An Interview with Laurel O’Donnell

Please help me welcome Laurel to my blog today. There’s a prize for one lucky commenter so be sure and leave a comment.

How did you get started writing?

My grandmother told me she remembers me carrying around a pen and pad of paper when I was little. She said wherever I went I had those in my hands. I started writing stories in Junior High School. Of course, they were other people’s characters. I would write myself into my favorite television show. Like Starsky and Hutch. I would be the heroine. So, it was a natural progression for me to develop my own characters.
In college, I took fiction writing classes. And in graduate school, I took a romance writing class. I had already begun writing my own story at this time. The teacher introduced me to RWA (Romance Writers of America). I joined the organization in 1992 and a year later, entered my first novel, The Angel and The Prince, into their national writing contest, the Golden Heart. Since it was my first novel, I wanted some feedback, just to see if it was any good. It turned out that I was a finalist in the contest. Was I shocked!!! And appreciative. I didn’t win, but the editor for Kensington who was judging the Golden Heart, liked my manuscript so much that she made me an offer for it.
That’s how it all started for me.

What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I write medieval romance, paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I started writing medievals because that time period has always intrigued me. I love the romance of the castles and the ladies and their knights. It was a time of chivalry. And passion and bravado. Just the image of a knight on his horse is very romantic.
I write paranormal because writing about the powers a vampire has are something different. It was a new experience to write a hero that has super power and super speed. In Immortal Death, Demetrius actually starts out his life as a knight and is turned into a vampire. So, in many respects, he is still that knight with those romantic beliefs.
I wrote my first urban fantasy series because the premise of what happens after death, what happens if someone doesn’t want to cross to the afterlife, was just too much to pass up. The possibilities are endless. And, of course, there is a little bit of romance in it, too. It’s about family and the bonds that keep them together, even after death. It’s about Sam and her brother Ben who are Lost Souls, struggling to find a way to save humans.

Tell us about your current series.

Lost Souls: Imperfection has just been released. It’s the second episode in my Lost Souls series. The Lost Souls are spirits who refuse to pass into the afterlife. They are trapped between the world of the living and the dead. Some of these Lost Souls have banded together to fight against the evil endangering both their existence and the safety of the human world. This evil is beings who were once Lost Souls but have turned dark and dangerous. They are called the Changed. They feed on the energy of the Lost Souls with the goal to harness enough energy to return to the land of the living by possessing the body of a human. The mission of the Lost Souls is to stop them.
In Imperfection, Sam and her brother Ben, along with their friend Christian, have just defied the leader of the Lost Souls. They are outcast from their former group, but still plan to battle the Changed on their own. They find out that their nemesis, Scala, has escaped his centuries old prison to come after them.
This series has so much potential. I’m very excited about the future of this urban fantasy series. The next episode is due out around Christmas!

What is your favorite part of writing?

I really like creating my characters. I love getting to know them and discovering their stories. It’s like making new friends. I guess you can tell that I’m a pantser. I let my characters write their own stories. In the case of Angel’s Assassin, I wrote the ending four times before they finally revealed the right ending! But boy, did Damien get it right. It was fantastic!

What is your next project and when will it be released?

I’m currently working on the next episode of Lost Souls, titled Deception. It’s Ben’s story. I’m trying to give each character their own episode and then I will really get into the story. But the story is constantly building and growing. It even holds surprises for me!
It’s due out around Christmas.

How has your experience with self-publishing been?

I’ve been traditionally published, published through an ebook publisher (Pink Petal put out Immortal Death) and self published. I started self publishing over a year ago because I wanted my readers to be able to get my backlist, which was no longer available through Kensington.

Now, I’m self publishing because I want my readers to be able to get my stories and enjoy them. Self publishing is a great way to do this. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a lot of work! But it is well worth it.
My experience with self publishing has been wonderful!

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

Depends. I will sometimes borrow names, but I have never put someone I know into my story. I wouldn’t feel right about doing it. Unless I didn’t like them. Then I suppose I could kill them off.  I’d always be afraid that I didn’t get them right, that the character in my book said or did something that the real person wouldn’t do.

Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.

