Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m Laura Read and I live in the UK. I’ve worked in publishing for over seven years, as a designer for a journal and its award-winning website, and now as an author and freelance designer (I love designing my own covers too!). My poetry has been published in two anthologies, and DEADLY SINS is my debut novel.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
DEADLY SINS is an organized crime thriller, which explores the sexism that can permeate families and how sin can influence us all. I wanted to write something dark that crosses genres and focuses on a female protagonist who wants more power. My protagonist, Angela, feels powerless because she’s the boss’s daughter, and she uses drink and sex as escapism. She falls for a corrupt detective and faces a choice between staying to help her family and leaving to start a new life. It’s similar to THE SOPRANOS but told mainly from a female perspective.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not really. I imagine quite a few authors sit down and write in their pyjamas at all sorts of odd times in the day!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I love Chuck Palahniuk’s books. They’re so different and don’t conform to typical genres. He isn’t afraid of writing exactly what he wants.
What are you working on now?
A book set in London about a political affair, sex and power.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m quite new to self-publishing, so maybe there are quite a few websites that I’ll discover later on! I love instaFreebie – in the week before I published DEADLY SINS, I was amazed when 1000 people downloaded my preview in exchange for signing up to my e-newsletter. This was also down to the amazing help of lots of other authors – we promoted our instaFreebie giveaways in the same week. It’s great to connect with other authors, and there are several websites and groups where you can share your work and marketing efforts.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t give up! It’s difficult to carve out time every day to write/edit, but try your hardest to write as often as you can. Keep a word count sheet or use software to do this for you.
Delete as much back story as you can, or preferably don’t include any back story at all. Ensure that there’s lots of action and actual things happening, rather than a whole load of introspection and characters sitting down and ‘realising’ or ‘thinking’ about things.
Don’t get caught up in constantly self-editing your book – it’s easy to do this with your first book because you’re trying to figure out your voice, how to structure your novel, and what to write. I’m a perfectionist, so it was difficult to ‘let go’ and actually publish my book – I had to work out when the book was ‘good enough’ to publish because it can never be ‘perfect’.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Once in school I remember an art teacher having a philosophical moment, and he said that he thought that everyone serves some kind of purpose and you should just do what you love. He wanted to be a postman though, not an art teacher, and I don’t think he followed his own advice! When you know what you want to do, I also think there’s a fine balance between ‘just doing something’ and making sure that you’re ready to do it.
What are you reading now?
The last book I read was Hugh Howey’s WOOL, and I want to read the rest of the series now. His writing brings all of his characters to life, and you can picture everything and everyone, and everyone’s role in the silo, so vividly. It’s scary that I can imagine a future where the disturbing events in the book actually happen!
What’s next for you as a writer?
To continue to promote DEADLY SINS; write, publish and market my second book, and then the next. As a self-published author, I love the freedom that comes with this job, and who knows what I’ll write in the future.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Four blank notebooks to write in!