Laura Bradford, a National Bestselling Author of more than 35 books. Her latest titles include; the women’s fiction novel, Piece by Piece, and the cozy mystery, A Killer Carol. Her first women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister, was a July 2018 Book Club Pick for Delilah of Delilah Radio and a Summer Book Club pick for Southern Lady Magazine.
The following transcript is a shortened version of the original recording.
Tracy: Hey there. Welcome to another episode of Buggy Talk. I’m your host, Tracy Fredrychowski, and each week I bring you the story behind the stories, along with the storytellers. For this week’s episode, we have Laura Bradford and National Bestselling Author of more than 35 books. Her latest title includes the women’s fiction novel Piece by Piece and the cozy mystery A Killer Carol. Her first women’s fiction novel Portrait of a Sister was a July 2018 Book Club Pick for Delilah of Delilah Radio and a Summer Book Club Pick for Southern Lady Magazine.
Wow. What a lineup, Laura? How are you this morning? And thank you for joining us.
Laura: Well, thanks for having me, and I’m doing wonderfully. Thank you.
Tracy: Good. I know we’re going to talk about Piece by Piece today, and we’re going to talk about your contribution to the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection. But before we dig into some of your projects, I love to talk to my authors about their writing career.
You know, our readers are so interested in our personal life, they get a big kick to learn just a little bit about you personally. So, let’s start with, how do you research your books?
Laura: Well, for my books. I like to spend upwards of about three or four days in Amish country and Lancaster Amish country. I travel the countryside, and I do the back roads, and I slow down and look at people out in their fields, or I take a tourist that allows me to get inside their homes. And it’s usually during that process, that’s something I see. It might be just a little nugget, gives me an idea that I then springboard into a story that happens a lot with my Amish mysteries, but it also happens with my, my women’s fiction novels as well.
Tracy: Oh, I know research is one of my favorite things to do, gives me an excuse to be in the areas of the country that I love the most.
So, tell us what success means to you?
Laura: Success to me, being happy is a big one. And those moments where I get a message in an inbox on my website that says that a book I wrote touched a reader or help the reader through a difficult time, or they felt some comfort in the pages of something that I’ve written to me. That’s a success even more so than the number of books sold while that’s wonderful. I just like to know that something I touched the reader or help the reader through a difficult time or made a reader smile.
Tracy: Oh, that’s wonderful. You know, because it’s really not about the number of books you sell. It’s, it’s God’s story that we’re telling through, you know, our little brain or whatever. So, I believe, just like you believe, it’s more about how our stories impact the lives of our readers.
On a typical day, tell us about how much time you spend writing actively working on a book.
Laura: I do everything in the morning. That’s when I’m freshest by about two or three o’clock in the afternoon, I’m kind of done, and I’ll switch to marketing, but for the actual writing, I like to write, my goal is always about 2000 words a day. So about eight pages, some days that happens some days I do better than that. And some days, life gets in the way, and I do far less than that, but I know what I need to do in order to get the book done by the deadline. And so I’ll, I’ll step it up at some point, if I have to.
Tracy: Do you find it more challenging to write the first book in a series or a follow-up book to your series?
Laura: I enjoy the first book is always fun, and it’s exciting because it’s brand new and new characters, but you’re also getting the feel of them, and you’re learning about them. So in some respects, I liked the first because of the excitement, but when I work on follow up books, particularly in a long-running series, it’s, it’s like revisiting old friends, you know, when you’re, you’re excited to sit back down with them again and see what they’re up to now. So I’m kind of on the fence with that one. Sometimes it’s the first book. Sometimes it’s the subsequent books. It sometimes changes by the book.
Tracy: Oh, I couldn’t agree more. So that pulls us into your newest release, which is Piece by Piece. And I cannot wait to snuggle up with this book. Tell us a little bit about the significance of the title Piece by Piece.
Laura: Well, I picked that title because this is a story about a woman who goes through an unbelievable tragedy, and she loses everyone that matters to her and in a single instant, and she’s left with nothing. Her whole life looks nothing like it did two seconds earlier. And this was a story about when you’re brought to your knees essentially, and you are in the darkest part of your life. And how do you, how do you find light again, and how do you manage to keep on living and keep putting, a foot, a new foot in front of each other? So, the title for me is Piece by Piece because, in the story, the woman learns to start living again by putting her life back together piece by piece.
Tracy: What is the main theme of the book, or what do you want your readers to take away from it?
Laura: That there’s always hope that sometimes, you know when we have grief, we tend to too, there’s people handle it in different ways. Some people don’t want to revisit it and don’t want to think about the person that they lost because of the pain. But sometimes it’s in the memories that the person gets to remain with us and still feel like they’re part of our life. So it’s really about welcoming in the memories and, and finding a joy in those.
Tracy: It sounds like an emotional book. I don’t know about you, but a good book for me is one that makes me cry. So this sounds like a book that will make me cry.
Laura: You will cry.
Tracy: If your book was made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?
Laura: This one is always a tricky question for me because, in my mind, these characters are such living, breathing people of their own. That it’s hard to imagine somebody else being them that said, probably for the male character that is in the book, and this is not a romance. It is not a love story in that way, but the male character in the book, um, I’m kind of partial to James Marsden.
And the main character is playing Danny. Interestingly enough, I think I would go with Anna Kendrick cause there’s something girl next door about her.
Tracy: I’m dying to hear a snippet from one of your favorite scenes, please share us something.
Laura: (Reading a snippet from Piece by Piece.)
Tracy: Oh, that gave me chills, Laura,
And that moves us into the next, the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection. What is the title of your story?
Laura: It’s called the Christmas Program.
Tracy: Can you take us inside the main character’s personality?
Laura: Leah Miller. She is a brand new school teacher. She has her, her first class all on her own. So she’s nervous. She wants to do a good job. She gets thrust into this right before it’s time for the annual Christmas program that the Amish schools always do
Tracy: So, what was the highlight of writing this short story for this collection?
Laura: I want to work around one of these Christmas programs. I did some research. I read some things that people, you know, firsthand accounts of people having gone to those Christmas programs. And it was just fun to kind of to give readers and myself a real window into how these programs work and that this is really the only time that Amish children quote, perform.
Tracy: So, what do you hope your readers or our readers in this collection will take away from your particular story?
Laura: The joy of Christmas and the thing that you’ve been looking forward to, and you’ve been working for so long that something can come along and threatens it and how just the kindness of a stranger can, can help make it right.
Tracy: Can you share a little snippet somewhere in the book for it?
Laura: (Reading a snippet from A Christmas Program.)
Tracy: You painted a very vivid picture. Thank you, Laura. I can’t wait to read that. So tell us what’s next for Laura Bradford?
Laura: Well, I have all have a new Amish based women’s fiction novel coming out next summer called Her New Story. And then I will also, at the same time, debuting a new cozy mystery series. So next summer is going to be a busy time for me.
Tracy: Thank you so much for spending time with us this week. And I look forward to reading all the stories in the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection, along with your latest release Piece by Piece. That wraps up this week’s episode next week; we’ll be switching things up a bit as Laura interviews me on the Buggy Talk Podcast.