Readers, please welcome award winning author, Laurel O'Donnell, as our guest today. Laurel's awards include the prestigious Holt Medallion for A KNIGHT OF HONOR.
|Laurel O'Donnell, Author|
Laurel: I was raised as the oldest in a family of five, one brother and three sisters. I am now married with four children of my own and live in Illionis.
Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
Laurel: They change all the time. I like finding new authors to love! Right now, I’m reading Victoria Alexander and Loretta Chase. I really enjoy medievals and, ironically, I really like reading about the Victorian era. I say ironically, because I don’t write in that era.
Caroline: Loretta Chase is one of my favorites. I just started her latest, SEDUCTION IN SILK. How many books do you read a month? What are you reading now?
Laurel: It’s hard to find time to read when all my time is taken up by writing. I am a very slow reader, as it takes me about three months to read an entire book. Right now, I’m reading Loretta Chase’s LAST NIGHT’S SCANDAL.
Caroline: I can imagine with four children and your writing, you reading time is curtailed. When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?
Laurel: I play Rock Band on the Xbox and sing. It’s more fun if my children play with me. I also play SIMS Medieval on the computer. Or sometimes I just play Spider Solitaire or chess on the computer. I also enjoy shopping!
Caroline: Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?
Laurel: Coffee, chocolate. “Supernatural,” the television show. Those boys are very inspirational!
Caroline: Um, yes and as writers we can call it research, right? Describe yourself in three words.
Laurel: Loyal, devoted, and friendly.
Caroline: How long have you been writing?
Laurel: Since junior high school. I used to write myself in as the heroine in television series like Starsky and Hutch.
Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
Laurel: I write at my desk in my bedroom on my PC. Semi quiet is good. I usually don’t listen to music, but my children have the television on in the other room. I also can write in a notebook if I need to.
Caroline: Are you a plotter or a panzer?
Laurel: I am definitely a panzer. I’ve tried to plot, but it just doesn’t work for me.
Caroline: Do you use real events or persons in your stories?
Laurel: I have used real events and persons in my writings. THE ANGEL AND THE PRINCE was set during the Hundred Years War between England and France. One of the major battles took place during the battle of Agincourt and both the Ryen and Bryce, the heroine and hero, were in the fight.
Caroline: Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?
Laurel: I did a ton of research on my first novel, THE ANGEL AND THE PRINCE. But it took me five years to write it. Now, I research as I go. The web is a wonderful tool!
Caroline: Yes, I imagine the research for that book was very time consuming. Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?
Laurel: I try to write at least one page a day. If I do more then that, great. More importantly, I give myself one to two hours a day for my writing.
Caroline: Do you write full time or do you have a day job.
Laurel: I have a part time day job. I drive a bus for the school district my children attend.
Caroline: Ooh, you must have nerves of steel. LOL What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
Laurel: I would love my writing to bring a sense of hope to my readers and excitement. I just want them to enjoy the story I have to tell.
Caroline: Me, too...and for them to buy my next book. What advice would you give to pre-published authors?
Laurel: Finish your novel! So many writers tell me they’ve started three or four novels. Finish it! When you’re done, go back and polish. Don’t get discouraged. Be persistent. And never give up!
Caroline: Great advice. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?
Laurel: I have five cats. I used to work at King Richard’s Faire where I was taught to sword fight!
Caroline: I love cats, but don’t have a clue about sword fighting. Tell us about your latest release.
Laurel: CHAMPION OF THE HEART is a medieval romance set in 1333. It’s the story of Lady Jordan Ruvane who is lifelong friends with Fox Mercer until his father is stripped of his lands and titles. Feeling betrayed by Jordan’s desertion, Fox’s turns to a life of crime, hiding in the decaying ruins of a haunted castle with his gang of thieves.
Jordan hides a dark secret from her childhood, a secret that will threaten the lives of everyone she holds dear. As she comes of marrying age, her father announces a tournament in her honor. The winner of the tournament will earn the right to claim Jordan as his bride. A mysterious champion clad in black armor enters the tournament, but he is after much more than just the Lady’s hand in marriage.
What happens next will change the Fox and Jordan’s lives forever. Can Fox conquer the secrets of the past and truly become the champion of his lady’s heart?
Caroline: Intriguing. Can you give us an excerpt to tempt us more?
Laurel: Here’s an excerpt:
“I told you before you could not escape,” he whispered hotly. He held her firmly against the wall, his body pressed against hers.
Jordan knew he spoke the truth, but not the truth as he believed it. It was the truth as she knew it. How could she escape from Fox? And how could her children ever depend on her again if she couldn’t fight to get to them? She couldn’t hold even a trembling dagger to Fox. Uselessness, frustration, and helplessness all welled up inside her, spinning and churning until Jordan couldn’t keep her feelings inside. Warm tears slipped from her eyes and dripped onto her cheeks, and her body trembled with a sob.
Fox placed a finger under her chin and lifted her face to his, studying it for an eternal moment in which Jordan fought hard to bury her feelings. She lifted her chin slightly, waiting for his scorn, waiting for his berating words.
But when the silence stretched on, she lifted her gaze to his. She was unprepared for the tenderness she saw in those blue depths. He lifted a finger to trace the path of one of her tears. Then he pulled his hand away from her, slowly rubbing the tear in his fingers, staring at the glistening drop for a moment.
His blue eyes seemed confused, and a slight scowl marred his brow as he continued to inspect the tear on his fingertip. Then he looked at her again and his gaze swept every inch of her face. A warmth spread throughout her body that suddenly brought her senses to life, sharpening them. The muscles in his strong chest pressed against her breasts. The power in his thighs crushed against her. And something dangerous stirred inside her — something powerful threatened to engulf her. Her vision dropped to his lips, lips that were so sensual, so entrancing. Lips that were slowly moving closer and closer.
Jordan didn’t fight him; she wanted to feel his kiss. She wanted the intoxicating feeling rushing through her body to grow. His kiss would only make the dangerously delicious sensation run wild inside of her.
And then his lips closed over hers, a startlingly gentle caress, a warm, wet brush of his lips. But with that simple touch, exhilaration filled Jordan’s body. It was unlike anything she had ever felt, tender and warm, but filled with a fiery spice all the same.
Then his tongue touched her lips, gently sliding along the length of her mouth, caressing, coaxing. She felt a jolt igniting its way through her entire body from the tips of her hair to the edges of her toes. She gasped against his lips and he dropped his hands to the small of her back, pulling her closer to him as he delved into the recesses of her mouth.
Jordan felt herself being swept away by the emotions raging through her. Her world was spinning on its axis, and she had to cling to Fox as if he were the only thing keeping her from falling. But the tighter she clung, the greater the waters seemed to swirl about her.
“I won’t let you go, Jordan,” he whispered against her lips. “Not this time.”
Laurel: For more excerpts and sample chapters, visit my website - http://www.laurel-odonnell.com/champion-of-the-heart/
Caroline: Where can readers find your books?
Laurel: All of my books are listed on my website, as well as sample chapters and links to purchase them. http://www.laurel-odonnell.com/
Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?
Laurel: Again, please check out my website. All your questions should be answered! And if they’re not, please feel free to contact me with your question. You can contact me through my website. http://www.laurel-odonnell.com/
Thank you, Laurel. Wishing you continued success with your busy writing career!