An avid reader since birth (her parents claim she often kept them up late begging to hear just one more story), Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of romance, and her debut novel, Common, released on February 14, 2018, from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. Laurie is the Secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of www.landsuncharted.com, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more about Laurie and her writing by visiting www.laurielucking.com.
Readers’ Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1191276077665496/
Author Interview – Laurie Lucking
What do you like to read?
I’ve always loved reading fantasy because the worlds are so creative, the high stakes add great tension, and the new, unusual settings and events that could never occur in our reality often help me to view my surroundings with a fresh perspective. And I get to encounter plenty of real-world joys and challenges in my own life, so it’s nice to have a change of pace! I prefer reading books written for young adults because there’s something about those experiences of finding yourself, discovering your self-worth, falling in love for the first time, etc. that are just so timeless. Plus, young adult literature takes me back to such a formative time in my life, both as a reader and as the person I’ve become. My favorite young adult fantasies are the ones that incorporate spiritual inspiration and clean romance—so not surprisingly, those are the types of stories I also like to write!
I also enjoy YA fantasy. Tell us about your latest book.
My debut young adult Christian fantasy novel, Common, just released on February 14th! Like Cinderella, it features a romance between a servant girl and a prince, but although it maintains a fairy tale feel, it takes the story in a very different direction. Leah, a maid at the palace, has secretly been friends with the prince ever since they discovered the same closet hideout as children. But complications arise when their relationship takes a romantic turn just as the king and queen announce the prince’s betrothal to a foreign princess. Add a plot against the royal family, a journey to a rival kingdom, and an unusual group of nuns, and quiet, hard-working Leah ends up on a much bigger adventure than she ever imagined!
Sounds exciting. How do you select the names of your characters?
For Common, most of the names just came to me based on the characters’ personalities. Leah sounds sweet and traditional, Gretchen has a little spunk, and Ned and Sam work well together as a pair (they’re stable hands who are rarely found apart). For the prince, I wanted a formal name with the possibility of a nickname that he’d prefer but wouldn’t meet his parents’ approval, so I went with Raphael / Rafe.
In the short stories I’ve been working on more recently, I’ve done some research to determine character names. For instance, I have a Snow White retelling that takes place in a forest, so many of the characters have names relating to trees, and my current work-in-progress has a knight named Batair, which means “Strong Warrior.”
I love to use names with meanings. Can you give us the first page?
I’d love to! Enjoy! 🙂
I rolled my shoulders and stretched my cramped fingers, sore from a long day of scrubbing floors. Guilt pricked my conscience as I passed the bedchamber I shared with Ma. I knew I should spend the evening helping her finish Lady Turington’s new gown, and I would, unless…
I bit my lip to suppress a grin as I peeked out the window at the end of the corridor. There, across the moonlit gardens, a candle flickered in the farthest window of the North Wing. At last! It had been weeks since I’d seen Rafe.
Promising myself I would assist Ma tomorrow, I headed back toward the center of the palace. Fellow servants clustered in the halls, commiserating or discussing the latest gossip before they retired for the evening. I strode through with my head lowered, eager to avoid being drawn into conversation.
I glanced into every shadowed corner as I neared the closet, my footsteps whispering across the marble floor. Once certain I was free from observers, I eased the door open and slipped inside.
Rafe looked up from his thick textbook, one corner of his mouth quirking into a smile.
What a great first page. I can’t wait to read it.
More about Common:
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?
Common purchase links
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/common-laurie-lucking/1127863203
Thanks for joining us today, Laurie.