Today I am SOOOOO THRILLED to have Laura on my blog! <3
Laura is one of the sweetest humans and her kind heart filled the pages of one of the most precious books for writers. "Dear Author" is an inspiring book filled with uplifting messages to authors! With encouragement at every walk of an author's journey, and fun illustrations, this book is perfect for ANY writer!
Without further ado, let's dive into the interview, shall we?! <3
Can you tell us about the book?
Hi Aleigha! I am soooooo excited to be chatting with you today! *massive squeals* *coughs* Sorry! Did I mention I was excited? ;)
I would love to share about Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl!
Dear Author is fifteen letters with six illustrations (yes, six because I’m a big fan of books needing more illustrations these days) that are specifically written to indie authors. I wrote about all the emotions a fangirl like myself feels when reading their books and what I would love to say to authors personally as they labor over their works-in-progress.
What inspired you to write this book?
Earlier this year, it became blatantly apparent I was struggling deeply with postpartum depression after my third child was born due to a lot of stress. In order to focus on my mental health, I felt like I needed to stop book blogging as well as pull back from a few other commitments I had.
To say it broke my heart is an understatement. I am extremely passionate about supporting authors and was scared I would be unable to blog for a time. Because of that, I decided to write a letter to my author friends, pouring out my heart of why I cared so much for them and their stories (and wanted them to keep writing). It was sort of a moment of me asking, “If I could say only one thing, what would it be?”.
However, after that first letter, I didn’t stop. I was deeply moved by what I had written and continued sharing all of what was in my heart. It helped me handle the days when I felt lonely and missed being active online.
What do you hope readers will come away with after reading “Dear Author?”
When I was brainstorming messages I wanted or could include in the front of Dear Author with my signature (which is still SUPER surreal by the way), I knew I wanted to convey something that could sum up my book in one sentence.
It turned out to be two (LOL), but it was this: “Keep dreaming! Keep writing!”
I would definitely say that is what I hope readers will come away with when finishing Dear Author. I want them to be encouraged to keep dreaming about their stories and writing them down because there are readers waiting for a story only they can share.
Do you have any other book projects or ideas in the works?
I do! And I’ll say multiple! LOL!
I’ve actually been a little nervous about answering a question like this because my plan had been to work on my Christian manga, Denying Me, next. Writer’s block has really been a thing for this story though. Every time I’ve tried working on it, I’m just not happy with it. I feel like pieces are missing and not fully sure what those pieces are.
BUT! I am soooo happy to share that I’m feeling deeply inspired about a new direction for the story that I believe is the best direction. I’ve been letting it “stew” with some of my other story ideas. ;)
However, to directly answer your question, yes! I am currently working on a short story about a female samurai named Reiko. (She is amazing! I love her so much!) It started from a challenge I gave to some close friends of mine where we should write a samurai story with a happy ending. Later that day, this story was demanding to be written (and I’m excited to share it is written as of writing this blog post)!
I’m very happy with it and praying I can finish my personal revisions by this Christmas so I can send it to my editor. (My illustrator already said she’s impatient to work with me! LOL!)
What was the most exciting part about this whole book process?
I would definitely say physically writing these letters by hand.
One of my best friends recommended I should be more specific in my letters and suggested I write them all by hand. I’ll admit, I wasn’t super thrilled at first, but it was so much fun to actually write by hand! I feel it birthed my love for writing and showed me it CAN be fun and not just once in story’s lifetime kind of thing. (I wrote my samurai story by hand and have been doing revisions by hand too.) It was a very big turning point for me in wanting to continue to write because I found the process more engaging then typing it on my computer.
Thank you SO much for letting me share, Aleigha! I had a blast and so blessed by your support!
JOIN THE PARTY!
Join in the celebration of Laura A. Grace’s debut motivational, Dear Author: Letters form a Bookish Fangirl, on December 5th from 8:30 PM to 10:30 PM EST (5:30 PM PST and 6:30 PM MDT)!
Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of encouragement, games, and giveaways. (Possibly an exclusive sneak peek to upcoming projects!)
Special guests Janeen Ippolito and Katie Phillips will also be joining in the fun!
Riding Out the Storms
A sweet friend once said, “think about depression like you’re a ship on the sea. Calmly ride out the storm; don’t try and fight so hard.”
There’s a lot of truth to that. Not just in depression, but in every area of our lives.
When we’re faced with rougher waters, when we suddenly find ourselves up against a vicious storm, I think a lot of times our first thought is “how do I get past this?” We have that desperate longing for the calm. To get back the life of normality we had before.
While it's certainly not wrong to wish for calmer waters, what if we thought about our storms a little differently? What if instead of fighting them so hard, we instead rested calmly in the arms of our Savior, trusting that He will carry us through?
Because whatever you’re going through right now, it’s just a season. It will pass. I promise.
The storm will end and you’ll look up and survey the sea around you. And you’ll realize that the calm you longed for is a bit different than what you imagined. It’s better. And you’re stronger and more beautiful and braver than you were before it started.
I love this song by Danny Gokey. It speaks my heart in all of this!
A lot of you know I’ve been on a health roller coaster this last year. Juggling this new world of Lyme disease and dysautonomia.
I never imagined I’d walk this road. This last year of pain and suffering and loss. The uncertainty of knowing how I’ll feel each morning when I wake up.
For months I wished for my old life back. A life where nausea didn’t affect my ability to eat, the days where brain fog was just a word and writing was possible, a time where I could tackle my to do list and still have energy left over.
And for months, that wish never came true. It still hasn’t come true. But you know what? That’s okay. Because I don’t want my old life back anymore. Yes, I still hope for the day when my nausea isn’t so consistent. The day I can write again and go places and do things without my health holding me back.
But if I had a choice, a decision to go back to the days before I was sick, I wouldn’t go. Because I’m not the person I was last year. That version of me was far less brave and stronger and wiser.
Because your trials, friends, however excruciating and devastating and painful they are, God is using them to shape you and mold you and form you into the beautiful work of art you are today.
So don’t fight so hard.
When a potter goes to the wheel and proceeds to make an object, that lump of clay does absolutely nothing. It merely sits there patiently, letting its maker mold it and shape it and work it until it’s just perfect.
Imagine if the clay had a mind of its own! Fighting against the hands of the potter, stubbornly trying to mold itself into the object it thinks it should be. It would be quite silly, wouldn’t it? It’s simply a lump of clay! How on earth could it even know what it needed?
We are those lumps of clay, friends. And Jesus is our Potter. We don’t know what we truly need, but Jesus does. And He’s working on us, bit by bit. Using trials and suffering and tribulations to break us and shape us into beautiful vessels to be used for His glory.
To wish that a trial never happened, or to hope for the pace of a former time, we might as well desire to stay as half formed lumps of clay.
This life is hard. Trust me, I know. But whatever it is you’re going through, big or small, it has such a beautiful purpose. You’re not going through this in vain. God is using every moment, every prayer, every tear, to make you braver and wiser and stronger.
So, let Him work. Trust Him and rest in His promises during the storms. Believing that He’s using them for your good.
Because He is.
And you’re going to walk away from this with so much more faith.
And far, far, stronger and more beautiful and whole then you can ever imagine. <3