey. I met Laura at Bouchercon in 2013. It was my first “official” panel at a real conference, and I was a nervous wreck. Sitting next to me as we waited to start, she confessed she was too – which made me feel a whole lot better! (And sorry to give that away, Laura!)
Laura’s upcoming book in the Amish series is A Churn for the Worse, publishing in March 2016. Today she’s joining us talk about why she writes. Take it away, Laura!
As my deadline for this post loomed closer, I found myself in need of a little spark. So I took to one of my author pages on Facebook to find out the kinds of things readers like to know about their favorite authors. The suggestions were great—where do my ideas come from, what jobs did I hold before delving into fiction, et cetera. But one question shoved its way past all the others to niggle at my thoughts off and on throughout the weekend.
Why do you write?
When I first read that question, my brain immediately shifted into standard answer mode.
“I fell in love with writing when I was ten.”
But that doesn’t really answer the question of why, does it?
So then I started thinking a little more…
Out of my grandparents’ eleven children, five of us are in a highly creative field. Maybe I write because it’s in my genes. That would certainly explain the very odd phenomenon that has me racing back through many a manuscript to add something “really cool” only to find out it was there all along.
Maybe I write because that’s the way my brain is wired.
Or maybe I write because I need to write…
When I was little and writing picture books for fun, I truly believed the world was this great big happy place where all you had to do was wish for something and it happened. And even if on some level I knew that wasn’t true, I made it so in my stories.
My teen years brought with them the same things everyone else’s teen years bring—worry about how you fit and where you fit. Suddenly the gnomes and bears I’d written about as a kid were pushed to the side in favor of angst-y teenage girls worried about their clothes or the boy they’d passed in the hallway on the way to class.
Graduation from college brought journalism jobs and an up close and personal look at reality. Suddenly, the fictional worlds I’d created to reflect my needs paled against one where kids went missing, accidents claimed lives, and criminals got away. Those stories I couldn’t control. I couldn’t write the “characters” the way I wanted or deliver the desired ending to a heartbreaking tale.
As interesting as that work was at times, I was more than happy to cast it aside for the role I wanted most—mom. By the grace of God, I was blessed with two beautiful girls. I threw myself into their world and, by doing so, their happy place became my happy place. Sure, the desire for stories was still there, but I filled it by reading stories to them. You know, losing myself in tales of happy places where all you had to do was wish…
Eventually, my need to write resurfaced and I found myself dabbling in the kind of realities I’d written about as a reporter. Only this time, when a kid went missing, I could make a parents’ desperate wish come true.
Later, when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and my first marriage crumbled, I found myself writing love stories. I guess I needed to make things work out right somewhere, even if it wasn’t in my own life.
Writing does that for me. It gives me a place to make sense of the world—to right wrongs, to work through the tough patches, to find happy endings.
The only question now, is which came first…
Laura Bradford is the national bestselling author of the Amish Mysteries. A CHURN FOR THE WORSE, the 5th book in the series, will release in March. As Elizabeth Lynn Casey, she also pens the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries. NEEDLE AND DREAD, the 11th book in that series, will release in April. Both books are now available for pre-order. To learn more about Laura or her books, visit her website: www.laurabradford.com.
Readers, thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment for Laura below.
What a wonderful history of your writing career, Laura (I have a similar rambling through many types of writing in my life). Thanks for sharing it with us today.
Thanks for having me, Edith!
It’s interesting that your journey through the process of becoming a writer reflects many people’s experience in reading – different genres and interests at different stages of life. I’m so glad that have arrived in the place you are today. I enjoyed your post!
Interesting note on the correlation to reading, Eileen. I think that probably describes me as a reader, too. Hope to see you next March (or April…or June). 🙂
June? What’s coming out in June?
Mark, I have a new series debuting next June. I will share details soon…
Definitely! we’ll have to set a date as soon as we have the 2016 calendar!
