We discovered Laura Ward just a few short weeks ago when PAST HEAVEN caught our eyes. After reading such a beautiful, heartfelt story, we knew we had to know more about the author who created it. Laura kindly agreed to answer our 20 questions and here they are!
20 QUESTIONS FOR LAURA WARD
1. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, I was always the kid walking around day dreaming about a story. I have had a manuscript in my head or on paper for as long as I can imagine. In college, though, I studied education and became a teacher. I needed steady income while my husband was in school.
2. Has it become a full time job for you, or do you have another profession?
I stopped teaching to raise my kids. During naptime and at night I fell back in love with reading, and just two years ago I started to write again.
3. Talk to us about what your favorite part of the writing process is?
My absolute favorite moment is when I type, Chapter One. I have a story outline mapped out, so I know where I want to go, but I always end up deviating as the characters and plot are developed on paper. The beginning is so exciting and scary at the same time.
4. I would think that writing is something that happens when inspiration strikes as opposed to a 9-5 job. Have you ever been in the middle of dinner with your family when an idea hits and you have to get to the computer stat?
Absolutely! Luckily, my husband and kids think it’s very cool that I write books, so they excuse my absences. I keep a notebook with me at all times to jot notes. I find inspiration in music, people, phrases, and conversations.
5. You can tell when emotion if forced in a story and that was NOT the case in Past Heaven. I felt every gut-wrenching word. How difficult is it to get to that place within yourself to get it down for your characters?
Sometimes, with certain characters, it is tough. I think when that is the case, you as the writer, have to step back and fully think through who that character is and who you want them to be at the end of the story. With Liz, I was able to think through what the loss of my spouse would feel like and how difficult it would be to move on from that, especially with little kids to protect.
6. Are there any characters you relate the most to in your books?
In Past Heaven, I certainly related to Liz. I am a mom of three, and my brother has multiple disabilities. In my new adult novel, Not Yet, I related to Emma. Like me, she has a sibling with special needs and is a teacher.
7. What are your biggest distractions?
My wonderful, adorable, loud, silly, and loving children are my biggest distractions. Oh, and Facebook. 🙂
8. What is your least favorite part of the writing or publishing process?
My least favorite parts are those final read-throughs when I’m searching for any tiny typo or misplaced comma. My eyes blur and everything runs together.
9. Do you find it difficult, or challenging to write from the male POV?
With my first book, I did not find it challenging. Landon was so much fun to write as a cocky jock. I knew so many guys like him and writing his journey was one of the most rewarding parts of the book. Writing Reynolds was tougher. He’s not an alpha male. I wanted him to be sensitive, but not too soft. That was a balance I had to continually check on.
10. What activities do you enjoy outside of writing?
Spending time with my kids and husband, time with my amazing girl friends, playing tennis, and READING!
11. Do you have a favorite author?
So many. Abbi Glines got me back into the romance genre. Her books are fun and hot and reading them is just how I want to spend my free time. She made me want to write because I wanted to bring that escape to other women. After starting her books I found Colleen Hoover and Jamie McGuire. Nowadays, I will read anything by Amy Harmon and Mia Sheridan.
12. Ever think you have a great idea for a book, only to find out someone released the same storyline already?
Not exactly, but truth be told, I didn’t heavily investigate that before publishing my books. I knew my stories, particularly with secondary characters with disabilities, were unique in their own ways.
13. Do you have multiple stories swimming in your head at once?
Always. My brain is a crazy place to be.
14. If you could pick one favorite scene you wrote, what would it be?
My very favorite scene to write was the plot twist in Not Yet, but since I don’t want to give that away to readers, I will describe my second favorite scene to write. This is also a scene from Not Yet, from Landon’s POV when he is saying goodbye to his friend Trevor at the end of the summer. Trevor has a form of autism that leaves him unable to speak. Writing this scene touched me so much that I cried as I typed. The growth that Landon undergoes after just a few months knowing Emma and Trevor is astounding. This big, hunky, tough, jock really believes he has a friendship with a silent twelve year old boy. He makes plans to stay in touch with Trevor and watches the emotions on Trevor’s face as Trevor processes this. You see, Trevor knows that he is different than other people around him. What we, as the reader, don’t know is whether Trevor knows he is worthy of the same respect and love as everyone else. In this scene, we see Trevor understanding that Landon finds him worthy, and in turn, Landon’s knowledge of the power of one person rocks him to his core. It was a pleasure, in every way, to write this scene.
