Pens, Paws, and Claws would like to welcome N. L. LaFoille to the blog.
Tell our readers a little about yourself and your books.
I write romantic women’s fiction. Whether it’s historical about pirates or cowboys (Nautical Miles and Lesser Evils, respectively) or contemporary (my upcoming 2020 release, The Pickling Secret), I love seeing my characters learn, grow and, of course, find love in the end.
I’m a mom to a 5-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old rat terrier. I teach sewing as a contributor to Sew News magazine and in monthly videos that can be found on the NationalSewingCircle YouTube channel.
I love to travel. Last year, we spent 10 weeks in Spain and are planning our winter trip this year to Thailand.
I spend my summers at home in Michigan, camping, gardening, foraging and canning the bounty, which inspired The Pickling Secret.
Tell us about your pets. Are any of them models for pets in your writing?
My dog, Finley, is an 11-year-old rat terrier. He’s a little brat who’s too smart for his own good. He enjoys snuggling, walking on your thighs with his poky paws, pulling used Kleenexes out of the pockets of yesterday’s pants and hates going for walks.
He is definitely the model for my latest dog character, a golden retriever named Molly in The Pickling Secret, though she is far better behaved.
What are you reading now?
I’ve started alternating reading non-fiction and fiction, which is a big change from when I was a kid and devoured all the novels I could.
I just finished The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, which I highly recommend. Now I’m reading The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, which is an enlightening look into the psychedelic subculture of the mid ‘60s.
What writing projects are you currently working on?
I’m just polishing up The Pickling Secret, a contemporary romance set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and have plans for another in that vein. I also have a regency romance and a sword-and-sorcery romance in various stages of progress. It’s an exciting/overwhelming time in my brain pan.
Did you have childhood pets? If so, tell us about them.
I have always had pets. My family kept picking up stray cats when I was a kid, and I’ve never been without a dog. I grew up with a Springer Spaniel, Duchess, then a miniature schnauzer, Jenny.
How do you use animals in your writing? Are they a character in their own right or just mentioned in passing?
Animals in my stories are always important. The way characters treat animals is a great way to learn about what kind of person that character is. Plus they create cute opportunities for characters to interact.
When did you know you were a writer? And how did you know?
I’ve been jotting down stories since I was a kid. When I was in high school, I completed my first novel, which was terrible, but it made me realize I could string a story together and make it into an actual book.
What do your pets do when you are writing?
My Finley likes to wriggle himself under the couch or wind himself up in the afghans. If I ever can’t find him, I just prod the heap of blankets and he’s usually there.
What’s the most unusual pet you’ve ever had?
My animals were all pretty tame; dogs, cats and fish. I also had a hamster when I was a kid. But my cousin, who lived next door to me, had emus, turkens and a horse, and I got to enjoy those without having to clean up after them.
What are two things you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing?
How to outline BEFORE starting to write. I was a pantser purely by incompetence and it made things a lot harder for me.
The first draft is allowed to suck. Just get those ideas down to create your framework and edit later.
Where is your favorite place to read (or write)? Why?
In our cozy attic, because between a work-from-home husband and a 5-year-old-daughter, it’s the only place in my house that’s quiet.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?
Read resources on the elements of writing (but only 2-3; all the different methods and opinions can get overwhelming) and read as many books as you can. Being a good reader exposes you to vocabulary and plot devices that you can use as inspiration for your own works.
About N. L.:
N.L. LaFoille writes romantic women’s fiction and lives in Michigan with her husband, daughter, rat terrier and red worm colony.
Let’s Be Social:
Personal blog: meetthegofamily.blogspot.com/
Writing blog: nllafoille.blogspot.com/