Friday, March 18, 2011

Author Interview: Laura Bingham on Alvor

I'm happy to welcome Laura Bingham to my blog today. We're celebrating the release of her second book, Wings of Light, a sequel to Alvor Alvor 

Laura was kind enough to give us a delightful interview:

Please stop by her blog for more information on the fabulous giveaways she is hosting all month long.

Okay, Laura, tell us who you are and what you do.
Nearly a native of Idaho, I was born in Iowa and moved to Idaho at age four.  I graduated from Ricks College with an Associates degree and from Boise State University with a Bachelor degree in Biology as well as certification to teach all science subjects in secondary education in the state of Idaho.  In my backyard stands a dance studio where I teach youth of all ages clogging and Irish dance.  I live in Boise, Idaho with my husband and five young children. 

I knew I liked her! I'm from Idaho also--born and raised!

What type of writer are you? Do you plan ahead/plot or do you simply fly by the seat of your pants?
I have a general idea of what the story line is, and then I write in the rest.  I love finding out new dimensions of the characters and stories as I write.  Always, something unexpected turns up as I go.

Do you write best at a certain time of the day?
Whenever it’s quiet.  I’m not picky.
Now that answer is a sign of a true writer, huh? We have to take those writing minutes whenever we get them, especially with little kids running around.

What food or snack keeps the words flowing?
Dark chocolate is the food of life.  I don’t really snack while I write, but sometimes I bring hot chocolate to the computer.

 Dark chocolate is my bosom buddy--but it really needs to be Dove. :)
What sparks a story?
Alvor was the first novel I wrote and it comes with its own story.  I wanted to write a book, not a burning need or an unmet goal in life, just a desire.  I told my husband that I wanted to write one, and he asked me what I needed to start.  I said I had to know what the story was going to be about.  This was late at night after we were already in bed.  I’m a night owl.  He fell asleep five seconds after our conversation.  Then the story of Alvor spilled into my head.  The characters and the plot- I somehow had a story laid out in front of me.  That’s where it all started for me.

What was it about your genre that interested you enough to choose to write in it and not in another genre?
I guess I never grew up.  I love kids.  I used to teach 9th graders at school.  I still teach kids clogging.  I love fantasy realism where the story mixes real life with some kind of magic or super power. 

What's the best advice you ever received?
There is more than one story.  You have as many opportunities as you create for yourself.

That is a fantastic piece of advice. Thanks for sharing it!
I believe good writers read a lot. What do you use to mark your page when reading?
That depends on where in the house the book is located.  I read while I work out (a perfect motivator) and I have a book holder on my elliptical fitness trainer where I use binder clips to hold the pages down while I work out.  Then there’s always a book behind the sofa.  Right now the page is held by a power company’s lightening bug bookmark/ruler that my second grade son brought home from school a couple months ago. 

What one thing do you like most about writing? Least?
I love losing myself in the story and feeling like time has no meaning.  It gives me such a happy boost to write several pages in one sitting.  What I like least- not getting enough uninterrupted time.  I can’t write if I don’t have enough time to get my head back into the story.

Tell us what the book is about and why you the Alvor series it.
  For years I have visited my grandparents who live in the Pennsylvania hills.  I’ve walked through the dense forest where bushes and thick vegetation fill the gaps between the tall oak trees.  It isn’t hard to imagine that fairies could live in a place where fireflies bounce off the lawns in the evening.  This is the world where Erin and her twin brother have lived most all of their lives
    She is an average fifteen year old whose twin brother is everything she’s not.  He’s athletic and charismatic.  She feels about as coordinated as a four year old on roller skates, and with her unruly red hair and extremely fair skin, she doesn’t find herself compellingly attractive.
   Living in a quiet village there isn’t much to do, and most of their summers are spent exploring the hills.  It was only a matter of time before they found the cabin.  A world of fairies, elves, and magic is opened up and disbelief is not an option.  They can see them, talk to them and then they find out that if they choose, they can become elves. 
    The training is amazing as they learn swordplay, botany and magic.  Erin puts much of her faith in her twin brother, so when he disappears the morning after they become elves, her world falls apart.  Without him, she feels broken.  She sets out to find him and along the way meets a boy who steals her heart.  Dark magic and fallen elves await her as she draws closer to solving the mystery.
  Alvor infuses impossible fantasy with the present world and the characters real enough to make it believable.  And in a most subtle way, it weaves a tale that helps youth recognize their self worth and inspires them to reach a new potential. 
   I wrote this story because I believe that we all have power inside of us.  Power to change who we are, who we become and to influence the world around us.  If I could reach out to readers and inspire them to see the infinite potential that lies there, I will have succeeded in the purpose of this story.

Your book sounds fantastic! Why should anyone part with their hard earned cash and precious time to read your book? Sell it to us!
  Take a journey into the world where you can use magic, talk to butterfly winged fairies and learn to use an eternal blade.  Fall in love, but be prepared for the evil that stands in the way between you and all you hoped to achieve.
  Erin doesn’t find herself especially beautiful or talented, unlike her twin brother, Bain.  Learning to become an elf takes a lot of faith.  Finding the courage to leave life as she knows it leads to even more choices and devastating situations.  But in the end, she learns that the right answers are there in front of her and that to move forward, she must trust herself.

 What advice would you pass along at this point in your career?
Don’t stop writing.  Always move forward.  Don’t give up in the face of rejection.  Seek help through writers groups, writers conferences and the internet.  Find other authors and read their stories of how they got published. 

Thank you Laura for your great advice and insight into your author world. Remember to stop by Laura's blog to find out more about her writing projects.


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