Laurie Lucking is a book hoarder, chocoholic, top-of-her-lungs singer, former lawyer, mom to three energetic kiddos, and award-winning author of young adult romantic fantasy! The second book in her Tales of the Mystics series, Traitor, releases today! Join her for the release party on her Facebook group Thursday, April 29th!
The second book in your Tales of the Mystics series just released! Can you tell us more about the book that started it all, Common?
Common is the first book in my Tales of the Mystics series, a set of companion novels that are connected but each feature a different main character. It starts with a Cinderella-type premise of a romance between a maid and a prince, but the story takes a completely different direction from there! A plot against the royal family sends the maid on a desperate quest to save the day, complete with an undercover search in a foreign palace, a battle against a dark, powerful sorcerer, and help from a mysterious group of nuns.
Why do you write? Like, give us the deep down reason that drives you.
I write because stories consume both my mind and heart in a way nothing else can. I love reading a book that draws me in so fully that the characters feel like my friends (or enemies!), and a piece of me stays within the storyworld even when I’m not reading. Writing provides an even more immersive experience since I get to create and shape those characters and settings, and I hope to provide a haven for my readers where they can escape on a breathless adventure, knowing a happily-ever-after awaits at the end.
"...stories consume both my mind and heart in a way nothing else can."
What's your writing process?
My writing process is kind of a mess, to be honest! But I get there in the end :) I start with a broad overview in my mind of where the story will start and end and the major plot points in between. Then I write whatever scenes I’m feeling inspired about, and a lot changes along the way! So my first editing pass requires tons of rearranging and filling in gaps to turn my disaster of a rough draft into something a reader might be able to follow. But writing in my non-linear way helps keep me excited about the story and allows for surprise connections between characters and scenes that I wouldn’t be able to plan in an outline, so I guess I’ll stick with it!
What’s the last book you couldn't put down?
I finished A Thieving Curse by Selina R. Gonzalez a few weeks ago and loved it so much!! Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales, and it was just the kind of retelling I adore, where familiar elements were incorporated in such creative ways that it made the story feel fresh and original with plenty of unexpected twists. And the cursed prince was just SO adorable - sweet, flirtatious, noble, vulnerable...plus he purrs :) I’d explain, but you should just go read the book instead!
Tell me about a movie adaptation that has forever scarred you.
Ella Enchanted! I read the book by Gail Carson Levine over and over again in late grade school / middle school, and that combination of a relatable heroine, a light fantasy world, and sweet romance that made me sigh with a sappy grin on my face has been a huge inspiration for my own writing. So I was thrilled to find out there was a movie version...until I actually saw it. Despite boasting some big-name actors, it was cheesy and over-dramatic and changed the plot to something barely recognizable. I’ll stick with the book, thanks!
"...that combination of a relatable heroine, a light fantasy world, and sweet romance that made me sigh with a sappy grin on my face has been a huge inspiration for my own writing."
I’m fascinated by different forms of media/storytelling. If you could have your work exist in any other form, what form would it take?
A musical!! Music, especially singing, has always been a huge part of my life, and many of my childhood daydreams involved becoming a Broadway star. I used to watch old musicals in our basement, wishing everyone around me would burst into a catchy song-and-dance number every time a significant event occurred in my life :) Setting a story to music adds so much ambiance and emotion, and I love picturing my characters belting their hearts out on stage for an enraptured audience. *sigh* Maybe someday!
What was your first story idea as a child?
The first story idea I recall was of a snow angel who came to life and had adventures with the girl who made her. Most likely inspired by Frosty the Snowman :) My parents encouraged my creative pursuits by buying a blank hard-cover book I could copy the story in, complete with dreadful illustrations! I was so proud of that little story, and I’m pretty sure I still have it in a box in a closet somewhere…
To you, what is the value of imagination?
Imagination allows us to daydream a million lives and circumstances outside our own and adds a magical quality to an existence that so often feels mundane. Those daydreams can help put a fresh perspective on our ordinary lives and remind us to face our own destinies with awe and excitement and to believe in something greater than ourselves.
Only one person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished.
Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.
And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.
But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe’s parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.
Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.
Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?