By Laura Walker
Hi! I’m Laura L. Walker, and I am the author of over twenty romance stories, some written under my own name and others written under a pen name. Growing up in a small town in southern Arizona, I always dreamed of writing. I was forever drawing people on paper and pretending they talked to each other. I imagined them living lives like my own, but also in a glamorized way, hanging out with friends, etc. It was fun to imagine what life would be like if they did this or went here and did that. This is one of my earliest recollections of my childhood.
I am the sixth of seven children, and the youngest girl in my family. My two sisters were much older than me, so I think this was my way of entertaining myself when my siblings were involved in other sporting or high school activities. Coming after three boys in the family lineup, and then having another one follow right after me, I had to learn to be tough. I learned to speak up and let my voice be heard. I remember one time when my parents were gone, and I was afraid to say something to my older brother because I knew it would make him mad. But I also felt that I really needed to say it. So I positioned myself strategically so that as soon as I said it, I could run to my bedroom. It worked! He came chasing after me and I barely made it to my room in time and quickly slammed the door shut. Whew! Now we both live in the same town and he is one of the kindest people I know. My older sister loved to practice her beauty parlor skills on me. I had a built-in hairdresser, makeup artist, and nail tech living in my own home! As my mom tells it, my sister didn’t like being the only left-handed person in the family, so she taught me to write with my left hand as well. While I don’t remember that particular bit of tutoring, I concede the fact that I am quite ambidextrous, yet my writing hand is my left.
My dad was a school teacher. Every summer, he was home and wanted to relax (can you blame him?) so he would send us kids down to the local public pool, and we would swim/play in the water for hours. My friend and I liked to dive for pennies. To this day, I love going to the pool, especially when it’s so hot, you feel like you’re going to melt. Another favorite hobby of mine is reading, of course, and sometimes sewing or doing a puzzle. These activities help me to relax and let my mind wander. (I haven’t sewn my own finger yet, so that’s good.) These past two years, I’ve been so busy writing that I haven’t had time to do much of these other activities. I’m actually planning fewer writing projects for 2021 and more time to do these other things again. I miss them.
When I do write, I like to have the room quiet—and that’s hard to do with five children still at home. (Our oldest lives out of state and has been on his own for a year now.) Many times, when I am on a tight deadline and the kids are either out of school for summer vacation, or in the case of the schools being shut down this past year because of the virus, I’ve had to take my laptop and write in the car, usually in a church parking lot. As you can imagine, this isn’t very comfortable, so another time that I try to utilize for writing is when the entire family is asleep. This gets a little tricky since I have a few children with overactive brains who take longer to fall asleep at night than the others and my hubby wakes up around 3 a.m. to get ready for work. However, I’m also an insomniac, so it works out one way or the other. My kids are old enough now to realize that if Mom is taking a nap in the middle of the day, it’s best to not disturb her. I write every day except Sundays. I feel that is my day to rest. But by Monday morning, I am ready to go at it again!
There have been many people in my writing career who have helped me along. When I signed my first writing contract, I didn’t know anything about publishing. And then I met Author Jennifer Griffith. She taught me the ins and outs of working with a small press and introduced me to writing groups on Facebook where I met countless other authors who helped me to shape my dream into tangible goals. Another influential person I met was Author Christine Sterling. At a time when I was at a crossroads in my writing career, she was heading up a multi-author project and accepted me into the Pinkerton Matchmaker series, for which I wrote six books under my pen name, Julia Ridgmont. This great group of authors I was privileged to work with is also where I met Author Caroline Clemmons. Since then, we’ve become great friends. Another writerly friend I adore is Author Lisa M. Prysock, who has invited me to contribute to two of her contemporary series. We worked together in a historical series called The Belles of Wyoming, and it was fun to collaborate with her on a few of the town’s characters. I’ve learned so much from these wonderful ladies and so many others that I can’t name. The writing community really is an awesome place!
