Here Comes TROUBLE ME… Meet Award-Winning Author Laura Moore

Hello, Scribe Fans! We have a very special guest with us today: Laura Moore, whose novel TROUBLE ME released Tuesday from Ballantine Books.  Laura is giving away a copy of TROUBLE ME to one lucky commenter, chosen at random, so get your comments in before midnight, EST, on March 30, 2012. Talk to us, Laura!

What made you want to write romances?  What other writers influence(d) you?

LM: I’ve always been a romantic. But I didn’t grow up dreaming of writing love stories or any kind of stories. I was too busy riding horses and hanging out at my stable to spend time curled up with a pencil and paper. Though I devoured books, I kept my own imaginings and stories locked in my head (this was probably why so many kids teased me for being a space cadet). It wasn’t until I was married, the mother of two, and pursuing a graduate degree in art education that I sat down and tried to write one of the stories I’d dreamed up. Using one of my art education class notebooks, I began writing the opening chapters. The story in my notebook became Ride A Dark Horse and was published in 2001.

I think the first romance novel I read was Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers. I was about thirteen when I read it. For a girl raised on Jane Austen and P.G. Wodehouse, it was quite an eye-opener. In terms of writers who influenced me, the list is pretty long: Judith McNaught, Jude Deveraux, Julie Garwood, Catherine Coulter, LaVyrle Spencer, Linda Howard, Sandra Brown, Karen Robards, Susan Elizabeth Philips, and oh, yeah, Nora Roberts. They were the authors I searched for, whose titles I hunted down, a challenging task in the pre-internet era.

Inspire the as-yet-unpublished among us and tell us how the sale of your first book came about.

LM: My background is in art history and art education so I came to be published in romance fiction by a whole lot of luck. I didn’t know anything about the industry—absolutely nothing. But my brother happened to know a literary agent, Elaine Markson. He suggested I send her my manuscript and ask her where I might send it next. Imagine how novel a query letter that was!

Well, when Elaine got back to me, she told me that although she didn’t represent any other romance authors, she wanted to represent me. She then warned me that she really only knew one editor who worked in romance. So she and I decided that she’d send the manuscript along to Linda Marrow, who was then at Pocket Books. Linda was kind enough to offer me a two-book deal. Definitely a fairy tale beginning, right? As I said, I was extraordinarily lucky.

Describe your writing day for us.

LM: I get up at 6:30 am, have breakfast, and walk Hardy, our dog. Upon my return I throw a load of laundry into the wash and run around straightening up the house. I only mention this because I’m weird and there’s no way I can sit down to write if things aren’t basically organized. By 9:00 I’m at my computer. I try to work for three or four hours without wasting too much time checking and replying to emails, surfing the net in the name of ‘research’ or surfing the net just because it’s there. It terrifies me how much time I can waste on the net. I’m almost at the point where I’m considering buying a second computer that has no internet connection on it…Is any else feeling like they’ve become over-connected?

Sorry, I digress.

After lunch I’ll try to get a few more sentences onto the screen. Then at 2:30pm Hardy, without fail, will remind me that we need another walk. Sometimes I manage to squeeze in another hour of writing either in the late afternoon or evening, but my prime writing time is really that morning block of hours.

Of course, when I look at that description I realize how few of my days actually follow that schedule. Since I also teach English there are days when I can’t get any of my own work done. Then too I have to factor in the  the days when I hit a boulder-sized obstacle in my plot or I realize something is terribly wrong with my character and I can’t quite put my finger on the problem. That’s when you can find me furiously cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow, grocery shopping, doing just about anything to avoid my work in progress.

Your dog’s name is Hardy? Ahem! Nice! Are you a plotter or a pantser?

LM: I’m pretty much a pantser. I begin with a broad outline of my story, which contains the key plot points and a rough sketch of my heroine and hero. Then I pretty much try to connect the dots. It’s not very efficient, I know.

