HI ALL AND WELCOME TO BOC'S SPOTLIGHT ON AUTHOR LAURA BRADFORD. YES, SHE WRITES AMISH TALES AND WHEN I FOUND THIS OUT, I HAD TO HAVE HER ON THE BLOG, I HAVE A FASCINATION WITH ALL THINGS AMISH. LAURA WILL BE ONE OF THE FEATURED AUTHORS AT THIS YEAR'S LIBERTY STATES CONFERENCES AND I LOOK FORWARD TO MEETING HER.
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Laura Bradford (the writer, not the agent). I write in the cozy mystery genre under my own name, as well as my pen name, Elizabeth Lynn Casey. While my focus at this time is mystery, I also have a few romance novels under my belt—one of which was recognized as the Reviewer’s Choice Winner for Best Harlequin American of 2010 by Romantic Times.
In addition to writing, I’m an avid reader who lives in New York with her family.
When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Originally, back when I was ten, I fell in love with the notion of writing books during a playdate with a friend. We’d played Barbie’s during the first half of a particularly rainy day and were looking for something different to occupy our time. My friend pulled out stacks of plain white paper, a box of crayons, and some pencils and our imaginations took over. Before long, we were writing children’s books and I was hooked.
I still have that book…and the one I wrote on its heels. Sometimes I even bring them with me when I go out on signings.
Tell us about your upcoming work?
On March 4th, the third book in my Amish Mysteries—SHUNNED AND DANGEROUS—will release with Berkley Prime Crime/Penguin Publishing. This series is written under my name, Laura Bradford.
After that, my next release will be on August 6th when the ninth book in my Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries—TAKEN IN—hits store shelves. This series is written under my pen name, Elizabeth Lynn Casey.
Do you have any mentors? Heroes?
My first true writing mentor was my editor at the first newspaper I worked for as a college intern. Art taught me about leads, interviewing, and just about everything a writer needs to know. I learned more from that man than I did in any of my writing classes in college. As a result, I modeled one of the characters (a newspaper editor, no less) in my first-ever mystery series, The Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, after Art.
I can also probably consider Mary Higgins Clark one of my mentors, even though I’ve only met her once (and that was long after I saw her as my mentor). It was her book, A CRY IN THE NIGHT, that convinced me I wanted to write mysteries.
Can you tell us your favorite character from your books so far and why?
That’s a tough one simply because I’m grown rather attached to all of them. But I’ll try to narrow it down for you.
In my Amish Mysteries, I’d have to say it’s probably Aunt Diane. She’s the voice of reason character, I guess, and I adore her. That said, I love writing Detective Jakob Fisher (former Amish), too. Having grown up Amish and then choosing to leave, his presence (as a law enforcement official) in the same town brings with it a lot of grief and tension. How he gets through it, with the help of my main character, Claire, is what I envy most about him.
In my Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries, I’d have to say Leona Elkin. She’s a sixty-something with a whole lot of sass and I rarely know what she’s going to get into from book to book until she starts talking in my head. Fun!!
Was it difficult for you to get published?
I sent my first book to a then-brand new independent print publisher in 2004. I had seen an ad in a writer’s magazine about this company and discovered that they were in the hunt for potential mystery series. I sent my manuscript to them and waited six long months for a response. When they did, they said they liked the premise but my characters needed more depth. For a few months, I wasn’t sure how to do that, but once I figured it out, I resent and they gave me a contract. I wrote 3 books for them (all of which had book club rights picked up by Harlequin’s Worldwide Mystery) before making the decision to stop that series in the hope of getting in with a NY publisher.
I did just that with, first, the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries, and the Amish Mysteries. During that time, I also wrote and sold four romances to Harlequin American.
I hope, one day, to branch off into women’s fiction, as well.
Who are your favorite authors/reads?
I absolutely love Linda Castillo’s Amish Thrillers. Each one is better than the one before—which is a true measure of a good writer, in my opinion.
And I love Maggie Barbieri’s Murder 101 series.
I love to travel when possible, and read every chance I get.
Tell us a bit about your workshop(s) at the conference?
STORIES THAT SELL is a writer’s track workshop that fellow author, Jenna Kernan, and I have put together utilizing movie clips to bring home the aspects all stories need in order to be attractive to a publisher.
With my background in contemporary romance and cozy mystery, as well as Jenna’s background in paranormal and western romance, I think we can bring a lot to the table to help our fellow writers in their pursuit of publication.
Do you have any favorite TV shows?
I’m not a huge TV watcher, never have been. However, I’ve come late to the party on a few really good shows (oh how I love DVD collections) like Dexter and Castle. Beyond that, I’m a die-hard Survivor watcher and a bit of a closet HGTV junkie.
What’s next for you?
I just finished writing the tenth book in the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries and the fourth book in my Amish Mysteries. Over these next few months, before I start on the fifth Amish book, my goal is to draft a proposal for a women’s fiction novel that’s been churning inside me for quite some time. Wish me luck!
What would you like readers to know about you?
I love to get letters and emails from readers…and I do respond! You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you just want to check in from time to time and see what’s happening (in terms of the next release, upcoming events, etc.), you can do that on my website: www.laurabradford.com. There, you can sign up for my e-newsletter, read first chapter excerpts from each of my Amish Mysteries, and even download a printable book list with all of my titles—Amish and otherwise.
On Facebook? I have an author page where I occasionally host little giveaways for my fans, so be sure to stop by and “like” my page!
Oh…and if you’re curious about the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (under my pen name, Elizabeth Lynn Casey), you find out information about those books on www.laurabradford.com and/or www.elizabethlynncasey.com .