Laurie Norlander is a CPA who lives in Chippewa Falls, Wis., with her husband Stephen. They have two grown sons and three beautiful granddaughters. In her free time, Laurie likes to spend time with her family, travel, write, work in her hosta garden and solve diagram-less crossword puzzles.
Laurie has a love for words and when she was 19 she wrote her first novel on a typewriter. Laurie would not start writing seriously until 2003 when her youngest son was deployed to Iraq. At first writing helped her calm the worries she had but it quickly turned into a creative outlet, which led to the completion of her first novel Stir the Waters. While it was not very good, it did unleash a renewed passion to write. Years later Laurie started working on her third novel, Mirror Images, under the mentorship of Christy award-winning author, DiAnn Mills.
Here we talk with Laurie about Mirror Images and the Women of Faith writing contest.
WestBow Press: What inspired you to write Mirror Images?
Laurie Norlander: I was brainstorming potential plots for a writing course and I got the basic idea for Mirror Images from a headline in my local newspaper. As the manuscript evolved, I drew the title and further inspiration from 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”
WBP: What is the primary message of your book and the number one take away for readers?
LN: Mirror Images highlights God’s ability to transform lives and change perspectives. Although the world insists that ‘seeing is believing,’ in truth our perceptions are limited and often flawed. Faith gives us the confidence to believe in things unseen and to trust an unknown future.
WBP: How did you find out about the 2012 Women of Faith writing contest and what prompted you to enter?
LN: My daughter-in-law heard about the contest when she attended a Women of Faith conference in Minneapolis last year, and she suggested that I enter. My manuscript was ready and my search for an agent had stalled so the contest seemed like a good way to test the waters. I felt Mirror Images was written well enough to be competitive, and it conveys a message I was eager to share.
WBP: What were your expectations once you had finished entering your manuscript in the contest?
LN: I was cautiously hopeful. I felt the manuscript showcased my writing ability and I hoped it would attract the judges’ attention. When I saw that I was included in the list of 30 finalists, I was pleased to have something to add to my writing resume, and I hoped the exposure would open doors toward my dream of becoming a published author.
WBP: What was your initial reaction upon learning that you had been selected as the 2012 Women of Faith Writing Contest grand-prize winner?
LN: I was surprised, a little overwhelmed and completely thrilled. I couldn’t wait to tell my husband, who has supported me on this long and sometimes frustrating journey. What an incredible blessing and honor to be singled out from among so many entrants!
WBP: Do you have plans to write and publish another book after Mirror Images?
LN: Yes, I am currently working on a sequel, tentatively titled The Jonah Complex. It is a romantic suspense novel set in Chicago. It features a familiar character, or two, embroiled in the hunt for a serial killer.
WBP: What advice do you have for first-time authors?
LN: If you love to write and feel a calling to share your heart with others, never give up. Writing is a solitary activity, and it is easy to get discouraged. Be persistent and have faith. While you wait, continue to learn; find a mentor. Accept constructive criticism and learn to edit and choose each word with care. Write for His glory.