When I wrote my Rosewood trilogy, the first series I ever undertook, I had to be a little more organized because I wanted to make sure the plots and subplots meshed. The trilogy required me to keep lists, make timelines, and write a lot more scene sketches, all the things my right brain finds extremely objectionable. Luckily by the time I got to book three of the trilogy, Trouble Me, I really knew my characters and where my story was going. I guess the eight hundred plus pages I’d written leading up to Trouble Me sorted out some of the unholy mess in my mind.

When you are writing, how aware are you of romance character archetypes?  In Remember Me you paired a born-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks uberhunk with a glamorous, born-with-a-silver-spoon-in-her-mouth heroine.  Was that a conscious decision, or did it happen organically or intuitively as the story unfolded to you?  How about archetypal plots?

LM: Never met an archetype I didn’t love.

Thank you, Laura!
Actually, when I began Remember Me I didn’t set out with the idea of making my heroine a spoiled, misunderstood princess and my hero a bad boy uberhunk. Archetypes were the furthest thing from my mind. I simply fell in love with an ad campaign for St. John that featured the actor Olivier Martinez (he’s just become engaged to Halle Berry). For those of you who don’t know Olivier Martinez, watch The Horseman on the Roof. You’ll thank me.

Just to show you how incredibly superficial I am, my idea for Margot, the heroine in Remember Me,came from another ad campaign, this one starring

Yup, she's gorgeous!

Amber Valetta. I developed a huge crush on her (though not quite as big as the one I had on Olivier) and decided she really needed a love story. Because everyone, beautiful supermodels included, needs a love story.

Snaffle bits.  Baker blankets.  Longe lines.  Your Rosewood trilogy is set on a Virginia horse farm.  Are you an equestrienne, or did you just do your research really, really well?

LM: I used to ride and compete in horse shows but unfortunately I’ve had to put my riding on the back burner. I’m hoping that some day I’ll sell enough books to be able to afford a horse again. It’s a commitment that can’t be undertaken lightly.

I do try to research my stories really thoroughly. One of the earliest positive reviews I received for Ride A Dark Horse came from The Chronicle of the Horse. I was over the moon because you really can’t fool horse lovers or professionals in the business. I agonized over the details in Night Swimming too, which is a story I wrote about a marine biologist who tries to save an endangered coral reef in her hometown. Before Night Swimming, I’d done some scuba diving but there was no way I could have written the descriptions of the reefs and the signs of a massive die off of the coral without the interviews and research I conducted.

Here at the Scribes we talk about the Doubt Monster rearing its ugly head.   Do you ever have doubts or uncertainty about your work?  How do you slay that dragon and get on with your writing?

LM: I have doubts all the time. It’s part of my character. I also think it’s a fundamental part of being an artist. So yeah, when the words aren’t coming, I’m often visited by the foul-breathed doubt monster that settles on my shoulder and laughs hysterically over my puny attempt at putting words on a page. My emergency remedy? Chocolate…lots of it.

Over the years I’ve learned to ignore the monster’s cackles and sniggers by trying to be nicer to myself, give myself rallying pep talks, and even little pats on the back if I manage to write a halfway decent scene. It helps but I don’t kid myself that I’ll ever be able to vanquish the foul dwimmerlaik. Sorry. I’m a huge Tolkien fan and I haven’t been able to use a word like dwimmerlaik in years!

Glad I could give you an excuse to use “dwimmerlaik” in a sentence! Click here, readers, if you want more information about this nasty thing. Laura, do you have any pets?  Tell us about them.

LM: We have a cat named Zevon (after Warren) and a dog named Hardy (after Thomas) and I love them madly. My plan is one day to sell a lot of books and buy a horse. If I sell lots and lots of books I’ll buy a farm.

I bet you’ll have that horse and farm sooner than you think, if you keep writing such wonderful books! When was the last vacation you took? Where did you go?

LM: Last year I took a trip to England. It was lovely. All the gardens were in bloom and the oilseed rape was bright yellow on the hills. I have family there so that made the trip even more wonderful.

What’s your junk food of choice?

LM: Popcorn with just a touch of salt.

Confess.  What’s your favorite reality show?

