Author Chat with Laura Thomas on Romantic Suspense and Her Heart for Readers

Laura Thomas is one of my new favorite romantic suspense authors, and once you get to know her, you’ll see why that’s no surprise! She is not only a gifted writer, but also someone whose desire to provide heart-warming encouragement to her readers shines through the pages.

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did! Also, Laura has graciously offered to give away one e-book copy of her latest release, The Orphan Beach.  To enter, simply leave a comment below or share this post on social media.

Q: How did you first discover your writing ability, and how have you seen God use it in unexpected ways?

I really didn’t know I was a writer until I was in my late-thirties, when my husband discovered I had been harboring a secret writing dream for twenty-five years! He encouraged me to begin by taking some courses with The Institute of Children’s Literature, and I fell in love with writing and realized I needed to pursue the author life.

Of course, it didn’t go the way I expected, with me being content to write stories for young children. No, it seems God had other plans—better plans. He has given me the opportunity to write for children, teens, and adults in multiple genres and continues to open surprise doors along the way! It’s never, ever boring…

Q: What prompted you to first write Christian romantic suspense?

Although I started my writing journey with children’s books and stories, I always enjoyed being able to share non-fiction words with women readers via my blog. It was almost like when you have little kids at home all day and then go for coffee and conversation with adult friends! The initial idea for my first Christian romantic suspense novel, The Glass Bottom Boat, was inspired after a trip to Jamaica where my imagination ran amuck and I had the sudden urge to share a faith-based, nail-biting story for women. I adore reading this genre and was up for the challenge of blending faith, romance, and some page-turning suspense into a novel for grown-ups… even though that “sudden urge” took six long years to come to fruition!

Q: You also write Christian teen fiction and non-fiction as well. Tell us about your other books.

The Tears Trilogy comprises of three Christian teen fiction books for girls: Tears to Dancing, Tears of a Princess, and Tears, Fears, and Fame. Each story of hope delves into relatable issues including friendship, forgiveness, family, and faith—with ample drama, of course!

The Candle Maker is a short middle-grade novel set in Victorian England, where a ten-year-old ragamuffin boy learns to face his fears in order to discover the truth and save a life.

Pearls for the Bride is a non-fiction marriage books for newlyweds and brides-to-be, packed with humorous anecdotes, practical tips, and Biblical principles from the mother-of-the-bride’s point of view.

Q: As writers, we often don’t get to see how our writing influences others. However, sometimes readers do reach out and share with us. What has been the most encouraging feedback you’ve received?

I love hearing from readers! All feedback is encouraging and incredibly useful, but I think one of the most precious emails I received was from a newsletter subscriber who won a copy of Tears of a Princess, one of my teen fiction novels in my monthly giveaway. She offered to forgo her prize as I had to ship it overseas but I was more than happy to pay a little extra. When I heard from her a few weeks later, she had read the book and then passed it on to her pre-teen granddaughter who was battling an eating disorder—the exact topic this book covered. We both agreed it was God’s providence and timing and I’m humbled and excited to think my words might bring hope and healing in some small way to readers anywhere in the world.

Q: Your blog talks about your desire to provide heartwarming encouragement through your writing. How might readers be encouraged through your books? 

“Heartwarming encouragement for your soul” is the lens through which I attempt to write all my books, stories, articles, and devotionals. Even though most of my books are fiction, I believe people ultimately crave hope not only in a good storyline but in real life. As a Christian author, I love to be able to weave faith through my words and particularly in my romantic suspense novels, it’s my desire that readers will find the flawed characters relatable and see how God can work in them and through them in the most breathtaking ways.

Q: Can you hint about what next project you have in the works?

Absolutely. I’m thrilled to be writing the manuscript for my next Christian romantic suspense novel. I can share that it’s a brand-new series and is set in the idyllic English countryside… I’m going back to my roots with this one!

Also, my literary agent is currently working on my picture book, Bonbon the Frenchie: Lost in Paris, and my middle-grade novel, Black Diamonds.

Meet Author Laura Thomas whose Romantic Suspense novels not only entertain, but also provide heartwarming encouragement. @Laura_Thomas_ with @khogrefeparnell

About the Author

A published Christian author, Laura writes heartwarming encouragement for your soul—especially in her romantic suspense, teen fiction, marriage, and children’s books. Laura is a chocoholic mom of three, married to her high school sweetheart. Originally from the UK, they live in Kelowna, B.C. as audacious empty-nesters.

