Laurie Green Westlake – Author Interview

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

My first novel, Quest for the Life Tree, was released in May, 2010. It’s the story of a group of warriors on a mission to spy-out a territory that belongs to their king. The book is a fantasy and the warriors have unusual gifts and encounter mysterious challenges on their journey. The book has a lot of allegorical elements and there’s definitely a message I’m sharing in through the story.

Tell us something about yourself.

I live in New Mexico – the Land of Enchantment – but I’m originally from Texas. I’ve been writing in different capacities for more than fifteen years and for the majority of that time, I was working in the non-profit world. I’ve served in missions in Africa and Latin America, too.

What inspired you to write this book?

It’s an interesting story. I didn’t start out to write a fantasy novel. I was actually journaling one day during prayer time and wrote a short-story quite by accident. After contemplation, I realized this little devotion could be a full-blown novel.

How did you choose the title?

I thought it was intriguing. I’ve always been fascinated by the biblical Tree of Life concept. At 51, I think about eternal working parts (and better looking ones) every now and then and how great it’s going be to have them! Could the Tree of Life offer this?

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

Actually, the book was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to. And then it was chosen as one of their top books of the year! I was amazed because I’ve never had that quick of a response when writing articles for magazines.

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

I’ve always enjoyed writing, even in school. I knew I wanted to do it professionally when people would tell me things like, “Wow, your story or article really spoke to me.” I guess I express myself best through writing.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Prayer and then more prayer. I tap into the spiritual. Oh, and I like to type near a window. I get creative when I can gaze at nature.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

I wanted fantasy sounding names and also familiar names. I didn’t want the reader to be overwhelmed with a lot of different sounds in his or her head, but I wanted the reading culture to put the reader in a different time and space. So I used some Hebrew words for names that mean something for the character and I used common American names spelled differently.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

Oh yes! I learned that book publishing is a loooooong process. I learned to be patient. But it’s an ongoing lesson.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I am doing it again (a sequel) and I’m taking a bit more time to finish the second book. I don’t want to rush this just because the first book is successful. I want to make sure I have a message (and hidden revelation) so that the reader can dig deep if he or she wants to.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I enjoy the mental challenge of allegory. Walter Wangerin and C.S. Lewis are my favorites.

What can you tell us about the sequel?

The love triangle from the first book is resolved and we dive a little deeper into symbolism taken primarily from the Bible. The adventure moves to a more crisis stage. It’s going to be a page-turner!

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

I believe everyone has a story to tell and so I like to encourage people to keep writing and keep trying new things. We are all unique and have perspective to share whether through fiction, teachings, commentaries, or articles. Never give up!

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

The perfect reader for my book is someone who believes he or she is made for great things. I want this book to inspire readers to find their life mission. Warriors, buy the book! It’s not for the faint of heart.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book? Or google me. It’s out there.