For this month’s All The Kissing Author Spotlight, we’re chatting with author Laura Brown. Read on to learn more about her recent release, A Perfect Mistake, and her writing!
Introducing Laura Brown
Laura Brown lives in Massachusetts with her quirky abnormal family. Her husband’s put up with her since high school, her young son keeps her on her toes, and her two cats think they deserve more scratches. Hearing loss is a big part of who she is, from her own hard of hearing ears, to the characters she creates.
Hi, Laura! Thank you so much for joining us on All The Kissing. We are so excited to have you! Congratulations on your most recent release, A Perfect Mistake. Can you tell our readers a little bit about it?
In A Perfect Mistake, social worker Nica Anders has a one-night-stand with a hot Deaf guy, Cam Thompson, who she meets at the bar. The following day she realizes he’s the grandson to one of her clients, putting him on the “do not touch” list! She tries to stay away, but life, and her meddling client, keep putting the two back together.
That sounds fantastic! As of this interview, the book just released and is sitting in the #1 spot on my TBR pile—I can’t wait. But while I’m waiting, tell us: has being hard of hearing impacted you as a writer? If so, in what ways?
I was raised phonetically, which is a bit of a crap shoot for having a hearing loss. Therefore my vocabulary has certain gaps in it, and sometimes I know a word, but I can’t quite pronounce it or if I can, I can’t quite find the spelling so that Word doesn’t blink at me! On the positive end I’m an observer, I often pay attention to little nuances in faces or bodies when I can’t quite understand what’s going on, picking up on social cues to help me along and that often translates to what I’m able to put on the page.
What you put on the page is fantastic. So evocative! When did you first start writing fiction? When did you know that romance was your sweet spot (no pun intended) as a writer?
In college I started writing fanfiction to my favorite series at the time (Frasier). After I graduated I decided to try and turn a favorite fanfiction into a full length novel and the rest grew from there. I’m hopeless romantic, so my writing has always been about the romance, and my love of Frasier is largely due to Niles and Daphne (in fact, I didn’t start watching until they got together, and then I had to get caught up!).
Oh, wow, we both started with fanfiction (I think a lot of us did). Now you write heat levels ranging from sweet to steamy. How do you decide which heat level is appropriate for each story?
In the books I’ve written to date, the heat levels are more an indicator of where I was in life than what the story needed. My first story I wasn’t ready for open door scenes, so I kept the door closed and I think it works for the novel as it’s more Women’s Fiction than full on Romance. I spent a long time working on that novel, so when I finally started something new, I was ready to tackle those sex scenes! And I love what a sex scene can do for a romance. It shows a couple growing closer, often expressing emotions they can’t voice yet. I might one day write more sweet stories, but for now I’m really enjoying the steam!
And your steam is highly steamy indeed! Tell us, who are some of your favorite writers (romance or other genres)?
Jennifer Crusie, Jill Shalvis, and Nora Robers are some of my tried and true favs. Newer, but still as cherished include Niama Simone, Tracey Livesay, Alisha Rai, Mia Sousa, Helen Hoang, and I recently devoured an 8 book series by Lauren Layne!
I love your author list—perennial favorites! You’re a former social worker–elements of that are evident in your book Signs of Attraction. In what ways does your profession infuse itself into your writing?
I feel my former social worker days are most prevalent in A Perfect Mistake, since my main character works in my old job as a case manager in elder services. In my head she even sits at my old desk! I’ve seen social workers portrayed in negative light in fiction, and that’s something I want to counteract. I’m an advocate, through and through, and in writing diverse characters I aim to spread awareness. So that advocacy comes alive in my writing. Fiction is a great and fun treat, but I always love how a reader can sometimes learn something new at the same time!
I certainly learned a lot reading Signs of Attraction, and can’t wait to delve into A Perfect Mistake. Hopefully over the holidays, when I have some downtime. Do you have any holiday fiction on the horizon?
One day I hope to write a Chanukah romance, but I haven’t found the right idea yet. I do have a fake date for Passover story publishing next year, Matzah Ball Surprise. It’s a rom-com and a lot of fun, with a hearing, non-signing heroine and a Deaf hero.
Ooh, Matzah Ball Surprise! I can’t recall reading any other Passover-themed books before. Can you tell us a little more about this one?
In Matzah Ball Surprise, Gaby needs a date for Passover. After a bad breakup she fears if she goes home alone all she’ll hear is, “Poor Gaby, have another matzah ball.” She approaches a hot guy at her gym, not realizing he’s Deaf. Levi has reasons to get away over Passover, and Gaby offers him the ideal solution to his mounting problems.
Another one I can’t wait to read! What’s your favorite craft tip when it comes to writing romance?
Beat sheets! I love Jami Gold’s. I find them super helpful for preventing that saggy middle. A romance needs to grow on the page, there’s the juggle of internal and external, and I find checking my progress against a beat sheet can help keep me on track.
Beat sheets are such amazing tools—not sure where I’d be without them. Since we have lots of writers brand new to the romance genre on All The Kissing, do you have any advice to pass along for those just getting started?
Read. Read. Read! I wrote for years without reading much, because my tastes were in flux and I couldn’t find what I wanted. It wasn’t until I started devouring books again that I improved my craft to where it needed to be. You learn so much from reading, from pacing to craft to how to handle those difficult scenes.
In all that reading, I bet you fell in love at least a few times! Who’s your current romance book sweetheart?
I’m reading an ARC right now, so it isn’t available just yet! But I’m loving the tortured werewolf Mateo in Juliette Cross’s Wolf Gone Wild.
What books are on your TBR list?
TBR lists are ever growing, yes? On the top of my list include: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai, The Chai Factor by Farah Heron, Dalliances & Devotion by Felicia Grossman, All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover, and so many more!
That’s an inspirational list! Thank you so much for joining us on All The Kissing. We can’t wait to read more of your beautifully crafted romances in the future.
Thank you so much for having me! I love All The Kissing and am so honored to be here!