Wednesday, August 14, 2019


I have the pleasure of interviewing romance author Luarean Brooks today. She lives in Dukedom, Tennessee with her husband and three furbabies. Laurean is a fine writer whose fun sense of humor carries over in her writing. She has so many hilarious stories about her life that talking to her is a joy. 

Laurean Brooks, Author

Enjoy her interview:

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the small town of Palmersville, Tennessee, where everyone knew everyone's business. Our school included grades 1 through 12 and we struggled most years to maintain the required 300 students to keep it open. But, somehow it stayed open 30 more years after I graduated.

Married, single? Children?

I've been married to the same man 30 years. Between us we have three children and 5 grandchildren. His two children work in the medical field and live in our locality My son lives and works in D.C. Due to a 700-mile distance, I don't get to see him or my daughter-in-law and precious granddaughter often. But, I thank the Lord for internet and phones.

Were you considered a “bookworm” or a jock?

I was probably considered a bookworm since I made good marks. Truth was, I had my share of fun, too. In 7th grade, several girls in our class, including a few 8th graders, discovered the wonders of swinging on background curtains on the stage. We set metal folding chairs behind selected curtains, grabbed onto the canvas material and swung out. Wheee! So much fun!

One day, about a week into our “fun”, three swung out at the same time. We stared in horror as the curtains and heavy metal rods attached to them came crashing down around us. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the event.

Complete Silence. Then Nancy, the leader of our group and an 8th grader announced, “We will all go to the office and tell Mr. Mac (our stern principal), that we were straightening the curtains when everything fell. So, we marched single file into his office. Mr. Mac studied each face with narrowed eyes as Nancy and two other girls told him the story we'd agreed on.

After the explanation, he pushed his horn-rimmed spectacles higher on his nose with one finger. “Are you sure you girls weren't swinging on the curtains?” Fear showed on every face, but no one answered. Then Mr. Mac stood to his full 5-ft. 4 inches, and said, “Follow me, girls, and we'll have a look at the problem.”

Our principal took in the war zone scene of canvas curtains and iron rods piled in disarray around us, We breathed easier when he propped his hands on his hips and gave an order. “Run over and tell Mr. Austin, I need to borrow a few boys from ag class to come to the gym. Ralph, Joseph, Gary, Hugh, and Charles will have these back up in no time.”

Then he scanned our faces with those stern eyes and said, “And don't ever let me catch you straightening these curtains!”

In unison, we answered, “We'll never, ever--.” Nancy interrupted and finished with, “straighten these curtains again!”

Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

As a child I liked mysteries by the same author, but for the life of me I can't remember her name. It was a group of kids who solved local crimes. As a teen, I read Victoria Holt, Emilie Loring, and Phyllis Whitney.

Today, I read both contemporary and historical romance by too many authors to mention. But, I prefer historical romance. Narrowing it down, to a specific genre, Westerns are my favorite, especially mail order bride romances. I could live off them.

What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

An outing and a nice seafood and salad buffet with my husband, walking my lab-mix dogs, (the cat walks with us at his leisure), and spending time coddling all three pets. They make up for the Empty Nest syndrome.


Reading and writing, but forget arithmetic. My best grades were in English Grammar, English Lit, Home Ec, and Spelling. I couldn't wait to get to those classes. I was okay in the sciences and history subjects, but I refuse to discuss Algebra.

Ha! How can I discuss it when I'm clueless after taking both Algebra, I and II. Enough said. Algebra leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I'm off to the kitchen to wash it out. (Be back in a minute, folks.)

Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

(I'm back.) The first thing that comes to mind are a few lines from an old poem by Edmund Vance Cooke which we as 5th graders were assigned to memorize. It begins, “Did you tackle that trouble that came your way...:?” The lines that left a lasting effect on me were:

Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce.
Or a trouble is what you make it.
And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?

How long have you been writing?

My first book was published 10 years ago. The title? Journey To Forgiveness. My, how time flies! I started writing it on January 1, 2004 as a tribute to my mother. Between my work schedule and lapses where I lost focus, it took three years to finish. I held onto it for months before submitting while I revised and proofread it, etc. After a publisher accepted it and following 10 months of back and forth edits, the book finally released in 2009.

Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude?

Yes. All of the above. I focus better in a quiet place away from all distractions, and sometimes with soft music. Sometimes I hole up in a recliner in my bedroom with the laptop on my lap. Other times, I sit at the computer desk and type. Still other times, I use the dining room table and laptop. But, if the TV noise becomes too much, I move to another place

PC or laptop?

I use either one.. It depends on my mood.

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?

Pantzer, but I'll bet you've guessed it. Why outline an entire book, plot it out, when you're going to make drastic changes anyway? I can't stick to an outline. I draw this bubble thingy with branches extending from it--and write things I want to happen on those attached branches. Just so I don't forget my ideas—whether I use them or not. I decide as the story grows. I will jot down other thoughts as the story emerges, but that's the extent of my plotting. 

Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Yes, but these people will never recognize themselves....I hope. I've even used personal events and embellished them...a lot.

What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Laughter, tears, the release that follows forgiveness, I want my stories to warm their hearts and take them to a place they've never been before.

Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

It's not titled yet. I'm considering “Second-Choice Bride.”

It's another mail order bride story set in Abilene, Texas. Emily Hammons's sister-in-law wants Emily out of the house. The house belonged to Emily's family, but her brother won't stand up and fight for her to be able to stay. To keep peace, Emily takes the train from West Memphis, Arkansas to Abilene, Texas in answer to a mail order bride ad.

When she arrives, no one picks her up at the station. After a two-hour wait, she gets up and takes a walk down the street. At the sound of church bells, she decides to investigate. When she arrives at the church, the crowd is so large, many are standing on the porch. Emily manages to climb the steps and peek inside.

What she hears, shocks her. The man she was supposed to marry is saying his vows to another woman.

Then the bride at the altar squeals, “I can't do this!” and races down the aisle and out the door, shoving her bouquet in Emily's midsection. Emily falls off the porch, taking a handsome cowboy with her. She sprains her ankle and since he's already looking for the doctor to treat his ailing mother, and needs someone to tend her...

(I won't give any more away at this time. Just be on the lookout for it.)

What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

If writing and publishing a book is your dream, never let that dream go. Some may discourage you, tell you you're not good enough. Some of these people may be those close to you. Try to avoid Dream Stealers, or at least ignore them, knowing that if God put this dream in your heart, He will make it come to pass.

My second tip is: Join groups of like-minded authors where you can share what you are working on. You can help each other develop better writing skills and get fresh ideas. If you have a local writing group that writes a similar genre to yours, join it. Read each others' work and give encouraging input. If you don't have a group in your area, seek out other authors and wanna-be-authors, and form your own. Ask the local library if you can use one of their rooms on, say, the 3rd Saturday afternoon of each month.

Share a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.

I keep a plastic spoon and napkins in my glove compartment. That isn't the shocking part. Shhh! My husband doesn't know this. Sometimes I open a carton of ice cream, on my way home from the supermarket, set it on the passenger seat with a plastic bag beneath it, and eat the melted ice cream around the edges. Don't judge me. I need something on the 35-minute drive to sustain me.

Can you give readers a blurb about your book?

When Carrie Franklin struggles with a drunk, leaving him unconscious, or perhaps dead, she flees. Forgetting the promise to her deceased mother she deserts her feckless brother and takes the train to Abilene, Texas

Carrie shares a seat with Molly, who is a Mail Order Bride enroute to meet her fiancé. Molly's confides that her friend, also set to embark on this adventure, backed out of her betrothal due to suspicious wording in the letters. When Molly discovers that Carrie will disembark in Abilene, she asks her to explain Katy's absence to the waiting cowboy, Josh Kramer.

Without letting her explain, and assuming she's the woman his aunt ordered, Josh picks up Carrie and plops her down on the buckboard seat, and heads back to the ranch. Carrie’s empty purse makes her think twice about arguing with him. Carrie assumes the name of the other woman, and goes by Katy Davis.

Carrie wants to tell Josh the truth, but when his sweet aunt pulls her aside to reveal another secret, Carrie finds herself in a quagmire. Aunt Em will suffer, too, if she reveals her true identity.

Josh is leery of Katy Davis, never suspecting his aunt performed a trick of her own. Is Katy out to get the ranch? His attraction for her grows, but he was burned by a woman and swore, “Never again.” 

Carrie's secret threatens to destroy any love Josh has for her. Did she kill the drunk? Is the law looking for her? 

Find out when you read NOT WHAT HE ORDERED.

How about a PG excerpt?

