Welcome, today we are talking with Laura M. Baird! I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy writing schedule to answer a few questions. First, let’s delve into who you are. Some of the questions may be untraditional but you’d be surprised at what readers connect to, and sometimes the simplest ‘I can relate to that’ grabs their interest where nothing else can.

Can you share a little something about Laura M. Baird that’s not mentioned in your bio on your website?

I like to think I’m musically inclined, as I played piano, trumpet, drums, bells, (tried flute and clarinet). I LOVE music and dancing, often belting out tunes and dancing around the house. Because, who doesn’t do that?! I’d love to be brave enough to sing the Star Spangled Banner at an event. And since I’m not brave enough to try out for The Voice, I wrote about it in my romcom, Unexpected Adventures. 😉

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

My love of writing started in the 4th grade with poetry and short stories. Then in my early twenties, I started writing a novel, but set it aside for college. It wasn’t until around 2014 that I started writing seriously, saving stories, polishing then submitting. And since my first acceptance in 2017, I haven’t slowed down. 

How long have you been writing?

Not to sound repetitive, but since 4th grade! But to be fair, I began writing romance in 1995. Then life happened, as it does. I went to dental hygiene school in my early thirties and concentrated on my family and career. I wrote off and on throughout the years, but only since 2014 have I dedicated my time to serious writing.

What have you found most challenging about it?

Most challenging about the writing itself is staying disciplined; trying to use every moment of spare time. As hard as I try, it’s impossible. There are times when there’s just no flow, no focus, so I either read other author’s work instead, or reread my stories to get back into the groove.

What does writing do for you? Is it fun, cathartic, do you get emotional or exhausted when you write those hot scenes?

It’s a fantastic challenge, to create a story, evoke emotions that the readers will connect with or escape with. I definitely get emotional. I guess it’s a good thing when I go back to read passages and my tears well up or I’m laughing out loud. Writing hot scenes can be exhausting yet exhilarating. It takes many attempts and rereads to make it flow, make it real.   

Describe what your writing routine looks like. Are you disciplined with a strict schedule or do you have to be in the mood?

I definitely have to be in the mood. When my stories are flowing, I can write like a fiend. But when they’re not, it can get depressing. I try not to berate myself because my deadlines are self-imposed. Yet, I do try to push myself, because I’m responsible for my own success. Since I continue to work three days a week as a dental hygienist, I try to make the most of my other days to write and promote… While also spending time with hubby! 

Did you go into writing thinking that it would be a hobby or a job?

At first, it was a hobby, a way to get my thoughts and ideas down, and have fun. But as the years went on and I started to take it more seriously, I told myself I would work toward it being a job. I want to retire from hygiene within a few years if I’m able and just write. It’s a tough order, but I’m working at it! 

What inspires you?

This may sound trite, but everything inspires me, from my own experiences, to family and friends, and even current events. Someone can throw a subject at me and I will somehow fashion a story. 🙂

You have an impressive list of accomplishments listed on your about page on your website, which ones are you most proud of?

Thank you! I think I’m simply proud that I took the leap to write and submit in the first place. No one wants to receive rejection, but it’s a part of life. The key is to not give up. I heard a phrase from a former pilot on a podcast that my husband was listening to: “Make them tell you no.” That’s become my mantra. 

I see that you’re a veteran and that you donate all the sales of your military romance, The Soldier’s Final Mission, to the organization of Soldiers’ Angels which benefit deployed military, their families and veterans. Please tell readers more about that organization. I’m thinking that there are others out there who would like to get involved.

Being veterans, my husband and I love to support organizations that do exactly what Soldiers’ Angels does: support not only active military, but the families, as well as veterans. When searching for organizations that give more than they take, I went to https://www.charitynavigator.org/ to view their rating and where they put their money. Soldiers’ Angels ranked high on the list of military charities. And after speaking to one of their administrators and learning about all they do (from care packages to the deployed, to laptops for the disabled; blanket drives and food assistance for veterans, and many unique support programs for the families of the deployed), I couldn’t help but put them at the top of my list for donations. Readers can learn more at https://soldiersangels.org 

Okay, I have to ask, what is the Cocky Hero Club all about?

