An Interview with Laura St. John

Where are you from?

I live in beautiful Central Florida, not too far from Disney World!

Why do you write? 

I’ve always felt that words have power. You can make or break a deal with them. You can make or break a friendship with them. You can build people up or tear people down with them.  Writing is a very powerful tool and can shape people’s minds in a way that makes the reader seek you out. And if someone seeks your book out then they are open to hearing your views on the world. 

Do you have a specific writing style? 

I write from the heart. Most of my writing comes from emotional experiences. I like to use descriptive words that are easy to understand. I do want to persuade thoughts of the reader as well but more in a subtle way versus “in your face” approach.

What are obstacles that come in the way of writing? 

Since most writers write at home, there are many distractions that can take attention away from the story. I can “get on a roll” where words just flow out of me but then my dogs start barking or the doorbell rings. Those things can change my thought process and make it harder to focus. There are also emotional obstacles that make me not want to write on the subject at hand.  Let’s say someone is writing on how to save your marriage but yet they are going through a divorce. An author’s life situation plays a big part of the words they put on paper and also how quickly they can get those words written.

What’s the most memorable thing asked/said by a reader about your work? 

I had this little boy come up to me at a school after I read the bug book and said that he was feeling unloved like Mr. Roach. I spoke to him about how special he was and to try and not let others have that power over him.  Another memorable thing was when parents have told me that they are going to read my Christmas book throughout the year to remind their family members to limit screen time.

How long have you been writing? 

I was around 9-years old. I had this little poem book I started.  I still have it in a box in the garage. I stapled paper together to make a spine and had poems I wrote and a few poems that others wrote that were my favorite. I have won several Addy awards for copywriting and I also write song lyrics.

When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer? 

My deceased father was also a writer. Years back, I found many cards and love notes that he wrote my mother. I’m not sure if writing is genetic but it might be because I love words. Writing is like your own little escape place or safe place to say whatever you want. I was kind of lonely as a child and writing gave me a lot of comfort and strength.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 

I guess you would say that I put a lot of emotion and description into my writing.  It is very raw and honest. I’m not really into made up stories/fiction or things that are on dark subjects. I like happy endings.

How long does it take to write a book?  

I can only come from the experience of children’s books. The writing may come quickly but the editing and also illustrations could take a while. The whole process is longer than people would think due to printing and funding.  One day, I hope to write a novel or autobiography. Illustrations make the timeline for the final product longer.

Do you have suggestions on how to become a better writer? 

Get a good editor who knows what he/she are doing. Don’t be afraid of criticism and take advise from others who have done well. There are many books out there so try and think of topics that readers want to read about and not necessarily what you want to write about.

What challenges do you come across when writing/creating your story?

My biggest challenge is not saying too much (I’m probably doing that right now) but children’s books need to have few words to get the story across.  Look at most successful children’s books and those authors really have little to say.  The motto “’less is more” works well in most cases unless you are writing a Harry Potter type of series.

What do you think makes a good story? 

Drawing the reader into something that makes them think, react or feel a certain way. Influencing the reader to take on your cause for writing that book.

What does your family think of your writing? 

My husband is very supportive and my kids think it is cool.  I remember when I received copies of my books “hot off the press” that my daughter wanted to post about it right away and take a selfie with the books.  The Christmas House was written with my kids in mind and their digital distractions. Now that they are older, they understand more why I wrote it.  As for my three dogs, I do have some pictures of them reading the books but not quite sure what they think. 

Do you see writing as a career? 

Yes, part of my business is books. I have two on the market right now and hope to have a third out before this year ends. I have done a lot of commercial and advertising writing but books are a lot more detailed and personal.

What are your books about?

I write morals-based children’s books. My book Don’t Judge a Bug By Its Cover teaches children to accept pther people who may be different than they are.

My book The Christmas House is a modern version of the nativity story. As Mary and Joseph look for a place to stay for the birth of baby Jesus they find so many people who are too busy to help because they’re distracted by their cell phones, video games and other smart devices.

Do you have anything specific you’d like to tell the readers? 

We are all connected in some way.  No matter what our differences are there will always be a common bond that is underlying. 

Where can people buy your books?

Both my books are available on Amazon, or you can get autographed copies at http://www.BooksByLaura.com