Thursday, April 15, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Laurie Batzel

Talkshow Thursday: Laurie Batzel

Linda: Congratulations on your debut novel With My Soul. What was your inspiration for the story, and what is the significance of the title? 

Laurie: The inspiration for With My Soul was my grandmother who triumphed against the odds as a single mother in the years immediately after WWII. Her husband had been stationed in Germany with the Air Force to assist with the recovery effort there and she made the difficult but necessary decision to return to the States with a toddler (my mother) when the marriage became insoluble. But with the help of family and her own indomitable faith, she found healing through her work at an orphanage in her home state of North Carolina. The title comes from the classic hymn “It is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford, a song that is extremely meaningful to me personally and an integral theme in the story. 
LM: Research is an important aspect of writing. How did you go about researching With My Soul

Laurie: The research is actually one of my favorite parts about writing historical fiction. I find the
hardest part is knowing when to leave things out that interest you but don’t serve the storyline or the arc of the characters! I read a lot of books-both fiction and non-fiction-about the era, about the orphanage where my grandmother had worked and dove into my mother’s old photographs and recollections. The story is fictional, not a biographical account of my grandmother’s life, but it was really amazing to put myself in her shoes and learn about the period in which she lived and the struggles she must have faced. 

LM: The age-old question for authors: do you outline your stories or are you a “pantster” (e.g. writing by the seat of your pants)? 

Laurie: I am 100% plotter. I usually start with the story idea and then build the characters’ development as I flesh out the plot. I love to use Pinterest and stock photos to immerse myself in the worlds and my characters’ lives. LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing (e.g. listen to music, set up in a certain place, etc.), and how do you juggle it with your other responsibilities? Laurie: With four small children, my writing routine is simply write when and where I have time and space. In an ideal world, I’d have a neatly set up writing station in a quiet corner of the house but my reality right now is a laptop on our dining room table which is currently covered in art projects and plastic eggs leftover from Easter with interruptions every fifteen minutes to refill sippy cups or take the dogs outside. 

LM: What is one thing you wish you knew how to do? 

Laurie: Whistle really loudly the way people do at sporting events. 

LM: What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to fledgling writers? 

Laurie: If you have a story in your heart, write it. Set a reasonable goal for yourself (for me it’s a minimum five thousand words per week) and do what you need to do to hit that word count. Not every writer is going to become a published author and that’s okay. First and foremost, writing your story should be something you’re doing because it brings you joy. Sharing it with others and hoping it brings a little joy to them as well is icing on the cake! 

LM: What is your next project? 

Laurie: Right now I’ve switched genre gears to contemporary romance. I signed with an agent last year and that book is currently being shopped out to editors. Waiting is very much a part of the publishing process, so while I keep my fingers crossed for the project that is on submission, I’m always working on the next story idea. Somehow, though, my “Books I Want to Write” folder keeps getting bigger instead of smaller! 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Laurie: is my official author website. You can also find me on Facebook at or on Pinterest at

About With My Soul 
: When Willa Jane is abandoned by her husband in post-WWII Germany, she is forced to return to her hometown in the mountains of rural North Carolina a single mother with no means of supporting herself or her infant daughter. A personal tragedy leads to an opportunity at a struggling local orphanage. Challenged with the task of turning this institution into a home, Willa Jane must rely on her family, her friends, and her faith to give these children and herself-a second chance at love. 

"A stunning story of hardship and heartbreak, Batzel’s writing is lush and lively, pulling you instantly into another time as she weaves a powerful tale of friendship, self-discovery and love”-Noelle Salazar, USA TODAY best-selling author of THE FLIGHT GIRLS

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