Laraine Russo Harper – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Legal Tender: True Tales of a Brothel Madam. Legal Tender was my first book. It is a true-to-life accounting of how legal brothels work today. Let’s face it; everyone is curious about the world’s oldest profession. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, married or single, straight or gay, male or female. There is a genuine mystique which surrounds this profession and most people do not get a “birds’-eye” view of what actually takes place behind a brothel’s doors. Legal Tender opens those doors for you and gives you a look at the Ladies who work in this industry and why; the customers who utilize their services; the politics; what takes place behind the scenes and how this industry really works.

Tell us something about yourself.

I was born in a small town on the Jersey shore. I worked in Casino Management for 25 years and I never dreamed that I would one day be a Madam of a brothel. When I left the brothel industry I decided to write a book about it and that’s when Legal Tender was born. I’m married and have 3 children, 7 dogs and 2 horses.

What inspired you to write this book?

I am an avid animal lover; which was one of my motivations for writing Legal Tender. All the proceeds from my book are donated to Symphony Animal Foundation, a non-profit corporation I formed and named in memory of my 2 original St. Bernards; Beethoven and Mozart. It is my dream to build a “no kill” animal sanctuary in Southern Nevada and I am hopeful that the exposure of Legal Tender will help me accomplish this.

How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that publisher?

This is a Cinderella story. The first publisher, Stephens Press, who I submitted my manuscript to fell in love with Legal Tender and offered to publish it. I started locally. Living in Las Vegas was a huge advantage.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I really never knew I wanted to be a writer until I actually started writing. One day I just sat down at my computer and began typing. Before I knew it, I had a book looking back at me from my computer screen. The subject matter is so unique and interesting and in reality, there are only a handful of Madams (legal Madams) in this country, that it seemed only natural to share this experience in the form of a book.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

The hardest part of writing anything is knowing when to stop. We always have to remember, regardless whether it is fact or fiction, that writing is for either entertainment or education. That being said, you must write in such a way to keep the readers interested. Going on and on is the “expressway” to losing the interest of your readers.

How do you do research for your books?

I was a Madam for a number of years so I lived the research. Currently I am in the process of writing my second book, which is a fiction story. My research consists of finding things that a variety of readers can connect with. I think it is important to talk to people to find out what they particularly like or dislike about books they read and then apply that to the book I may be writing.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

I learned a lot about the entire process of book writing, publishing, book brokering, marketing and selling. It has been a great learning experience for me. My publisher was really instrumental in teaching me so much about this amazing industry.

What are you reading now?

Currently I am reading volumes of statutes which regulate animal shelters and books on grant writing.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Believe in your story and write with a passion. If you truly believe in what you are writing about, your story will be “believable” to others.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

I promote Legal Tender on my Facebook page, through my website for Symphony Animal Foundation, and through interviews such as this. I do a lot of speaking engagements and book signings and whenever an opportunity presents itself; I jump on it

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Borders, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and if anyone would like a signed copy, they are more than welcome to write to me at All the proceeds are donated to Symphony Animal Foundation, so not only are people purchasing a great read, but they are helping animals as well.