Laura Drake is the youngest of five children and grew up in AR (that’s Arkansas, not Arizona) until she moved to Provo, Utah,, to attend Brigham Young University at eighteen. She graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and worked as a teacher for a few years in Utah until she moved to Tokyo, Japan.
She spent two amazing years there, making new friends and memories while following her dream of living abroad. Now, she's working on her new dream: becoming an author. She is a firm believer that you can choose to be happy if you learn to be thankful.
I read the first two books in Laura's Japanese Hauntings series, and my oldest daughter has started them. They are page-turners that I finished in one sitting! Unexpected Magic is also an amazing book,, and Harry Potter lovers will be amazed by the story.
Your Japanese Hauntings series is based on your time in Japan. What brought you there?
I've loved Japan since I was young, so when I finally had the chance to go in college for an internship, I jumped on the opportunity. That was my first time living in Japan, and I fell in love with it even more. It was probably one of my favorite summers of my life. After that, I went back to visit again during one of my summers as a teacher, but it wasn't enough. So after a couple of years of teaching, I decided to move there and finally fulfill my dream of actually living in Japan. Some people think it's scary to move to a foreign country on your own, but for me the idea of never attempting one of my dreams is much scarier. I lived there a little over two years (before I came back because of Covid) and I'm so grateful for the opportunity and the friends I made there.
What sparked Selena's character?
When I write, the story and characters just present themselves to me. (Normally,, the idea comes from a dream,, and the character fleshes her/himself out as the story is written.) But I'll admit that there's often a lot of myself in my MCs, especially Selena. I'm also sometimes awkward and shy around guys, too focused on to-do lists, and have a great relationship with my parents.
Who is your favorite character in the Japanese Hauntings?
My favorite character is Lincoln Kingston. He was the most fun to write for me because I got to mix in the Japanese culture aspect through him and his parents, and I also got to explore his new supernatural powers a bit. In addition, I love Lincoln, so I also loved writing him.
What character has grown the most in your Unexpected Magic series?
I'd say the character that grows the most is the MC of book one, Emmaline (or Emmie to her friends.) She's really shy and anxious in book one, not comfortable talking to anyone outside of her friend group and really unsure of where she belongs or if she fits in. But by the end of the third book, she's completely grown into herself, overcame her weaknesses, and learned to accept not just those around her but also herself for who she is. She was put through some extremely trying times to get through this growth and had to learn a lot about herself, but I admire the way she handled her challenges and didn't give up on the things she believes in.
Are there characters you considered making a side series with?
Not exactly a side series, but I am considering revising the Japanese Haunting world in October for a fun Halloween surprise story. It'd be from Alice's POV (a character introduced in book 4.) I'm also plotting out a fourth magic book so Ivy has a chance to tell her story even though the main story arc is over. But when it comes to an entire series, I don't have any plans for that at the moment. Maybe once I finish all the other books I want to write I'll have time to go back and figure something out.
What do you think is the most challenging part of being an author?
For me,, at least it's getting my books in front of people. I'm far from being proficient at ads or social media, and it's really hard to find readers even though I know there's a large group of avid readers who would love my stories.
Is there anything you are working on that you haven't talked about yet?
I'm about to finish the rough draft of a new standalone fantasy novel I'm working on. Instead of telling you about it, I'll share the blurb which I put on Goodreads. Here's the link to Till Life Do Us Part if anyone wants to follow the book so they can be notified of its release. Melody Albright is trapped in a place called the In-Between, a realm between life and death. She has two options: collect memories of her old life and gain the chance to Return to it or face the unknown of Passing On. One choice will forever cost her the other. Melody makes her decision quickly, but things aren't as simple as she first believed. Every Soul in the In-Between seems to hold a secret, sometimes even from themselves, and they’re all after the same thing—a way to regain their memories. Melody’s sister is also fighting to Return, but a dangerous thief carrying secrets of his own keeps getting in their way. Even as she secretly starts to question if she made the right choice, all Melody can do is continue forward and hope she regains enough memories to Return before time runs out. But as Melody learns more about herself and the dangers lurking in the shadows, she realizes there are things far worse than being dead.
What do you wish you had known at the beginning of writing that may help someone else to know?
Growing your email list from the beginning is really important. Having a direct line to people who love your stuff is one of the best ways to make sure a book succeeds. Also, don't be afraid to share your work with beta readers. It will improve like crazy if you're willing to listen to feedback and grow.
What was the hardest scene to write out of all your books?
This is silly, but for me, it was probably the kiss scenes. They're fun to read when they're done well, but they were so hard for me to write. I kept asking myself, "Is this too much detail? Too little?" and it was hard to know if it was extremely awkward for readers.
Where do you see your writing going in 5 years?
Great question. I've thought about this a lot. When it comes to releasing books, I should have anywhere from 5-8 Japanese Haunting books out, 6 magic books (four in the first series and a prequel duology are currently planned), my standalone, Till Life Do Us Part, a 5 book modern Jane Austen retelling series, and hopefully even more. Those are the ones that come to mind first because I've wanted to write them the longest.
But in a broader sense, I really hope that my books are more well-known and I can be supporting myself as a full-time writer in five years. I love getting to share a good book with someone, and being able to do work that I love every day is my new dream. You can find more about Laura at her Website Thank you for reading, and please leave a comment and/or like this post! Be sure to subscribe to read interviews and more irst!