Desperate for a hockey-player fix during an NHL lockout, Laurel picked up her laptop. She couldn’t watch hot hockey players on TV, so she started writing about them. From blending a decades-long love of hockey with a few of her other interests—traveling in the BC Gulf Islands, romance novels, and gorgeous Scottish actors—the Vancouver Renegades and the Fraser family came to life. Laurel lives outside of Vancouver with her law-talking husband and two energetic daughters. She is currently seeking representation.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? How did you start?
Grade eight. I started writing fan fiction, though I had no idea what fan fiction was at the time. I just wanted to write extra epilogues for Julie Garwood novels and imagine myself falling in love with Pavel Bure. I wrote my first novel during an NHL strike. I was bored without hockey, so I wrote a book about a hockey player. It wasn’t publishable, but it hooked me in to figuring out how to make the next one better.
What genre(s) do you write in? What is it that you love about them?
I write contemporary romance, both single-title and category length. I love experiencing the rise and fall of emotion while knowing a happily-ever-after ending is in store. And I’m a sucker for some of the classic romance tropes: friends-to-lovers, falling for a sibling’s best friend, return-to-hometown.
What are some of your other favorite avenues for storytelling besides books?
I watch a fair amount of television, moreso than movies, though I’ve seen my fair share of Disney princess movies with my kids in the past few years. I also love live theatre, particularly musicals.
What path are you going to pursue for publication?
I’m aiming for the agent-publishing house route at the moment (either print or digital-first).
All writers are readers so who are some of your favorite authors and why?
I have a terrible habit of staying up until three in the morning reading New Adult sports romances. Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy, and Kristen Callihan are my favourites. And I haven’t met a Jill Shalvis hero who I didn’t love, nor a Kristan Higgins book that didn’t make me laugh.
What inspires your ideas? How do you come up with them?
I usually have plot bunnies hop out of one of my own interests or experiences. After getting entertained or fascinated by something, I start asking what-if questions.
What are you working on now? Do you outline or write by the seat of your pants?
I’ve wanted to write about a Gulf Island summer camp for years, but it’s taken until now to discover the right plot for it. I’m currently making Camp Eaglecroft (and the families that run it) come to life, starring a handful of characters from a Vancouver NHL team. Outlining is a necessary evil, otherwise my characters have no goals and the plot doesn’t go anywhere.
What does a typical writing day look like for you/what is your process?
I have a day job so I do most of my writing at night—I try to squeeze in a few hours after the kids have gone to bed. And I steal as much time as I can on weekends. I try to start from page one and complete a first draft before going back and fixing anything, but sometimes I jump ahead, or I end up having to fix parts of the beginning in order to get to the end. Using Scrivener has saved me a tremendous about of time and has really helped with organizing my first and second drafts.
If one of your novels was made into a movie, which would you choose and what actors would you cast to play the three main roles?
Oooh, tough question. All of them. But I’m going to go with the first in my Refuge Cove series so that I can cast Tom Hiddleston as Keir and make him speak with a Scottish accent. Anna Kendrick is close to how I think of Natalie. And for Natalie’s brother, Gage, I picture NHL player Patrick Sharp. Not an actor, but he’s pretty enough to be on-screen.
What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on your writing journey so far?
That writing takes a lot of work. Some people are successful early on, some take years or decades. But it’ll never happen if you stop, so keep going. Even if the words coming out are vomit-worthy. They’re always fixable.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers about writing?
Find a good critique group/partner. Two parts making each other’s books better, one part pouring wine when the rejections arrive, and one part throwing confetti for good news.
(This is brilliant and so true).
Anything else you would like to add or talk about?
I’d love to connect on Twitter! As soon as I have book news, I’ll post it there and on my website.
Thank you so much! Where can people find out more about you and your books?