LM: When I was writing Remember Me, the first book in my Rosewood trilogy, I made my heroine, Margot Radcliffe a fashion model, and since she liked to watch Project Runway, I got hooked on it too. Those characters can be such bad influences.

Now that the Rosewood Trilogy is complete with TROUBLE ME, (yes, I’m sniffling a bit here! Need Kleenex and a new Laura Moore novel, stat!) what’s next?  Can you give us a hint, or is it a Secret?  The Scribes love Secrets!

LM: I can only give you the sketchiest of sketches because I’m still figuring out some of the details. It’s a new series (the working title is the Silver Creek Series). The setting is a California guest ranch that is populated by horses and cattle and some really fine looking men in chaps and cowboy hats. And there may be some pesky goats, too.

There’s also in the first book (and I can’t tell you its title because it’s a secret) a lovely heroine. From Queens, New York, Tess is a city girl through and through. She’s also a widow and she’s come to the Silver Creek Ranch to escape a bitter secret and unhappy memories. Determined to make a new life for herself, she’s vowed never to fall in love again and leave herself vulnerable to heartbreak. Ward Knowles, the eldest son of the family that owns and runs Silver Creek, has made much the same promise…

As soon as I have more secrets to share about the series and Tess and Ward, I’ll let you know!

Thanks for being here today, Laura. Readers, here’s a little bit more about her:

A teacher and horse lover, Laura Moore lives in Providence, RI, with her husband, two children, and their black lab. Their cat Zevon keeps them all in line.

Laura’s books have won the following writing awards in the single title category: Laurel Wreath Contest (Volusia County RWA); Maggies Award (Georgia RWA); Holt Medallion Award (Virginia RWA); Winter Rose Award (Yellow Rose RWA), The New England Bean Pot Reader’s Choice Award (NECRWA) and The Write Touch Reader’s Award (WISRWA). Her books have been translated into German and her Rosewood Trilogy will soon appear in Slovenian. All of the above thrill Laura to no end.

For more about Laura, please visit her at: www.lauramooreboooks.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100003660821403.

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38 thoughts on “Here Comes TROUBLE ME… Meet Award-Winning Author Laura Moore”

  1. Hey, Laura! You know I’m a huge fan…loved the interview, and good luck with the new book! It’s winging its way to my house as we speak. As soon as I met Jade, I was dying for her story. Dying, I tell you!

    1. Jessica, Thanks! I told our fellow horse lover Rhonda Lane that I’d also gotten a thumbs-up from some wonderful women at Dover Saddlery. If only they sold fiction! Can’t wait for the new series from you!

  2. Hi Laura! Thanks for being our guest today! I was also excited to see you on Facebook! You are not the only one who gets sucked into the internet void. It’s a major time stealer. I’ve had to turn it off but sometimes that’s not enough. I think I might need another computer too (and a dark cave with no wifi access). Best of luck with the new book! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. 🙂

    1. Yeah, it’s been a big week! It was Kristan and another friend of mine Mary who gave me the final nudge. It’s a bit scary Fb and I hope I get the hang of it soon. Luckily everyone seems very patient. But it’s definitely true, releasing a book on FB is a whole lot more fun than trying to find a bookstore!

  3. Welcome Laura! So nice of you to visit us. Loved your interview. Isn’t that Suze just a gem? It’s so nice to know I’m not alone in my pantsing process, my over-connection issue, and my battle with the doubtmonster. He’s kicking my butt lately and screaming about wordcounts and such…the little bugger…I know he’s in cahoots with the Scrabble demon.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing with us, and best of luck with this wonderful book and with writing the next series. You’re on a roll. Congrats on your recent nomination!

    1. I have been warned to avoid the Scrabble game at all costs! My doubt monster is definitely an ugly beast and way too familiar. As for pantsing, I actually got so nervous last week that I dragooned my daughter into taking notes for me while I dictated essential scenes to her. Was it Barbara Cartland who dictated her novels in her peignoir and mules while she ate bonbons? I really think I could go for that.

