Friday, September 21, 2012

Guest Post: Laura Bickle

The Larks would like to welcome Laura Bickle to the Nest today.

Romancing the Book By Laura Bickle 

 Writing a book is a lot like being in love - good and bad. There is a predictable timeline and rhythm, I find. And it feels very familiar. 

 Initially, there's infatuation. The flush and excitement of a new idea. This is the easy part - words flow effortlessly. I can spend hours researching or daydreaming about how fabulous the idea is. I make notes, sketches, maps, cut clippings from magazines - I've met my characters, and am deliriously in love with everything they say. The project is, I believe, invincible.  

 It brings me flowers. I glow. 

Then, somewhere around the 30,000 word mark, the infatuation fades. I begin to see the flaws, the inconsistencies, the cracks in the foundation of plot. My book has bad breath. It forgot to shower before it came over. It chews with its mouth open and fails to say "excuse me" when it farts. It doesn't bring me flowers anymore. It never bothers to shave. It's comfortable. Maybe too comfortable. 

 I sit in bed, staring at the book, wondering what to do. Should I abandon it for a newer, more attractive idea? They're always dancing around in my periphery, seductively whispering: "Choose me." 

 But I know that it would be the same. I can choose another idea, but in a few weeks, I'll be at the same place, the shiny newness and rose petals replaced by socks with holes in them and scratching. 

 At this time, I've got to decide to be committed to the project, to see it through -- even though my story is showing me its scraggly, unwashed underbelly. The challenge is to fall into a routine of writing that isn't new or exhilarating -- it's to focus on the entirety of the work, good and bad, and love it enough to finish. 

 There are moments that test my patience. A character proves utterly useless around 50,000 words and is savagely eliminated. A timeline problem emerges that requires my heroine to be in two places at once. A loose plot thread dangles with no end in sight. My characters are passively-aggressively silent. I sulk and ignore the work for weeks. But we get through it, perhaps with a bit of therapy with a crit partner or editor. 

There are moments that are sublime. Keystrokes fly by through the last chapter. Edits clean the story up nicely, and all of a sudden, my story is standing before me. It's shaved, holding a bouquet of flowers.  

 I feel the old love for it again. Not the infatuation of the beginning. But deep affection, knowing that we've weathered the writing process and have come out the other side of it victorious. 

 I straighten its tie, kiss it on the cheek, and send it out into the world. I hope that others will love it as much as I do.

By Laura Bickle 

If your home was the last safe place on earth, would you let a stranger in? 

In this captivating thriller, an Amish settlement is the last safe haven in a world plagued by an unspeakable horror… 

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenag-ers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the church. But before Rumspringa arrives, Katie’s safe world starts to crumble. It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields, followed by rumors of massive unrest and the disappearance of huge numbers of people all over the world. Something is out there...and it is making a killing. 

Unsure why they haven’t yet been attacked, the Amish Elders make a decree: No one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the bounda-ry of their land, she can’t leave him to die. She refuses to submit to the Elder’s rule and secretly brings the stranger into her community—but what else is she bringing in with him? 

Advance Praise for THE HALLOWED ONES 

"This is a book to make you fear the shadows--a horrifying and gruesome tale of faith, and things that blink red eyes in the night. I began reading in the daylight, and read on into the late hours, leaning close, biting my lip. I could not look away; I was ob-sessed. Katie is an unbreakable soul." --Lauren DeStefano, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of the Chemical Garden Trilogy 

About the Author 

Laura Bickle's professional background is in criminal justice and library science. When she's not patrolling the stacks at the public library, she can be found reaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs. She has written several contemporary fantasy nov-els for adults, and THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel. Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and five mostly-reformed feral cats. For more about Laura, please visit her website at:

Laura Bickle 
Reading level: Ages 12 and up 
Paperback: 320 pages 
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Graphia (September 25, 2012) ISBN-10: 0547859260 
ISBN-13: 978-0547859262


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me today! :-)

    1. Thanks for joining us today. You're welcome back at the Nest anytime. :)

  2. The Hallowed Ones is tops on my list of books I MUST read!! <3
    Also, I think the cover art is divine (no pun intended lol)
    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

    1. I think it looks fabulous! I'm excited to read it.

    2. Thanks, folks! The cover artist is Shane Rebenschied, and the full wraparound cover is here:


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