Friday, January 18, 2013

Laura Pauling: Writing heart-stopping adventure stories for all ages

When Ansha Kotyk told me Laura Pauling's latest book was about the Maya, I couldn't wait to learn more.
Laura writes for all ages where the real and the incredible combine in heart-stopping adventures. She lives out her desire for travel and excitement in her young adult Circle of Spies Series: A Spy Like Me and Heart of an Assassin. Her middle grade, How To Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings is available now.

She’d say that living her life of a suburban mom/author complete with minivan carpools, soccer games, and home-baked snicker doodles are really a cover for her exciting life of secret missions and covert operations, but she’d be lying. She loves living in New England with her husband and children.

This may or may not be what she really looks like.
She may or may not actually bake cookies.
You decide.
The Writers’ Lens is about "Bringing fiction into focus." What brings your writing into focus-- the characters, the stories, the love of words? That’s a tough question. Most of my fiction is plot driven, so I’d have to say the stories. But the characters and their emotional arc are closely tied to the plot. I love words: reading fun or beautiful writing, but that means nothing to me without a good story. For me, story is king in my writing and in what I choose to read. The big catch there is that so often characters, their stories, and the love of words are all interconnected.

How do you find time to write and do a demanding job? Even though I’m not earning full- time author wages, that’s what I do. I’m at home, and during the day, I treat writing and publishing like a full time job. (I manage to clean my house and exercise too.)

What inspired your latest book? How To Survive Ancient Spells & Crazy Kings is my last book published but not the most recent book I’ve written. I love time travel and high adventure. I love humor with added suspense. Before I started researching the Maya, I felt like I knew nothing about this ancient civilization. Why did they make sacrifices? What were their daily lives like?

I embarked on the journey and after reading college textbooks and studying the culture for several years I found answers and wove them into my story. My inspiration was that I wanted to learn.

Would you share a bit about your next project? I will be working on Secrets of an Assassin, the third book in my Circle of Spies Series. But I’m currently editing another book in the How To Survive series titled How To Survive Pirate Curses and Tainted Treasure. Bianca and Melvin’s magical adventures continue.

How much fact is in your fiction? Given the amount of research I completed on the Maya, I’d say that there is a lot of fact, but I tried very hard to only include those details necessary for the plot. In fact, research helped tremendously in my plot. I studied the lives of the great kings in the golden days of the Maya and what troubles they faced and then planted Bianca right in the middle of that!
Twitter @laurapauling

HOW TO SURVIVE ANCIENT SPELLS AND CRAZY KINGS: Convinced that her grandfather, Zeb, needs help, twelve-year-old Bianca persuades her family to fly to the Mayan ruins of Tikal on a search and rescue mission. Impatient, she and her brainy cousin, Melvin, sneak out in the middle of the night and follow the clues to the ancient Maya city of Etza, where the people haven’t aged in 2,000 years. The cousins must learn to work together as they face loin-cloth wearing skeletons from the underworld, a backstabbing princess, and an ancient prophecy—one that says in three days the city will be destroyed. They’ll find Zeb and zip right out of there. No problem.

Except, Bianca starts to care for her new friends, and Zeb does not want to be rescued. The fact that a crazy king wants to serve Bianca up to the gods as an appetizer is just a minor technicality. But this ancient evil dude has finally met his match.

Praise for How To Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings
Published by Pugalicious Press

“Packed with adventure and non-stop action, kids won’t be able to put this one down.”
-P.J. Hoover, author of The Forgotten Worlds Trilogy 

“Ever wondered what Indiana Jones would be like as a girl? Here is your answer! This non-stop adventure will whisk you off to an ancient Maya city, throw you into certain doom, and keep you chuckling the whole way through.”
-Anna Staniszewski, author of My Very Unfairy Tale Life


  1. It's great having you ... I look forward to sharing your book with my grandkids!