Carrie Franklin had never set foot inside a saloon. Mama would tan her hide if she could see her now. But Mama was in heaven, and Blake was inside that sinful place drinking and gambling away his wages. The same as he'd done the past two months. She'd warned her brother she would leave if he didn't quit his riotous living. And this was the last straw.
Carrie's sharp-toed shoes clopped against the boardwalk, making hollow sounds. Coal-oil street lights dispelled the darkness, lighting her steps. Just as she'd thought, Blake's horse was tethered to the hitching post alongside two others. How should she approach him?
Standing before the swinging doors, she wiped sweaty palms down the sides of her skirt. Loud piano music and raucous laughter reached her ears and disturbed the otherwise peaceful town. Carrie hiked her shoulders and drew in what might be her last breath of fresh air for a while.
As she stepped up to the bat-wing doors, they flew open, and a giant of a man staggered out. Jim Counce, known as “Big Jim,” stumbled across the boardwalk. Carrie clapped a hand to her chest and jumped out of the way, or he would have flattened Carrie her.
The drunk man grabbed at air, then fell against a support post. Gripping it, he raised his head. His glassy gaze raked her. Carrie's heart pounded when he graced her with a toothless grin.
As she whirled to push through the swinging doors to a safer place inside, his large hand clamped onto her arm, and he dragged her toward him. Rank body odor and stale whiskey stung her nostrils. She coughed, then held her breath.
“Well, well, purty lady, did you come by to see Big Jim?”
Carrie struggled to free herself. “Take your grimy hands off me or I'll--”
He threw his head back and laughed. “You'll what. . .scream? Nobody'd hear ya.”
She inhaled, then regretted it. Her stomach lurched. If she didn't get free soon, she'd throw up. Recalling her mother's saying, “You will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” Carrie brandished Big Jim with a smile. Patting his arm with her free hand, she spoke in a sugary voice. “Nice to see you, Mr. Counce, but I have to go. My brother's in there. I need to see him.”
Big Jim threw his head back and laughed. “That Franklin kid's your brother?” His grip on her arm tightened. “Well, don't you worry your purty little head none. Your brother's havin' hisself a good time, buyin' drinks for ever'body. They're settin' up for a game of poker.”
How dare he! Blake had promised Carrie he wouldn't squander his wages this month.
Big Jim bent and brushed his mouth against her ear. His hot breath burned her earlobe. “If you'll just relax, Big Jim will show you an even better time.”
She wrenched to free herself, but his vise-like grip tightened. “Please. . .you're hurting me.”
“Sorry, but quit tryin' to git away.” He graced her with a gap-toothed grin. “I like a little spunk in my women. Makes for a good time.” He shook his head. “Don't like prudes. Cain't have no fun with one. A purty gal like you wouldn't be a prude, would ya?”
Carrie eyed him without replying.
He fingered a lock of her hair near her shoulder. “Treat Big Jim nice and he'll show you a night you'll not likely forgit.”
He traced her jawline with a callused thumb. “Smooth as silk. Mmm, Mmm, you sure are a cute little thang. How about a little kiss for a lonely ol' man?”
Carrie flung his hand from her face. She'd never been mauled by a man and didn't aim for this to be the first time.
The drunk dragged her closer. “You're a feisty one. What's wrong, Big Jim ain't good enough fer ya?” His hairy arm snaked around her waist, yanking her closer, and smashing her face into his sweaty shirt. If she quit struggling, would he loosen his grip? Carrie paused to catch her breath and to plan her next move.
Big Jim mistook her pause for surrender. “That's more like it, gal. Just relax and give Big Jim that kiss he's been wantin'.” He slackened his hold and lowered his head. The coarse stubble of his beard stung as it grazed Carrie's cheek.
Anger and adrenaline raced through her. She pushed against him, then raised her foot and kicked him in the shin.
“Ow-w-w!” He let go and hopped around on one foot, cursing under his breath. “You little wench! You'll pay!”
The menacing gleam in his eye told Carrie it was now or never. Before he could grab her again, she shoved him. The big oaf stumbled backward to the edge of the boardwalk, flailing his arms as he hit the ground with a thud.
Carrie clenched onto the support post, a hand pressed to her pounding heart. Big Jim lay spread-eagle, flat on his back in the dusty street beneath a dim street light. A rock lay beneath his head. He was not moving.
What had she done? Was he unconscious or...? No! She would not even consider it. But what if...? She had to get out of town, and fast!

Where can readers find your books?

How can readers learn more about you? (the 20th of each month)  

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

I enjoy interacting with my readers and do a happy dance every time a reader tells me she or he has read one of books and enjoyed it. I squeal like a child when they leave a good review on Amazon or GoodReads.

I would give my books to everyone I met, if I could afford to, because knowing my stories bring readers enjoyment means more to me than anything else.

Thanks for sharing with us today, Laurean!  


Caroline Clemmons said...

So nice to have you as my guest today, Laurean.

Miss Mae said...

Ha ha ha, seems I learn something new about Laurie all the time! Or...should I change her name to Jane? Tarzan? Cheetah? *wink* How awesome to have such an understanding school principal.

Laurie's books are always clean and sweet, so just fine for the entire family. I recommend them for anyone needing a break from the hectic reality of today.

Larry Hammersley said...

I read this story and really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it. Laurie writes nice clean romances and I guarantee you will not be disappointed in any of her stories you will read. I had the pleasure of meeting Laurie at a book signing a few years back.

Gail Pallotta said...

An interesting interview. I especially enjoyed Laurean's book, Journey to Forgiveness. It was fun to learn a little more about her.

Laurean Brooks said...

Thank you for the invitation, Caroline. It was gracious of you to let me come on your blog for a visit.

Laurean Brooks said...

Miss Mae: Yes, we were lucky to have an principal. We could have gotten in a lot of trouble if our parents found out. Thank God they didn't. Lol I don't mind being Tarzan or Jane. Just not Chetah. Lol.

Laurean Brooks said...

Thank you, Larry Hammersley for your kind words. I'll bet you were a good kid who never got into trouble.

Laurean Brooks said...

Gail Pallotta, thank you for dropping by and for your encouragement. You are a talented author. No one can argue with that. I did get into a few ...scrapes as a youngster. My sister and I were adventurous. Lol