Check out this author spotlight for Laura M. Drake!
You can find all her links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out her books!
1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!
Laura Drake is the youngest of five children and grew up in AR (that’s Arkansas, not Arizona) until she moved to Provo, Utah to attend Brigham Young University. She graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and worked as a teacher for a few years in Utah. She lived in Tokyo, Japan for two years, which is when she started the Japanese Hauntings series and her first completed trilogy, The Chronicles of Andar.
When she isn’t writing she enjoys reading, playing ultimate frisbee and board games, and spending time with her family and friends. She is passionate about time management and finances and loves helping people make budgets.
Laura is a member of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!
Library or museums? Libraries 100%, but is this unexpected when I love writing and reading like I do? 🙂 As great as history is, books can introduce you to people, take you to places, and teach you things you could never achieve on your own.
Ninjas or pirates? Also another easy one because I’m obviously very biased toward Japan which is what I think of when I think of ninjas. 🙂
Plotter or pantser? I’m 100% a plotter when it comes to writing novels, but sometimes I’m a bit of a pantser with the chapters. They often take unexpected twists and turns I don’t see coming, but I still need to see where the book is going as a whole for it to work.
Standalone or series? As a reader, I prefer a series because I love getting attached to the characters and really delving into the world. (Actually, I’m the same as a writer.) But I do appreciate the value of a good standalone when you just need a quick break. Overall though, I think I prefer to stick with an 80/20 split for series to standalones. 🙂
Winter, spring, summer or autumn? Honestly, I can’t choose just one because it isn’t the season itself that I love but the changing of the seasons. I love when winter finally changes to spring and things begin to green up, but then it’s great when spring shifts to summer and it gets hot and you can finally do all the fun summer things. Few things compete when the weather cools and you can start drinking hot drinks, wearing boots, and enjoying the crisp autumn air, but then the first snow comes and you get excited all over again. 🙂
3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?
I am a SUCKER for fairytale retellings. I seriously can’t get enough of them. Someday I hope to write some of my own, but until then I have about 20 books on the backburner I have to get through first haha.
4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!
I like to write in a variety of genres.
My first trilogy is fantasy, and I like to tell people it’s sort of like Harry Potter meets Avatar: the Last Airbender. But that’s less because it actually resembles those stories and more because it takes place (at least the first 1.5) at a magical academy (and no story can have a magical academy in it these days without being compared to Harry Potter so I figured I should just roll with it :P) and it has elemental magic and four regions based on those elements. It’s also got a twist of Anastasia with a missing princess and a murdered royal family thrown in. 🙂
My second series is a quartet that probably falls under paranormal romantic suspense. Some readers have compared it to The Grudge, so it has a definite spooky vibe with a hint of romance sprinkled throughout the story. It’s definitely a slow-burn. I based the stories off my time living in Japan, and each story introduces a new Japanese ghost. The fun part is that I didn’t make up the Japanese ghosts; they’re actual Japanese urban legends.
My next work is my first standalone novel, and it’ll also fall somewhere under paranormal and fantasy. It takes place in a realm between life and death called the In-Between. I don’t want to reveal too many spoilers, but I’m definitely shooting for a slow-burn, enemies to lovers vibe. (Maybe you can tell that I’m really not a fan of insta-love. haha)
After that I have a few stories I need to go back and write for my magic series. There’s a prequel duology planned as well as a novel that will take place after the main trilogy.
Then I’m thinking of some modern Jane Austen retellings in college.
Like I said, I’m all over the place, but I hope that once a reader finds me and enjoys my work they’ll be willing to try other books by me even if it’s outside of their normal genre. I’m trying to build a brand as a clean author who has books people of any age can enjoy without worrying about the content.
5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!
