Happy hump day! Today we’re talking to Laura Laakso….a fellow dog lover and previous archaeology student, about her new book which is OUT TOMORROW, why she’d like to chat with Agatha Christie and home-made coffins……
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m a Finn who has spent her adult life in England. I came to study Classical archaeology, through a few twists and turns ended up staying, became an accountant, and now I’m pursuing my dream of writing full-time, though I have some way to with that. When I’m not working or writing, I’m normally found outside walking or training my two dogs.
What inspired you to start writing?
Whether I think back to the earliest stories I scribbled down in primary school or the more recent and more serious writing I’ve done, I seem to come back to the same answer: a story needed to be told. The more I open myself to ideas, the more come my way. Occasionally, one simply won’t leave me alone and that’s the sort that gets told.
How many books have you written and published?
I’m working on my sixth novel at the moment. Out of the other five, three have publishing contracts. My debut, Fallible Justice, was published last November, the sequel Echo Murder is out tomorrow and the third in the series, Roots of Corruption, in March 2020. My current work in progress is the fourth instalment in my Wilde Investigations series.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
Definitely Roots of Corruption! With that book, it feels like I’ve hit my stride, both as a writer in general and as the creator of the Wilde Investigations series. The story encompasses Samhain magic, poisonous plants, the Fey and gruesome murders, and I had the best time writing it. In fact, it hardly felt like work at all and I raced through the first draft. Although writers are forever learning and honing their craft, five novels in, I feel like I finally know what I’m doing.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
Sometimes a character grows around a name I like. Sometimes I choose names that have a meaning that suits a character. For instance, my PI main character has an apprentice called Karrion Feathering. Karrion is a goth Bird Shaman, who only wants to associate with crows and ravens, but much to his annoyance, pigeons follow him everywhere. He wandered into my head to complain about pigeons and pretty much named himself. My job seems to be just sitting back and letting the characters get on with it.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Definitely Lady Bergamon, a Plant Shaman who is an urban myth to most people in my version of London. She knows everything about plants, so would be handy to have around for survival, and she’s brilliant fun.
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
Am I really supposed to pick just one? If so, I think I’d have to go with The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans. I read it every couple of years, and the quality of the language never fails to amaze me. I always thought that if I could ever learn to convey emotions through my writing even half as well as he does it, I would have succeeded as a writer. It took me many years to realise that I’ve achieved that.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
A story about a horse called Lawrence who had to escape from a burning stable and rescue the other horses. I’m not sure it had much of a plot and I’m certain it was pretty much copied from my favourite books at the time, but something about the story has lingered in my mind when I’ve forgotten so many others.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
All sorts of things from being the pretend queen of a real castle to working in hotels, but my main career has been in accountancy, where I’ve specialised in trusts and estates.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
I don’t really know, which sounds terrible given that I studied archaeology. Perhaps I’d go see the ancient Mycenae or Knossos at the height of the Minion rule. Though I get sunburn easily and know only two words of Linear B, so I can’t see the trip going that well.
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’d love to speak to Agatha Christie about her writing process. She’s the queen of crime novels and I’m a huge fan!
What are your favourite things to do?
Sleeping, definitely. I love spending time with my dogs, whether it’s curled up on the sofa with them, exploring a new walk or working an obedience round. They never fail to put a smile on my face. For whatever spare time I have left, I like to play boardgames and table-top roleplaing games.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
I once spent the night in a home-made coffin with a friend.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Don’t be in so much of a rush to write and achieve and succeed that you risk your health.
Name one book you think everyone should read?!
Bird Box by Josh Malerman.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
Echo Murder is the second book in the Wilde Investigation series and picks up where Fallible Justice left off. PI Yannia Wilde and her apprentice Karrion are presented with a baffling case involving a human who keeps dying over and over, and yet he lives. With each death, more of the illusion bleeds into reality, and Yannia and Karrion have to catch the killer before someone dies for real.
Thanks so much for taking part Laura :). Any questions then get in touch.
Thanks for reading and have a great day.