Thursday, September 1, 2011

Global Book Blast Interview: Laura Burks



TITLE: ALTERED, contracted with Wings Press. Available September 1, 2011
  • Title of book: ALTERED, a YA paranormal romance mystery. It will not be published as YA with Wings, just paranormal romance. Still, because the main character is 18, it is a YA/Crossover.
  • September 1, 2011 is my release date
  • I'm a member of RWA and Heart of Louisiana
  • My first book signing that I know of is November 5th at Heartla's annual luncheon.
Heart of LA Readers' Luncheon
November 5, 2011
11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Juban's Restaurant and Catering
3739 Perkins Rd
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
  • My website is It is under construction, but will be available the first part of September.
  • I've already had one book review and waiting on another. I'll send the second one when I receive it.
Laura Burks begins her writing career with a mid-teen suspenseful Paranormal. What could a teenager know about real love? And what would a young high school girl be willing to dare for her first romance? Can she remember to stick by her Grandfather’s rules…or will she give in to a bad boy’s flirty eyes?

This book really touched the cockles of my heart, and drew me back to the days of my own very first affaire of the heart. It is a wonderful story of magical romance, promises, love and trust.
 -- Jo Ellen Conger - Conger Book Reviews - 4 Stars

GBB:  What was the inspiration for you to write this story?  What was your motivation to complete it?  Were there defining moments that helped you along the way?  

Laura: The inspiration wasn’t really an inspiration at all. It was more of a burst of an idea that took over and wouldn’t let me go. I could actually visualize the story and characters. Talk about a vivid imagination. I knew the ending before I knew the beginning. From there, all the pieces came together like a puzzle. Well, maybe not all the pieces. Some characters and situations had a mind of their own. You think it’s going one way, and then an idea pulls you in a different direction.

My main motivation to complete or even start the project was the “you can do it” support from my family. In March, 2009, while out to dinner with my husband and our two teenagers, I shared with them what had been rattling around in my brain. To my surprise, they really liked it. I started off with the words, “I think I’m going to write a novel.” And wouldn’t you know, I came home and started right away. Funny how some ideas get put on the back burner and some start before you do.
 In the past, I’ve written poetry and short stories, which surprisingly flowed without any effort at all. I’ve also created a business newsletter that really helped to bring out a creative side. I couldn’t see it at the time, but all those little moments helped mold and bring out a desire that was hidden somewhere I didn’t know existed.

GBB:  Many writers do research or construct outlines before writing a story, take us through the process you used before you started writing. 

Laura: Some writers outline their story, and some, like me, go with the flow. The only things I would write were ideas that popped in my mind. I know I make that sound like one simple step, so I better share how that really happens. First…you keep a notebook by the tub, by your bed, in the car, in your purse, in the kitchen, in the… You get the picture. I would even write ideas on napkins at the restaurant. When you’re in the zone of creating, you just never know when, how, or even where a thought will strike. But one word of caution, wait for a red light.

GBB:  How did you come up with the title? 

Laura:The title “ALTERED” has several meanings. The people that are cursed are altered from their past life, and the curse needs to be altered. Actually, I think I had the name at the same time I came up with the main plot of the story.    

GBB:  Tell our readers what the setting or backdrop is for your novel. 

Laura:The story takes place with eighteen-year-old girl, Jenna, spending the summer with her grandfather in his small hometown in Louisiana. New Roads, Louisiana to be exact. When she meets someone new, to her, spending the summer falling in love should be normal. But when she discovers a cursed book capable of secret writings and a hidden message, finding a way to alter the curse to save a life just changed everything.  
    GBB:  Without giving too much away, can you give us some background on the major characters?  Do you have a favorite character? 

    Laura:That’s a tough one. I like all the main characters for different reasons. Jenna for her innocent, spunky side. Her grandfather, Pops, for his protective, loving side. And the new guy, Jess, for his bad-boy looks and deep down wanting to be loved side.

    GBB:  Can you give us a brief summary of your book? 

    Laura: I’ll give you the back page blurb. Even with my novel being a paranormal romance, it also has a mystery side. Oh…it’s geared for young adult, which in today’s world means anyone fourteen on up. Anyway, I don’t want to away all the pieces of the puzzle.  
      All eighteen-year-old Jenna wants to do is have a slow paced and predictable summer in the small town of New Roads with her grandfather. But on Friday the thirteenth, the unpredictable occurs when she mysteriously hears a voice leading her to a buried book. Jenna is unaware that a secret curse lies within and she’s just unleashed its hold.
      As writings appear in the book strangely matching her vivid dreams, Jenna’s curious side takes over pulling her deeper into the mystery and the connection to her family. What she didn’t expect to find was a forbidden love and a choice to save a life.
      Will Jenna’s choice remain a secret? Or did the secret choose her?

      GBB: Do you have a favorite part or chapter? 

      Laura:I think chapter 13 is my favorite. Actually, I have favorite spots in all the chapters, but that one was the most fun to write. There is a part at a graveyard that made me cry because I thought of my own family member that I miss very much. And the last chapter, because it has a twist that even I didn’t see coming. Well…not all of it. I did know the very last word of the book before I even wrote the first.

      GBB:  Are there any anecdotal stories pertaining to writing this story that you would like to share?

      Laura:One that comes to mind is paying very close attention to what I liked in people and what I didn’t. That helped me form movement and voice for the different personalities of the characters.

      GBB:  With all the new genres out there today, what categories and sub category would you say your novel falls into?

      Laura: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, and Mystery.

      GBB: On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the most difficult) what is the reading level of your novel?

      Laura:  ALTERED was written with young adult on up in mind, so I would say a 3. Only because of the mystery element. And don’t worry, Moms. I kept this book clean. No bedroom scenes…or anywhere else. Just the innocence and feelings of falling in love.

        GBB:  What well known author would you compare your writing style to? 

        Laura: There are so many I know I would love to be compared to, but honestly, I’m probably not the best judge for that. Because I write in first person, I can tell you that I’m inspired with the works of Gayle Foreman, Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and so many more. If only I could spend a day in their mind.

        GBB:  Other than your current novel what other books short stories etc. have you written? 

        Laura: Besides being the creator and writer of a monthly newsletter, I’ve dabbled in freelance writing and poetry. ALTERED is my first published novel.

        GBB:  Are you working on any new projects?

        Laura: I have two more under construction. One, I’m excited to say, is a shared project with my daughter.

        GBB:  Is there a sequel or a prequel for ALTERED somewhere out there in the future? 
        I do have some things in mind for a sequel. Still, ALTERED does give a sense of closure with a hint of what if.

        GBB:  Do you have any media or book signing appearances coming in the near future? 
        Laura:  With my book being released in September, as of now, I have one planned in November. HeartLa, which I’m a member, has their annual luncheon on November 5, 2011. There I’ll have a table set up for book signings. If anyone is interested in joining us, please visit for more information.

        GBB:  Is there anything you would like to say to your fans or potentially new fans? 
        Laura: First off, I want to thank anyone who reads ALTERED. Being that this is my first, it’s not always easy for someone to read the work of a new author. So to give me a chance is an honor. I would also like to invite them to contact me on my website at . And if you see me in person, please come introduce yourself. I’d love to get to know you.

        GBB: Thank you for your time.  We wish you much success with your novel.
        Thank you for this opportunity. It’s been fun.

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