Author Interview with Laurie Lucking – Traitor Blog Tour

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Traitor
Series: Tales of the Mystics #2
Author: Laurie Lucking
Publisher: Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing LLC
Release Date: 
April 27, 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy

Princess Penelope has finally found a way to redeem her past mistakes—if only it didn’t require betraying her new fiancé.
Princess Penelope has been the object of gossip and ridicule ever since she returned home in disgrace following her failed engagement to the Crown Prince of Imperia. When her father offers a new start in a country far across the sea, she has no choice but to accept. Even if it means another betrothal, this time to a total stranger.
Penelope arrives in Delunia determined to avoid bringing further shame upon her family.
But her devoted, caring fiancé makes it harder to guard her heart than she anticipated, and
rumors of dark magic haunt her with memories she’d rather keep buried far beneath her
pristine exterior.
When a poverty-stricken village outside the palace gates looks to her as their hope for a
brighter future, Penelope embraces the opportunity to make amends for her
transgressions. But in order to help, she must manipulate her new fiancé, putting her
reputation on the line once more. And her heart. Can Penelope rise above the failures of her past, or will she forever be branded a traitor?

Thank you so much for hosting me today, Riella! I so appreciate the opportunity to share a bit about myself and Traitor. 🙂

  1. What first made you start writing?

    I’ve loved books ever since my earliest memories. My active imagination devised plots for every form of play, from the sandbox to American Girl dolls. I enjoyed writing stories (complete with dreadful illustrations!) until about mid-grade school, when sadly I let a few class assignments convince me I was a bad writer. The stories never left my head, but I didn’t bother to write anything down until much more recently. When I left my job as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom back in 2012, I desperately needed a project to occupy my mind while I spent precious but long days at home with my newborn. Eventually, I summoned the courage to start typing one of my favorite daydreamed stories, and I fell in love all over again!
  2. What genre would you categorize your books and what made you choose that?

    I would categorize my books as young adult fantasy, or to be super-specific: young adult Christian fairy tale fantasy. Ha, what a mouthful! I write for young adults because that’s still my favorite genre to read, and growing up those were the books that had the greatest impact on my life. As a pre-teen or teenager, if I found a book that really resonated with me I read it again and again, living in that storyworld as much as possible. Now I hope to provide that kind of home-away-from-home for my readers! To be honest, I didn’t originally intend to write a Christian series. But the main character in Common (Tales of the Mystics, Book One) had a faith element to her journey I couldn’t ignore, and when my worldbuilding led me to mystics who channel power from God (or the Luminate, as He’s called in my fantasy world), I decided to embrace it! As for fantasy, I love adding at least a few fantastical elements to every story. It allows me to stretch my creativity and makes for plots with higher stakes and less predictability. I use fairy tales as my primary inspiration because they’re so timeless and beloved, and it’s so fun to see how putting new twists on a familiar tale can add layers of meaning and complexity. Plus, fairy tales lend themselves so well to clean romance with happily-ever-after endings!
  3. What are some of your steps to creating a fictional world?

    I don’t spend much time worldbuilding before I start writing, so my fictional worlds come
    into being organically as the stories fall into place. Usually I just add new countries,
    traditions, historical events, etc. as they’re needed while I’m writing, then go back and tighten the elements of my storyworld while editing. But I definitely have a strong sense for the feel of my setting before I get started! For Common, I envisioned a medieval-esque fairy tale kingdom with prim manners and tight social constraints that the main characters would have to work around. Traitor starts out there as well, but then I had fun creating a contrasting country for Princess Penelope’s new home filled with vibrancy and commotion that challenged her to grow beyond her comfort zone.
  4. How did you choose the title Traitor?

    I have to give my editor credit for that one! I originally had a different story planned for Book Two (which will now be Book Three instead!), but my editor suggested I write a book centering on Princess Penelope since the epilogue of Common hints at her journey to a faraway country for a new engagement. She proposed the title Traitor, and I loved it! Each title in my series is one word that describes a misconception the main character has about herself. So Traitor not only has an intriguing ring to it, but it also encapsulates Princess Penelope’s inner struggle as she strives to redeem her past mistakes while stumbling along the way.
  5. What was the hardest part about writing this book?

    The hardest part of writing Traitor was finding the creative energy to move forward during some challenging life situations. Writing provides such an exciting outlet when I’m caught up in my fantasy world and the lives of my characters, but I find it very draining. Shortly after Common released, our family experienced a loss that sent me reeling for months. For a while it was hard to imagine ever pouring myself into a story again when my heart felt so broken and my mind so numb. Then I became pregnant with our third child, and I was overjoyed but exhausted in an entirely different way. It took a lot of strength and prayer to rebuild to a point where I could funnel energy and passion back into my writing.
  6. Was it easier or harder to write this book as opposed to the 1st one?

    They were each challenging in their own ways! Common practically wrote itself at times because I was so engaged in the story and characters and had more downtime to write. But because I was still so new to the craft, it needed tons of rewrites and edits at every step along the way. Traitor’s first draft was much harder to complete since I didn’t feel as close to the story at the beginning and didn’t have as many aspects of the plot fleshed out in my mind. But although I still have a lot to learn, thankfully the editing for Traitor was much more straightforward and my later drafts didn’t need nearly as many revisions!
  7. Did you always plan to write Penelope’s story?

    I didn’t! As I mentioned above, I originally planned to write a different story, tentatively titled Scarred, as the second book in my Tales of the Mystics series. The idea for Traitor was inspired by my editor, and I’ll admit my first inclination was to dismiss it. Scarred was already halfway written, and I wasn’t sure I could connect enough with Penelope to write an entire book about her. But the idea stuck with me, and soon I had the outline of a plot. I’m grateful for my editor’s brilliant idea and that I took the time to pursue it for so many reasons. Princess Penelope’s story had so much for me to learn, as both a writer and as a flawed person longing for forgiveness and redemption. And this addition to the series balances the rest of the books out really well, adding a layer of depth I couldn’t have achieved if I’d jumped straight into the next story. Now I’m working on completing Scarred as Tales of the Mystics, Book Three!
  8. Which was your favorite character? Is it the one you most related to?

    Interestingly, my favorite character in Traitor is probably the one who’s the least like me! Princess Dionne, the younger sister of Penelope’s new fiancé, took me by surprise as I was writing because I expected her to be a very minor character. But her bluntness and sense of humor made me curious to explore her personality more, and I enjoyed giving her opportunities to interact with Penelope both as a friend and as someone who wasn’t afraid to voice harsh truths. I think the fact that I’m her opposite—a shy peacemaker—is what made her my favorite character, because I got to explore what it would be like to react to situations so differently than what I’m used to with only fictional consequences. 🙂

    I hope you enjoy Princess Dionne and the rest of the cast of Traitor! I’m so grateful to my readers for sticking with me during this long writing process—I did my best to make the story worth the wait! Thanks again for inviting me to visit today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laurie Lucking loves hoarding books, singing at the top of her lungs, playing games that
don’t involve too much strategy, and spending time with her husband and three energetic
kids. A recovering attorney, she now spends her days as a stay-at-home mom and has
discovered writing young adult romantic fantasy is way more fun than drafting contracts.
Her fairy tale–inspired stories combine the excitement of discovering new worlds with the
timeless enchantment of falling in love. Find out more about Laurie and her writing
adventures at http://www.LaurieLucking.com.

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