Wednesday Writers welcomes Laura Jackson today. Laura, Please tell the readers about the book that is being showcased today, Worth the Time.
Doesn’t anyone feel she’s worth their time? Routinely ignored by her single mother, high school senior Lindsey Hamilton hides her loneliness behind a mask of flirtatious self-confidence that has many boys wrapped around her finger. However, during community service required for graduation, she meets a shy guy with a haunted past who barely gives her the time of day. Why doesn’t he like her? Then the father she thought had abandoned her before birth wants to meet, and she discovers everything she believed about him is a lie. How will Lindsey learn to trust so she can realize that she has been loved all along?
How did you come up with the concept for this book?
When I wrote the first book in the series, Lindsey was the mean girl. I wanted to know what made her so hateful. I knew there was a hurt girl hiding behind her sarcastic barbs and flirty glances.
What are you working on now? Do you have a release date for this book?
I’m working on a stand-alone book, but there’s no release date—or even title—for it yet.
Some writers like quiet when they write, others want music. Which one are you?
I listen to music when I’m trying to capture the feeling or mood of a scene, but I normally listen to sports radio. I like background noise, and the talking focuses me. I’ve written a lot of pages while listening to Houston Rockets games.
Character names are important in writing. How do you choose your character’s name?
Names are so important to me. Long before I started writing, I enjoyed looking up names, finding out their meaning and origin. Picking characters’ names is one of the hardest parts for me because I want their names to capture them with one word.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If so, what did you do to break it? If not, what’s your secret to keeping it at bay?
I’m suffering from it right now. I’m at a fork in the road with the story, and I really can’t decide which way my character should go. I know the key to beating writer’s block is just to keep writing—even if you will just delete it later.
How have your reading (and writing) tastes evolved over the years? Do you still read the same genre of books you did as a teenager?
I’ve always read a variety of genres, and I still do. Mary Higgins Clark was one of my favorites as a teen, and I still buy all of her books.
What’s the book you are reading now?
I just started Dee Henderson’s new book Taken. She is one of my all-time favorite romantic suspense authors.
How often do you read non-fiction?
Rarely. I have to force myself to read it. I do enjoy reading nonfiction books with my students in the library, but I don’t really enjoy adult nonfiction with the exception of some books I’ve read about the Kennedys. I don’t know why I don’t read more. Any suggestions of books to try?
I’ve always liked to read the diaries of pioneers. Right now I have a book of Civil War letters waiting for me.
Do you have a day job? If so, what is it?
I’m the librarian at an elementary school. It’s a lot of fun. I’m surrounded by great books and energetic readers all day. Plus, it gives me plenty of days off to write.
Surrounded by books. That sounds like a writer’s dream.
We like to travel. What is the farthest place from your home that you have visited?
I’m going to Alaska in two weeks, and I’m so excited. So. Very. Excited. God just dropped the trip into my lap, and I’m so thankful. I have a goal to visit all 50 states.
How about a few quickies now?
Favorite food? Chicken. I eat it in some form every day.
Favorite singer or band? I don’t have a favorite. Listen to a lot of praise music.
Favorite season? Winter because I love the cold. Summer because I love vacation.
Favorite flower? Pink Gerber Daisies
Favorite color? Pink. It’s fun and girly.
Mug or teacup? Neither. Usually a tumbler for work and a glass at home.
It’s been a pleasure having you here today. As you say goodbye, can you leave the readers with an encapsulation of your life’s philosophy? (a quote, a Bible verse, a precept you live by or have tried to instill in your children?)
This verse has been on my heart for about a year now.
Philippians 4:11 “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (ESV)
No matter where God has me, I want to be content. I want to trust that He sees the whole picture while I see just a snippet. Everything I’m going through is for my good and His glory, and I choose to be at peace wherever He places me.
Thanks for having me!
Thank you for visiting!
Now here’s an excerpt from Laura’s book Worth the Time
Spring of Freshman Year
Lindsey floated up to her dorm room at Delton School for Girls. Racing to her window, she watched Tristan walk off campus, his gait confident as he held his cell phone up to his ear. She rummaged through her purse for her phone. Was he already calling her to tell her what a great time he’d had?
Nope. Her screen was dark. He put the phone back into his pocket and cleared the gate leading to the street where his car was parked.
After changing into her pajamas, Lindsey pulled out her journal from underneath her worn-out copy of Pride and Prejudice. Too bad I don’t have sisters to discuss tonight’s date.
Lindsey smiled as she documented every moment from the time Tristan picked her up, holding flowers, until he dropped her off with a sweet kiss. Her face burned when she got to the part in his car. Dropping her pen, she leaned back against her pillows.
