Here is the repost of my interview on BookGoodies.com as found at http://bookgoodies.com/interview-with-author-laurel-a-rockefeller/
Laurel A. Rockefeller was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska where she received her bachelor of arts from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in writing, psychology, and medieval and Asian history. In 2009 she joined Yahoo Voices where she writes non-fiction articles covering a broad range of topics. In August, 2012 Laurel launched the Peers of Beinan medieval science fiction series with book one, “The Great Succession Crisis,” book one of the Anlei’s Legacy trilogy. In March 2014 she launched the “Legendary Women of World History” series. Laurel currently lives in western Pennsylvania with her beloved cockatiel.
What inspires you to write?
I am inspired to write by the amazing stories of courage, intelligence, and perseverance I see all around me, especially in my own life and in the lives of countless women whose names history never recorded. I care deeply about the world around me and have lived a very challenging life, surviving those challenges mostly through my belief that tomorrow will be better than today. Social problems seem to really inspire me to write, to demonstrate that solutions are out there if we all come together to make the world a better place. Star Trek showed me what fiction can do in changing our world. I want to change our world; the status quo is not good enough! We can and must do better.
Tell us about your writing process.
My writing process depends on genre. I write medieval science fiction (The Peers of Beinan series), biographical novellas (The Legendary Women of World History), and non-fiction (articles on Yahoo Voices). Research binds all three together. When I first get an idea for a story or article, I immediately learn as much as I can about whatever it is. This involves watching documentaries (I love Dr. David’s Starkey’s work from the BBC like “Monarchy.”), reading science and social science websites, and so forth. The research phase always begins the process, but never stops there; I constantly stop to fact check or look for information on whatever detail I am working on. Being accurate is very important to me; I write assuming my readers are experts on whatever it is that scene involves.
That also means I love to talk to people from different professions and backgrounds. I’ve consulted with engineers, emergency room doctors, lawyers, parents, teachers — you name it — from around the world.
After I create that knowledge foundation, I typically just free write whatever comes to me. I’m notorious for writing a section, reading it back, and then discarding large chunks — then starting from paragraph one all over again. This is why my third Peers of Beinan series book has taken me 14 plus months to only get to chapter two (annoying, I suppose given the cliff-hanger ending on book two). I write and rewrite and rewrite until I get it right. If I don’t hear a fluidity, that musical quality I am known for, I will ruthlessly discard it until it sounds JUST RIGHT!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I am rather hands-off with my characters. They just talk to me and I write down what they say. I agonize over action verbs because I hear their voices in a precise way and feel the action they experience (as a blind/low vision author, I cannot “visualize” in the conventional sense; my inner “sight” is more of a sound/touch experience). Because I am not a visual person, sometimes I find the characters almost angry at me for not being able to always render them as accurately as I want to. They have sight; I do not. That can be a challenge for me.
What advice would you give other writers?
There is no shortcut to writing. The only way to master it is to DO IT. Practice. Do not treat your first draft as the perfect draft; usually it is not. Usually there is something you can do better.
Listen to others. So often we get caught up in how we feel about our work that we fail to pay attention to the constructive criticism around us. Never personalize this. Usually (there are trolls out there who just love to bully and nitpick) people want you to succeed. Trust in that and let them help you succeed.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I did not know self publishing existed until about two months before I self published my first book, “The Great Succession Crisis.” Once I researched and learned more about it, it became a no-brainer for me. The traditional publishing route came off as very expensive and very difficult with few benefits to authors.
So self-publishing is the way for me.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think print-on-demand is the future of paperback books. Some say that paperback is dead, but it’s really not. People like to hold physical books when they read.
The old traditional publisher and mega-bookstores are falling away. Instead, I think the emerging idea of print-on-demand kiosks will replace your mall bookstore. Just like you can order eyeglasses and pick them up in an hour, I think we will see print books done the same way. You place an order at a kiosk, pay for it, and then either pick it up in an hour or have it shipped to your home.
What genres do you write?
Juvenile, young adult, new adult, science fiction, fantasy, biography, historical fiction, mystery, paranormal, romance, action adventure