About The Orphan Beach

Life is spiraling out of control for pediatric nurse, Juliet Farr. Heart-broken, grief-stricken, and experiencing a crisis of faith—now she is the prime target for a crazed killer. When her ex-boyfriend, detective Max Bennett, returns to work the case in the Oregon Coast, he knows sharing the truth behind their break-up will destroy any possibility of a second chance together.

A manuscript, a maniac, and a mother’s love propel Juliet’s flight to a beach in Mexico as she desperately pursues hope and healing. Will she ever find freedom from the ache of abandonment? And when a troubled soul chooses Juliet as his perfect victim, can Max prove his love for her by risking his own life? Or will Orphan Beach be the end of their story?

To enter for a chance to win an e-book copy of The Orphan Beach, simply leave a comment on this post. You may also retweet my post on Twitter or Facebook. Just be sure to tag me!


And the Book Giveaway Winner Is …

Congrats to Sarah K. Butterfield on winning an e-book copy of Laura’s latest release, The Orphan Beach. Thanks to everyone who commented and shared, and a special thanks to Laura again for being our guest on the blog!

Writing with Purpose: An Interview with The Correspondent Evelyn

Some conversations leave you feeling energized, like you just finished chatting with a best friend over coffee and are now ready to continue all the tasks at hand. That’s how my interview at The Correspondent podcast with Evelyn Corral felt.

I would love for you to take a listen to this episode. Whether you’re a writer or pursuing some other calling, you’ll be encouraged to persevere and embrace new beginnings, no matter how small.

Some of my favorite takeaways from our chat include the following:

  • Appreciate closed doors since they might be blessings in disguise.
  • Remember we have to start somewhere, no matter how small.
  • Be faithful to your calling.
  • Struggles are part of pursuing any passion. What can you learn from them?
  • Your little is not too little for God to use.

Which one of these takeaways resonates most with you? Or did a different takeaway stick with you?

Live in abundance and keep pursuing those God-given dreams.

~ Kristen

Whether you’re a writer or pursuing some other calling, be encouraged to persevere and embrace new beginnings, no matter how small. @khogrefeparnell

My Writing Journey: An Interview by L.C. Helms

I so much enjoy chatting with authors here on the blog, and today, it’s my turn to share! I’m so grateful to my friend and gifted writer L.C. Helms for inviting me to be her “author spotlight” on her beautiful website.

Below is an excerpt of our conversation. For the full interview, visit lchelms.com.

Lori: How old were you when you started writing?

Kristen: I discovered my love for writing when I was nine or ten. My older brother had a creative writing project in school, and he shared it with us and our best friends. We all got excited about his short story and expanded it, each one of us taking turns writing a chapter. Although my brothers and friends eventually lost interest in our pet project, I didn’t and kept writing. I kept those early stories and laugh when I read them because they are so poorly written. But everyone has to start somewhere!

Lori: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer, and what kind of writing do you do?

Kristen: By the end of high school, I had finished my first novel and knew I wanted to be a writer. Thankfully, that novel didn’t see the light of day until after many more revisions, but it later became the first book in my Wings of the Dawn young adult trilogy. In college, I majored in English to grow as a writer and resumed my quest for publication after graduating.

Since then, I’ve published two young adult suspense trilogies (one contemporary suspense and the other speculative/dystopian). I also have an adult Christian romantic suspense novel completed as well as a young adult spiritual growth in the works. Books aside, I blog regularly on my website KristenHogrefeParnell.com where I challenge readers to find faith in everyday adventures.

Lori: What is your favorite kind of writing to read and your favorites from what you’ve written?

Kristen: My favorite fiction books to read are young adult fiction (contemporary or speculative) and Christian romantic suspense. I guess it’s no surprise that both are genres I write! In addition to my published young adult trilogies, I have a new romantic suspense project I am so excited about. I’ve read authors like Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, DiAnn Mills, and more for so long that it only seems natural to write in this genre that I love so much. Stephanie Alton with the Blythe Daniel Agency is representing me on this project, and I look forward to the day we find the right publishing home for it.

Choosing a favorite book that I’ve written seems like choosing a favorite child, which a parent should never do! I will say that my latest release, The Reactionary, holds a special place in my heart, because I was able to travel to Italy to do research for it. What an adventure that trip was! My friend Maria and I had several misadventures along the way (including getting lost in a rainstorm on a steep mountain road), but the whirlwind experience is one I will always treasure.