Nice to see you here! You’re right: if you’re meant to be a writer, you have to write. All those characters and stories keep pounding on you, demanding to be let out of your head.
BTW, my father lived for years in Amish country, outside of Lancaster PA–and spent most of that time cursing those horse-drawn buggies slowing traffic on the roads. It’s fun to visit in your books.
Thanks, Sheila. I suspect a lot of people get irked with the slow buggies. I love them though. 🙂
Laura, your “need” to write sounds like mine. I also have MS, so when I write I get to make the story end the way I think it should end and I do all the things I can’t do any more. I live for that one hour a day when I feel I’m doing one of the “things” the universe put me here to do.
And I love the Amish buggies. Had a great-aunt who lived near an Amish community and I loved visiting them with her.
Mary, keep fighting the good fight. And never let this disease take your writing from you. Thanks for stopping by.
I gravitate to the books where everyone but the villain gets a happy ending. I know that’s not real life, but I read to escape from real life. I find it interesting that you write for the same reasons.
I’m down to book 4 in the Amish series this year. I’ll be ready for book 5 come March.
Escape from real life…yup, that’s it. There’s more than enough “real” out there to last a lifetime, isn’t there, Mark?
I can’t wait to hear your take on # 4–Suspendered Sentence.
Great post, Laura! Iowa has several Amish colonies and it was always fun to visit them. I look forward to the release of A Churn for the Worse (love the title!).
Hi Sherry! Thanks for having me here (love you guys).
I love Laura’s books. I just finished the three Jenkins and Burns books, and thought they were amazing. Plus the Amish mysteries and the Southern Sewing Circle, of course.
Barb, it’s always nice to hear that someone is enjoying my first-ever mystery series. I cut my teeth on those… Thanks for stopping by today!
I liked reading your considered response to the question of why you write and the responses to how you answer that question, here. I started for reasons similar to yours and Mary Sutton’s, and I’m sure there have to be multiple reasons to keep it going.
When epilepsy and post polio syndrome (PPS) made it too difficult to work I took disability leave and was never able to go back before my employer decided to retire me. It was also too hard for many reasons to keep going with my doctoral program, and I decided to find another focus. Writing was all I could do that felt productive. I had started to read mystery novels. I loved them. They took my attention and focussed it elsewhere, not necessarily in places or situations I would like to be in, but where my focus was actively engaged in a process outside myself.
I’m glad you were here today. (Thank you, Liz.) I’m looking forward to reading book #4 — and your new series to see what new things you have in store for us!
Reine, I’m glad you found an outlet with your writing.! And thanks for stopping by.
Thanks for visiting with the Wickeds, today, Laura. Thanks for sharing your journey and your motivations. I think so many of us share your desire to make things turn out the way you’d like for your characters. Will you come back and see us again when you are ready to share more about your new series?
Jessie, I’d love to come back. My malice-weekend dinner with you guys was a highlight for me. Such nice people–all of you!
Thank you Laura! Great post about the “whys”, and motivation for all of us. I echo Jessie–looking forward to having you back!
Thank you!! I loved being here.
Thank you for visiting today, Laura. Great post that made me reflect on my reasons for writing.
Thank you, Barbara!
Wonderful information!! Thank you for taking the time to let us in. Funny thing is my diagnosis of ms was what brought me to reading cozies. If not for that I doubt I would have ever found them. Several things that ms brought to me, brought me through and made me do have actually been weird blessings. I wish I wrote, but unfortunately although my mind my have stories, my laziness is much stronger, lol
Kay, blessings always seem to come out of icky stuff eventually, don’t they?
Well drat! Liz beat me to asking you to guest post here at the Wickeds *shakes fist*, LOL! I never make any secret that your Amish series is one of my favorites. Trying to catch up on the Sewing Circle. Guess I’d better get busy before that new series debuts, because I know I’ll want to read that one too. Great seeing you here!
Thanks, Susannah! I can always guest again… 🙂
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