Here are a few questions and answers with
Laurlee Harbig, the author of
"The Violet Eyes of Jesse Knight".
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you were born, brought up and where do you presently live?
I was born in Moab, Utah. I am the youngest of five children so yea, I am still the baby of the family in my early 40's. When I was three, my family moved to Glendive, Montana and I still live here in Glendive. I just love this area there is plenty of room to move and everyone knows each other. I just love living in the Badlands, it has a beauty all its own.
Who inspires you?
The two main people that have inspired, and continues to inspire me the most are no longer with us. My parents, John and Jeanette were married for 51 years before my mother passed away from heart problems and my dad passed away from cancer. They both died in 2001. I miss them very much and I would not be doing as well as I am now without them being in my life.
How did you become a writer?
After I lost my parents, whom I lived with so that I could help them in their later years, I thought I lost a big part of me. I didn't know what to do next, you know the next stage of my life I was 35 years old at that time. I talked to a lot of people in the Internet about writing and I decided to give it a shot. First, I just want to write this story I had for several years just bouncing around in my head. I wanted to write it all out just to see if I could do it. Then as I was coming to the end of would have been over 100,000 words that is when I decided I wanted to get it published. Not publishing it was not an option.
I just wanted to try. I knew it was going to be a learning experience for me and that was what I was after really. Also I had all these feeling about my life and such just bottled up inside. I needed to cut them loose. I needed to get all of it out so I could go on with my life without the two people who inspired and loved me so much.
The funny part is that this story has nothing to do with my parents. But you know, taking that step without them there was tough for me. I could not tell you why, it just was. I guess, I just shared so much with them.
What is the goal for your writing?
I am out to tell a good story. I want to share my character's joys and downfalls because you got to have both to have a good story. Life would not be life without one or the other. Also as I have mentioned it was a learning experience for me. I wanted to try something new and I wanted to share my views of life with others.
What are your writing methods?
For some reason my mind bounces all over the place. I can't write from chapter one to the end. If an idea for a part of a the story hits me then I write it out but what is interesting is how I get to that point and time. If a scene doesn't fit, I can either make it fit by rewriting it or just plain not use it at all. Who knows, maybe I can use someplace else.
If your going to write like this, notes about your characters are very very important. How they act, look and the position in life that they are in can come into play.
How do you write?
I write long hand then I'll transfer them to my laptop in more of a clearer form. I get my ideas out on paper then I can look them over at a later time and hopefully get back in the train of thought. It makes it for an interesting scene when your not sure where it is suppose to go. Trust me, that has happened more then once. But I also have a desktop computer at home, so when I'm there I skip the paper and use that. It saves on paper and in my house that is a good thing.
What themes do you pursue in your writing?
I am looking for everyday themes. Family, friendship, love and discovery are important to me and to the story. Even though this story is of the fantasy/sci-fi genre, it is still about people who have feeling and emotions. These can govern your life so easily. That is what makes them real to me and I hope that I can make them real to the readers.
Did you learn from other writers? Which ones?
My older brother, Jon, is the reader in our family. He got me to read the "Lord of Rings" trilogy when I was in High School. I loved the great themes that J.R.R Tolken put across. He made his characters real and believable. When the movies came out it was more of a push into writing for me.
Michael Moorcock with his Elric Sage painted a picture of a bad guys who wanted to be good but it just was not in the cards for him. It also showed what love is capable of. I love the series because it was easy to read and stories themselves were short. If you wanted to read the others, you could and also it gave way to a much bigger series of the Eternal Champion.
I found book two of this series at our local library. I didn't know it was a second book until I did a little research on Tamora Pierce and her series "Song of the Lioness". This is a story about Alanna (or Alan, as she goes by in the story), who trains to be a knight. Girls do not become knights so she sneaks in as a boy for the training. It is a great story about self discovery and it is so easy to follow. I like stories like that.
What are you working on now?
I working on The Knighbird series also known as the continuing adventures of Jesse Knight. Jesse has a lot of trouble to get into and it is my job to make sure he does. There are also friends of Jesse's that are in the story that will be helping him do this. They too, have stories of their own to tell. Right now, Jesse is looking into the deepest mysteries of life as he knows it. I really don't want to give to much away but it is going to be a bumpy ride for BOTH of us.
What advice would you give to writers starting out in their career.
Hang in there. I mean, if you have something that means a lot to you, then be true to it and believe in it. That is good advice to any writer out there. If you have to start small then dream big, just don't stop dreaming. Just don't dream to big too fast. I see a lot of writers do that. Just because they write a book and get it published, they think that it will sell and it just might. You do have to be willing to promote yourself and your work to the readers out there. What are you willing to do for it and that is the bottom line?
Do you have any other thoughts that you would like to pass on?
I saw a saying that says it all, "When you do good things for other and talk big about it, then it is no longer a good thing." Enjoy yourself and your hard work. You deserve it then pass on what you know to others. You know just pay it forward.
If you see a page that could go for alittle something different, feel free to