Laura Simmons has always been interested in all things supernatural. She also enjoys reading romance novels - which is why she decided to combine the two in riveting paranormal romance. As our author of the day, Simmons tells us all about her latest book, Tough Karma, talks about soap making and how her characters compel her to write.
Please give us a short introduction to what Tough Karma is about:
Amber Macklin is devastated after the recent deaths of her husband and baby girl. Bryce comes to her rescue, providing a shoulder to cry on and a place to stay so she won’t be alone in her grief, and he has loved her for a long time. When Mike, a longtime friend of Bryce’s stops by to visit, Amber senses something dangerous about him which causes her to have sleepwalking episodes where she draws pictures of him torturing her. Bryce is deeply disturbed by her drawings and investigates Mike’s past via astral travel, uncovering a terrifying secret. When Mike abducts Amber, Bryce must rely on his astral abilities to track her down. But will he find her alive?
What inspired you to write a book with astral travel and psychic warfare as themes?
I’ve always been fascinated with psychic phenomena and wished I could astral travel. I can’t think of a particular thing which inspired me to write a book about this other than my avid interest in the subject. It just came to me and I let it unfold. Bryce and Amber are strong characters and wanted me to tell their story.
Why do Amber and Bryce make for such a good match?
He’s the strong protective type and has been secretly in love with her for most of his life. They grew up as first cousins until they learned that they were not blood relatives. She was always the one he couldn’t have. They are lifelong best friends and confide in each other and truly enjoy each other’s company. He keeps her grounded and soothes her soul and she deeply appreciates him. Finding out there is no blood connection opens the door for a beautiful romance.
Why Paranormal Romance? What drew you to the genre?
I chose paranormal romance because of my interest in all things supernatural and I enjoy reading romance novels.
You take your readers on a real emotional rollercoaster. Was this intentional?
Yes. It’s something I personally enjoy when I read a story.
This book is a sequel to Little Bits of Karma. Can it be read as a standalone or do you need to read the first book first?
Yes, both books can be read as standalones and it is easy to follow without reading Little Bits of Karma first.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I can make really pretty soaps and have hundreds of soap and candy molds. For ten years I had a small soap making business and did local craft shows. Most of the soaps I made were highly decorative and completely useful and people loved them; however, they didn’t want to use them because they were too pretty. I had fun with it for a long time but it became tiresome and the craft shows were exhausting. It was a lot of effort with little return. Once I started writing, I lost all interest in making soap. Although I still make them from time to time for gifts, and if an old customer contacts me for a special request.
Is there something that compels you to write? And do you find that writing helps you achieve a clarity about yourself or ideas you've been struggling with?
Yes. My characters compel me to write. I’m always thinking about their story and when I get an idea for a scene I write it down.
Which of your characters has been the most challenging to write for?
Luke Decker, Bryce’s brother. Luke was a minor character (more of a cameo) in Little Bits of Karma and played a supporting role in Tough Karma. He’s now the romantic lead in my third book, Dark Karma. Luke has emerged slowly, and doesn’t reveal himself all at once like my other main characters. I really like him and surprisingly, he’s much more romantic than I thought he would be.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I start with a general outline/plot and it always goes off course. It’s just a guide and I prefer to see where an idea takes me. I love being surprised at what my characters decide to do or say and especially when a new character bursts onto the scene and changes everything I had planned.
Talk to us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?
I work a full-time job so I write when I can. I usually write a little in the evenings and more on the weekends. If I have time during my lunch hour, I will email ideas and paragraphs to myself to expand upon later. I tend to daydream and think about the characters when I’m driving to work in the mornings (before the stress of the day begins) and that is usually when I get my best ideas.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on the third novel in this series which is titled, Dark Karma. Like the other books, I want this one to be read as a standalone too. My first book focused on reincarnation and the afterlife, the second on astral travel and psychic abilities, this third one will feature those same paranormal aspects along with interdimensional travel and magic.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Since I’ve only written two books, the best place to interact with me would be my Facebook Fan Page. When I publish Dark Karma next year, I will announce it on Facebook first. I try to make my Facebook posts interesting, positive, and thoughtful. I also have a website where I’ve posted video book trailers for Little Bits of Karma and Tough Karma and there is a link on the Author page to a 30 minute radio interview that I did.