Today we meet Laura Laakso, a Finnish native who’s made a new life in Hertfordshire, UK. As a practicing accountant with a love for drawing, reading and training her two dogs in competitive events, she also writes paranormal crime fiction with her first novel, Fallible Justice, published by Louise Walters Books today.
Thank you Laura for joining me in this conversation. So let’s first talk about how you started writing.
I was fortunate enough to be born into a family of bookworms and growing up, I not only got a bedtime story, but another one over breakfast. As I was nearing school age, I was reluctant to learn how to read because I was worried that no one would then read me stories. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. When my parents threatened to ground me for the summer holidays (I forget what for), I thought it would be okay so long as I’d still be allowed to visit the library. That pretty much sums up my childhood, which is not to say that I didn’t have friends outside of books. Some of them were even real.
For a long time, drawing and painting was the hobby that I focused on, but gradually storytelling drew my attention elsewhere. Splitting up with my husband rekindled my love of writing and a chance encounter online led me to meet a beta reader who is now a dear friend as well as my first reader. Turning 30 caused me to take stock of my life and the dreams that mattered the most, and I decided to pursue writing as a more serious past time. A few years on, here I am!
You’re clearly have a very busy life. How do you manage to fit it all in?
My schedule is usually so busy I don’t get a lot of time for reading and I tend to snatch moments where I can. My dentist always looks at me funny when I tell her that I read a book while brushing my teeth. I’ll write pretty much anywhere. I’m weirdly prolific on public transport and on a day when I’m travelling to Finland, I usually write about 4-5k. But really, when I’m working on a book, I will write everywhere and anytime; before a pilates class, at a heelwork to music competition, standing on a bus stop, over breakfast, lunch and dinner, in bed the last thing at night.
You mention your first reader. You met them online, but have you actually ever met them?
No I’ve never met him, but he’s now a dear friend. Our friendship goes far beyond our shared love for books and writing. I love sharing ideas, snippets of my latest WIP and the ups and downs of getting published in our daily emails, and he remains the voice of wisdom I listen to above all else.
Along with everything else you also run a blog.
Yes. I have a blog called unFinnished Dreams, where I talk about writing, the journey to publication, book reviews and occasionally recount strange and amusing conversations I have with my flatmate. I’m fairly active on Twitter as well and enjoy being part of the writing community there. The daily hashtag games are fun.
Tell me about Fallible Justice
It’s being published by Louise Walters Books on 8 November. It will be the first in my Wilde Investigations series and the sequel, Echo Murder, is coming out in June 2019. It’s a paranormal crime novel set in modern day London, but with magic, murder and general mayhem. In Old London, where magical races coexist peacefully with humans, justice delivered by otherworldly Heralds of Justice is infallible and the punishment for a murder committed with the aid of magic is death. When an aristocrat is declared guilty of murder by a Herald, his daughter turns to PI Yannia Wilde to prove her father’s innocence. Yannia is one of the elusive Wild Folk, known for either ability to channel all of nature and for their secretive way of life, and she’s struggling to adapt to a life in the city. Together with her Bird Shaman apprentice Karrion, Yannia has just four days to solve a case that could unsettle the very foundation of their society and save a man judged infallibly guilty.
What sort of research was required?
Most of the book is set in the City of London borough, so I’ve been making a few trips to London to familiarise myself with the area. There’s only so far I can get with Google Street View. I also had many extensive conversations with keen gardeners to get the details right for a supporting character who makes her debut in the first book. The first book was pretty light in terms of research, but the later ones have required more.
Can you tell me about your experiences on the journey to publishing?
Once I signed a publishing contract, I’ve gone through structural and line edits with my publisher, and later copy edits with a copy editor. Getting a book out really is a team effort! Each stage taught me a great deal about editing and writing in general. It’s amazing the sort of things different people pick up on.
What made you take the traditional publishing route?
I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to self-publish! Instead of trying for an agent/big publishing house route, I chose a small indie publisher and haven’t regretted my decision at all. My publisher has involved me in every step of the way and keeps me informed about everything that has been going on, which is wonderful. It’s been hard work and it will continue to be hard work to keep on top of the publishing schedule while still working and looking after the dogs, but every milestone along the way has made it so worthwhile.
Thank you again Laura for joining me in this conversation. You made this interview very easy with your comprehensive and witty answers. I wish you all the best Fallible Justice which is available to buy from 8th November. You can follow Laura on Twitter, Instagram, through here website https://lauralaaksobooks.com/ or via Goodreads.
If you enjoyed this interview then why not follow my blog where I’ll be posting more interviews soon. I regularly provide an insight into my own experiences as I work towards publishing my debut novel, In The End. If you’re an author, or work in the industry and you’ve got an interesting story to tell, drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org