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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Visiting Author Laura Vosika



About the Author:


Laura Vosika, author of the Blue Bells Chronicles, is also working on several other novels and a non-fiction book on the theology of music. 


Laura grew up in the military, visiting castles in England, pig fests in Germany, and the historic sites of America's east coast. She earned a bachelor's degree in music, and master's degree in education, and worked for many years as a freelance musician, private music instructor, and school band director.


She currently lives in Minnesota with six of her nine children, Irish Wolfhound, and three cats.




Could you tell us a bit about your latest novel?



book cover Westering Home



Westering Home is Book Four in what should be five books of The Blue Bells Chronicles.  The whole series tells the story of Shawn Kleiner, a modern American classical musician who has lifted his orchestra to great heights with his charisma and business skills.  However, he's also caused them, and his girlfriend, a lot of trouble, with his womanizing, drinking, gambling, and partying.  Finally, Amy has it, and leaves him abandoned in a medieval tower, while they're on tour in Scotland.


He wakes up in the wrong time, as does his cross-century twin, Niall Campbell.  They are mistaken for one another and caught in one another's lives.  


The entire series is, ultimately a story of redemption, as Shawn lives and fights beside the heroes of Scotland's Wars of Independence, before returning to Amy, a changed man--and yet, one who still has some decisions to make as to how far he'll go to save those he loves.




The book is available at Amazon



Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?


I let the story flow.  Then I go back and re-read and make sure it all hangs together and makes sense.  


Do your characters ever want to take over the story? 


Always!  Parts of my books are very different from what I originally planned, because of this.  Angus, for instance, a Scottish inspector and mountain rescuer, was never in my plans.  However, one day, he simply walked in and sat down next to Amy, in Book Two, and I realized this is the cop from Book One!



Where do you dream of traveling to and why? 


I once would have said Scotland, as my books are set there.  I still love going there, but my future dream is to finally get to Russia some-day.  I've studied Russian in the past, my best friend was a Russian interpreter, and I currently work for and with a lot of Russian music teachers.  It just seems to be a part of my life.



Do you listen to music while writing?


No.  I usually find it way too distracting.  I like silence.  Sometimes, I think this is ironic, considering I'm a musician by trade.  Other times, I think that's exactly why it's so distracting to me.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?


I've learned that writing is a lot of fun and a lot of work.  Publishing is even more work, and could easily consume 48 hours a day.  I've learned the sad truth that there's a lot of fraud and revenge and pay-for-reviews in the review system, and I've learned that writing has opened up a whole world of writers and readers with whom I've become friends.


Is there anything you would do differently?


No.  We can always wonder how things would have worked had we done them differently.  But I'm happy with how things are going.


Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?


My writing is heavily influenced by Margaret J. Anderson's In the Keep of Time, my love of time travel and historical fiction, and my own life as an orchestral musician.  Like Shawn, my protagonist, I play trombone.  I played semi-professionally for many years, and am quite familiar with his world, his instrument, and the music he knows.  Like Niall, I play harp and in fact just performed yesterday at a medieval fair, playing music he would have known.


Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?


Find a writers' critique group.  Meet weekly to read your writing, receive critiques, and listen to others.


What are three words that describe you?


Mother.  I have nine children, the joys of my life.  Writer.  For obvious reasons.  Musician.  I have spent my life in music, I play about a dozen instruments, I teach private music lessons, I occasionally perform on harp these days, and in the past have done a lot of playing in everything from solo situations to big bands to full orchestras.  I also directed a school band for five years, and taught general music for three.


What's your favorite book or who is your favorite writer?


Oh, boy!  Just like with musical instruments, I can't limit it to one.  Tempo Rubato by Brendan Carroll.   The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson.  And the soon-to-be published novel The Feet Say Run by Dan Blum.  (I've read it because I'm publishing it.)



Excerpt of your latest release


Fluorescent lights glared down from a white ceiling.  White walls doubled their effect, washing the whole room in blinding white.  “I’ve died and gone to heaven,” Shawn muttered.  “Niall’s going to be so disappointed to find me here.”  He lounged in a spindly chair designed for discomfort, his legs in filthy breeks stretched in front of him.  


He’d shed the robe and bloodied chain mail.  They lay on the scarred, wooden table, under the huge

claymore and two short, vicious sgian dubhs, between him and half the Inverness police force, several of whom threw the items curious glances at regular intervals, while striving to appear only professionally interested. 


“Someone’s called my mother?”  Shawn asked for the second time.  His lower leg burned.  He suspected he’d been sliced with one of the MacDougalls’ swords. “She’s here in Scotland?” 


“Aye, down in Bannockburn,” said Inspector MacLean, with the short black curls and ruddy cheeks.  In contrast to the other cops, he wore jeans and a rumpled navy blue sweatshirt.  He stayed back from the table, against the wall.  “Amy’s on the phone with her now.” 


“Perhaps that should be Miss Nelson to you,” Shawn said. 


Inspector MacLean stared straight ahead, not answering.  But his lips tightened. 


Shawn smiled. 


“We must ask again,” spoke the man who must be the chief, “where you’ve been for a year?”  Beside him sat a middle-aged man Shawn had identified as Clive, with a well-padded paunch and thinning brown hair, reaching for a donut. But it was Inspector MacLean, standing calmly, avoiding his eyes, to whom Shawn’s gaze strayed over and over.  


“Mr. Kleiner?” 


Shawn forced himself to look at the chief.  “I’ve spent about a quarter of the time at Glenmirril, and the rest at Stirling Castle, Cambuskenneth, Creagsmalan, Dundolam, and all over Jedburgh and Northumbria.” 


The chief banged his fist on the table.  The coif slid off the hauberk to fall, clanking, against the sword.  “You mean to say you’ve been going around Glenmirril, which is packed with tourists every day, dressed like that!”  He indicated Shawn’s trews and stained, torn gambeson, over a medieval leine.  “With half of Scotland searching for you, and no one’s noticed?” 


Shawn shrugged.  He looked again at the man who had hugged Amy and James.  The Inspector gazed at the far wall, his cheeks high with color.  Shawn looked back to the chief.  “No one noticed because I was there from June 1314 until early this morning, June, 1316.” 



What about your other books?



I've just released Go Home and Practice, a music record book designed to help musicians and music students focus their practice for better results.  It's a book I've been using with my own students, and am very happy with the progress I see for those who use it.


Food and Feast

      Food and Feast


I'm also about to release Food and Feast in the World of the Blue Bells Chronicles: a gastronomic historic poetic musical romp in thyme, a somewhat light-hearted collection of my research specifically on food. There are recipes in middle and modern English, and discussions of spices and medieval thoughts on food, mixed in with the medieval history behind the story and a bit of poetry and music.



Other Books


Blue Bells Chronicles:


1- Blue Bells of Scotland

2- The Minstrel Boy

3- The Water is Wide

4- The Battle is O'er coming in late 2017


Other Books:


Go Home and Practice: Music Record Book

Food and Feast in the World of the Blue Bells Chronicles: a gastronomic historic poetic musical romp in thyme



Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.


publisher website:www.gabrielshornpress.com










8:29 am pdt          Comments

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