  4. Color me impressed, too, that COTH gave your book a positive review. They’re a tough crowd. Good luck with TROUBLE ME and the other award-winning novels in your Rosewood trilogy.

    1. What I’m still mystified by is how they got the book in their hands and why they chose to review it–it’s not exactly their cup of tea! But that would be looking a gift horse in the mouth! I try to repay their kindness by always mentioning COTH in my horse novels! Though with this next series I’m going Western. Any recommendations for a great Western riding mag, Rhonda, my horse diva?

      1. If for no other reason, COTH’s main office is in Middleburg, VA, just east on US 50 from Upperville in the heart of Virginia hunt country. Rosewood is a hunter-jumper farm, so that’s right up COTH’s alley. Let me think about the western connection. 🙂 I have a couple of ideas, especially with the guest ranch angle.

  5. HI Laura! I LOVED Remember Me and can’t wait to read Jade’s story! The snippet at the end of RM was intriguing…well done! I vacationed on a guest ranch in Arizona a few years ago and it was Super Fun – I’m looking forward to the new series, too. I’m working on a romance myself, a leap from the children’s books I’ve published so far. I’m still in the “noodling” phase, trying to see my hero. I’ve got the heroine drawn pretty clearly in my mind, but the hero isn’t coming together. I don’t love him yet. Any ideas on how I can speed up the falling-in-love process? I figure if I don’t love him, then my readers won’t either. Thanks!

    1. I agree, there has to be that click in the imagination that gets everything flowing. And that’s as risque as I’m going to get before 10:00am. But I’m particularly blessed when it comes to being able to fall in love with certain examples of the male species. Clive Owen, Olivier Martinez (Thank you for the gorgeous pic, Jane, I’m in love all over again), Daniel Day Lewis, circa Last of The Mohicans, etc., etc…Oh, and my husband. Kristan and I are now exchanging sighs over Ryan Gosling, too.

      Generally once I pick my hero, I just let my mind wander, trying to figure out what scenes would work to show his character and his generally excellent sexiness. Do you do that sort of thing? Anyone want to chime in?

    1. Lol! I know, Toni! It’s hard to keep up. I would really like to start a slow writing movement but somehow I don’t think our readers or editors would be too happy. What’s great about books though is they’re always there.

  6. Great interview — I’m half way thru Remember Me, and I’m loving it!! I’ve had the first 2 Rosewood books in my TBR forever, and “meeting” you on facebook got me to move them to the top of the stack. Would love to win a copy of your newest book!!

    1. Then joining Facebook was worth it for me, Shelly! I’m so glad that you’re enjoying the series so far and that it’s no easier to find me now that I’ve joined the cyber world more fully.

      Hope you’re lucky today!

  7. Yay, Laura’s here!!!! Welcome, welcome!

    I am with you on not being able to write when the house is a mess…and with three young kids and a husband who is worse than the kids, it’s a wonder I get any writing done at all. 😉

    I am so glad to hear you are a pantser, too! Although, lately I am embracing the plotting method a bit more than I have in the past, only because I don’t a lot of time to revise. I’m hoping plotting more will help with that.

    Will you be at the CTRWA’s Fiction Fest in May??? Hope to get my signed copy! 😉

    1. It’s a great place to be, Katy, and thank you all at 7 Scribes for having me! Such a cool gathering place. Maybe space is the better word.

      I should plot far more than I do and obsess far less. As I mentioned, Trouble Me was so much easier to write because I’d had ~12,000 pages to warm up. This is not a practical way to approach writing. I think one of my problems is that I have this visual art and art education background where the focus was about the process and the journey. I actually believe in that approach but it kind of encourages a more serpentine route to the final destination. I figure that as long as I’m not writing in circles I’m okay.

      Yes, I will definitely be at Fiction Fest. Not to be missed and I can’t wait to see everyone. Likewise for Julia Quinn’s talk in April.

      I’ll bring my special purple signing pen to Fiction Fest, Katy!

  8. Hi Laura,
    Great interview. I have read the first two in the series and loved them. I will be getting Trouble Me soon. Best of luck with it. You know I’m a huge fan. And congrats on the Chronicle review … whew … I hear they are a really tough crowd. Nice job!