There was no need to write down the details—she’d never forget the way she’d felt these last two months since the first time they kissed. Sleeping with him had been a small price to pay for the security of being loved. One she’d gladly paid.
Lindsey canvased the ballroom. If the posters lining her school’s halls were to be believed, tonight’s Spring Fling promised to be a night to remember. Tradition ordered the girls to come to the party together, where the guys from St. Peter’s School for Boys would be waiting in a line to receive them.
Tristan hadn’t called all week, and Lindsey had given up after he hadn’t returned her 18th call. Nothing in her novels had prepared her for that. Didn’t the shy, quiet girl get the cool guy’s attention, and then they lived happily ever after? He’d sent a quick reply to her countless texts, promising to see her tonight.
There he was, towards the end of the line. He was gorgeous—his slicked back hair, his smoldering blue eyes that matched his tie. He nodded when he saw her, elbowing his friends who stood on either side.
One by one, guys greeted girls, offering an elbow and escorting them to the tables that outlined the dance floor. Still Tristan stood, not making his way to Lindsey.
She clutched her dress, the one she’d found after spending five Saturdays in local consignment stores looking for the perfect blend. Whimsical yet unique. Covered with soft pink lace, the dress was a classic 50s style with a sweetheart neckline and a cinched waist that fit perfectly. Her brown hair was tied back in a soft side bun, a few strands curled to surround her face.
She looked perfect. For the first time in her life, she had been complimented by the girls in her class as they boarded the bus to the party.
When all the other girls had been seated, Tristan stood in the middle of the dance floor, offering his hand.
“Saved the best for last,” he whispered before his lips caressed her cheek. He led her to the table where his friends sat.
John, a guy Lindsey had seen on Tristan’s photo-sharing feed, raised his glass in a toast after the meal was finished. “To the happy little couple, Tristan and Lindsey.”
The rest of the table snorted as Tristan punched his friend on the arm.
“Thanks!” Lindsey lifted her glass, but no one else raised theirs to touch hers. The girls at the table stared at their plates. “Wait, what’s going on?”
John stood. “I didn’t think he could do it, but he did.” He slapped a 100-dollar bill on the table before taking his date’s hand and leading her to the crowd that was forming in the center of the dance floor. The other guys did the same.
Tristan stood and quickly gathered the money, his gaze not meeting Lindsey’s.
Lindsey stood and grabbed his arm. “What’s going on? Tell me now!”
She blinked back tears as the room seemed to go silent.
“Look, when we met… It was a bet.”
Lindsey took a step back, bumping into her chair. She clutched the back of it until she sank into its seat. She could no longer blink fast enough to hold back the tears.
The crowd shifted back towards their table, cell phones poised to video the moment. John came back, all too eager to explain. “We saw you at the library. You were walking with your nose stuck in a book—didn’t even hear us calling out to you.”
But she had. The librarian had put a new book on hold for her, and she couldn’t wait to get back to her dorm room to start it. The boys’ jeers had to have been for someone else—guys never noticed her. She’d turned back to her book, entering a world where nice girls got the cute guys. A world opposite her own. “Y’all were talking to me?” “But you blew us off—first time Tristan ever got ignored by a girl. So, we bet Mr. ‘Ladies Man’ Tristan 100 bucks he couldn’t get you to come to the Spring Fling with him. Five hundred if he could get you into bed.”
Lindsey stood. “But, how?” She turned to Tristan. “Why?”
“Of course,” John interrupted, “we required photograph evidence, which Tristan so graciously provided.”
Lindsey held her hands to her stomach. “You won’t get away with this.”
Tristan finally spoke. “You had to know it wasn’t serious. We’ve only been out a few—”
Her hand flew out, slapping his cheek. He took a step back, rubbing his cheek. “I’m sorry you found out this way. But don’t worry, the pictures are just of afterwards, nothing graphic.”
As if that made it better. She slapped him again, her hand shaking too much to do much damage. Tears streamed down her face as she raced out of the room. Never again. Never again will I let some guy do this to me.
Rage fueled her for the next three weeks. Three weeks of mocking giggles when she walked into a classroom. Three weeks of leaving her dorm room only for class. Three weeks of shredding pictures that girls posted on her dorm room door—pictures Tristan had distributed to what seemed like the entire freshman classes at both schools.
Three weeks of hell until her mother finally let her come home to Houston for the summer, where the old Lindsey died and the new one emerged from a battered cocoon with beautiful steel wings.
Want to read more about Worth the Time? To buy Laura’s book go to:
Laura Jackson loves books–reading and writing them. A life-long reader, Laura studied English in college and taught 7th grade language arts before earning her Master’s degree and becoming a school librarian. Now, she spends her days sharing great books with kids and her evenings writing books about teenage girls discovering God and His plan for their lives.
How to contact Laura: