Today, I’m welcoming fellow Tule Publishing author Laura Brown to the blog.
After spending her childhood coming up with new episodes to her favorite sitcoms instead of sleeping, Laura Brown decided to try her hand at writing and never looked back. A hopeless romantic, she married her high school sweetheart, though they didn’t even go to the same high school! They live in Massachusetts with two cats with cerebellar hypoplasia, and an energetic kid who keeps them on their toes.
Laura’s been hard of hearing her entire life but didn’t start learning ASL until college, when her disability morphed from an inconvenience to a positive part of her identity. It’s important to her to create strong, competent characters with hearing loss, as she didn’t have that growing up. At home the closed captioning is always on, lights flash with the doorbell, and hearing aids are sometimes optional.
N: Welcome to the blog, Laura. I’m so delighted to have you with us today. So, what inspired you to start writing?
A: Hi Nan, thank you so much for having me! I’ve always been a fan of stories, but it wasn’t until college when I started writing fan fiction and really enjoyed it. After I graduated I had a moment of, “what now?” as many of us do, and decided to take my favorite fan fiction, remove the fan, and turn it into a full-fledged novel. As a hopeless romantic I’ve always been drawn to those romance stories and I enjoy being able to come up with new ones to share.
N: What comes first—the plot or the characters?
A: Oh, tough question. I have to go with plot, since most of my stories concepts start with a basic plot, or questions, or sometimes the opening of the novel. The characters are close on the heels, since you can’t write an opening without a character!
N: You’ve written two novels in the Mistaken Hearts series—what is the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself while writing those books?
A: I really fine-tuned my craft with this series. These were my first ever contemporary romances, so the entire journey has been about self-discovery. I think the most surprising one involved writing hearing loss into my novels. I didn’t start off putting main characters as having a hearing loss. Grant, in The Frenemy Mistake, is hard of hearing like me, and I have a scene where he takes off his hearing aids at night in front of his love interest and I was struck by how that one act made me question the attractiveness of the character. Because I’d internalized that “main characters don’t have hearing loss” mentality and I suddenly was staring at myself and my ears and needing it to be attractive. I, of course, went ahead and wrote it, because I need to show hearing loss as positive and worthy of attraction, and in the interim got to build up my view of myself.
N: Your newest book, The Frenemy Mistake just released March first. Can you share with us something about this new story that isn’t in the blurb?
A: So, the Mistaken Hearts series is dubbed “the social worker series” on my computer. Lexie is a social worker. She works as a case manager in elder services. She’s got heart, and is willing to bust balls as necessary. She also needs to unwind outside of work and has an addiction to reality television.
N: Talk to me about writing in first person, which means you are in your heroine’s POV the entire story. Easier? Harder than third?
A: This is actually dual POV and first person! And I originally wrote it in third. My first book got switched to first so when I went to work on this novel again I had to do the same. Since I wrote deep POV I don’t find it too different between first and third person, but I will say I hope to not have to change an entire novel yet again! If anything, first allows me to dig a little deeper into my characters and I’ve written quite a few novels in first!
N: You’ve been very open about having a hearing disability—how has that played into your writing?
A: I really am proud of being Hard of Hearing. My goal when I started writing was to always have a character with a hearing loss, and to spread awareness one small step at a time. I wasn’t sure I could write main characters with hearing loss, and continue to do so. I now have six books published, with a total of eight main characters that range from Hard of Hearing to Deaf and I wouldn’t have it any other way! It allows my stories to be different from others, to share parts of myself, and to make my characters richer because of it.
N: Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell your readers about?
A: I’m currently writing something new for me, a Women’s Fiction novel. Still with romance, since that’s how I roll, but it’s a story that’s been speaking to me and I’m excited to see where it goes! Beyond that my next book publishes in August, Wrong Number, a texting mishap story involving a NSFW text to an unknown number!
N: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
A: Pandemic plus virtual school kid means there is not a lot of free time lately! I do love reading and thanks to kid have gotten really into Animal Crossing New Horizons! It’s been the best pandemic escape.
N: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: An actress! I realized I was meant to be the one creating the stories though.
N: This is my signature question—the one that everyone loves to answer. If you could choose three people, living or dead, to invite to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
A: I’m awkward around celebrities, so I’m going to go with loved ones I miss: my aunt, cousin, and grandmother. My aunt and cousin I grew up with, would see them every week. She was more like a second mother and he was more like a brother. Both were taken too soon. My grandmother was always full of fun and laughs. The four of us would break out a deck of cards and have a blast!
THE FRENEMY MISTAKE, an adult contemporary romance
Book 2 in the Mistaken Hearts series
He’s delicious rock-climbing eye candy—when he doesn’t talk.
Grant and I have been flirting for over a year. We’re the crash and burn types, not good at relationships and for the sake of our overlapping friend group harmony, we’re keeping our distance. The flirting hasn’t stopped, and our friends are getting married, so what’s the harm in one date? A little tangle of sheets and then we’ll part ways as friends.
The date completely blows, killing all attraction, and I’m ready to push Grant out of my mind, but I can’t. We need to team up to throw a quick wedding for our friends. When our attraction sparks back to life, giving in seems to be the only answer.
It’s hot as hell, and Grant’s climbing all my walls, right into my heart, until I discover the addiction in his past. I’m not sure of the details, but my parents were addicts, teenage addicts at that, and I can’t afford any more of that in my life. Only he’s gotten under my skin, and ending as friends no longer looks like an option.