Thursday, June 25, 2015

Interview Time with Laurel Wanrow

Today we have one of my fellow Maryland Romance Writers, Laurel Wanrow! Her debut novel, The Unraveling, is out now!

Hi, Laurel! Congrats on your book birthday! Tell everyone about yourself.

I’ve always loved nature. Since my dad was a naturalist working for the National Park Service, I had lots of early exposure to outdoor recreation through volunteering at the parks, so that’s what I went into to. I met my husband in an astronomy club. He’s a geologist, so we share the same love of the outdoors. I worked at a variety of parks until well after I had kids. When they were small, I wrote a story about a kid avoiding poison ivy at summer camp, but put it aside when our basement flooded. I pulled it out while homeschooling my youngest, finished it and went on to write a novel, then several more… Clearly, I love writing. *Grins* We are still very much an outdoor family: hiking, camping, fossil hunting, gardening…

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about being a writer?

I love creating the worlds and figuring out my characters’ lives and problems, and of course the magic. The magic is really my favorite. For least favorite…things that take me away from writing, like the paperwork and scheduling.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other writers?

Persevere. Early in my writing journey I heard Jo Ann Ferguson give a keynote speech during a Beau Monde mini-conference in San Francisco. Her quote from Galaxy Quest really has motivated me: ‘Never give up. Never surrender.’

That is a great quote. When you're writing, do you prefer silence or to have music on?

I’m a silence person, but my husband loves public radio with classical music. It is so much a part of our household, I often forget it’s on until the hourly newsbreaks.

How’d you get the idea for The Unraveling?

A dream, but also I’d recently read Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series and Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices series. So while working out what that girl in the dream was doing on a farm, I knew I had to make her story a steampunk. Because I’d not read any steampunk stories with rural settings, I could make all the ideas for the machinery my own!

Awesome! Steampunk fascinates me--you must have to have a good imagination to write it. And will The Unraveling be part of a series?

The Unraveling is actually part of a serialized novel—the complete story is called The Luminated Threads. It’s told in three parts, following the same characters, a proper city artist and the shapeshifter she comes to love, and the agricultural magnate who is determined to recruit them into his plans.

So there's lots more to look forward to! Yay! What are you working on right now?

Look at this gorgeous cover!
I’m finalizing the edits for The Twisting, Volume Two of The Luminated Threads. It releases this fall. For a short break at the start of June, I took a Master Plotting class taught by Cherry Adair and spent a weekend working on the outline of two stories in a futuristic duet…also with shapeshifters. J

What genres do you write in? What have your experiences been like? If you write in multiple genres, how is the experience different from one to another?

I write fantasy, but it never seems to be pure fantasy, the kind with a hero on a quest, running into elves, or trolls, rescuing a princess… My settings have that thread of magic, but also one of reality. I’ve used contemporary settings, some futuristic and this set of novels takes place in the past. Since my worlds aren’t completely made up, I always end up researching something. Luckily, I do love learning new things.

The Unraveling started out in a made-up land, but I so wanted the atmosphere to be the Victorian period. It came out English enough a plotting partner said it confused her it wasn’t the UK. With the help of a British friend, I selected Derby. I wrote happily away, looking up historical dress and food and transportation and…let’s be honest: I had to research a lot. The final things to trip me up were simple exclamations! Here’s one: Shoot. Sounds like something a lady might say instead of a real curse, right? Not until 1934. On the flip side, the expression bloody hell is very English and from the correct time period, yet it was considered a terribly extreme expression. So I used it once.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Ah, I don’t want to spoil anything, but this is a fun question! Annmar, the heroine, arrives at her last train station and runs into a bit of trouble with the stationmaster. She’s used to handling difficult clients and remains polite, yet she’s come all this way and doesn’t want to miss her connection. After a drawn-out series of questions that are getting her no closer to having a ticket in hand, it finally becomes clear the elderly man wants to ask a favor of her, a visiting artist, and she has to offer her services.

What scene gave you the most trouble?

Ohmygosh—the first scene! Always the first scene. I must write it a dozen times. I do write it almost first, and that seems to be my problem: I want to tell so many things, too many details, too many new terms. For The Unraveling, I originally had Annmar winding her way through Derby, including waiting for a steam trolley to pass. Then the mechanical feature became a walking carriage that she stops to draw. Finally, I just got her to the steam factory…and new readers complained there wasn’t enough setting. I believe the final-final opening scene has a good mix of setting, machines and Annmar’s dilemma.

Where can we find you on the interwebs?

 (Also gets there with just  )

To be notified of new releases sign up for Laurel's Newsletter

 (actual link is:  )

Author Facebook Page: Facebook :

Where can we find your books?

The Unraveling will be on sale for .99 through June 30th, at:

And the trade paperback, 360 pages, is available at Createspace (link still needed but definitely should have in a week!)

 Laurel Wanrow loves misty mornings, the smell of freshly dug earth, petting long-haired guinea pigs and staring at the stars. She sees magic in nature and loves to photograph it.

Before kids, she studied and worked as a naturalist—someone who leads wildflower and other nature walks. During a stint of homeschooling, she turned her writing skills to fiction to share her love of the land, magical characters and fantastical settings.

When not living in her fantasy worlds, Laurel camps, hunts fossils and argues with her husband and two new adult kids over whose turn it is to clean house. Though they live on the East Coast, a cherished family cabin in the Colorado Rockies holds Laurel’s heart.

Visit her online at

Thank you so much for stopping by, Laurel! 

xoxo Sarah