Friend and fellow ACFW sister Laurie Lucking has graciously stopped by for an interview today, as part of her blog tour. Her debut young adult novel, Common, releases tomorrow – just in time for Valentine’s day! More about Laurie and the details of her upcoming release party (with tons of great prizes) are provided at the end. Be sure to check it out!
First, let’s introduce the story of Common.
Only one person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it— the servant girl they banished.
Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.
And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.
But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe’s parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.
Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.
Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?
Purchase a copy of Common here.
Without further ado, please welcome Laurie Lucking!!!
I’m really glad you’re here, Laurie. Much of the writing journey requires hard work, patience, and persistence. So tell me about the moment you first found out Common would be published: where were you, what was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate?
I was in the kitchen, glancing at my open laptop as my sons finished lunch. The computer was super old, and I could only see the initial line of the e-mail at first—I was so tense / excited while I waited for it to open! Then there was definitely some screaming and jumping up and down, plus SO MANY tears. After I read the e-mail a few more times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, I called my husband. The poor guy had to cut me off after a few minutes of rambling because he couldn’t understand me well enough to know whether my crying was from being happy or sad :) I had a chance to go out with some friends that evening, which was perfect timing! I couldn’t accept the offer right away because I had some submissions out to other publishers as well, but I had a feeling Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing would be a perfect fit, and that has been confirmed ever since we signed the contract!
Moments like that are such a treasure. I’m so happy for you.
On the road to publication, was there ever a moment you felt utterly discouraged? What quote or scripture inspired you to keep you going?
Ha, more moments than I can count! This writing journey is such a roller-coaster ride. One day you figure out a new angle to your story or get great feedback from a critique partner, and you adore writing and know this is what you’re meant to be doing. Other days, you realize you have to cut the chapter you just wrote or someone else wins the award you were hoping for, and you wonder why you bother and whether it’s worth all this hard work. At least that’s how it goes for me :)
I find music really inspiring, and the lyrics of “Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle get me every time when I’m feeling discouraged:
When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You
It’s such a powerful reminder that everyone experiences hurdles and setbacks in their lives, but God is so much bigger than all our problems and we need to trust Him with our dreams and aspirations.
Amen! Such a powerful song.
Tell us about Common. Is there a theme or message you hope resonates with readers?
Common is the story of a shy, hard-working servant girl, Leah, who happened to find the same closet hideout as the prince as a little girl and still maintains a secret friendship with him. At first, her biggest problems are teasing from stable hands and trying not to develop feelings for Prince Raphael since they could never be together. But her life gets much more complicated when she discovers a plot against the royal family and has to try to save the day!
The primary theme that I hope readers take away from Common is that no matter how “common” someone seems, we are each unique and capable of doing extraordinary things. There’s also a message that God is always with us and has a plan for us, even during the hardest parts of our journey.
Do you have a favorite line or scene in the book? If so, what is it and why?
That’s a tough one! I think my favorite scene is when Rafe finds Leah crying in their closet and comforts her. We get to see a very sweet side of Rafe in that scene, and it’s one of those timeless interactions almost anyone can relate to. Plus, in friendship-turns-into-romance stories, I love those crucial turning points where the friends start to view each other in a different light, and the crying scene is definitely one of those moments for Leah and Rafe!
I love that their friends first. Friendship is an important aspect of any romantic relationship.
If Common became a movie, who would you want to see cast as Leah, Gretchen, Prince Raphael, and Princess Penelope? Where would be the ideal filming location?
Annalise Basso has a great look for Leah, with that red hair and a certain air of sweetness. Logan Lerman has an earnestness about him that would work well for Prince Raphael. Georgia Simmons seems to be a lot of fun and has great freckles, so she’d be my pick for Gretchen. And Maia Mitchell has the gorgeous dark hair, dark eyes combination I picture for Princess Penelope.
As for location…Dunrobin Castle in Scotland would be a stunning place to film the scenes in Imperia! Glonsel Palace in Trellich is supposed to look more imposing, so I picture that as something like Castelo de Guimaraes in Portugal. In between the two, we’d need some time in the mountains, but there are plenty of areas in Europe that would work for that! I would, of course, need to go along to all of these locations to supervise :)
Great choices! I can already imagine Common on the big screen. Thanks so much for being here today, Laurie.
Thank you so much for inviting me to stop by and share about Common!!
About the Author
An avid reader since birth (her parents claim she often kept them up late begging to hear just one more story), Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of romance, and her debut novel, Common, releases in 2018 from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. Laurie is the secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of www.landsuncharted.com, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more about Laurie and her writing by visiting www.laurielucking.com.
Connect with Laurie on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Goodreads, or Pinterest.
Celebrate with Laurie!
Don’t forget to join us Thursday, February 15th at 8pm for Common’s Facebook release party! Author Laurie Lucking, along with her co-hosts, Laura A. Grace, Jebraun Clifford, and Michele Israel Harper, will be chatting about all things Common and giving away lots and lots of prizes. RSVP here!
You can view the blog tour schedule for Common here.
In case you missed it, you can pick up a copy of Common here.