Welcome to Flash Bang Mysteries, Laura! Before we get into it, I have to ask if you’re related to my new series character, Clint Wolf?
Thanks, BJ! Unfortunately, there is no relation. But wouldn’t THAT be something?
Yes, it would be something. What can you tell us about TRAIL OF SECRETS? (By the way, it has a really cool cover!)
TRAIL OF SECRETS is a young adult mystery and my first novel. It follows the main character, Brynlei, during her first summer away at an elite riding academy in Northern Michigan. While there, she hears a ghost story about a girl who vanished on a trail ride four years earlier. After glimpsing a shadowy figure in the woods, Brynlei sets out to solve the mystery of the missing girl.
My book contains plenty of equestrian scenes to satisfy any horse-lover, but the reader does not need to know anything about horses to enjoy this book. TRAIL OF SECRETS is a mystery at its core.
I love the cover, too! It was designed by Caroline Andrus who works with the publisher (Fire and Ice YA). She did a great job capturing the feel of the book.
What inspired you to start writing fiction, and how long have you been at it?
I first started writing stories in the first grade when my teacher gave us empty books and told us to fill in the pages. Over the years, my focus shifted to other things and my love for creative writing got lost in the mix. Four years ago, I left my full-time job to stay home with my kids. That’s when I decided to seriously focus on my writing. As soon as I’d drop my daughter at preschool, I’d sit at my computer and type. I adopted the learn-by-doing approach to writing, which I think is the best way to improve.
What genre do you prefer reading, and who is your favorite author in that genre?
I read all types of books, but my favorites are fast-paced thrillers with literary writing. It’s difficult for me to choose a favorite author because I appreciate different things about different authors. That said, I love everything by Gillian Flynn. I recently discovered Mary Kubica and look forward to reading more of her books.
Along that same line of questioning, have you ever read an author who has had a lasting and positive impact on your life?
Yes. When I think of authors who have made a lasting impression, I think of the simplicity of the prose of Kent Haruf, the vivid storytelling of Amy Tan, and authors who have captured the essence of the relationship between humans and horses, such as Linda Kohanov in The Tao of Equus and Melanie Sue Bowles in The Horses of Proud Spirit.
How many hours per day do you devote to writing?
I typically write five hours a day, Monday through Friday. I don’t get much writing done on the weekends, as my husband and I try to dedicate the weekend to family time.
Can you describe a typical day in the life of Laura Wolfe?
My daughter wakes me up at 6:25 every morning. I get ready, make lunches, and walk my kids (ages 6 and 8) to the bus stop. Once the kids are on their way, I sit at my computer and write for about three hours. I usually take a thirty-minute break for eating lunch and dog-walking and then return to writing for another one to three hours, depending on the day. I pick my kids up from school at four o’clock, help them with their homework and/or drive them to their activities. After that, it’s dinner and bedtime for the kids. My husband and I have a couple hours to watch TV after the kids go to bed. Then, I usually read in bed until I fall asleep.
If you could write from anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’ve heard about a writing retreat in Telluride, Colorado. That sounds magical, doesn’t it? I imagine myself secluded in a mountain retreat and brimming with inspiration—although, I may be so distracted by the view I might not get any writing done!
I imagine the same thing! My plan/dream is for my wife and I to retire to the Smoky Mountains, where I’ll set up a writing area on the deck overlooking the mountains.
What are some of your interests or hobbies outside of writing?
I am a lover of nature and animals. I’ve been riding horses since I was very young and still enjoy doing that once or twice a week. I also enjoy gardening, reading, and cheering my Michigan Wolverines onto victory in a variety of sports.
What’s next after TRAIL OF SECRETS?
I’m currently writing BARN SHADOWS (Book 2 in my Dark Horse series). It picks up with Brynlei as she returns to Foxwoode the following summer and encounters yet another mystery.
I’m also in the process of searching for an agent for my commercial thriller, TOP PRODUCER. This is my first novel geared toward an adult, rather than YA, audience. It’s also my first book that doesn’t contain horses, although there is one horse in it!
TRAIL OF SECRETS blurb:
Spending three weeks of her summer at the elite Foxwoode Riding Academy in northern Michigan should have been one of the happiest times of sixteen year-old Brynlei’s life. But from the moment Brynlei arrives at Foxwoode, she can’t shake the feeling she’s being watched. Then she hears the story of a girl who vanished on a trail ride four years earlier. While the other girls laugh over the story of the dead girl who haunts Foxwoode, Brynlei senses that the girl—or her ghost—may be lurking in the shadows.
Brynlei’s quest to reveal the truth interferes with her plan to keep her head down and win Foxwoode’s coveted “Top Rider” award. To make things worse, someone discovers Brynlei’s search for answers and will go to any length to stop her. As Brynlei begins to unravel the facts surrounding the missing girl’s disappearance, she is faced with an impossible choice. Will she protect a valuable secret? Or save a life?
Laura Wolfe is a lover of animals and nature. When she is not writing, she can be found playing games with her highly-energetic kids, riding horses, growing vegetables in her garden, or spoiling her rescue dog. She lives in her home state of Michigan with her husband, son, and daughter. Laura holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan and a JD from DePaul University. She is an active member of multiple writing groups, including Sisters in Crime and the SCBWI. In addition to Trail of Secrets, Laura’s writing credits include an article in Practical Horseman Magazine, and a picture book, Henrietta’s Hoof Polish (forthcoming from Guardian Angel Publishing).
For more about Author Laura Wolf, visit her website: http://www.authorlaurawolfe.com