Lori: Has anyone inspired you?

Kristen: We would be here all day if I tried to list all the people who have inspired and impacted my writing career. One person who immediately comes to mind is Bruce Brady. He was a godly mentor through Word Weavers International, and I met him at the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference what feels like a lifetime ago. Though I was new to the conference and a seeming “nobody,” he was so excited to meet me and said he couldn’t wait to read my books. The interest he took in me and the enthusiastic way he believed in my writing was incredibly touching. God took Bruce home after a long fight with cancer, but I will always be grateful to him for believing in me.

@khogrefeparnell: I’m honored to share part of my writing journey today in a special interview with my friend and gifted writer @lchelmsauthor.

Writer’s Block: Publishing 101

As writers, we often share a dream: to see our stories in print. In today’s video, we talk about the basics of publishing: some common publishing vocabulary, types of publishing, the reality of rejection, and what you, as a young writer, can be doing today to prepare to perhaps publish one day. As always, there’s a writing activity for you at the end.

Join us on YouTube, and take a moment to comment or share your thoughts on today’s video.

What can you, as a young writer, be doing today to work toward your publishing dream? Join the conversation on Writer’s Block, a YouTube community for teen writers.

Writer’s Block: The Basics of Plot Structure

A story doesn’t just happen. The writer intentionally crafts it from start to finish–from inciting incident to denouement. In this meeting, we talk about the ten basic plots, the components of plot structure, and an example that helps visualize the whole process. As always, there’s a writing activity at the end to help you practice what you’ve learned.

Join us on YouTube, and take a moment to comment or share your thoughts on today’s video.

A story doesn’t just happen. Learn the basic components of plot structure and how to map out a storyline from start to finish.

Writer’s Block: Poetry in Everyday Life

It’s February, a month famous for sharing sweet sentiments, so what better time is there to talk about poetry? Whether you want to craft a ditty for that special someone–or not–everyone can learn to enjoy and even write poetry.

Most teens groan when their teacher talks about poetry in English class, but the truth is, we use poetry all the time. It adds beauty and extra dimension to writing, songs, and creative expressions. In this meeting, we’ll talk about the basics of meter, the difference between rhyme and free verse, and some common poetic devices. Then, at the end, I’ll share a writing activity so you can practice being your own poet.

Join us on YouTube, and take a moment to comment or share your thoughts on today’s video.

Learn the basics of poetry on Writer’s Block, a community for young writers.

Writer’s Block: “Show. Don’t Tell.”

I’m excited to share the video of our first Writer’s Block of 2020! This creative writing club is designed for young writers, but writers of all ages and experience levels are welcome.

“Show. Don’t Tell.” It’s a critique writers often receive, so how do we “show” and “not tell” in our writing? We’ll talk about how to write vividly using sensory descriptions and avoid some “telling” words that tend to slow down our writing. As always, there’s a writing activity at the end.

Join us on YouTube, and take a moment to comment or share your thoughts on today’s video.

“Show. Don’t Tell.” It’s a common writing critique writers can learn to overcome. #WritersBlock #writingcommunity

How to Avoid Writing Pitfalls

I’m excited to share this month’s creative writing topic on Writer’s Block, a creative writing club for young writers.

There, their, or they’re? Its or it’s? This month, we talk about common writing pitfalls and how to spot them. We also look at what makes a strong opener versus a weak opener for a story and also how to write strong dialogue. Don’t miss the hands-on writing activity at the end!

Join us on YouTube, and take a moment to comment or share your thoughts on today’s video.

Don’t let your writing get tangled. Learn to avoid common writing pitfalls this month on Writer’s Block.

Write on!

Kristen

The Challenge to Write Simply

Welcome back to Writer’s Block, a creative writing club designed for young writers. In this month’s meeting, we talk about how less can definitely be more with our writing, but writing simply is much harder than we might think!

In today’s video, we talk about ways to write tightly and clear. The writing activity is one you won’t want to miss.

Join us on YouTube, and take a moment to comment or share your thoughts on today’s class.

How can less be more with our writing? Join the conversation at Writer’s Block, a creative writing community on YouTube for teen writers. https://bit.ly/2oxdEBe

Write on!

~ Kristen