Marcia Strykowski

July Author Spotlight

Laurie J. Edwards_photoThis month I’m happy to introduce Laurie J. Edwards. Laurie started out as a librarian, but then began writing picture books and easy readers. Now she’s busy with YA novels. I don’t usually include the author’s baby pictures, but oh, my gosh, wait until you see the two below of Baby Laurie in Africa!

RihannaLet’s get right to our questions for Laurie: Please share a little about your books.

I’ve written a lot of nonfiction books, including Pirates Through the Ages and a biography of Rihanna, along with the 5-vol. Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes.

Cyber Self-DefenseMy most recent nonfiction book is Cyber Self-Defense, which gives good tips about staying safe online and protecting yourself from cyberbullies. The first half of the book has personality profiles and quizzes to help you identify possible cyberbullies and predators. Even if you aren’t having internet problems, you can learn a lot about different personalities and how to deal with them. It has great tips for dating and relationships, and the type of people to watch out for.
{248FB071-0383-4998-8AAA-4185C1CA49AD}Img100I have a 4-book YA series, WANTED, set in the Wild West that I’m writing as Erin Johnson. The first book, Grace and the Guiltless is out now. In it, Grace determines to get revenge on the gang that killed her family. She’s only sixteen, but she becomes a bounty hunter. But when she meets a rugged range rider named Joe, her heart is torn between love and justice.

Her Cold Revenge 9781630790073Book 2, Her Cold Revenge comes out in August. If you want a sneak peek at some of the early chapters, you can find them on
bom-cover-love-profanityI also have stories in several anthologies. The most recent one is Love & Profanity, which came out in February. It has true stories about the teenage years by many different authors, including Kwame Alexander, Adam Rex, Jon Scieszka, Carrie Mesrobian, and Pete Hautman.

How has where you’ve lived or traveled influenced your work?
I love to travel both in the U.S. and abroad, so I’ve had many experiences I’ve turned into stories. Laurie Edwards_readingWhen I was young, I lived in Africa. Someday I’ll write some of those adventures, but my love for Africa led me to write stories for students in Ethiopia who are learning English. To write that book, Eager for English, I worked with a Peace Corps volunteer.Africa Of course, I turned my time in Arizona into material for the WANTED series. And the time I spent on the Indian reservations helped when I was researching for the Native Tribes encyclopedia.
One of my favorite trips was to China. When I arrived at the Forbidden City, I felt as if a girl from ancient China started talking to me and begged me to tell her story. I’m working on that now. Dragons Unleashed has been one of my favorite stories to write.

Could you briefly tell us your writing process?
I write and edit long hours when I have deadlines. Often it means 12-hour writing days. When I don’t have deadlines, I often take off completely and spend time reading, doing art, and traveling.
I prefer to work late at night, so my most productive hours are from 11 pm to 3 am. That’s when I get most of my creative ideas too.

What advice would you give to new authors hoping to become published?
I have several suggestions for those who want to get published. The first is to read as much as you can. Then write as much as you can.
Many people think writing is easy, but to be a good writer, you need to learn your craft. Few people think they can pick up a violin and debut with an orchestra in a few weeks or months. Yet many people sit down, write a book, and expect it to be a best seller. Put time into learning the skills, work hard. Take classes, join writing organizations, attend conferences, spend time with other writers, and join a critique group.
Often when you’re starting out, you’ll get quite a few rejections. You need a thick skin and a lot of persistence. Write because you love it, not to get published. When you write from your heart, your passion shines through. Those are the books editors are eager to publish.

Favorite book = Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Favorite movie = Fault in Our Stars
Favorite vacation = Korea
Favorite hobby = Art
Favorite color = Rainbows; I love them all.

If you weren’t a children’s book author, what career(s) would you like to try?
I’ve been a teacher, a cake decorator, a children’s librarian, an editor, and an illustrator. I have to say I prefer writing, illustrating, and editing. If I didn’t do that, I’d probably do something creative — act or sing — or spend time teaching other people to be creative.

Excellent, thank you! Keep in touch with Laurie via these links:   Website    Blog    Twitter    Facebook


  1. Rebecca C

    Great interview, and what fascinating experiences Laurie has had! I loved reading about how her travels have influenced her writing.


    • Thanks for your comment, Rebecca. I found her answers very interesting, too!


  2. slochman

    Great post Marcia!


  3. Marcia, I love the profiles you do! And Laurie, I’m a night owl, too.


  4. I found Laurie J. Edwards answer to “What advice would you give to new authors hoping to become published?” helpful and inspiring to me. Thank you!


  5. clarehelenwelsh

    A lovely interview, thank you both 🙂 It’s great to hear how you’ve been inspired by places you visit…. A great excuse to go and book a holiday!


  6. Love the publishing advice! Laurie has had one adventurous life. =) And I love the covers for the westerns, which sound just like my kind of book!


  7. Bette Norton

    What a fascinating life Laurie Edwards has lead with her many travel adventures! Great advice Laurie gave to new authors hoping to be published. Her books look like excellent reads, full of excitement and intrigue. I love her adorable baby pictures too! It seems Laurie loved books from an early age! It was great to get to meet another wonderful author from your Author’s Spotlight Posts! Thank you!


  8. Wonderful to learn about Laurie. Those baby pictures are cute! How interesting that she has written books for so many different ages. Great advice for new authors. 🙂


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