Enchanted by Laurie Lucking’s Common

K.A.:
Laurie Lucking, the author of the lovely fantasy adventure Common, is here to give us an inside look into the world building featured in the story. Also, yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of Common‘s release date!

Happy Book Birthday, Laurie, and thanks for coming on the blog. For those who aren’t familiar with Common, tell us a bit about it.

Laurie:   
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?

Laurie:
Common is a young adult fantasy story recommended for pre-teens, teens, and adults who enjoy fairy tales with happily-ever-afters. :)

K.A.:
I love that the heroine is a maidservant. What sort of places will we travel to in the story?

Laurie:
Most of the story takes place at the royal palace of Imperia, Dorendyn Castle, which is a large structure with white marble, tall windows, wide arches, and beautiful gardens. When my protagonist, Leah, is forced to travel to Trellich later in the book, she finds the mountainous landscape to be beautiful but desolate. Glonsel Palace, the home of the Trellan royal family, is a much darker building encased by a wall and topped with pointed turrets.

K.A.:
Castles, gardens, and mountains–sounds beautiful. How are Imperia and Trellich different from our world?

Laurie:
On the surface, Imperia and Trellich don’t look too different from a historical version of our world. The plants and landscape have some slight variations, but overall I think most of us would feel like we’d been transported back in time rather than to a fantasy world. But the differences show up during the course of the story – dark magic exists in these countries, though the sorcerers have been driven into hiding. Also hidden away in seclusion are women who can fight that dark magic with a power of their own derived from the Luminate.

K.A.:
The nuns–those women hidden away in seclusion–they were some of my favorite characters. What inspired you to write about nuns with mystical powers?

Laurie:
As for the nuns, I knew a sorcerer would be involved in the plot against the royal family, and I needed someone who would be powerful enough to fight against him. But I wanted their power source to come from God. I’ve always enjoyed studying the saints, and there was a particular group of saints called mystics who lived in seclusion to achieve a greater union with God. At the height of such union, they might receive a vision or revelation. Using my creative license as a fantasy writer, I took the idea one step further and made the mystics in my story capable of calling on their amplified union with God to perform mighty deeds in His name, thus creating sorcerer-fighting nuns!

Learn more about the real-world inspiration of the mystics on MysticsoftheChurch.com.

K.A.:
I never knew there were a group of saints known as mystics. That’s awesome! So what makes Common‘s world unique?

Laurie:
The most unique aspects of the world of Common come from its history and customs. Imperia and Trellich have long been at odds with each other, making for a tense relationship between the royal families and a tightly-guarded border. The Gravedigger’s Bounty, an illness that spread quickly through Trellich and caused Imperia to close its borders completely for a time, only put further strain on their relations. While the royalty of each country have the opportunity to take pleasure in many lavish banquets and parties, the servants of Imperia look forward to the Peasantry Festival each year, when they’re allowed to take a day off to peruse food and goods vendors and enjoy music and dancing.


Peasantry Festival (inspiration)

K.A.:
Every story world starts with an idea. What idea inspired the story of Common?

Laurie: 
My world was really inspired by the story itself – as my story grew, the characters’ world developed around them. I love fairy tales, so I immediately pictured my story taking place in world with a quintessential fairy tale feel. And back in college I had the opportunity to spend a semester in England, so my travels there definitely inspired a lot of how I pictured the landscape and castles in Common.

K.A.:
It sounds like you did a lot of research in writing this story. I know you have plans for a second book in this series, but can you share with us some of the research that went into this book?

Laurie:
Most of my research involved historical details about carriages, clothing, building materials, etc. Since Leah embarks on a fair amount of travel during the latter portion of the book, I looked into how much ground can reasonably be covered in a day on foot, on horseback, and via carriage. I also did some research into the mystics of the early Christian church, since they were my inspiration for the unusual group of nuns that provide shelter and aid to Leah. I wish I could say more, but…spoilers! :)

K.A.:
I understand. Definitely, don’t want to spoil the story for anyone else. :)

Grab a copy of Common at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Kobo, or iTunes.

K.A.:
I’m so glad you stopped by to talk about Common and the wonderful influences that went into building your fairy tale world. Thanks, Laurie!


About Laurie Lucking

An avid reader practically since birth, Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. When she gets a break from playing superheroes and driving windup cars, she writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of fairy tale romance. Her debut novel, Common, won third place in the Christian Women Reader’s Club Literary Lighthouse Awards, and her short story, “Threshold,” was published in a Fellowship of Fantasy anthology titled Mythical Doorways. Laurie is the Secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of Lands Uncharted, a blog for fans of clean young adult fantasy and science fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more by visiting www.laurielucking.com.

Connect with Laurie through her website, or follow her on Facebook and Instagram. You can also find her on Lands Uncharted talking about books and the business of being an author.


*** Want to know which author will be featured next?
View the full schedule here. ***


Interview with Laurie Lucking, Author of Common

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.

Common-cover_smallOnly 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.

Beautiful message.

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

Laurie-Lucking-HeadshotAn 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.


Cover Reveal for ‘Common’

Laurie Lucking, a friend and fellow ACFW member, weaves fairy tale romance into fantasy adventure stories for young adults. Her debut novel, ‘Common’, is scheduled to release in February 2018. And I’m thrilled to share the beautiful cover design for her book.

Congratulations, Laurie! I am so happy for you!

Without further ado…

About ‘Common’

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. Unexpected feelings for Rafe surface just as his parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess. Then she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. Her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by a mysterious 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?

Author Bio

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.