“A snippet from the news, a conversation I have with a friend, or nuances I see in a person’s everyday life can quite literally inspire an entire book for me…”
Baltimore county mom Laura Ward was looking for a creative outlet — and had always wanted to be a writer. Sneaking in writing time between naps and snacks, she completed her first book in a matter of months. Now, the self-published Amazon Top 100 bestseller is getting ready to publish her seventh novel.
She’s chatting about family, why she writes romance novels that create worlds for people of all abilities, and the wonders of hazelnut creamer.
Coffee With Laura Ward, Author
I’m always fascinated by the stories of how people got to where they are now. How did you become a writer?
Writing has always been my dream. Finishing a book was an item on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. When we moved to the Phoenix/Jacksonville area, my third child was an infant and my older girls had started school. I found myself restless and wanting a creative outlet. I’m the type of person who was always crafting a story in my head, so one day during his nap time, I opened my laptop and started to put that story into words. Every day I wrote only during nap time, until a few months later, I had completed my first book.
Take us through a typical day.
I’m up at six in the morning to wake my twelve year old daughter. I make lunches and breakfasts and get everyone off to school. As soon as the house is quiet, I catch up on emails and social media or grab a workout. I love tennis, so I try to play a few times a week. The afternoon is when I can crank out my word count goal or editing goal for the day. As soon as the kids finish school it is all about homework, sports, and dinner. If I’m close to a deadline, I’ll work again at night. Otherwise, that is when I get to hang out with my husband!
What kind of stories inspire you — and the stories you write?
I would like to think I’m a born storyteller. Few things make me happier than telling an impactful story. I learned the power of a good story from my Grandmother and my Mom. Growing up, I would be on the edge of my seat, hanging on to every word they spoke. I learned to listen and observe for inspiration for a stellar story. A snippet from the news, a conversation I have with a friend, or nuances I see in a person’s everyday life can quite literally inspire an entire book for me.
Each of your novels has a secondary character that has special needs. Why is it important to you to weave these stories into the narrative?
My younger brother has multiple developmental disabilities and he is married to a wonderful woman who was born with Down syndrome. My brother’s story is also mine. He is the reason we left the Midwest and moved to Maryland and he truly has made me the person I am today. When I decided to write, though, it was with my Mom in mind. I wanted to write romance novels that would provide escape for women like my Mom, but also create worlds that included people of all abilities. By including individuals with Down syndrome, autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, vision loss, and hearing loss (so far! more to come!) I hope to provide a platform that reminds us of the diversity we are truly surrounded by each and every day, while also swooning and falling head over heels in love with the hero and heroine.
Self-publishing seems intimidating — but you seem to have cracked the success code (hello, Amazon Top 100 Bestseller!)! What advice would you give other budding novelists considering the self-publishing path?
Self-publishing is still intimidating and it is always changing. To be successful, you need to adopt an “always a student” mindset. My best advice for new writers that are considering self publishing is to contact authors who you admire that have taken that same road. Ask advice. Always be ready to learn. The writing community is incredibly open and giving if you can be the same,
What has surprised you most about being a writer?
No matter my first book or my eighth, I fly high with adrenaline when I finish and then become paralyzed with nerves while I wait to hear what readers think. The roller coaster never ends… and I think that’s what keeps the job from getting old.
How do you take your coffee?
When I’m being good– just a splash of almond milk. But, really? Hazelnut creamer in all its artificial goodness.
As every writer would say, I always want to expand my readership. Professionally, I dream of seeing my books in print in a true brick and mortar store. But my most important next is always to be the best mom and wife I can be to my favorite people in the whole world.