Laura Bickle's professional background is in criminal justice and library science. When she's not patrolling the stacks at the public library, she can be found reaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs. She has written several contemporary fantasy novels for adults, and THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel. Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and five mostly-reformed feral cats. For more about Laura, please visit her website at: www.laurabickle.com.
If your home was the last safe place on earth, would you let a stranger in?
In this captivating thriller, an Amish settlement is the last safe haven in a world plagued by an unspeakable horror…
Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the church. But before Rumspringa arrives, Katie’s safe world starts to crumble.
It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields, followed by rumors of massive unrest and the disappearance of huge numbers of people all over
the world. Something is out there...and it is making a killing.
Unsure why they haven’t yet been attacked, the Amish Elders make a decree: No one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the bounda-
ry of their land, she can’t leave him to die. She refuses to submit to the Elder’s rule and secretly brings the stranger into her community—but what else is she bringing in with him?
Creeptastically wonderful! I think this book should come with some kind of warning- "plays on all of your fears." That would be a good one. I love vampires, I've read tons of books that feature them- I was seriously worried that I was going to have nightmares about this one though. And vampires do not usually get to me. I had to wake up my husband and make him come lay on the outside of the bed to protect me from whatever imaginary beasts this book was going to cause my tired mind to invoke.
I loved the characters. Katie is freaking amazing. I love her questioning spirit. Don't just let them tell you what to do, girlfriend! You ask your questions! It is awesome that she can use her brain to look at situations and see what is the right thing to do, verses what the Elders tell her what to do. Man, do I hate it when people try to act like they know everything and just expect you to blindly follow!
And I love that she breeds dogs! That is such a real trait. Laura has done a marvelous job at crafting this world and the monsters in it.
I highly recommend this to everyone! Read it, feel your arm hairs go up as you wonder if this is what our future holds and pray that it isn't.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not, then what?
I’ve always been scribbling, since I was old enough to hold a crayon. I didn’t believe, until recently, that other people would want to read what I wrote.
I work at a library now. I have, at various times, worked in criminal justice, in information technology, and in government. Dreams change, but writing has always been with me.
Do your readers contact you? If so, what do they say?
I love to hear from readers. It’s always nice to hear when someone likes your work, and I think that’s true of work of any kind. It always gives me a warm fuzzy.
For aspiring writers, what three pieces of good advice would you give them?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is to set up a word count calendar and use it. It’s too easy to let the days and weeks slip by without anything productive happening. To that end, I really suggest that writers try National Novel Writing Month at least once. It got my excuses and blocks out of the way, and helped me learn that what I thought were my limits were not really limits. They were just walls I’d set up in my head.
Do you have a favorite of your own books?
I can’t pick a favorite! Though I do admit that I’m really enjoying YA with THE HALLOWED ONES. ;-)
How do you balance writing with your life?
I think the key thing is to keep it at the top of my to-do list and do something every day. Writing is one of those things that really requires me to keep myself accountable for time.
How old were you when you wrote your first book and what was it about?
My first published book was EMBERS, from Pocket Books in 2010. It’s an urban fantasy I can best describe as “Ghostbusters in Detroit with dragons and arson.”
The first book I wrote was in kindergarten and it was a whole five pages in crayon. Fortunately, only my mother saw that one!
In between, there have been a whole lotta manuscripts stuffed in shoeboxes that will never see the light of day.
Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere. Every “what if” question can become an idea for a story…”What if an arson investigator had a fire salamander familiar?” “What if the Oracle of Delphi survived into the modern day?” “Who would survive the end of the world?”
The hard part is getting those ideas scribbled down.
Do you have a writing quirk?
I don’t deal very well with outside noise. My favorite place to write is out on the patio, where I can hear the frogs and the crickets. I can’t write very fast or well in front of the television…I have to really shut the door on distractions to get focus. I can’t write at all in coffee shops or around other people.
Pantser or Planner?
I’m a planner. I like to have the skeleton of a story mapped out before I begin – the blank page scares me! If I have the bones of the story created, then the writing is just a matter of adding flesh to the skeleton.
Do you pick out dream casts for your books? If so, what's your favorite so far?
You know, that’s something I’ve never done. The people in my books always just look like people in my own head, and I’ve never consciously thought about modeling them after anyone. I should try it – it sounds like fun!
What do you use to motivate yourself to keep writing through the tough spots?
I do my best to keep a writing calendar and to commit to writing a certain number of words a day. Otherwise, I tend to procrastinate. If I don’t set deadlines for myself, I would never finish a book. Really, butt-in-chair is the only thing that gets me through the tough spots. I know that the aggravation will pass if I just keep at it.
Do you create a playlist for your works?
Not so much. I usually just work in quiet or listening to ambient music.
What is your current WIP about? (Possible title, characters, setting, etc.)
I’m finishing up on the sequel to THE HALLOWED ONES, called THE OUTSIDE. It’ll be released in September. It continues the story of Katie, a young Amish woman, who’s facing the end of the world as we know it.
Share one sentence from your book, no explanations, just one sentence.
“After the end of the Outside world, the Plain folk survived.”
Coke vs Pepsi?
Coke. It’s the breakfast of champions!
Chocolate vs Vanilla?
Cake vs Ice Cream?
Cake. Ice cream is waaay too virtuous!
Night owl or Early bird?
Favorite genre to read?
Any flavor of fantasy – YA, urban, contemporary, epic – I love it all.
What was your favorite book as a child?
Robin McKinley’s THE HERO AND THE CROWN.
Do you think we dream in color or that we wake up and remember it in color?
I think we dream in color. That platypus that occasionally waddles into my dreams is definitely PINK.
What's your favorite food?
What type of food could you never live without?
Erf. Chocolate. I could never swear it off.
If you meet one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
My answer to that question would depend on the day, but today it would be Amelia Earhart. I think she lived a fascinating life, and I’d love to hear about it from her own perspective. I’d also love to know if there’s any truth to recent accounts that her plane may have crashed in the Phoenix Islands or whether she was indeed lost at sea.
If you were stuck on a desert island, what would you take with you (limit 4 items)?
A knife, a two-way radio, a book of matches, and a tent.
Favorite show growing up?
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
If immortality is off the table, I’d go for invisibility. Invisibility would open up a whole new world to observe. Plus, I could get away with wearing pajamas ALL THE TIME.
What would your superhero name be?
The Insubstantial Ninja Pajama Woman.
What do you think the future will hold?
The future always surprises me. But I hope that there will be cats, hot chocolate, and writing in mine!