Hermione Laake interview
When did your love of books begin?
I fell in love with books several times. I think the first time was when I discovered Zene Lion’s Harry the Dirty Dog series, then the very un PC, at the moment, Tintin, because of all the stereotypes; aged 11 when I read Anne of Green Gables, and then aged sixteen when I read my first novels by Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls, and then Agatha Christie’s novels, and again when I read Jane Eyre, and then when Michael Jackson wrote Thriller. What a story. Followed by Heart of Darkness, Wide Sargasso Sea, and Gaudy Night. There were several other close seconds along the way. I am hoping to fall in love again very soon.
When did you start to have the wish to become an author?
I had the seeds of a wish to become an author around about the age of ten when I went to my first tea party. My friend’s mum was a writer. The house was very quiet and comfortable, and the table was full of cakes. These two things must have given me the idea that to attain these sorts of comforts; peace and sensuality you need to become a writer, or perhaps I felt I was like this person because I felt comfortable there, so I must be a writer. However, I didn’t make my mind up about this consciously until I was confronted with the opportunity to chase another dream: singing. My boyfriend and I went out to dinner with Simon Fuller and a girl from school. Simon Fuller was working with me in a local restaurant as a waiter. I knew he was creating a girl band (he is known for being The Spice Girls’ first manager), and was auditioning at my school. That dinner would have been the perfect opportunity to ask the question, but, after working out how I felt, I decided that the writers’ life was the one I wanted to pursue and began to write and illustrate my first picture book aged eighteen.
How have you found the process for becoming an author?
The process of becoming an author is simple; you write a book; you are now an author. To be a writer, you need to write every day, and keep on writing.
What would you say to those wanting to become an author?
Becoming an author is relatively easy. You simply write a book. However, persuading people to read or buy your book is a matter of good marketing. Completely lose all manner of expectations. Get other work which supports your writing journey, such as being a mother, gardening or editing.
Tell us about your book/books:
My books are for people who want to go on an adventure. They are for people who feel too much, and for people who love too much. Those are my favourite sorts of stories.
I have three books published on Kindle: THE SILVER RAGUSAURUS, WOEDY BEAR, and MY FRIEND ALIEN (originally published in Flight anthology in 2013 by Ursin Press). Here is the link to my books.
If you are a good sleuth you can hunt down my literary sequel to Jane Eyre from one or two libraries in London, Dorset and South Glos, GB., under my pen name.
Follow me on Goodreads:
The advice you get when first learning to write well is never to read your work to friends and family. I broke this rule and read my books to my five children. I read to them every day, sometimes several books a day. It seemed natural to read my books as well; after all, we made up limericks together, why not progress to a love of writing from a love of reading? One day my middle child asked me where that book about a bear was. I had no clue that she meant my very own book Woedy Bear. Now I take that as a great compliment because that child grew up to become a teacher. Children who read and are read to are good judges of good books.
What do you love about the writing/reading community?
All writing communities are supportive and collegiate places. It is a pity that so many well-known publishers are able to offer mini courses with fantastic content, and yet do not follow-up individual writers that attend and who put in a supreme effort and are so obviously very talented. However, as an editor for an E-mag/journal, I know that this kind of bespoke support simply isn’t realistic. Sometimes a hundred submissions will come in during one week in one category. Either the work is good to go, or it isn’t. It really is that harsh, and sometimes all that means is that your publication simply isn’t the right fit. It is very hard work finding the right fit. I know this on a personal level as I have been seeking an agent for almost 40 years, attending conferences and workshops, gaining an education (a BA in English Literature, and an MA in creative writing with distinction), and I am an awards-nominated writer. At the time of this interview, I still do not have an agent.
If you could say anything to your readers what would it be?
Be honest, be kind, especially to yourself. Allow yourself to love others. The secret to true love is forgiveness. There is no such thing as perfection. There are very few books without typos just as there are very few people without scars. We are all searching. That is the lesson in The Silver Ragusaurus. I hope you will find merit in my books.