I am honored today to get to chat with Laura Bradford about her new book Portrait of a Sister! I’ve been a fan of her cozy mysteries for a long time, and I’m now a fan of her women’s fiction as well 🙂
Laura Bradford is the national bestselling author of several mystery series, including the Amish Mysteries, the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, the Tobi Tobias Mystery Series, and the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey. Her first women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister, has been selected as a book club pick by several national venues including; Delilah, Southern Lady Magazine, and Mary Janes Farm Magazine.
Laura is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. She enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.
Katie Beiler was always the follower to her twin sister Hannah’s lead. That is until Hannah left their Amish upbringing for an English life—leaving Katie to find her own footing in a world that no longer looks as it once did . . .
Katie has always imagined her life being just like Mamm’s. It’s why she chose baptism and why she’ll soon marry Abram Zook. But ever since Hannah left, the only thing that truly makes Katie smile is the sketchpad in which she indulges her talent for drawing faces—a sin that, if discovered, could get her shunned by her family, her friends, and even Abram. Yet Katie sees her secret pastime as the only way to quiet a growing restlessness she’d just as soon ignore. That is until their Mamm’s untimely death brings Hannah back home to Pennsylvania, with a new outlook on life, a man she adores, and, soon, an invitation for Katie to visit her in New York City.
Suddenly, Katie is experiencing a freedom she’s never had, in a world she never imagined. She’s also spending time in the company of a fellow dreamer, someone who sees her as strong and brave and makes her laugh. But it’s when Hannah shows Katie’s drawings to a gallery owner that she truly finds herself at a crossroads between the only life she’s ever known and the powerful lure of an unfamiliar future.
Hi Laura! Welcome to the blog!
Laura: I’m a sap when it comes to feel-good movies. So Hallmark channel all the way!
Carrie: Yay! And add in the Hallmark Mysteries channel & you really don’t need anything else 😀
Laura: Under. Is there really any other way? 😉
Carrie: No. No there is not. haha!
Laura: At Panera I can have both. 😉
Carrie: And both is always better, especially at Panera!
Laura: When I’m at the gym, I’m all about the ebook (it’s the only thing that keeps me on the dreaded elliptical machine). Anywhere else, it must be print.
Carrie: I have noticed that ebooks may traveling easier. I no longer have to take a huge bag stuffed full of books in case i should become stranded there indefinitely. Of course… I still do… lol!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Laura: Hmmm… That’s a tough one. I’d say leaping tall buildings but that’s taken. So, I’ll go baking! I love to bake. Especially if white chocolate is involved in any way. Though, when it is, eating becomes a bit of a superpower, too.
Q: Other than the Bible, what are five of your most cherished books?
Laura: Great question!
A Cry in the Night by Mary Higgins Clark (it’s the book that really convinced me I wanted to start my fiction career in mystery).
You are Special by Max Lucado (read this aloud to a child and be sure to have a box of tissues nearby for yourself as you do).
On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder (I’m pretty sure I’ve read this book more than a dozen times. My love for the Amish can be traced back to my love for the Little House books simply because, to me, the Amish live very much like folks in the 1800’s…only they do it with the modern world all around—a fact that fascinates me as a writer).
On Writing by Stephen King (it reminds me never to give up on my writing dreams).
Any photo album that contains pictures of my children.
Carrie: I love this answer!! ♥
Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever Googled while researching a book?
Laura: How to kill someone via a papercut. But I didn’t just Google…oh no. I sent that question to a medical examiner I’d worked with on a case (as a reporter) a decade prior. The second I hit “send,” I thought: yeah, that probably wasn’t such a good idea. Fortunately for me, not only did she not report me as an internet wackadoodle, she actually answered!
Carrie: hahahaha! I wonder what went through her head when she first opened that email 😛
Q: Did you have the whole plot outlined for Portrait of a Sister before you started writing, or did you let the characters dictate what came next?
Laura: With Portrait of a Sister, I knew the basics, but the characters and their emotions wrote this story. It’s like I was Katie and I could feel her pain, and her turmoil, and the push-pull of the guilt she felt over doing something that made her happy.
Carrie: That definitely came through to the reader too – I felt Katie’s emotions very vividly.
Q: Portrait of a Sister is your first women’s fiction novel (and a very good one!) Why did you want to explore this genre, as well as the Amish setting, in addition to your cozy mysteries?
Laura: I love reading women’s fiction. When well done, you, as the reader, can identify in some way with what is happening in the story. And, when you’re done, you feel as if maybe you figured out something new about yourself, too. So women’s fiction has always held an appeal for me. As for Portrait of a Sister, itself, that was born, in a way, from the once-Amish detective in my Amish Mysteries, Jakob Fisher. I’ve always been fascinated by Jakob’s decision to leave and the cost that decision has meant for him on a personal level. I explore it to an extent in that series, but I knew, with women’s fiction, I could really get into it in a way I couldn’t with Jakob. And so Katie Beiler and her twin sister, Hannah, kind of birthed themselves in my head (and my heart) so strongly, I just had to tell their story.
Carrie: I’m so very glad you did ♥
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Portrait of a Sister?
Laura: Two things. Strength and courage don’t have to be loud. In fact, sometimes those with the greatest strength and courage are also the ones who are most quiet.
And, sometimes, even when you feel as if you’re caught in a no-win situation, it’s best to quiet your heart and mind as best you can and then try to look at things from a different perspective. Fog (both of the literal and figurative variety) can make it difficult to see anything clearly.
Carrie: These concepts are both so important!
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Laura: Just Plain Murder, the 6th book in my Amish Mysteries, will release November 27th.
A Daughter’s Truth, my next Amish-based women’s fiction novel, will release in May 2019.
Carrie: Eep! Yay! Can’t wait 🙂
Laura Bradford is offering a print copy of Portrait of a Sister to one of my readers! (US only) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most about Laura and/or her new book?