Saturday, March 15, 2008

Guest Author and book giveaway!

I'm so excited to introduce you today to a good friend of mine and without a doubt one of the best authors I've had the privilege of reading in many years. Her name is Laurie Alice Eakes, and her latest release is called Better than Gold. Laurie's specialty is historical romance, but her stories tend to be more like my books, not just romance, but great adventures. She is an incredible historian (She's the one I go to with any history questions I have) and an awesome writer. Remember her name because you're going to see many of her books hit the market in the coming years.

I had the privilege of asking Laurie the following questions:

1. What made you decide to become an author? Did you feel a call on your life from the Lord or was it just something that you happened into as a result of pursuing your interests?

Definitely the latter. I've wanted to be—I have been—a writer since I was a child. Mostly, I wrote poetry, but I got short stories and articles published in the school paper from about fifth grade on. If simply feeling like being a writer was part of me, then I was called
2. I know you are a great lover of history. Is there a particular era that you really have a passion for? And how do you go about your research?
The "Long Eighteenth Century", as many historians call it, has been my passion for a long time. That is called such because it pretty much goes from 1660 to 1820, encompassing the Restoration, Georgian, and Regency eras in England. Simultaneously, I love the colonial America period along with the American Revolution, the Age of Louise XIV through the French Revolution. And a little Russian history thrown in there, too, doesn't go amiss. After all, John Paul Jones, one of our naval heroes, went to work for Catherine the Great of Russia after the Revolution here. But I'm getting a hankering to go further back in English history.

Research is crucial to me. WE can't get all the details right, and language changes, so we have to fudge on a few words so the reader isn't lost, and researching history for a novel goes beyond learning the events on dates and the style of clothes. It's much more about social mores, culture, and customs. For that, nothing works as well as original sources like journals, diaries, and memoirs. These can be hard to find, but with sources like Google Books, the Gutenberg Project, and library databases, access is much easier. Reading fiction and poetry of the time helps, as well as newspapers. That will make earlier history more difficult, as few diaries exist if any, and no newspapers. But monasteries kept detailed records, so the data is there, just more obscure, taking more creativity to find

3. What is your biggest challenge as a blind author?
Reading the research materials and proofreading for practical reasons. People's perceptions for another. Some people simply think I can't do the work. I'm trying to be tactful here, which is not a strong point of mine, and too many people equate blindness with inability and won't go beyond that in believing I can write quality stories despite my awards and published books.
4. How much does your Christian faith impact what you write? Do you have a specific message you want to get out into the world?

Being a Christian means I have a barrier I simply will not cross. Though my characters are human and make mistakes, sometimes sinful, serious mistakes, I make sure the reader knows that these characters have consciences and know what they are doing is wrong, and they suffer the consequences, just like in real life.

If I have a general theme, it's that we can make mistakes and wrong moral choices, and it doesn't mean we can't find forgiveness and happiness beyond them. In my specifically Christian work, forgiveness is specifically from the Lord. In the secular works, the forgiveness theme is more human-based, and that's a fine message in my book, as we are all to forgive as we have been forgiven.

5. How would you classify your style? What sets you apart from other historical romance authors?
I break a lot of rules. One day, I decided my writing was stilted, so tossed my English teacher degree aside and wrote for impact—long sweeping sentences for slower, more sensuous passages, and short, choppy sentences or fragments for tension. Since I write using a screen reader--not to be confused with dictation software—I'd say my work is meant to be read aloud.

That's a style thing, a voice in writing that sets me apart. As for content, I am less enthralled with titles and gowns and who was at the theater in 1814 than how much trouble my characters could get themselves into and stay within historical bounds. I consider it romantic suspense in an historical setting.

6. Tell us a bit about your new release.
Better than Gold is the third book in the Iowa historical series for Heartsong Presents by Barbour Publishing. I had this crazy idea to put forth a series where people are hunting for the same lost stash of stolen gold, but no one finds it until the end of the series. Along the way, though, these people hunting the gold learn what is really important to them—love, family, community, and a relationship right with the Lord. Lena Dooley and Lisa Harris wrote the first two, and I took the third. A Daughter's Quest and Tara's Gold respectively. In Better than Gold, they get to find it, but not until their reasons for wanting it change, not until their hearts change.

7. What are your pet peeves about some of the books you’re seeing on the market today?

For the answer to this question, plus another chance to win a copy of Better than Gold, see

If you leave a comment, I will enter your name in the hat to win a free copy of Better than Gold. I guarantee you won't be disappointed with this book! Or anything else written by Laurie.
Thanks so much, Laurie, for being here today.


  1. Sign me up, please! I can't wait to see her books pop up more. =)

  2. Congratulations on your release, Laurie Alice! I'm an adventure person too. :)

  3. I definitely want to see the answer to that last question. I went to the link before realizing I have to wait until tomorrow. Oh well. . . Congrats on the release.

  4. I would love to read Laurie's book, please enter me, thanks!

  5. This was my favorite part of the interview: "I break a lot of rules. One day, I decided my writing was stilted, so tossed my English teacher degree aside and wrote for impact—long sweeping sentences for slower, more sensuous passages, and short, choppy sentences or fragments for tension."
    And I have a question, what is a screen reader?
    Thanks to both of you for this interview.

  6. Thanks for sharing, Laurie Alice.


  7. Thanks for the interview, Laurie and MaryLu! This series sounds fascinating!