I get asked questions a lot, there are two that are hugely popular.

Have you always written?

Who is your biggest writing inspiration?

Have I always written…..

Yes, I have always written. I can remember when I was little, I made up stories in my mind. Being an only child, I had a very active imagination, because that’s what I had to keep me company sometimes. I had friends, and cousins, but a lot of the time, it was only me. I figured out ways to occupy myself.

When I was in elementary school, I won an award for a book I wrote about Martians. Unfortunately, that’s all I remember…lol! But it moved along from there. Writing was always a part of my life – as was reading.

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My biggest writing inspiration……

The other night, Carian Cole and I were talking about what brought us to this point in our writing journeys. She was telling me about her mom, who passed a few years ago, and how her mom shaped her journey and love of reading.

I was an only grandchild on my mom’s side. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, who I called Grandy. I went to her house after school and almost every weekend – until I got older.

With my grandpa, I woke up at 3AM and rode with him while he drove a Mail Truck from Bowling Green to Oakland and then I believe Smiths Grove (we may have gone other places, but now I don’t remember). Some afternoons, especially on Sunday’s – I helped him at his job as Custodian at Eastwood Baptist Church in Bowling Green. He and I had our own little custom afterwards – he’d give me a Styrofoam cup of a Coke and he’d have a Styrofoam cup of his own drink of choice.

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Around sixth grade, he started bringing home books for me because no one could keep up with my love of reading. They were Christian Romances by Janette Oke – and then I read the Christy Series, and the Little House on the Prairie books. I had already done the Sweet Valley High, and Baby-Sitters Club. Nothing could keep up with how fast I read books.

There are a few things you need to know about my Grandy.

She loved Sanibel Island, Florida.

She could sew ANYTHING!

Her Divinity at Christmas was amazing.

She loved her Freedent gum.

She loved gardening.

She wrote poetry.

SHE LOVED ROMANCE NOVELS!

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I want to say it was the summer of my seventh grade year, and I’d seen, for years, my grandmother and mom reading their romance novels. I wanted one of my own. I begged my grandmother to let me read one. Finally, she relented and let me read Tenderness by Dorothy Garlock. I read that book, in a day, and after that, I was hooked!

As you all know, reading can be an expensive habit. To keep up with it, my Grandy and I would go to a local book store (The Book Rack) – they allowed you to trade books for credit, and sometimes you could walk out of there without spending a dime. Those were some of my favorite days of the week. We’d try to get ones we thought my mom would like to read, that way all three of us could share them.

I moved on from Dorothy Garlock to Janelle Taylor, Nora Roberts, Fern Michaels, Sandra Brown, Catherine Coulter. I read everything. Historical, Viking, Contemporary. I loved it all. It gave me an amazing foundation for what I’m doing today, and I don’t think I ever would have come this far if my grandmother hadn’t instilled in me a love of reading.

Unfortunately she passed away in 1999 – 3 weeks after my dad did – so she never got to see any of what I’m doing now. But those, are my favorite times to remember. It didn’t cost us anything – time together. That’s time you don’t get back, and when they’re gone, the memories that you’ll cherish the most. I think she’d get a kick out of what I’m doing now, and I hope one day, to be able to hear what she really thinks.

– Laramie