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Genre Hopping with Laura Walker

News Flash: Lori B. is Laura’s lucky winner! Lori, congratulations, and please check your email.

Edith/Maddie here, just back from a quick vacation and dutifully tending to my blog wrangler responsibilities for the month.

Like the others, this one is not a bit onerous! Laura Walker is a California author who writes delightful cozy mysteries, but she has also been through a lot in her life. Today she’s genre hopping for us with her new memoir, Good Girl: A Memoir of Overcoming Rape, Breast Cancer, and Fundamentalism. I’m thrilled to present her and the book to our readers, and she’s giving away a copy to one lucky US commenter.

But first, the book blurb: Laura Jensen Walker was always a good girl. Growing up in the Midwest in the 1960s, she was a polite, straight-A student who respected her elders, went to church on Sunday, and never gave her parents any trouble. Bookworm Laura was the poster child for good girls everywhere. Until one fateful night in a college fraternity house. This is the journey of a “good-girl-gone-bad-gone-good-again” and her search for belonging and acceptance, with funny and not-so-funny detours through boot camp, Britain, book-burning, breast cancer, and born-again evangelicals. Ultimately, it’s a story of resilience. Victory. And healing.

The good little girl in her Easter bonnet (six or seven years old.)

Mixing it Up – Writing in a Different Genre

I’ve always written in different genres. More than twenty-five years ago my publishing career began with DATED JEKYLL, MARRIED HYDE, my first funny foray into non-fiction. After that, I wrote nine more non-fiction humor books before moving into my passion. Fiction. My first novel DREAMING IN BLACK & WHITE (chick lit) came out in 2005, followed by six more fun and frothy chick lit books. But after writing 17 books in 12 years, I took a long, much-needed writing sabbatical.

I returned to writing in 2020 with my first cozy mystery, the Agatha-nominated MURDER MOST SWEET. Two more cozies followed in quick succession. Which brings us to now and my latest book, my return to non-fiction. Good Girl: A Memoir of Overcoming Rape, Breast Cancer & Fundamentalism is the hardest book I’ve ever written.

During Air Force basic training (19 years old.)

GOOD GIRL started as a spiritual memoir several years ago after I’d left fundamentalist Christianity and found my home in the inclusive Episcopal church. It became so much more.

I hadn’t intended to write about the sexual assault that happened in my late teens—to reveal that private trauma to the world. Good girls didn’t talk about such things. They kept them private. Hidden. Buried beneath layers of shame. Yet a few years ago after hearing woman after woman come forward and bravely share their #MeToo stories, I realized that what happened to me had happened to a LOT of women. Girls. Not just me. I took a deep breath and began the painful process of honestly examining my rape at nineteen and how I’d reacted over the years to that assault on my body. My psyche. My whole being.  

My husband and me during my chemo days, 30 years ago.

And then I picked up my pen and began writing. Bringing my secret to the light. Sharing it with the world. And healing in the process. No more shame. No more fear. No worries about what people would think. I wrote the book I was meant to write all along. The book of my soul. The best book I’ve ever written.

Writers: Do you like to mix it up by writing in different genres? If so, which ones? Readers: Do you like to mix it up by reading in different genres? Which are your favorites?

Please answer for a chance to win a copy of GOOD GIRL (U.S. only—sorry.)

[Edith: Laura’s on the west coast, so she’ll be by to respond to your comments a little later.]

Former journalist Laura Jensen Walker is the award-winning author of more than 20 books, both fiction and non-fiction, including Good Girl, Thanks for the Mammogram! and the Agatha-nominated Murder Most Sweet, an Amazon bestseller. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Laura loves hearing from readers. You can connect with her through, on Twitter @LauraJensenWal1 or Facebook.

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