Episode 21 – Laurie Douglass – The Uncommon Thread

Overview

Laurie grew up in a military family and has used her love of various cultures to influence her books. She currently lives in Maryland, U.S. and because she’s always loved storytelling, she wrote a YA book that contains parts of fantasy and mystery thriller.

Website

https://www.lauriedouglass.com/

Her Book

YouTube

Transcript

[00:00:50] Stephen: today. I’m talking to Laurie Douglas. Who’s written a way a fiction. Called the uncommon thread has some elephant elements of fantasy, some [00:01:00] elements of Saifai. It sounds like a very exciting book. I hope you enjoy this interview with Laurie. Check her out, check out her book. Uh, if these are the types of books you like, let her know you heard her on discovered word Smith, let other authors know.

Uh, if they’re interested in an interview, give us a review. It would really help a lot. I hope you’ve been finding some authors and books that you really enjoyed. Without any further ado. Here’s Laurie.

All right. Well, Laurie, thank you for taking some time today to talk to me. I do appreciate it. Welcome to the podcast. Um, why don’t we get started? Tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’re from a bit about your background. Okay.

[00:01:45] Laurie: Um, well, I was raised in a military family, so I grew up moving around a lot.

I never quite known how to answer the question you from.

Yeah. [00:02:00] We were stationed a couple of times overseas, which. Kind of gave me a love of different cultures, which I try to insert into my, my books. And, um, until about five years ago, I worked with in, um, healthcare administration and patient advocacy, which I did for more years than I would like to say. Yeah.

[00:02:27] Stephen: So maybe not where you’re from, but where are you now? Well, I’m in

[00:02:33] Laurie: Clarksburg, Maryland. Um, we, um, my husband and I lived for a little while in Virginia and then, uh, we moved to Maryland because of his job. And, um, prior to that, the den, the corners of the U S I like to say that Alaska and Florida, so. We’re currently thinking about moving further [00:03:00] north so that we can get more snow.

[00:03:02] Stephen: Ah, I don’t disagree. I do like snow. I lived in San Diego for a while and actually missed having various weather, uh, Ohio, Northeast, Ohio. Oh yeah. I like, I like it. Uh, I’ve lived here my whole life, mostly. So besides writing, uh, what are some of your hobbies, things you like.

[00:03:29] Laurie: Well, I, I love to cook. I especially, um, love baking breads and I, uh, so, and I like to make quilts for people.

Reflect their interests or their personality. And I have four grandchildren that enjoy keeping in touch with, and I’m also a dog trainer and have a certified therapy dog that I take into [00:04:00] hospitals and libraries and that kind of thing.

[00:04:04] Stephen: Oh, my, my daughter was thinking about that at one time. Uh, she may still want to, but we’ll see, uh, it sounds very fulfilling and rewarding to do that type of thing

[00:04:15] Laurie: is it certainly is.

And then our dog is sort of made for that. So

[00:04:25] Stephen: what made you want to start?

[00:04:29] Laurie: Hi. I love story telling. I probably got that from my mother who. Was really my inspiration. She always encouraged me to use my imagination. She used to say, paint me a picture with words. And, um, she, she just could just lose herself in, in telling the story and I wanted to make stories come alive as she did.[00:05:00]

So that’s kind of what’s gave me the spark, I think.

[00:05:06] Stephen: Nice. So you decided to do some writing. Tell us about your book. Uh, what’s it called? What’s it about?

[00:05:15] Laurie: Um, it’s called the uncommon thread. It’s a story about the son of a tailor, right. About the time he turns 18 and graduates from high school. And his name is Patty Duncan and a.

He’s faced with the decision of whether to carry on the family business, which he sort of dreading, or to go his own way and fulfill his deep desire to sort of travel the world. And he’s grown up listening to his grandfather’s stories about these daring adventures in other countries. And, and he always thought his grandfather made up these stories, but when his grandfather.

[00:06:00] Suddenly kidnapped. Um, Patty starts searching for him and that search. Finally reveals that his grandfather is actually an international spy. So he keeps digging for answers any over time, finds out his family, a huge secret. Mostly they’re trying to keep it from a group of tailors who are actually criminals and they have.

Enemies of the family for over 200 years. So the hero Patty, um, follows a series of codes and riddles left by his grandfather that lead him into a situation where he rescues someone else who’s been kidnapped. And all of this gradually helps him realize that he’d rather live his life, helping people.

Even if it means he has to do [00:07:00] something really scary, like become a spy. So,

[00:07:03] Stephen: wow. So is this, uh, like a modern thriller or is there some other genre you would say it fits into? Um, my

[00:07:13] Laurie: editors really kind of pegged it into the young adult or. New adult category and also in adventure, I don’t think it’s a thriller there’s, there’s not a lot of, um, violence.

There’s one, you know, fairly violent scene where someone dies, but other than that, It’s it’s um, it’s more about science actually, because the great mystery that family’s been trying to hide, how has it its origins in science and nearest magnetic field and, and then wrapped into all of that is this is tailoring.