As I write stories about faith and love, whether contemporary or historical, I always want to share the light of Christ with others. I want my readers to feel that no matter what their circumstances are, there is always hope. I have experienced this very thing in my own life. A family member lost her life at a premature age. It was a devastating time for our family, and it still affects us today. But we know through our faith that we will see her again. We feel a real sense of hope and look forward to that day. I have experienced other losses as well, including loss of good health (through genetics), and I know that miracles do happen! And I want to share that message with my readers and let them feel hope in whatever hard things they are experiencing.
Most of the stories I’ve written this year have been historical western romance novels or novellas. My last two stories for 2020, however, are contemporary. I just published The Doctor’s Broken Promise, book 3 in my Love Confessions series, which mostly takes place in the small fictional town of Woodland Crossings, Arizona among the pine trees. And the last one that is due to come out on November 20, 2020, is called A Heart that Yearns, book 8 in the Georgia Peaches series. These stories take place in Georgia. Since I’m only a few pages into that story at the time of this blog post, I will share an excerpt from The Doctor’s Broken Promise, which is about a guy who just finished his residency and is back home in Woodland Crossings as the town’s newest and youngest doctor. He’s trying to help his sister and brother-in-law get through a rough patch in their marriage, and he figures that heading up a fun project for the fall season will help them to communicate better. But he needs his ex-girlfriend’s help to pull it off. Meanwhile, Tiffany Dover is trying to help an older woman in the community, affectionately known as The Cookie Jar Lady, to restore her property to a thing of beauty. So the plan Reid and Tiffany hatch up together turns out better than either of them imagined in the beginning.
Here is a short excerpt that begins with a flashback of when they both lived in New York. He was completing his residency and she was working as a nanny for a wealthy couple. They dated long enough that Reid was contemplating proposing to Tiffany, and then an unfortunate event happened that sent Tiffany home to Arizona, and left Reid reeling.
Staring at Tiffany and taking in her loveliness, Reid was reminded of the time they had visited the Statue of Liberty together. It was a four-hour drive into New York City from where Reid was going to school, and where Tiffany was working for the Henegers. She had just gotten back from a trip to Switzerland, and Reid had missed her. They had made it a special outing and had taken a boat out of Battery Park to where Lady Liberty stood and climbed as high as they could go. Looking out over the water and the magnificent skyline beyond, Reid had said to Tiffany, “I miss you every time you go away. I wish you didn’t have to go so far.”
“It’s my job,” she’d said lightly before turning serious. “But I miss you, too. Every time I go away.”
They had watched the water rippling in the distance and the light shifting as people moved about in the crowded chamber in silence, taking it all in, when Tiffany had spoken again. “Reid?”
“What would happen if the next time I went out of the country with the Henegers, I somehow couldn’t get back? Like, with my visa being confiscated or . . . or something.”
He had looked directly into her curious eyes and taken her chin in his hand. “Then I would come after you.”
“You would be my knight in shining armor?” she teased.
But it hadn’t felt like a joke to Reid. In all earnestness, he had said, “Of course.”
She had smiled almost shyly and let him kiss her. The whole time they made their way back down to the pedestal, Reid had fingered the small jewelry box which contained the ring he’d purchased on a whim, thinking he might propose to her soon. Hopefully in the next days, if he could figure out how to do it in a romantic way. But that was not to be. Before he knew what was happening, Tiffany was on a plane to Arizona, and he was left reeling over what had happened. Not only that, but he realized much later that he hadn’t kept his promise to his girlfriend to come after her and bring her home. And by the time he passed his state boards and accepted a position in Woodland Crossings, it was too late. She wouldn’t give him the time of day. He would always regret how things went down. He vowed that if he was ever given a second—or third—chance, he would do the right thing.
Bring Tiffany home.
Here is where you can find the book online: https://amzn.to/3kjlIx9
And if you happen to be on Facebook, I’m holding a party on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, starting at 5 p.m. UTC. At this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1649668851869693