Best-selling authors, Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward co-wrote sexy romances about cocky heroes and strong women, and authors who write in a similar vein can submit a sample of their work and be invited to write in that world. (Many authors are doing that more and more, having others write in their world. Robyn Peterman does it for her Magic and Mayhem series which is paranormal romance.) After submitting my writing, I was thrilled to be invited. Authors can write a spin-off story based on one of the main cocky hero books; it can be nearly anything! My story, Park Avenue Princess is based off the original story, Park Avenue Player. My heroine, Lynne, is best friends with a secondary character from the original story, so that’s part of my tie-in. Lynne goes on vacation and has a fling with a stranger. But after falling fast and hard, she panics. So she flees, thinking she’ll never see him again. It was her biggest regret. Then six years later, she discovers he’s in NYC, same as her. They rekindle their passion, but family secrets threaten to up-end their world. I had so much fun writing my story. It’s submitted and awaiting approval before it goes into queue for publication. It was a great way to challenge myself, and I’m looking forward to reaching new readers!

Let’s move on and give readers some insight into your personal life.

 What is your favorite:

  • Animal – dog
  • Food – bacon cheeseburger
  • Movie – So many! A favorite is Return to Me
  • TV show – I rarely watch TV anymore, but I was hooked on The Walking Dead
  • Singer – Pat Benatar
  • Author – Nora Roberts

 What are your pet peeves?

Inconsiderate, unaware individuals

 Who is your hero?

My hubby of thirty years. He doesn’t give himself enough credit for how smart, caring, and fantastic he is, so I remind him all the time. 

Give us one thing on your bucket list.

Visiting Scotland… for at least a few months at a time. It’s a big country so I need plenty of time to explore.

What would readers find surprising about you?

I’m a tattoo fanatic (with many!) I love college football and can often be heard yelling my sage advice to the TV (which may or may not contain expletives). Okay, it usually contains expletives!

If you could go to heaven, who would you visit?

My father; he left way too soon. (But don’t all our loved ones?) 

Any bad habits?

Oh boy… I touch everything! Because I grew up with the motto, A place for everything and everything in its place. Hubby is constantly asking where an item is and when I tell him, he asks why I moved it. I tell him I put it in its place. 

Now that our readers know who Laura M. Baird is let’s talk a little bit about your books. I love the beautiful covers in your Shifter Clans Series! Tell readers about the series.

Thank you! I love the cover designer’s work with Evernight Publishing. She is phenomenal at bringing our vision to life. What started as a one-story challenge turned into four books! Evernight will put out an anthology call, asking authors to write a story with a particular theme. The first book, In His Sights was written with that in mind – an alpha male and a strong female who wasn’t just going to roll over for him. I had shifters in mind; my hero is a Native American hawk shifter, Mason. My heroine, Charity, is a former military analyst and an amputee, and she doesn’t take flak from anyone. She and Mason work together to uncover rogue labs performing experiments on shifters and humans, and are drawn to one another. So there’s a military/suspense element along with the romance. Secondary characters continued to talk to me, which led to three more books, taking the characters from Arizona to Honduras and back again. Book two came quickly after the first. Book three was very emotional and took the longest to write, but I was so pleased with the story. And book four is a Christmas novella that brings all the characters back together. It’s a feel-good wrap-up. 

Any other works in progress?

Several! I have a short story in an anthology with 1,001 Dark Nights (releasing 12/1) and I’m writing a spin-off that I’ll be putting out to readers for free through Bookfunnel. I’m also writing two other stories: one is a summer-themed seasoned romance that I’ll have in another anthology with several authors, set to release in June. I’m also going to attempt a story for another anthology call for Evernight; this year’s theme is reluctant bride. I have an idea tickling at me, so we’ll see how it develops. Readers are also asking for more in my Cover Model series and I’m eager to write at least two more books there. So I have plenty to keep me busy.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

What comes to mind first is to write your passion, write what makes you happy. Make connections with other creatives in order to support and receive support. Be persistent; if you want it, get it!

Final words?

Thank you so much for this opportunity! I hope readers will find and enjoy my work. And engage! I love hearing from authors and readers alike.

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