Laura grew up in Woking, England, and graduated from the University of Surrey with a degree in music. Before turning to novels, she worked mainly in theatre and wrote the critically-acclaimed musical The In-Between. Her first book, Echoes, was published in fall 2015.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I grew up in the UK, in a town called Woking, that’s about half an hour from London. I’m a complete sci-fi and fantasy nerd and I LOVE musical theatre. And music in general; be that playing it, writing it or just listening.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I’m not sure it was one specific thing – I came to it from a slightly circuitous route! I can remember writing stories when I was very little, or even if I didn’t write things down, I was always making up scenarios in my head. The first story I really properly tried putting on paper was actually a musical called Faerytale, which I wrote in my late teens. Following that, I wrote another show called The In-Between and the way I got into novel writing was that I decided the idea I had for my next one would work a lot better as book. I read a LOT, so it never felt too alien to me to make the switch, although things like pacing were very different! That story ended up becoming a novel called Tainted Earth, which I started writing I guess about three or four years ago. It hasn’t been ever published (I’d like to get there, one day!), but it did get me an agent.
Is there an author or book that influenced you in any way?
I realise this is probably the answer a lot of people give, but it was definitely J.K. Rowling. I read Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s (sorry, British version) Stone when I was ten and it really did change my life in some ways. I can remember sitting behind the sofa, reading it compulsively and, although I’d always read, I’d never had that almost addiction happen with a book before. It really got me into fantasy too and next came Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, which kind of cemented it!
Where did you get your ideas?
I think it varies idea to idea. Sometimes I’ll read or watch something that will just spark a kind of concept in my head. Sometimes it will be more of an idea of a character. I daydream a lot!
Is there anything in Echoes based on real-life experience or is it purely imagination?
No specific events, but I suppose there are elements (and I stress elements!) of certain characters that have come from my own experiences.
What was your favorite part to write?
Anything really emotional! My favourite part of writing is not sorting out plot holes or setting everything up, it’s the emotional payoff moments. I get really into it and time can seem to disappear! I can’t really say specifically what they are in Echoes without giving quite a bit away, but some of the later scenes where the main character Mallory is forced to address various issues she’s been suppressing – I’d say those were probably my favourite to write.
Is there a character or theme you’d like to revisit?
Echoes was always supposed to be a standalone, but I do have a couple of ideas I might like to look at for some of the characters in the future… maybe! I think I need a break from it right now, but never say never.
If you could go back and do it all over again, is there anything you would like to change?
There are little bits… but not anything major right now as I only finished the final draft a couple of months ago. I think the thing is that there will always be things you could have done better. Your manuscript will never be perfect and trying to make it so can be incredibly stressful. My current tactic is to try and make it as good as I am possibly able to at that specific time I am writing. And then, when I’ve finished my however-many-millionth draft and said a final ‘done’, I have to just leave it and accept it, warts and all.
What are you working on now?
At the moment, my time is mainly tied up with the technicalities of publishing Echoes. What I’d like to do next is go back and finish writing the two sequels I had planned for Tainted Earth and then release that trilogy. I also have an epic-style sci-fi idea I really want to get started on!
Now that you are published, what’s been some of the hardest criticism you’ve dealt with? Best compliment?
Well, I’m not quite published yet so haven’t really come into contact with much of either, but having two books turned down by traditional publishers was pretty hard, especially as both seemed to get very close. There was a lot of waiting and ridiculous amounts of email checking, and no matter how used to it you are (I worked in theatre before book writing and you have to develop a thick skin very quickly there!), every no is still tough. The thing was, though, that a lot of the turn downs were for things that were out of my control (like genres and lists) and, perhaps bizarrely, several also contained some of the best compliments I’ve ever received for my work. It’s very easy to get down about rejection and to start doubting yourself and wondering if you’re crazy for even trying to be a writer, so what I’ve actually done is print out all the encouraging things those publishers said about both books and stuck them to the wall above my laptop to try and counter those down moments!
Any advice you’d like to share with aspiring writers?
If it’s what you want to do or feel like you have to do, don’t give up. Write because you have to write, tell the story you have in you to tell, and try to let the doing of that be enough. If anything else happens afterwards, it’s a bonus.
Anything you’d like to say to your fans?
A lot of people have been really supportive of me and my writing following the release of an album for The In-Between a couple of years back and I’d just like to say a huge thank you!
Now for a few fun questions…
Oh, hard question. Historically, I always said The Matrix, but there are so many! The Hunger Games films, Lord of the Rings, pretty much anything Marvel does…
Favorite TV show?
Again, there are so many! It generally changes to what I’m currently addicted to. In general, if it’s cult TV with some kind of sci-fi/fantasy vibe going on, there’s a high possibility I’m going to love it. I’m a big fan of Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams, so some specific favourites are Buffy, Agents of SHIELD, Alias and Fringe.
Favorite place to write?
At my desk. Sorry, dull answer, but I generally get distracted anywhere else!
If you had to choose just one book, what would it be and why?
So hard to choose again, but I’ll go with The Hunger Games. I feel like Katniss is a perfectly formed character. She is by no means perfect, but she just feels so real and believable that you can’t help but root for her.
Last question and possibility the most important…what brand of cereal best describes you and why?
Good question! Erm… I think I’ll go with Fruit & Fibre. Practical, but with a little bit of unexpected creativity thrown in!
Don’t Miss Echoes, Available Now!Echoes by Laura Tisdall
Published by Tizl Press on 2015-09-08
Length: 298 pages
“There is truth to be shared. Let us begin…”
Volatile mathematical genius Mallory Park is living two lives. In one, she is balancing senior year with looking after her little brother and troubled ex-Marine father; in the other, she spends her nights glued to her laptop, breaking into some of the world’s most secure systems as the hacker Echo Six.
As part of a corruption-exposing cyber network called the Forum, Mallory is far more at ease among the codes and hidden identities of her online world than she has ever been in the real one, but when other hackers start to go missing, she finds herself caught up in a web of secrets that could have repercussions far beyond both.
When anyone can be a name on a screen, how do you know who to trust?