Thursday, November 17, 2011

Interview + Giveaway with Laura A. H. Elliot, author of Winnemucca

Today I'm excited to have back on the blog with us author Laura A.H. Elliot. Welcome, Laura!

Read the interview below to learn more about Laura, her writing, and her book Winnemucca. When you're done reading make sure to enter yourself into the kindle book giveaway for a chance to win your own copy of Winnemucca!

Let's begin...

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I’m not writing I love to go take long, long walks on the beach or in the mountains. I love downhill skiing, walking my dog and traveling. I like trying out new recipes when I’m home and I spending time trying to figure out how to landscape my yard.

What age bracket do you write for?

Actually I’ve written for every age group. I write young adult and middle grade most of the time, but I have written an adult novel also. I think the beauty of Winnemucca is that it can be appreciated by readers aged anywhere from 15 to 100.

What kind of stories or topics to you like to write about in your books?

I love to focus on the magic of my characters' perceptions versus their reality. I believe that we all make our own magic in our perceptions.

How would you describe the feel of your writing style? Ex. fast paced, slow, happy, sad, etc
What is the first line?

I like to paint pictures with my words. I don’t like them to get in the way. But the lyricism of words is important to me because I hope that it generates a type of spell over the reader, so that they leave the real world whole-heartedly and get wrapped up in the story.

Here is the first line of Winnemucca:
The truth of how the music and I came into the world may never be known.

What was your favourite scene to write? (no spoilers please!)

In Winnemucca one of my favorite scenes to write is when Ginny gets a glimpse at who she’s really been and takes ownership of her fate:

Ginny’s taking a walk to sort out her feelings about her boyfriend and how she’s become a stranger in her own life. This walk takes her to a prison, just outside her small hometown:

      A convict paused inside the chain-link with his hands on his hips. I let go of the prison sign, dropped to my feet and stood ramrod straight, as different from the wimpy oats as possible. We stared at each other. Him in his prison. Me in mine. We both knew what kept us walking in circles.

      Standing there all eyeball-to-eyeball I felt closer to the convict, heck, the whole Errant Brotherhood than I did to anyone. It wasn’t in our nature to be free. Staring down that wimpy fact for the very first time gave me a clarity. The kind that takes hold when a person peels back their lies.

      When the convict slipped back into the circular crowd, I grabbed a handful of San Joaquin soil and swirled the fingers of my free hand in the little mound of dirt in my palm. I touched my soil-stained fingers to my heart and became a Child of The Road. My hair let loose in the same sundowner breeze that caressed every inch of my skin and every people-pleasing part of me blew toward The Sierras and up over The Great Divide. Some take to the road to tame a squirrelly nature, or take to it as a tonic, but for me the ripening was more than a simple call to the road.

      Which way?


     Or, right?

     I held tight to my dirt. Sweat beaded up under my bangs. I eyed Highway 33 in both directions. To the left was home––Bobby’s enchanting smile should be enough. But I’d never find my answers as Mrs. Bobby Jennings. To the right, God only knew. There was no guarantee I’d find my answers on the road. The wild oats bowed to the left. I turned right. Into the wind. Tiny rocks worked into burst blisters under the plastic between my toes. Quail flushed out of the pistachio orchard beside me. A police siren wailed, coming up from behind. Uncle Earl slowed his patrol car to a creep and yelled over the siren before he switched it off. “Virginia Mae? Where in the hell are you going?”

I love covers. I'm always curious to know how much of an input the author had in it. Can you share a little bit about your involvement? What do you like about it? What do you wish was different?

Because I’m an Indie I had a huge say. I made every decision. It was my decision to have the cover illustrate the first scene of the book, where we meet Ginny. To show Ginny on the road, Highway 33, a real road in a real place. The place she begins to find herself for the very first time. The photo on the book cover is one my husband took in his hometown of Avenal, CA, it’s where the story begins. If you look at the cover carefully you can see, off to the right, the guard tower and barbed wire fences of Avenal State Prison, also a real place and also a setting in the story. The funny part is that my husband almost got arrested. He was out visiting his mom and I asked him to take some shots of highway 33 and the prison sign which figures prominently in the opening pages. Well, as it turns out, the Sheriffs don’t really like it when people take pictures of a prison, and so in a matter of seconds, after snapping a few photos, my hubby was surrounded. They took his camera and deleted his pictures and this was one of two that was left.

How did you come up with the title?

This is one of my favorite parts of writing this book. When I meet people, it usually goes one of two ways. “Winnemucca? Have you actually been to Winnemucca?” I reply, “Yes. It’s the Emerald City of my novel.” That usually gets a big laugh from people who know the town. And then I usually hear a great story about their time in Winnemucca. Those folks who know the town tell some great stories. I can’t really say any more than that without giving too much away. Then, there's other people who just sort of say Winnemucca? It's kind of funny.

Thanks for having me on Suddenly Books today, Erika. I had a lot of fun:) Laura

Summary for Winnemucca:

When fear’s as blind as love, how far would you go to find your own happily ever after? One mistake will change Ginny’s life forever. One answer will set her free. Once upon a time Ginny’s road blood ripened, the day she got wise to love. Engaged to the high school quarterback, his quarter-carat ring and enchanting smile should have been enough for her. But, she stands him up and takes a walk where every step questions her happily ever after gone-bad and the fate of the mother she never knew. The mother her father refuses to talk about. Ginny fights to untangle her big, fat, lie-of-a-life on an enchanted road trip to Winnemucca, where she believes all her answers lie. To solve the riddle of her past, she must outrun everyone who wants a piece of her future–including a man determined to see she never has one. This is a digitally-signed edition with a portion of the proceeds going to The Wounded Warrior Project in honor of the author's nephew. Includes a BONUS EXCERPT from Artemis Rising by YA author Cheri Lasota.

You can purchase the book through,, and Barnes & Noble.

You can read an excerpt here.

And view the trailer here.

Author Bio:

Laura is the author of Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale which was inspired by her life-long love of a little-known town, Avenal, CA, and her equal love of enchanted teenage road trips. 13 ON HALLOWEEN is the first book in the TEEN HALLOWEEN SERIES. Laura's travel and personal essays have been published in The Los Angeles Times and other Southern California newspapers and magazines.
She's currently on the road with her husband, who works in construction. Their first stop outside of LA was Big Sur, CA, where they lived for a few years. She has two grown daughters. She lives with her husband on their third stop along the way on the Monterey Peninsula with their Aussie shepherd, Oso. She's taken up residence in Portland, OR off-and-on. When she's there, you'll find her at the Holiday Inn at the airport, typing away, eating some amazing food at the pods, drinking some great Willamette Valley wine, and visiting Powell's Books of course.

To find out where in the world Laura is and more about her upcoming books, visit her website her blog and friend her on FB: If twitter is your thing @Laurawriting.
You can also find Laura on Goodreads and Youtube.


Two winners will each receive a kindle copy of Winnemucca.
This giveaway is open internationally, as long as you have an account and can accept books from Amazon.
Must be 13 or older to participate.
Giveaway ends 11:59 PM EST on November 24, 2011.

To enter, fill out the form below. Good luck!


  1. I too am fascinated to know how much input authors have on their covers so it's interesting to know that she had a lot of say!

  2. Amused, I'm glad you liked the story behind the cover:) And Erika, thanks for the interview and hosting the giveaway!


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