    1. Gerri, you started the ball rolling by inviting me to Nights of Passion, so a huge thanks to you, my friend. Hope you enjoy Trouble Me!

      I’d love to get another review from COTH but I don’t want to press my luck!

  9. Hi Laura,
    Congrats on the new release. We are eagerly awaiting it’s arrival in my household! I generally don’t read contemporary, steering more toward a good mystery or some supernatural issue, but you (along with the lovely Ms. Higgins) are quickly converting me. In both Remember Me and Believe in Me, you snagged me from the first line. I love Jade and can’t wait to see the ride she and Cooper go on. I’m sure it, as well as the new series, will be wonderful.

  10. You’ll have to borrow your Mom’s copy of Trouble Me, Gail. Got to say I love that idea! Personally I think Ms. Higgins’s writing could convert just about anyone. I hope you have fun reading about Jade and Rob. You’ll let me know, pretty please?

    1. I’ll even be nice and let her read it first – after all, it’s her copy. :0) I think you BOTH could convert any reader over. I’ll most certainly let you know what I thought.

  11. Laura, it’s refreshing to hear published writers admit they get, ehm, sidetracked. Like you, my house must be cleaned or I’m too distracted by the dishes in the sink or spray of dog fur EVERYWHERE to generate an original thought. Can’t wait to read the new series – did you see “Like Water for Chocolate”? There’s a scene with a naked woman on a horse, straddling the man, just sayin… So maybe it wouldn’t work in reality but who cares about reality?? hehe.
    Congratulations on your many accomplishments!

    1. Kind of like sex on the beach, huh? There’s a great example of that ‘let’s have sex while riding an animal’ in one of Cherry Adair’s books (I forget the title but I bet most of you know which one I’m talking about). They’re on a camel. My eyes crossed when I read that scene. Impractical but memorable.
      Thanks for dropping by, Jennifer!

  12. Laura, great post. I enjoyed the interview. So, I guess you have much in common with our Rhonda and her love for horses. I love horses, but from a sculptural/artistic angle. I own a few sculptures, and have photos. I rode, but on Bergen Beach and in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, many many moons ago. Horses are gorgeous animals.

  13. Degas and Delacroix are two of my favorite artists at depicting horses. I guess Remington wasn’t too shabby, either! I’d love to see some of your representations.

  14. Thanks again for being here, Laura! Isn’t this fun? I agree with PJ — the Scrabble monster is nearly as bad as the Doubt Monster. And she and I would know, since we, um, play Scrabble together. Pretty much every day. Save yourself!

    1. Jane this was absolutely lovely. What a great group of writers and readers you attract. Thank you so much for having me and I will definitely steer clear of Scrabble, except after dinner with my daughter at the kitchen table.

      Thanks too to everyone who dropped by. You guys rock!

    1. Oh, Owen was definitely Clive Owen. I couldn’t help myself. And Jordan was pretty much Julianne Moore, from a movie in which she was very fragile emotionally. It was just such a great portrayal. There was also this spread of her in a magazine that was lovely and equally haunting. I must have seen it when I was schlepping the kids to doctors or dentists and spending hours in waiting rooms…those mind-numbing offices might as well be good for something.

      Again, Jane, a huge thanks for a lovely day with the Seven Scribes!

  15. Hi Laura
    Great interview. I learned a few more things about you. Anne & I were just recommending your books to author Marie Force (your fellow RIer) in one of her book groups. Small world. Don’t enter me as I have every fab book you’ve written. Just dropped by to say hey & to tell everyone to buy this book if they don’t win it.

  16. I’m glad the characters from Trouble Me knew where they were going. They sort of have a life of their own that way and as a reader I like when that happens. Many of your favorite romance authors are also mine and I noticed they are all different. Romance comes in many forms and I enjoy them all.

  17. the book looks great thanks for the chance to win!
    (and is it wrong that as soon as i heard warren zevon i started singing werewolves of london?? (although kind of strange you named your cat that!)

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