Referred to as the American P.D. James, Laura S. Wharton is the author of award-winning sea adventure/mystery novels for adults, historical adventures for young adults, and mysteries for children. Wharton also is the author of four mysteries for children, including the popular award-winning Mystery at the Lake House series, and others. Most of her books involve adventure, fun, a little history, and sailboats. (She is a recovering sailor who could backslide at any moment!)
What was your earliest effort in storytelling?
I have always loved telling stories—my parents would agree. From a very early age, I told stories about a variety of subjects to just about anyone who would listen. Since I’m not shy, that was always fun for me. Writing the stories down was just a natural progression for me. Also, writing is cathartic at times: if I’ve got something on my mind, writing is a good way to really analyze the full subject matter.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was in third grade when I knew for certain that I wanted to be a writer. In addition to the fact that I come from a reading family (we were reading on our own before heading off to kindergarten), I had a wonderful teacher that year who encouraged me to write down the stories I loved to tell to anyone who would listen.
What expertise did you bring to your writing?
As a career writer, my stories have taken many forms including magazine articles, advertising copy, website content, and more recently, technical documentation. Moving toward novels was something I wanted to try, and it’s been a lot of fun for me. I have an undergraduate degree in Journalism and a Master’s degree in Communications as well as a technical writing certificate, so I guess you could say writing is my vocation as well as my passion.
What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?
All of my novels have at least one scene on a sailboat. My bio says I’m a recovering sailor who could backslide at any moment, and that’s definitely true. What the bio doesn’t say is that I have enough “sea time” to qualify as a captain, though I never sat for the exam. I also used to race sailboats for fun. For me, writing scenes with boats is my way to stay connected to another passion of mine, which I plan to resume (backslide into) in the very near future, though I will probably become a lake sailor due to our current location.
How would you encourage other writers to stay open to creativity?
Staying open to creativity is definitely vital for storytelling, and since we can get ideas anywhere, these are all good ways to keep that vein open and the ideas flowing. I maintain my creativity by being involved in lots of fun activities. I love to draw and paint, I love attending theater events and musical performances, and I love to stay active. I read, of course, and I allow myself to daydream as often as possible. From the daydreams spring ideas for stories, art, or activities I’d like to try. I love to surround myself with creative people as often as possible by attending arts and craft fairs, too. It’s amazingly easy to tap into creativity, even if I’m not the one being creative (e.g., writing) at that very moment.