My guest author today is a fellow book lover and life-time writer. Please help me welcome Laney Webber! Let’s peek at her bio and then find out more about her and books.
Laney Webber writes small town contemporary lesbian romance. She has lived in four of the six New England states, but now calls Vermont home. When she’s not making up stories, she also works as a librarian in a small rural library and has the privilege and joy of helping other people find books to read. Laney and her wife like to explore New England and find new places to set their little camper. She will talk to anyone, any time, any place, about books.
Betty: When did you become a writer?
Laney: As long as I remember I’ve had stories in my head, waiting to be told. I wrote my first story when I was about 7 or 8 years old on a quasi-typewriter that had a dial you turned for each letter. I’ve taken some long breaks from writing – when my kids were young for example.
Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?
Laney: I’ve approached learning about writing and practicing from several different angles. I’ve taken short writing courses, attended a year long online program, and taught creative writing in an adult enrichment program. And I read. I read a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction and I read books about writing.
Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?
Laney: My published work has been contemporary romance novels, and I respect the styles of Radclyffe, Melissa Brayden, Gerri Hill, and Sarah Dreher. I’ve also been influenced by Phillipa Gregory and Victoria Holt, the first romance authors I read.
Betty: What prompted you to start writing?
Laney: Books and reading have had such a profound influence on my life, both as a child and as an adult. Books showed me that there was a much larger world than my own little world on the street where I grew up. Books took me to other places and often made me feel what the characters were feeling. Books taught me how to do things, like raise chickens and build a log house. They also were a comfort during hard times. Finding lesbian romance novels in my thirties gave me the strength to come out and showed me that I was not alone and gave me great hope.
I often said to myself that I was going to write a book “someday.” And I wrote a little here and a little there, but it wasn’t until I helped a 90 year old woman put together her memoir and get it published, that I began to take myself seriously as a writer. Helen (the 90 year old woman) said to me, “Nancy, I put this off for forty years. And now, I have so many other stories to tell and I don’t have time. Don’t wait. Start your book and write it, now.”
Betty: What type of writing did you start with?
Laney: I started with poetry, believe it or not. I love poetry and the challenge to capture an emotion in words. I entered the Writer’s Digest poetry competition and won honorable mention.
Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?
Laney: This may make me in the minority of writers, but I love the editing process. I get excited when I look at this big mess of a novel I have with my first draft and I explore it like you’d explore a rundown house, looking for ways to make it beautiful.
Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?
Laney: I wish I knew that the thing that stopped me from completing a project was that for me, I need to just keep moving forward. I can’t stop and start editing or fixing things. As bad as the writing may be, first draft – I have to keep that writing train moving. Discovering this, made the difference between a 15 page project that never got finished, and two published romance novels in the past two years.
Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?
Laney: Alan Bradley, the author of the Flavia de Luce series. He started writing in 1994 and wrote screenplays and memoirs, then in 2007 a bidding war ensued for his mystery novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. He was 69 years old. His story continues to inspire me as I am an older author. You aren’t too old to write a book and get it published. Ever.
Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Laney: As a bookish person, I love reading books that are also about books in some way, so I set the book in a used bookstore and the main character manages the store. I also love second chance romance, because that story is a reality in my life.
Jannika Peterson arrived in Grangeton, New Hampshire, with a broken heart and a new job managing the local bookstore. She has a gift for pairing readers with the perfect books, but her matchmaking skills don’t extend to her love life. Love doesn’t stand a chance against her well-protected heart.
Eighteen years ago, Lee Thompson was Jannika’s summer camp counselor, and Lee has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the unusual name. Still healing from her wife’s sudden death, Lee hopes her new job in a new town will help her to begin a new chapter.
When Jannika and Lee reunite, their instant connection feels like a gift, but neither is ready for a second chance at love. Unable to deny their attraction, will they finally get on the same page when it comes to love?
Jannika had a love/hate relationship with boxes of used books. Along with moldy and dirty books, she had found a cat turd, a handmade icon of a saint, a half bottle of perfume, melted candles, and a filthy baby shoe among other non-book items. She could usually tell at first glance if she needed the box of vinyl gloves behind her desk. After a few months at The Pageturner, she began to take photos of her book box goodies. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do with the photos but collecting them took her mind off the ick factor.
“Put these here on the desk and let’s have a look.”
In Jannika’s mind an intimacy existed between most people and their books. She stepped with care into the space of the relationship of book and person. She thought it was like trying to put your hand through a bubble and not have it burst, but have the bubble absorb you into itself, making you part of the relationship. She could tell who wasn’t quite ready and would try to persuade them to take at least some of the books and wait a while if possible. She also could tell who was ready or needed to part with their books. But she couldn’t grab the box from them. To her that would be ripping a loved one from the arms of another.
I have to agree with Laney’s love of stories that involve books in some way. They are a huge part of my life, too. Thanks, Laney!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Best-selling Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories
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