15. What does your writing workspace look like?
I have my own office on the main floor of the house. It has a white desk that takes up a whole wall and is always covered with sticky notes. Another wall is filled with bookshelves. No television, no radio, no clock on the wall. Just words, words, words, and because of that, it is my favorite room in the house.
16. Sharing your baby with the public has to be scary. How do you respond to negative reviews?
Writing and publishing my first book was hands down the scariest experience of my life. I was warned to not let negative reviews get to me, but that can be harder than you think. First off, I never respond to negative reviews. Secondly, I remind myself that not every book is for every reader. Finally, I pour a glass of wine and remember that every author has had and will have negative reviews.
17. If you could cast your books, who would you choose?
For Not Yet: Jesse Metcalfe and Lauren Conrad
For Past Heaven: Josh Duhamel and Reese Witherspoon
18. Can you tell us what you are working on next?
I am SO excited about my next book. I am co-authoring with Christine Manzari (me- female pov and her male- pov) a new adult novel that takes place from high school into college. This is a coming of age story about fitting in, finding yourself, and staying true to your beliefs while still being connected to another. The title is: The Pledge and we hope to publish it this summer.
19. What is in your purse right now?
My kindle, sunglasses, wallet, lip gloss, and a notebook and pen.
20. Where do you hope your writing career is in 10 years?
My goal as a writer is to continue to be as happy writing 10 years from now as I am today. I hope writing never becomes a chore, and always stays a love. I hope to continue to be true to myself and to find new readers each and every year along the way.
BOOKS BY LAURA WARD
Emma Harris is learning that life is just a series of lessons.
Lesson #1: Nothing goes the way you plan.
Lesson #2: You can’t trust men. Especially not the pretty ones.
Lesson #3: Turns out, appearances are almost always deceiving.
Emma thinks she has life all figured out, and what she knows isn’t good. For years, she’s put her big sister, who was born with Down syndrome, first. Now Emma’s ready to start her own life, but fate has other plans. To do the right thing for the sister she loves, Emma’s dreams will just have to wait.
She doesn’t plan on meeting Landon — a rich, flirtatious jock, who never has to wait for anything. Not for attention, not for money, and certainly not for girls. Meeting Emma marks the first time in his life that he’s had to fight for something. And Landon doesn’t know how to lose.
Emma has no interest in wasting her summer with a superficial guy like Landon. But very soon she realizes she is wrong about him. The question is, can she trust him? Or will he let her down like every other guy in her life? But most importantly, can Emma trust herself enough to live the life she’s always dreamed of?
Life has a way of sneaking in the most important lessons when you aren’t looking. And once the heart gets involved, that’s when the real learning begins.
*** This book is intended for mature audiences. 18 and over!
Not every love story has a happy ending. Some just change your life.
Liz Atwater’s happily ever after is torn from her and she’s living her worst nightmare. Everything changed the instant her husband, Jack, was murdered. She is now forced to pick up the shattered pieces of her life as she faces the daunting task of raising three young children alone.
A world away in Hollywood, actor Reynolds Carter is recovering from the humiliation of his girlfriend’s cheating scandal. The public affair forces him to admit that he wants his life to be meaningful, not just front page gossip and headlines in the tabloids.
Reynolds finds his purpose in memorializing the story of Jack Atwater, whose life ambition was to bring attention to people with disabilities who were living in institutions. As Reynolds takes on the challenge of this new project, his world collides with that of Liz. They never expected their professional relationship to evolve into friendship, or love, but that’s exactly what happens.
Unfortunately, life is never simple. Faced with complications from family, friends, and work colleagues, Liz and Reynolds are left to decide whether two people from such different worlds can find happiness together. Can they get past the pain, fear, and guilt to risk their hearts to love again? If so, would it be worth it?
Not every love story is just a happy ending. Some completely change your life.
Laura Ward lives in Maryland with her loud and very loving three children and husband. She married her college sweetheart and is endlessly grateful for the support he has given her through all their years together, and especially toward her goal of writing books. When not changing diapers, driving to lacrosse practice, or checking spelling homework, Laura is writing or reading romance novels.