My most recent release would be my Japanese Hauntings quartet. I released all four of these during the month of October in honor of Halloween. (And no, I would never do that again. It was a terrible month haha)
The Move (book 1):
Before moving with her dad to a quiet Oregon town, haunted houses were something Selena had only seen in movies. Now she finds herself the target of a vengeful house the neighborhood kids call “the Snatcher.” Determined to end the nightmare, Selena enlists the help of a charming neighborhood boy. Will they solve the mystery of the Japanese ghost haunting them before time runs out?
The Visit (book 2):
For one year, Selena has lived with the haunting knowledge that a Japanese ghost kidnapped her father. Now Lincoln, the only other survivor of that horrible day, invites her on a trip to Japan to celebrate their high school graduation. It’s Selena’s chance to learn more about the deadly phantom who has haunted her dreams.
In Tokyo, she has a chance to spend more time with Lincoln and see if their friendship might blossom into something more. But lurking beneath Japan’s natural beauty is a darkness that plagues the residents. Selena soon realizes that Oiwa isn’t the only ghost to look out for as strange happenings around her become increasingly difficult and dangerous.
Will she and Lincoln figure out what’s happening in time before they fall victim to another haunting?
The Message (book 3):
Dexter Steele used to be an avid fan of horror movies until his best friend’s dad was taken by a ghost. Now he has to accept a new reality of spine-chilling ghost encounters where strange occurrences don’t always have a rational explanation.
He must put aside his doubts about whether or not ghosts actually exist and help Selena figure out how to help save her dad. But the situation around campus grows precarious as people go missing and the police are called in to investigate.
As Oiwa’s appearances grow more frequent and more violent, will they discover whether she’s taking more victims, or if there is a new ghost haunting campus? Can they figure out how to protect themselves or will splitting their focus leave them vulnerable to attacks from all sides and ultimately cost them their lives?
The Encounter (book 4):
Lincoln Kingston is no stranger to the paranormal.
He’s spent the last few weeks trying to defeat the vengeful ghost who snatched his girlfriend’s dad last year. But when Selena and Lincoln go to the scene of her dad’s disappearance, they realize things aren’t as they seem.
Meanwhile, there’s a serial killer loose at Berkeley, and a string of murders have left the police stumped. While physical and supernatural forces threaten them, Selena and Lincoln struggle to keep their budding romance, and each other, alive.
If they hope to survive, Lincoln will have to work with those around him and trust his family’s supernatural abilities. Will they figure out the truth behind the new threat and defeat Oiwa once and for all? Or will Selena lose the chance of helping her dad forever?
6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!
Actually it’s funny because 95% of my ideas for books come from my dreams. When it came to The Chronicles of Andar, I had a dream of a boy trapped in a crystal that was slowly sucking his life. So after getting ready for work, I plotted out the book, and by the time I got to work (luckily I had an 80 minute commute to my school in Tokyo) it had turned into an entire trilogy based on that dream.
And knowing what I just said, I’m sure you’re wondering what other sort of nightmares I must’ve had to have written the Japanese Hauntings series. 😛 The first book was based on a nightmare from my time in Japan when I was laying in bed and suddenly I dreamed that the wall next to me crumbled away into this super creepy black hole that this creature emerged from and tried to pull me inside. Needless to say, I was so scared I woke myself up, googled some Japanese ghosts that seemed like a good match, and The Move was born. 🙂 For all the others in the series I just googled Japanese urban legends and picked a few that sounded interesting and wrote the books based on those. (Though there is a special story for book #2, but that’ll be another day.)
7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!
I have a terrible writing routine—meaning that I do it WAY TOO MUCH. I easily work 12 hour days all the time, but it’s because I love it so dang much haha. When I’m in the writing phase of a book, I like to do writing sprints to really crank out the words. Other than that, I don’t have any specific plans, but that actually is something that I’m working on.
8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?
I’d probably tell myself to not
9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!
Here’s my website: https://lauramdrakebooks.wixsite.com/website
But it’d also be good to follow me on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Laura-Drake/e/B07S213RKK