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Interview with Laurie Lucking

Laurie has been an avid reader practically since birth, but for many years the stories in her imagination never made it to the page. It wasn't until she left her career as a lawyer to become a stay-at-home mom that she discovered her passion for writing fiction. What began as a hobby quickly turned into a dream of becoming a published author.

Her YA books are described as fantasy adventure with fairy tale romance and her first book, Common, in the Tales of the Mystics series has already received wonderful praise!
While not all her story ideas derive from a particular fairy tale, she hopes to always provide her readers with the satisfaction of a "happily ever after." We are so excited to chat today about your second book in this series, Traitor!

Let’s start by letting our readers in on your backstory. What inspired you to finally make the switch from your career in law, to taking up writing as more than a hobby?
Hi! I’m so excited to be here! My switch from law to writing actually happened in two stages. When my oldest son was born, I felt a strong pull to stay home with him instead of returning to work. But as much as I loved the extra time with my precious little one, eventually I became restless without a project to occupy my mind and creativity during the long days at home. My imagination kept going back to a story I’d dreamed up years before, and after some prayer and reflection I summoned the courage to try writing it down! I absolutely fell in love, and soon I was looking for ways to improve my craft and explore the possibility of publication. The rest, as they say, is history! :)

How did you decide to write this particular series? Were there any experiences, books, or movies that inspired the story world for the Tales of the Mystics?
When I started writing Common, the first book in my Tales of the Mystics series, I only planned for it to be a stand-alone novel. But as I got deeper into the story, and especially as I developed my characters called the mystics, I realized I wouldn’t be ready to leave this story world after only one book. So when ideas for future plots came up, I planted hints of them in Common so I could make use of them later!

Common itself started with my interest in writing a friends-first romance. Since I love fairy tales, I made the girl a palace maid and the boy the crown prince and set it in a medieval-esque fantasy world. The setting was inspired by so many of my favorite fairy tale retellings—while I enjoy the novelty of exploring a story world that feels new and exotic, there’s something both comforting and exciting about a more traditional fairy tale backdrop where aspects of the world feel familiar but anything can happen.

What inspired you to write for YA and to use different points of view for each of the stories in this series?
I write for young adults because that was such a formative time in my life, both in my development as a person and as a reader. Plus, those are the books I most enjoy reading, even as an adult! I love the hope, excitement, and heart-wrenching vulnerability that accompany a protagonist’s journey of leaving childhood behind and finding his or her place in the world. I also feel drawn to a pre-teen and teen audience because it’s such a hard time in life for so many—stuck in an awkward phase between childhood and adulthood and struggling to find their true selves while bombarded by negative voices from peers and society. I hope my books can provide a glimpse of hope and a small escape from the challenges of life to a world filled with relatable characters, inspiring encounters with God, and clean romance that produces a dreamy smile.

Using different points of view for each story in my series has provided a fun way to spend more time in my fantasy world and revisit some of the same characters while allowing each book to read as a standalone, complete with a satisfying happily-ever-after. Someday I hope to hone my plotting skills enough to write an entire series centered around one main character, but for now one book at a time is enough for me!

With a title like Traitor, even if readers were not familiar with your first stunning novel, they could likely guess that your new protagonist, Penelope, has a dark side. How was it writing from the point of view of the antagonist from Common this time around?
I actually never planned to write Penelope’s story! I included a few lines about what her future would bring at the end of Common, and my editor found it so intriguing she suggested I turn it into the next book in the series. I’m so grateful for her inspiration and the story that followed, but since I’d only ever viewed Penelope as a villain I found it very difficult to relate to her as I began to write in her perspective. But the more time I spent with her, the more I realized she was just a flawed person trying to find happiness but making a lot of mistakes along the way. It turned out we have a lot of similarities, including a fear of change and a deep love for our families. She required quite a journey to get there, but it was so satisfying by the conclusion of the book to help her find forgiveness and the happy ending that had been eluding her.

Which of your characters do you connect with the most and why?
I think so far I connect most strongly with Leah, the protagonist of Common. Leah and I are both shy and hard-working and don’t feel comfortable as the center of attention. I also really related to Leah as she tried to do the right thing and protect her loved ones but often felt like she was helpless or failing. But I’m definitely more emotional where Leah is logical, and I’m not sure I could face danger as bravely as she does!

What message do you hope readers take away from Traitor?
Traitor is a story of redemption and God’s unfailing love. As a result of her past mistakes, Princess Penelope often worries she doesn’t deserve happiness or forgiveness, and she feels as though an impenetrable barrier has been raised between herself and God. I pray her realization that God never left her and that His forgiveness knows no bounds brings hope to anyone who struggles with self-forgiveness and past regrets.

How does your faith and own experiences with God play into your stories and writing life?
I’ve found more and more as I progress as an author that my most successful writing sessions come when I’ve taken the time to pray and reflect beforehand. If I try to force the words on my own, they either won’t come or end up being the scenes I completely rework later. God also uses my stories to shape me just as I use my characters’ experiences for their learning and growth! The journey to becoming a published author taught me so much about perseverance, self-worth, and trusting God’s timing, and each story impacts me in a different way. I still remember getting teary-eyed just drafting the synopsis of the fourth book in my series as I realized how much I needed to reflect on and embrace the theme that emerged by the ending. I have a feeling it’s going to be a powerful (and challenging!) story to write!

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
I received a message from a mom last Halloween letting me know that her daughter spent the evening dressed as Leah because Common is her favorite book. She later sent pictures of her lovely daughter grinning when she received a surprise set of pre-order goodies leading up to Traitor’s release. Knowing my stories have inspired that kind of happiness in a young reader makes my writer heart so full!

What authors have inspired you most in your own writing career and you would fall flat on your face if you had a chance to eat lunch with them?
Haha, the “fall flat on your face” description is painfully and hysterically accurate! I’ve been inspired by so many amazing authors along my writing journey, but both Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine wrote fairy tale retellings in beautiful fantasy worlds with romance that made me grin and heroines who felt like friends—the dreamy, satisfied, nostalgic feeling I got when finishing their books (no matter how many times I re-read them!) is exactly how I want my readers to experience my stories! And I can’t forget Melanie Dickerson, who is such a kind, genuine person and inspires me to incorporate my characters’ faith as an integral part of their personal and romantic journeys.

Can you give us any insider information on Scarred, your third book in the Tales of the Mystics series?
I’d love to! Scarred jumps ahead in my story world’s timeline to when Princess Penelope’s younger brother, Prince Dominick, has grown into a spoiled, arrogant young man. When he finds himself cursed and on the run, the only person willing to help is the peasant girl he humiliated because of the scarring on her face. I’m enjoying exploring themes of self-worth and true beauty as I write this twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, and I have lots of fun new characters for readers to meet!


As a teen, Tara Ross first discovered how hope-filled prose can change the entire trajectory of a person's life. Case in point: her life. She now has the joy of sharing this truth with youth every day - as a Speech-Language Pathologist, youth ministry worker and YA author.

Her debut novel and blog, were created to ignite sparks of faith for Generation Z. You can follow Tara on instagram (tara.k.ross) or twitter (tara_k_ross) for more book reviews, tattoo worthy quotes and updates on her publishing journey.

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