Damien in Angel’s Assassin is a tortured and honorable man. He is an assassin, so immediately you can see the challenge of getting readers to feel empathy for him. Or to like him. One of his strengths are his confidence. He is very sure of himself and very confident in his abilities as an assassin. He simply is the best. One of his weaknesses are his feeling of unworthiness. Deep down, he wants to be a good person, he wants to be a hero, but the things that he has done make him bad. He doesn’t feel worthy of Aurora, the heroine’s, love. So, the conflict begins…

Thanks so much, Cynthia, for allowing me to share a little about some of my stories. I hope everyone gets a chance to check them out and enjoys them as much as I did.


Laurel O’Donnell lives in Illinois with her husband, four children and five cats. She has always enjoyed escaping into the medieval era, including spending a summer interning at the renaissance faire in Wisconsin where she learned to sword fight and recite Shakespeare. Now, she spends her time reading a good book, or swimming or, of course, writing.


Damien watched the startled expression cross her eyes, heard the gasp stop in her throat. His fingers trembled. One quick move… How innocent she was. How trusting. How foolish. Foolish in her blind faith and trust in him.

He had waited a long time for this moment. His freedom was within striking distance.

Her lips parted in a silent gasp and she lifted her chin beneath the pressure of the blade. “Damien,” she whispered.

Betrothed. Anger flared through his veins at the thought of Ormand laying his hands on her, at the image of him kissing her and tasting her as he had. Is that why Roke wanted Aurora dead? So no one else could have her if he could not? Were Roke’s thoughts thick with jealous rage just as his own thoughts were now? Did that make him just as evil and twisted as Warin Roke?

He had to do it now. He felt himself swirling toward oblivion. He was becoming lost. Lost to his mission, lost to his freedom, lost to everything he held dear except for her. Damien looked at the silver blade he held to the white skin of her neck. Your freedom means everything to you. He pressed the dagger up tighter against her throat. Her beautiful, smooth, white, flawless throat. Do it.

She should be afraid. Why wasn’t she moving? Why wasn’t she running or trying to talk him out of it? Would she stand so motionless before another assassin like this? All of his victims had struggled and fought for their lives, especially when they knew their end was near.

Aurora stood before him, her chin held high, unflinching, unmoving. Unafraid.

Damien clenched his teeth tighter. Trusting, he thought with bitter disdain. No one trusted him. No one. Not his father. Not his colleagues. No one. And rightfully so. He was an assassin. He brought death. He was death.

And yet… Aurora stood before him, imperiously, bestowing goodness on him with a simple glance.

His hand shook, his fist tightening around the handle of the dagger. “You’re wrong about me,” he snarled.

In her eyes, in her stunning blue eyes, he saw absolution. Damien could not move. His freedom was at hand. Just a little slash with his sharp dagger. But this was Aurora. She was so damned pure and innocent. He wanted desperately to kiss her. He wanted to have her. She was dangerous to him. So dangerous. That thought could not save him from his desperate need for her. Damien growled low in his throat.

He threw the dagger aside and grabbed her shoulders, pulling her against him tightly, pressing his lips to hers. It was a frantic, despondent kiss. A punishing kiss. He would not give up his freedom. Not for anyone. It was all he wanted. It was all he needed. She would not stand in his way.

7 thoughts on “An Interview with Laurel O’Donnell

  1. Pingback: Interview and Prize! - Laurel O'Donnell - Author

    • I love Laurel O’Donnell books! I like own all of them. But who is your favorite male character and your favorite female character from your stories? My favorite characters are all of them! Especially Slane from A Knight of Honor!

  2. I totally have to ask, do your characters seem to whisper to you? I love creating characters too… but mine seem to whisper to me and take over all of my thoughts unless I write their stories down. :0) Great interview!

    • Hi Jesse –
      The characters do whisper. Insistently at times. And at other times, quieter. Like the ending I wrote for Angel’s Assassin. It gnawed at me and really bothered me until I finally wrote the right ending! I couldn’t just leave it. I couldn’t leave it at “good enough”. Damien, my hero, wouldn’t let me. He continued to offer me new solutions. And finally, it was the right one. Okay. I’d better stop now before they lock me up! 🙂

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