ELBURN – Newly published author Laura Henry of Elburn will read from her novel "Starlight on Snowfall" at a book-signing event from 1 to 3:30 p.m. June 23 at the Kane County Country Market in Maple Park.
The work of fiction marks a departure from the articles she has written on health, nutrition and fitness drawn from her certifications as a personal trainer and specialist in performance nutrition. In addition, she is a certified public accountant who holds a master's degree in business administration.
"I'm in accounting – a financial analyst by day and a writer by night," Henry told Kane Weekend Editor Renee Tomell. The following is an edited version of the rest of their conversation.
Renee Tomell: Explain your affinity for writing.
Laura Henry: I have the logical side in my work life. The numbers and all that. It's very freeing to go into the creative realm … to go [and] create somebody else's life has always been intriguing to me. I read a lot, which most writers do. When I read, I'm sucked into the reality of the characters. When I write, that's exactly how I write. [I] escape from reality – not just from my day job – but from my own reality. I start writing and it's their life not my life.
Tomell: One of the book's themes is childhood trauma. What's the plot of 'Starlight on Snowfall' about?
Henry: It's about an art gallery owner who has her past catch up with her present. And when her ex-boyfriend comes back into the picture, memories are stirred up of her past and she has to work through them.
Tomell: Tell me about the other main female character, Dane, who works for Kathy in the gallery.
Henry: Dane is coming back to life after her husband' s death. [The theme is] on the cover: two broken women search for healing, not just to survive … but to thrive.
Tomell: How did you come up with the Kathy character?
Henry: The protagonist's … name was with me when I was [a kid]. It's neat that I always knew what her name was – Kathy. I didn't know the story yet. [It's] totally imagination. As you're writing, the characters come to life. You typically don't know their story until you write it. It's almost as if the characters are speaking and you are not. An odd experience, but pretty cool. It took me two years to write the book and have it edited.
Tomell: Did you study to be a writer.
Henry: No formal education, but I have a writing coach who … also does editing. I did take a couple courses through her workshop and through Writer's Digest courses.
Tomell: When did you pick up writing seriously?
Henry: I all of a sudden started writing. It's just something that is in my blood, I guess. i was writing books – not full length – when I was younger, 12 years old. In my high school, I was writing poetry. One of my poems was published in the [school's] annual poetry book.
Tomell: Where does the new novel take place?
Henry: It's set in [contemporary] Wyoming, which I've never been [to]. I had to [do] research. There's a lot of snow in the book.
Tomell: What writing projects are you working on now?
Henry: A prequel … from the mother's point of view. Kathy hasn't seen her parents for a long time. Her father passes away. The mother tells her some very daunting news – things of her childhood. Now I'm doing it from the mother's perspective and there's going to be a sequel after that about Kathy.
In announcing her book, Henry wrote: "Through compassion of self and others, one can truly heal and not just become a survivor, but one who thrives, even in the worst of circumstances. Until healing really begins, we are in a holding state of life, and mechanically work our way through every day. Once healing begins, we are able to move forward and find the beauty in ourselves and the life we choose to live going forward."
If you go
WHAT: Laura Henry's book launch and signing
WHEN: 1 to 3:30 p.m. June 23
WHERE: Kane County Country Market, 4N250 Route 47, Maple Park
COST: Free admission