Um, which of course came from my love of [00:08:00] sewing. So

[00:08:02] Stephen: it’s a hybrid. So why, what made you choose to write a book like this rather than, uh, you know, anything else know? Young adult action, a book. What was, what was your, was there a reason or did it just seem to be the story you needed to tell? Well,

[00:08:22] Laurie: actually at first I started out to write a preschool story, to be accompanied by a quilt, to help tell the story.

It was going to have a little road on it and have little doors that open and be interactive. Very little ones. And as I continued thinking about what I wanted to write, I began researching topics that interested me like electricity and astronomy and cryptography and espionage. And so my research is what really got me excited about [00:09:00] starting to write this story and over time because of the content, um, my story evolved into.

When for, uh, um, more of a young adult to adult audience, I’m still trying to get back to that preschool books.

[00:09:18] Stephen: Well, maybe you do like the young version or, you know, the kids of these characters sometime or something. Uh, so you mentioned you have an editor. Are you traditionally published or are you self published?

Self published? Was, was that something you wanted to do or were you trying to be traditionally published to start decided to change? Or what was your, I guess, path there?

[00:09:48] Laurie: I really wanted to self publish all along. I wanted to own my own content as I did my research in the beginning. I really, um, [00:10:00] I signed up with Joanna Penn and listen to a lot of her podcasts.

And I really her message of owning your content yourself and being able to, um, change it. If you want to, even, even after a book is published, um, I really liked that idea because I’m a perfectionist. And so I, I decided to self publish and, um, never really tried the other way.

[00:10:32] Stephen: And what are some things you’ve learned with writing the book and self publishing?

[00:10:38] Laurie: Oh, my goodness. I learned that being a good business writer does not mean that you can write a novel. I had to learn about story arcs and how to keep the plot moving and really needed to, um, [00:11:00] I identify my theme, the theme of my book. First, in other words, the, the lesson, the hero needs to learn over the course of the book.

And I think the most difficult part for me was learning to cut out what was interesting to me that didn’t help keep my story moving. So needless to say, I’m working closely with an outline for book two.

[00:11:28] Stephen: Yes. I would agree that some things, I think a lot of people don’t understand and learn the hard way and a lot of times authors fight it and don’t want to learn that lesson.

So was this the first story you wrote or did you have other things you’ve written, but decided they weren’t quite up to publishing.

[00:11:50] Laurie: Um, I feel I wrote poetry off and on for years I didn’t publish any of it. I wrote a short, fictional story for [00:12:00] a class that I took in college and I enjoyed it. And other than that, it was all, um, business writing.

So I, no, I, I never attempted to get anything published before. Um, so this is a big jump for me.

[00:12:20] Stephen: So, uh, what has been the, uh, feedback for people that have read the book? What they been saying to you about

[00:12:27] Laurie: it? Oh, I I’ve been actually quite amazed and I’ve had some people really identify with the characters and.

You know, you can always tell when someone writes a review and they’ve really not only fully read it, but really enjoyed it. And I had, um, a couple people say that they couldn’t put it down and they were expecting to walk around the corner of their house and meet Patty. And, um, I actually like. Um, through Reedsy [00:13:00] discovery, they featured my book as their selection for their adventure category and put it up in their newsletter.

Um, So, so far it’s been, it’s been well received. Um, the sales have been pretty good, so it’s tough when you have just one book out, you know, you really, really need it. Sometimes your best marketing can be just working on book two, you know, so that’s kind of what I’m focusing on now ran a lot of, um, Facebook.

And got quite a good response through that, but I decided to step back from running ads and, um, you know, I I’ve put my website up and other than that, I, um, I posted it to draft two digital so I could get it on other platforms besides [00:14:00] Amazon. And so it’s out, it’s out there on pretty much every platform now.

[00:14:05] Stephen: Well, that’s what I was going to ask you is what you’re doing for marketing and getting the word out. But it sounds like you’re doing some of the same things and I agree. I’ve heard the best advertising for your book is to write the next book. And that’s what I’m working on myself

will be, I’d be interested to see how that goes, because I’d like to. Probably talk to you maybe in a year or so, and see how things going and how things have changed too. So that’s something we can look forward to. Yeah,

[00:14:37] Laurie: absolutely. I, yeah, it’s always good to have goals. Um, so my goal is to get book to finish by April.

Um, I really. I learned so much through having a developmental editor and a copy editor, a proofreader, um, [00:15:00] that I really respect that process and being able to be open-minded about. Things they suggest and that sort of thing. So I want to leave myself plenty of time for that.

[00:15:15] Stephen: So are there any other things you’ve learned that you would do differently or are you, or maybe arguably differently, but,

[00:15:24] Laurie: um, I would say that, well, it’s actually a tool.

Anyone can get it’s, um, I don’t even know how to describe it, but it’s a quite a silly title. Maybe everyone knows about it. And I’m the only one who doesn’t, but there’s a book called save the cat, writes a novel. Yeah. And, um, I think it was originally written for script writers and then they, someone changed it over or novel writing and.

