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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Book Promo of HOME FIELD and Author Interview with Laurie Winter

 “Lyrical, emotional and utterly romantic, Home Field reminds us of what’s most important in life: home, family and most of all, love.”
 ~Karen Rock, award-winning romance author of A League of Her Own

One year after her husband is killed in action, Julie Ellis is back in her hometown and focused on raising her young son. Then Reagan Harrison burst into her life--a cocky, charming, linebacker who leaves her off balance.

As a successful, professional athlete, Reagan believes he has it all. But after meeting Julie, he finds every excuse in the book to spend time with her. Despite his best efforts not to fall too hard, Reagan envisions a future with Julie, along with the little boy he's come to love as his own.

While Reagan's love begins to mend Julie's spirit, she can't suppress her continued deep devotion to her late husband's memory.  And when a letter arrives from beyond the grave, Reagan resolves to provide her with the answers she desperately needs to heal. Now Julie must choose either to keep her heart closed off or remove the lock and fight for a future with Reagan. Can a second chance at love be just as sweet?

Wild Rose Press

Author interview:

Q. Tell us a little about your journey to publication. What were a few of the bumps in the road (if any), and how did you persevere?

A. I’ve had more than a few bumps in the road to publication. During the querying process, I had plenty of rejections. I also entered Home Field in various contests. Some feedback was very helpful, while others stung. In the end, though, they all made for a stronger manuscript. I signed with Jessica Schmeidler from Golden Wheat Lit in the summer of 2015. I was offered a three book deal later that year. I had received my covers and was working on the blurb and edits when out of the blue I received an email from the publisher stating they were shutting down. The entire process almost broke my spirit, but I never lost faith in my writing. My agent, Jessica, acted fast and got my rights back asap. She got in touch with The Wild Rose Press, and they offered a contract for Home Field. I now have three books of the Warriors of the Heart series contracted with them.

Thanks for your transparency. I know I can relate to your story on many levels, and it is an encouragement to hear how your perseverance paid off!  I'm so thrilled with the happy ending you are able to share with us!  

Q. Do you have a special connection with the military that allowed you to have special insight into your characters' perspective?

A. Both my grandfathers served in WWII. One served in the Army as an airplane mechanic, the other in the Navy. I have relied heavily on reading first hand written accounts from current and former members of the US military. A few I would highly recommend are Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and Lions of Kandahar by Kevin Maurer and Rusty Bradley.

I am sure you are so proud of your family legacy in the military.  And, I love book recommendations!  I will give those a try.  

Q. As an author do you have a special technique that helps you to create believable and realistic characters? Did any of the characters undergo a transformation that surprised you by the end of the writing process?

A.  Authors become both directors and actors during the writing process. When I write a scene, I visualize the space and the characters, and then let them play out the action. It’s good to feel the emotions along with your characters. Cry, laugh, punch a wall (just kidding). If you as the author feel the emotions, so will your readers.

My characters in Home Field stayed pretty much the same during each draft. I did have to work on giving them faults, as well as giving them moments when they weren’t so nice. Real people aren’t always pleasant. Flawed characters help build tension in a story.

I agree that flaws make the characters more interesting and well-rounded.  It is fun to picture you punching a wall (ha ha).

Q. Do you have a particular scene or chapter that you are the most proud of or that was the most difficult to write?

A. My favorite and most difficult scene to write was the dream sequence with Julie and John. I told my family to leave me alone so I could write the emotional scene. I think my exact words were, “Don’t bother me unless someone is bleeding or the house is on fire.”

I can see where that would be very emotional.  Your family sounds very supportive. 

Q. What is a takeaway that you want your reader to have from your book?

A.  I hope readers come away with a belief in second chances. Despite Julie’s pain and fear, she was lucky to find love again with a wonderful man like Reagan.

I am thankful for the second and sometimes third/fourth chances that I have had in life.  It is never too late!

Q. Is this book a part of a series? If so, when is the next title being released?

A. Home Field is the first book in the Warriors of the Heart series. There are a total of five books in the series. Book two, True Horizon, is deep in the editing process right now. I’m hoping for an early 2018 release date. True Horizon is up on Goodreads. Please add the title to your bookshelf!
I will definitely do that!  
About the author:
Laurie Winter is a true warrior of the heart. Inspired by her dreams, she creates authentic characters who overcome the odds and find true love. She keeps her life balanced with regular yoga practice and running. When not pounding the pavement or the keyboard, she’s enjoying time with her family, who are scattered between Wisconsin and Michigan. Laurie has three kids and one fantastic husband, all who inspire her to chase her dreams.  

            “Thanks for understanding me.” Julie softly kissed his cheek. The rough stubble tickled her lips. “Even when I don’t understand myself.” She went to sit in her chair to finish her cup of coffee.
            At that moment, she noticed the kitchen. What an unbelievable mess! Who’d actually cooked breakfast…a class of rowdy five-year-olds? She gave Reagan a sideways glance, to see him moving the last piece of waffle around his plate, collecting any remaining egg and syrup. “Did you use every bowl I own?”
            He was the messiest cook she’d ever seen. A huge pile of dirty dishes sat on the counter, covered in dried waffle batter and egg. Bits of syrup-laden crumbs dotted the kitchen floor, like a sticky breadcrumb trail.
            His smile held no hint of guilt, and he shrugged. “Nobody’s perfect.”
            No, not perfect—but he was pretty darn close.

The Warriors of the Heart series is a refreshing take on contemporary romance.  Each book highlights the strength of those who have served in the US military, along with the emotional fortitude of those who love them.

Laurie:  Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us a little of your writing journey and inside scoop to this fabulous book.  I wish you all the best!

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