My love for writing lived inside me long before I attempted to become a published author. As a child, I was aware of my passion, although I pushed it aside for many years. One of my earliest writing memories was from the First Grade. I had an excellent teacher (Ms. Mills), who provided all of her students with blank books. The covers were made of cardboard and covered with brightly colored contact paper—the kind one would typically use to line the bottoms of drawers or cupboards. Each book contained about twenty pages. She told us we could take home as many blank books as we wanted, and I took full advantage of that offer. I must have written hundreds of stories that year and the two or three years that followed. My mom stored full boxes of my books in the corner of the basement. I’m sure the stories were not good, but that wasn’t the point. I sure enjoyed writing them! (That was the point, as I suspect Ms. Mills already knew.) Those blank books gave me the first thrilling taste of what it felt like to create a story with characters, setting, and plot and see it through from start to finish. That year, Ms. Mills entered my books, along with others, into a writing competition. I was one of the winners of something called The Young Author’s Award. I’m guessing the criteria (at least in my case) might have been based on quantity and not quality.
After grade school, I pursued other goals. I studied hard and got good grades, and went to college and graduate school. I did everything I thought I was supposed to do, but I frequently didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I wasn’t doing something I loved.
Through many years and several moves, only one of my old cardboard books avoided the recycling bin. Seeing that little book again reminded me that my childhood self instinctively knew what I loved to do. I didn’t have to think about what made my heart flutter back then. The one book that survived from that box in the basement was a mystery I’d written in Third Grade, entitled Santa’s Missing. The story involved the sudden disappearance of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Seriously. The stakes couldn’t have been any higher! The story was more proof that, even at the age of eight or nine, I’d known which genre interested me – mysteries.
In the last ten years, writing has found its way back into my life. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to stay home with my two kids when they were toddlers and beyond. During their naps and preschool, I began to write again. I started with picture books. It turns out picture books weren’t my thing, so I switched my focus to writing mysteries for young adults. I even got them published with a small press and won an award. My confidence soared.
I joined writing associations and critique groups. I attended seminars. But most importantly, I wrote every day. Finally, I found the courage to write the type of book I enjoyed reading most—twisty, dark, suspenseful thrillers for adults. Unfortunately, my first manuscript landed with a less-than-stellar literary agent who sat on it, along with a second manuscript, for over two years. Dealing with my former agent was a low point in my writing career.
When I found the courage to break ties with my agent in late 2019, good things happened. Most notably, I signed a three-book deal with Bookouture. My first publication with Bookouture, Two Widows, appealed to many suspense readers and gained me a little bit of a following. My second murder mystery, She Lies Alone, soon followed. Most recently, I’ve been writing and revising my third book in the Bookouture deal—a fast-paced, “locked-door” mystery called The Lake House, involving a women’s reunion weekend gone murderously wrong.
Several things inspired me to write The Lake House. First, I love reading this familiar trope reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None—a group of people trapped together in a location they cannot leave as someone murders them, one by one. While no one can outdo Agatha Christie’s original work, I’ve always wanted to attempt my own more modern and twistier version of it.
Although I set my novel in pre-pandemic 2019, the pandemic also inspired one aspect of The Lake House. I wrote much of the story while my family and I were in quarantine. During this time, I received notice that my kids’ summer camps were canceled. There was something eerie about the thought of sprawling camps sitting vacant all summer. I decided to incorporate a nearby abandoned summer camp into the already remote setting to add to the creepiness factor.
Finally, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that a few of my long-time friends and I have grown apart, whether due to our geographic locations, varying interests, or divisive political beliefs. In some cases, it is nothing more than history that bonds us. I began wondering about events that could shatter a friendship. Would I be friends with certain people if I met them today, rather than twenty years ago? The idea of false friendship is especially sinister to me, and I wanted to explore it in my novel. In addition to the above inspiration, I added a few other surprise twists to The Lake House, and I look forward to its release in March 2021.
Sometimes, I still can’t believe that I fulfilled my childhood passion. I get to write for a living, and I think my First Grade self would be proud of what I have accomplished. And I’m pretty sure Ms. Mills would be too.
(c) Laura Wolfe
About The Lake House:
It was supposed to be the perfect vacation: a secluded cabin by a private lake; late nights, wine and laughter. Megan hasn’t had time for herself since her second child was born, and she knows her friends need a break too—Jenna from her demanding job, Charlotte from marital problems and Kaitlyn and Sam from busy families. Between all their commitments Megan was afraid this trip would never happen, and she needs the comfort and familiarity of her oldest friends now more than ever.
They have known each other since college—there are no secrets between them.
But things change in the woods. As they reminisce, bad memories as well as good are dragged up, and old wounds are reopened. It seems not everyone remembers those college years as fondly as Megan, and a trip planned to bring them back together might just drive them apart for good.
Someone has been hiding a lie for over twenty years. And now lives are in danger.
Gripping, addictive and totally unputdownable, The Lake House will have you wanting to sleep with the lights on. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, The Woman in the Window and Big Little Lies.
Order your copy online here.