I think following that has [00:16:00] just really changed everything for me, because I, I see the structure behind this story now as just as important as writing the actual manuscript. So I think that’s what I’m doing differently. And I hope that I hope that once I get down to really finishing up the book, it will, it will come together a lot easier.

[00:16:26] Stephen: Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of people recommend that book. It’s one I haven’t read yet. I kind of hit that point where I seem like all I was doing was finding new craft books and reading craft books instead of, so I do have some dust off here that I haven’t read yet.

[00:16:43] Laurie: Yeah. That’s, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by not only books.

Webinars and everyone, you know, saying you need this class and that class, but the good thing about save the cat is that if you [00:17:00] read only the first 25 to 30 pages, you would have everything you need. It’s all condensed up in the front. I’m sure. The rest of the book is great. But as far as your structure that you need it’s, you don’t have to, you know, think, oh, another book, you know,

[00:17:21] Stephen: I think worst for me is the ones I get digitally.

It’s easy to forget about them. So they kind of sit. Uh, so when you’re are writing, what software are you

[00:17:33] Laurie: using?

When I write and, um, I drafted finalize in Scrivener and then I export it to vellum and compile my manuscript there to get it ready for submission to online and print platforms. Um, and then I use, um, I hire editors [00:18:00] through ritzy and, um, I’ve got. Both my developmental editor, my copy editor proofreader, as well as my cover designer through Reedsy and I’ve been, I’ve been really happy.

[00:18:15] Stephen: Yeah. I’d use reading myself. I agree. Uh, good service people on, uh, so. I assume being a writer, most writers have some favorite books and authors. What are some of the books and authors you’ve read throughout your life that maybe inspired you to want to write?

[00:18:37] Laurie: Oh, I I’m quite old fashioned. I like the classics.

I love the talking books. Um, um, Alexander Dumas’s count of Monte Cristo, um, Victor Hugo, um, actually in the book that I wrote. Put lots and lots of references [00:19:00] to classic literature. And it becomes part of the cryptography that, that, um, my main character has to solve because I wanted to really expose young people to those old books so they don’t fade away, you know, but, um, as far as modern books, I really love the writing of college or seen.

I wrote kite runner thousand splendid suns. And, um, I’m also enjoying, um, TM holiday and Emily King on their kind of writing in the fantasy world. A lot of world-building and, and out of this world, world building, which is really fun.

[00:19:45] Stephen: Uh, it’s funny to say that about wanting to expose kids to the old classics.

I agree. Uh, that’s something I’ve been wanting to do a bit of too. And my first work I tried to write. Right. Somewhere in the middle grade, young [00:20:00] adult region. And the first book I wrote, one of my goals was to try and character a bit like MacGyver. So that way it exposed to that.

[00:20:12] Laurie: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I don’t think chivalry has died.

And if, if it’s threatened, do we need to revise it?

[00:20:26] Stephen: So down where you live, do you have any favorite bookstores that you’d like to visit?

[00:20:32] Laurie: Well, yeah, I do actually live in a small town of Clarksburg. Doesn’t have a grocery store. Um, I think we might have two gas stations. It’s very tiny, but we have a bookstore called novel books and, um, unfortunately it’s been hit really hard by COVID and the owner.

Ill. So leave. There’s a, there’s a GoFundMe [00:21:00] page up to try to save the, save the books through our own clerical burgs so that it doesn’t go out of business. It’s it’s in an old Victorian home and it’s. It’s just one of those things you don’t want to go away.

[00:21:17] Stephen: Yeah. We, couple we know that are kind of like that.

There’s one in Columbus, that’s in German village and it’s a huge rambling home. And if you can get lost in it, it’s just almost like amazing place. Oh,

[00:21:32] Laurie: I love.

[00:21:36] Stephen: All right. Well, Laurie, uh, before we get going, uh, any last words of advice to new, authentic, Um,

[00:21:47] Laurie: don’t give up. Um, there was one thing I remembered by Neil Gaiman. I took that, that masterclass that he offered and, and he said someone out [00:22:00] there wants to read your book. And that really kept me going, you know, I thought I’m the only one interested in things like electricity and trying to write that into a novel on espionage.

And it just seems so weird of a book to write, but apparently. There that’s true. Someone wants to read your book. So just holding onto that and keep seeing it through, I think is a good thing to follow.

[00:22:36] Stephen: Wait. Well, uh, one more time. Why tell us the name of your book and oh, excuse me. The name of your book and where we can find it.

And if you have a website. Sure.

[00:22:48] Laurie: Um, the name is the uncommon thread. My, uh, website is Laurie douglas.com and it’s Douglas with two [00:23:00] S’s and you can really find it anywhere. Books are sold pretty much. It’s on Kobo, apple, Amazon. Um, it’s on good reads, which puts it on about five other firms. Um, so pretty much anywhere you can find.

[00:23:20] Stephen: Great. All right, well, look, I appreciate you, uh, coming in today and taking some time. Uh, it sounds interesting and I wish you luck on it. Oh,

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