Change the Word: What inspired you to write this story?
Laina Turner: I’ve wanted to be a writer since the 2nd grade and wrote stories but never seriously. While I had big dreams and aspirations, I never felt I could be a “real” writer. When I reached my mid 30’s, I realized there was nothing keeping me from being a “real” writer but myself and I took the plunge. It took two years of effort before I got to the end.
CTW: What was the biggest challenge you faced working on this book at how did you overcome it?
LT: Spending too much time thinking and not enough time writing. I would sit and try to think about how exactly I wanted the chapter or plot as a whole to progress, and I spent a lot of time doing nothing. I’ve learned just to write. Even if it doesn’t make sense. More often than not the ideas flow as I put words on the page.
Because Stilettos & Scoundrels was my first book and Presley Thurman is the main character of this successful series I would have to say it’s her. I’ve tried to evolve her over the years as a person women can identify with enough to enjoy experiencing her journeys through her eyes.
I want readers to enjoy reading about her as much as I enjoy writing about her.
CTW: How did you go about developing the setting?
I live in Indiana, so I wanted to the setting to be in the Midwest because it’s what I know. Chicago is such an exciting city, and I thought it would be a good contrast for her to leave this place she now called home to go back to a smaller, more rural setting. I knew I wanted it to be a place where people knew each other, and there was history.
CTW: What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
I recently was on a flight and downloaded Love Handles by Gretchen Galway and loved it. I read Life Rewritten by Andrea Johnston on the flight back and enjoyed it just as much. They were both fun and entertaining and gave me the escape I needed.
CTW: If you could spend the day hanging out with any fictional character, who would you chose and what would you do?
My father read Tom Clancy when I was growing up, and I picked up a book of his one time when I had nothing else to read. Clancy’s books are action packed and have plot twists that are amazing and the main character Dirk Pitt is a man’s man and a man women, love. I think it's awesome to go on an adventure with him.
It didn’t hurt my fantasy that Matthew McConaughey played Dirk Pitt in a movie.
CTW: What is one piece of advice you would go back and give your 15-year-old self?
To be confident and realize you can do anything you want to. I waited to start my writing career for years because I lacked confidence. It’s brought me, and readers, such joy, and happiness that I wish I would’ve started sooner.
CTW: What’s up next for you and your writing career?
I spent most of 2015 updating and re-edited my early works to get them as perfect as possible. I am working on the last 2 and also a new Presley Thurman mystery coming out this summer. I have an outline for a straight chick lit book I am hoping to have out late fall.
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About the Book
Presley tells her boss what he can do with her job in HR and embarks on a new career as a freelance journalist. What seems like a simple interview with a Senator turns to murder when the day after her interview the Senator turns up dead. Does the fact that Presley was one of the last people to see him alive make her a suspect? Her ex-boyfriend Cooper, who was in charge of the Senators security, might think so. Presley is determined to clear her name but can she do it and resist Cooper’s charms?
About the Author
As she grew older she realized her talents lay in academics and business and for the last several years has been a business consultant and college professor where she uses the analytical side of her brain and not the side that makes up stories.
Through all her career choices she has continued to have a passion for writing. This stemmed from childhood whereas an only child she developed a vivid imagination spending most of her time making things up and thinking the Incredible Hulk lived in her closet.
Proud of her vast experiences in life from barrel racing to being on the dance team for a semi pro basketball team to being a mom of 2 amazing kids, she tells her family and friends that no one is safe from their escapades slipping in to her books.
Taking the plunge to write books (cozy mysteries and chick lit) that she actually let people read in 2010, she has worked her way up to being a real author, having 5 fans (maybe 6 now). Her blog, Writing is a Lifestyle, was launched to share the daily fun in the life of a Real Housewife of the Midwest along with the musing of other fabulous ladies.
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